Chances are you’ve likely heard about the new trend in parenting- gentle parenting. While it may sound permissive or ineffective, if you really look into it, it’s the natural response to the inherent violence that has always been culturally accepted in previous generations.
Millennials and beyond are in tune with feelings and healing trauma in ways that previous generations never were, so it makes sense that they would also seek new ways to parent. In many ways, the old school methods of domination and discipline are some of the last remaining remnants of colonialism. It’s important to note that many indigenous cultures place value on children and their autonomy- domination and fear were parental techniques favored in European parenting culture, which is reflected in the ideologies of colonial expansion.
Blind obedience through fear is not helping our children learn how to process difficult emotions, and it is a breeding ground for future emotional issues and resentments. It can be hard to find other ways when we were most likely brought up by parents who never modeled apologizing for the sake of repair or connection- the emphasis was on obedience at all costs. Our parents wanted to win, no matter how it ultimately affected us as people, and our relationship with them.
We don’t need to be perfect all the time to raise thoughtful and compassionate children; we simply have to always try and honor the person they are becoming while understanding that when we “lose it”, it’s actually a wonderful opportunity to show them accountability.
No, there is still structure and discipline, but I myself model self-discipline and the behavior I ultimately am training them to adhere to. If I want to raise respectful children, I in turn must respect them. Bringing them up with the expectation that they will speak and act with consideration whilst dominating them and using fear as a motivator is inherently contradictory and confusing. In showing them restraint even in hard moments, and apologizing when I lose said restraint, I am showing them how to master difficult emotions without hurting the people around us that we love.
All violence (think spanking or even speaking harshly) does is show our children that someone they should be able to trust, is not safe. It teaches them to deny parts of themselves and tells them that when they are having a hard moment they are too much. The priority is not on processing the big feeling, but on shutting it down, and they will likely take this practice into adulthood. They will edit themselves in important relationships and have a lifelong struggle with accepting themselves and setting boundaries for their own well-being.
I want my kids to have a relationship with me because they love me, and feel that I am a supportive and safe person with whom they can discuss hard things. This should always be the goal, and it is built upon a legacy of trust.
This does not mean that your kid “wins” every argument, but this also means that you don’t need to “win” either. It shouldn’t even be about that. You can negotiate with your kid and still have authority and their respect. Just because they make a valid point that causes you to pivot does not mean they will learn not to honor your parental authority. In fact, it shows them flexibility and a willingness to reflect and change. It’s also possible to say no, WHILE honoring their feelings. All your child, and any of us, really want is to feel heard.
Ultimately your goals in your relationships with your children should be about mutual respect, and offering a consistently safe space for them to share and confide in, not about winning in a moment for winning’s sake.
Be sure to connect with me more over on Instagram @theselflovefix, I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were.
Connect with Leslie Priscilla on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/latinxparenting/
Head over to my website to learn more about how we can work together to shift your energy & transform your life.
Escape the situationship cycle and become available for an actual relationship. Take accountability for what you really want with my free, transformative 5-day resource. Receive daily tips to help you attract the right kind of men. https://bold-hill-3643.ck.page/2ee1aa3101
See you back here for the next one!