Losing the control
The mess we make:
Lots of parents are interested in a more peaceful existence with their children, driven by the most blatant facts- more children are becoming disconnected, unhappy, bored, defiant, even destructive, aggressive or suicidal. And life at home is hard when you’re barking orders, checking things are being done (for instance homework) and threatening with consequences/punishments for bad behavior. All the while wondering “why, oh why must my kids defy me so?!”
Why is it a belief, that children are born wrong or bad, in need of conditioning through being raised?
How much of a failure would the human species be if our children were really programmed with the information to run away from their caregivers, ignore their council, rebel wherever possible?!
Today’s children are kept like we would keep wild animals- trained, reined and tamed, without a chance to experience their strength, their sense and their determination.
Children raised in the mainstream authoritarian standard are often thwarted when experimentation and natural learning (- not being taught) takes place, causing their parents to be angry and give punishments - people nature intended to trust and love them unconditionally.
What must a young child feel, when he/she tests her own personal comfort zone and walks toward the pretty flower next to the path and gets reprimanded and strapped into a pushchair/put in reins/forced to hold a hand? What must a ten year old feel, when his tablet is confiscated, because he didn’t do his homework choosing rather to play with his friends? Utterly powerless and wronged, I wager. And pretty angry.
The child spilled juice. Does it really impact the world so negatively, that it causes us to react in a hateful way- shouting, tutting, “I told you not to pour juice by yourself!” “Look what you’ve done!” Young children don’t have the cognitive skills to connect their offences to the reaction at hand. They just gather the information over the months and years that they must be pretty awful to deserve such scolding. It is up to us adults to break the cycle of this harmful conditioning that causes such reactions to become standard.
While sitting on The Naughty Chair or in Time-Outs, children are not calming down, thinking over their wrongdoing; they are utterly lonely and suffering without the naturally intended binds (through love, trust and respect) to their caregivers. They are frustrated and this frustration smolders with time into aggression. This is usually the time family life requires perseverance to simply be endured. Parents sometimes react with further, tighter control, punishments and oppression. And then there are the parents who figure out this can’t be right! And look for inspiration and support.
Modern parents may pat themselves on the back that they don’t physically mistreat their children, but they have such a tight hold on them, which originates from the same fear, as a child feels when physical pain is threatened. This manipulation and control can be seen in sentences like “if you don’t share your toys, then we will have to leave” or “eat your dinner, or you will have no ice-cream” or “do you want to lose your TV privileges?” etc. There is no sense in any of these examples, yet they are quite common. The control is sponsored by the fear. Fear causes stress. Stress causes illness.
These patterns teach children (as we were certainly taught, as well) that the world is a treacherous place. People’s wills are to be flattened or doubted, people’s intentions are negative and untrustworthy, and people’s deeds are to be judged, ridiculed, and wills negated. Including their own. Do as you are told. Don’t question authority. Jump through hoops to escape punishment.
They practice what we preach. It’s only natural to replicate what was modelled to them.
Putting the pieces back together:
Parents can’t imagine what everyday life might be like if they stopped punishing, coercing, constraining and controlling. “Kids would only do what they wanted” I hear. Well, what do kids want then? To lie in bed all day, only play computer, scoff sweets, never sleep, never want to learn anything or help anyone out? How on earth did the human species make it so far?! Did the cave men really cane their kids into obedience, purge them of their laziness? Oh, come on!
It’s really quite simple. When you stop implementing power, controlling and deserting your child emotionally, accepting him/her for the human being he/she is, love and trust him/her, nature takes its course.
Our actions mustn’t be random self-serving outbursts! Everybody is entitled to be spoken to without being overrun. The person striving for an authentic existence calms their thoughts that are perhaps leading to a stress-reaction and speaks to the child as an equal. (Much more practicals later)
Every mammal keeps its offspring close in the beginning; protects them and nurtures them not only with outer comforts on demand, but also with adoration and so much trust, they let them for instance stay in hiding, while the mother hunts, they may roam around as they like or play in dangerous surroundings. The young are able to develop sense and reason, trusting their instincts and observing their elders.
The question of when and why humans stopped trusting their children arises. And shall be dealt with separately.
It is possible to live in a peaceful, equal, authentic relationship with children.
Adults have more life experience and knowledge to lean on, but that does not make them superior in any way to young people. Their needs, wishes and whims are not more important than a child’s.
It is a breach of our responsibility as caregivers to use violence of any kind against our children. Manipulation is a violation. Control is as well.
Let us revolutionize parenting and accept our children as the inspirational, autonomous, capable beings they are. Let us laugh in the face of our own fear and lose the control. We can be happy and at ease. Our children are not our enemies.
I invite you to take your liberty and join the revolution!