Do you ever wonder if your parenting is preparing your child(ren) for the cold-hard world out there? I read something about that the other day in a blog post that was perplexing. The writer was advising parents to choose their battles and then use whatever means necessary to never let the child win..ever... or children would never be able to face the real world. Really?! It went on to say things like: set your rules and then use force, spank them, whip them to make them comply every single time. There was more: when your kid needs something make them fend for themselves, like in the real world.
Yes, the “real” world can be a tough place. When we grow up, we may have to fend for ourselves. Yet, what I know is that what prepared me to face the cruel and tough things “out” in the world though, was not being broken, whipped, slapped and otherwise made to feel shame or guilt. No, on the contrary, my home, my parents, they were always a soft and safe landing base. My parents weren’t perfect, but they always made it clear that they loved me (and my sisters) no matter what. Did they make some weird parenting choices? Sure. We all do, being a parent now, it’s clear to me, we can try all we want, arm ourselves with knowledge and advice and still we are bound to make mistakes. But with no doubt in my mind, my parents did not demand obedience, they chose to guide me to be responsible and caring, they chose to do this with LOVE.
Why would we as parents want to make our children feel terrible, shameful, guilty, or experience pain just because they might have the misfortune of experiencing that when they get out into the world on their own? I mean, would you take a baseball bat to a brand new car to dent it up a bit, you know, just in case?
Seriously, let’s say you get a new car, brand new, no dents, dings, scratches on it. You are bound to be taking the car on the road at some point. Maybe you will be driving through some really busy highways, really terrible city traffic. If you are careless with your driving choices, or unfortunate to cross paths with someone that makes bad driving choices your car may get bumped, dinged and scratched. So, that question again, would you take a baseball bat to your brand new car just to break it in a bit? Or a take a rake to scrape it up, you know maybe just a few scratches so the next ones aren’t so bad? I hope you are saying a huge NO here with me.
People can choose to be careful drivers, people can often get an insurance policy so if something does happen they have some sort of back up to deal with all the crap that can happen on the road. And worse case, If a crash or scrape happens, people can choose to get their car repaired with some work and care. What's more, we don't just jump into a car and drive (well I hope most people don't) we learn to drive first...with lessons...with a teacher, a parent, a guide...
Life, the real world, yes, it can be a scary, tough, ugly place. There is no denying that there are mean people making bad choices every day. But I truly believe the world can also be a really awesome, warm, welcoming and amazing place full of loving people that care and connect. And If we as parents really care, the world can become an even better place.
We sort of get to make the choice here… yes, we as parents…we get to set an example, we get to choose love. We can lead with peace and mindfulness. We can choose to be the soft and safe landing base.
What would happen to the world if instead of worrying about preparing children to face the cruel, harsh real world, if we worked to show our children that people can be kind? That people can choose empathy, understanding, love and the value of being good citizens? What if we guide our children to make good choices, to learn skills and freedom with responsibility? What if we give them so much love, no matter what life throws at them they will feel strong, courageous and ready to face it full force? What if instead of picking battles we talk to our children and help them learn and then chose love as our insurance?
Parenting does not need to be about winning and losing battles or getting children ready to face the cold, harsh, real world, because parenting is not war, parenting is a journey so I’m choosing to use peace and love as our compass. What about you?
Peace & Be Well,
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