Living peacefully with children

Written by Amie on October 16, 2008 – 8:36 pm -

I try to stay focused on my own family, but almost everyday an incident will happen that makes me feel sad for a child. Some days I am just amazed that adults get away with the way they treat children. It is so common to assume that adults have authority over children. It is such a power trip in my opinion. It breaks my heart to see children being treated with disrespect mainly because the parent is out in public and they need to show that they are in authority. It is embarrassing to some parents when their children are not “obedient”. Obedience just shows that the child is afraid of the adult. What kind of relationship is that? If two adults have a relationship where one is dominant, and the other lives in fear, it would be termed abusive. Well, somehow the behaviors that are not acceptable with adults are acceptable when one person in the relationship is a child. We need to stand up for our children! Humiliation and domination do not make a healthy child or a healthy relationship.

As more and more adults learn how to be with children in a loving, compassionate, mindful way, our society becomes healthier and healthier. If children are raised with compassion and with adults who are present with them, they grow up to be healthy adults that will treat their kids with kindness and compassion. Non-violent Communication is one way to learn how to do this. The premise is that as humans we all have basic needs, and we all deserve to be able to express those needs. This looks very different than many households in our society. Many families have the parents stating the way things will be, and the children comply. If the children don’t comply, there are “consequences” for the children. These consequences are arbitrarily made up by the parents, and  they really don’t have any connection to the original “misdeed”. To the child, this says, well, next time I guess I will have to be sneakier and do what I want without my parents finding out.

Some people would say this is part of being a child. I say this is a way for a child to turn off or suppress their authentic self. This teaches them that they can’t get their needs met with the people that supposedly love them most. If a child is raised to fear the consequences, they will no longer look to the parent for guidnce. They will learn that the parent does not love them unconditionally, the parent loves them when they are compliant.

Another wonderful book that really helped me see how unhealthy our society’s idea of parenting is, is the book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort. Another excellent book is by Cheri Huber called Time-Out For Parents. So many parents have become unconscious in their interactions with children, that they don’t even question the automatic responses they give. To me, this is so unfortunate. We do not use punishment in our house, and my children are happy, healthy, caring, respectful people. I am not saying this to say that everything is perfect here. I am saying it so that you know it is very possible to have this type of relationship with your children. It has been the most incredible experience of my life. It amazes me everyday how close I am with my boys. They know it is safe to talk to me and safe to tell me anything, and they have no reason to be afraid of made up consequences. We talk about everything. I just want to give people the incentive to try it out. It is incredible to have this type of relationship with our children. It is so rewarding.

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