Google+ Authentic Parenting: Ever wonder it might be your parenting?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ever wonder it might be your parenting?

People often tell me that I have it easy, because my kid has such a gentle demeanor, such a sweet character; that gentle parenting techniques wouldn't work for them because their child is a handful/ has got character/ is very demanding. Ok, we could go into nature versus nurture debates for hours now, but that would be besides the point.
Do they ever wonder it might be just because they don't apply gentle parenting tactics that raising their child is such hard work.
Or they'll say their kid is so dominant and agressif, whereas my daughter is soft and paisible. Maybe it's because they are punishing their kids and I'm not. But don't dare to utter that thaught, because they'll tell you right away that agression is in their child's nature, there's nothing they can do about that and that's way they have to take corrective measures.
Now I don't think children can be agressif in nature. Nor do I think children often are born agressif (except in some cases where they have lived agressions in utero). I think children mimick behavior we show to them. Thus, if you are punishing your child on a regular basis, you are telling him that it is ok to dominate those weaker than himself. If you force your child to do things on a regular basis, instead of ask him, he himself will use force and coercion upon his friends.

For fuck sake, treat your children as people, not as cattle. Talk to them! Ask them for their opinion, even if they can't answer just yet. Say please! Stop ordering them around and putting them in dark corners! How would you feel if that was done to you, say in the office.

Take this situation: In the office, you are sitting at your desk, working hard, concentrating on a difficult task. Your boss comes along.
Boss: "Copy this for me! He puts a stack of papers on your desk."
You get a bit annoyed at his ordering you and disturbing you while you are so clearly very busy.
You: "Can I first finish this"
Boss: "Copy it. NOW!!!!!"
You get even more annoyed.
You: "I am almost done, I'll be right on it."
Boss: "I said now! Do I have to lock you in the hallway?"
You frown, thinking this is a strange course the discussion has taken. Your boss is now furious, he pulls you off your chair by the arm, you stumble. He pulls you into the halway and throws the door in your face. The door locks and you stay there, in the dark, until five minutes later, you boss comes back.

Would you tolerate this???

Boss: "Now are you ready to copy those files?"
You take the files and meekly go into the copy room. For reasons unaccountable to you, one page of the original gets stuck in the copier and comes out mangled. You bring the pile of documents back to your boss.
Your boss sees this and immediately starts yelling at you: "I told you to do it right! What have you done now? You never do anything right! Do I always need to supervise you?"
At this point he's taken you by the arms and is shaking you:"I've had enough of it! Are you doing this to annoy me?"
He smacks you on the bum repeatedly.

Hmm... now this isn't right, is it! That man should be locked up! He's facing a serious lawsuit, right!
Yet that's how many many parents treat their kids... and then they are wondering why they act up!

Tell me, how would you react?



  1. Gordon Neufeld, a developmental psychologist who focuses on the importance of attachment, says that Aggression is a last-resort outlet for frustration when the "normal" outlets (change the situation or adapt to that you cannot change) don't work. Bad parenting can certainly be the cause of a child becoming "protected against vulnerability" (hardened) and thus unable to accept that which they cannot change. Thus aggression becomes their only outlet for frustration in situations they cannot change. BUT sensitive children can often "protect against vulnerability" even in the context of attachment and gentle, respectful parenting. My son was an aggressive preschooler despite being parented gently, etc. That doesn't mean one shouldn't parent respectfully, but it doesn't necessarily get you off the hook for aggression and difficulties. The difference, of course, is that a child like my son, if parented respectfully and taught how to handle his frustrations rather than punished, will naturally grow out of it as his brain matures to where he can regulate those aggressive impulses (neuroscientists say this happens between ages 5 and 7). Sorry to ramble on but it's a topic very dear to my heart!

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment.
    I think there are differences between true agressiveness and uncontrolled emotional outbursts due to immature emotions. My daughter also has impulses sometimes that seem to come out of nowhere (like biting the dog out of an outburst of love or throwing something out of frustration). But as you said this is sth they grow out of when their brain develops, while, if they are thaught agressive behavior, they will carry it on.
    Anyhow, thanks a lot for the comment

  3. I love this post. I wish it was visible at the entrance of every house and workplace, so that people could read it often. And remember their child is a person, too, not something that belongs to them and with whom they can do what they wish.


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