Google+ Authentic Parenting: Banishing Negativity (rerun)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Banishing Negativity (rerun)

Every time I have a conversation with other European parents, I notice how they only focus on the negative. How parenting seems such a burden and how their kids - to them - are such brats.
I strikes me how few positive things these parents say about their kids, and when they do, it is often followed by a 'but' that annihilates anything great they might have said about their child in the words prior to that.

It makes me wonder what brings on this negative thinking about parenting and children.

Is it because they don't want to brag about their children. Is it because Western culture has tricked people into believeing that parenting is hard work, a job. Is it because we have become so individualised we can't see joy in sharing our space, time and ressources?

If they really think it is such a burden to be a parent, then why do they have children in the first place, most often even more than one? In our western world most children are planned, and even badly desired. Then why bitch about them all the time.
Nobody forces people to have kids. There might be a cultural expectation of couples to have children (and preferably two), but that doesn't mean one cannot escape this paradigm. And if after one child, you are really baffled about the extent of 'work' it is, or find out you don't like being a parent, why then have another child?

I can understand parents sometimes have the need to vent a little, to commiserate, some days really are hard and it can be exhausting to parent in the kind of society we live in, where we have to do everything alone. But there are joys to parenthood too, and I bet even the most whining parent loves their child dearly.

So for today: a little exercise: whenever you catch yourself talking about your children, investigate what you say. Avoid the negative. Do this often enough and you might even find yourself enjoying this parenting gig.

Image: Quinn.Anya on Flickr



  1. I totally agree. I think you're right about people feeling like they don't want to brag. I recently told my health visitor how much I'm enjoying my 10 month old. She laughed and said "You wait! Between the ages of 1 and 3, they're horrible!" Words fail me. It's easy to get sucked into the trap of negativity, so thank you for this timely piece of advice!

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  3. I see this all the time here in my neck of the woods too. It seems like parenting is something people feel they "have" to do instead of "want" to do. I get asked all the time how am I still sane with all of my kids. I am doing what I want to do so I am happy. Maybe some parents are just not happy with their choice to have children. I definitly think some parents think it is easier than it really is. Then boom they are parents and their whole lives change. They loose control and that is so hard for the typical Western adult to handle sometimes.

  4. I brag about my children all the time! I had such a hard time conceiving that getting custody of my step-son was a HUGE blessing to me and then I was blessed to be able to give birth finally...I don't take one day for granted and I'm sure everyone around me is probably sick of hearing about my children, but I truly enjoy being a parent! I'm surprised by how many of my friends spend all their time complaining about theirs...

  5. Thank you for posting this. I just ran across "Shit my kids ruined" on Tumblr and I felt disturbed. I think you've put your finger on it. A site like that would be amusing if it were not set against the backdrop of negativity.

    To be fair I don't think it's all parents' fault... we're a pretty kid-unfriendly culture in the USA, no matter what lip service to children is given.

  6. This is such an interesting issue because I see myself in it a little - I love my baby dearly, would not give up my life with her for the world. But I don't always like motherhood. My adjustment to motherhood has been difficult - it was not what I expected, and I have had to re-define myself, my family, and my life in ways I hadn't anticipated. It is work, and it is hard. Historically humans have had large family groups around them to help ease the burden of childcare, and this is a far cry from the current isolated nuclear family style we currently "enjoy". This makes all frustrations and pains more amplified.

    I often talk about how hard my adjustment to motherhood was/is - but I have never complained about my baby. There is a lot of space to struggle with mother while adoring your child.

  7. So true...I agree! And Megan above me pretty much said what I had to say :)

    Great post!

  8. I agree thanks for this post! Where in the world is it easier to get loving support? I keep getting dragged down and we're ready to relocate

  9. Positivity is so important. I do find this article rather negative itself though. Can we have some helpful suggestions about how to be positive? We make a "happy List" at the end of every day together. Things like what we've achieved, done, improved, helped...


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