Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity.
This month our writers have explored "authenticity", what does it mean in our homes, how do we establish it, what pushes us away from being authentic? Read on to the bottom of the post to find the other participants posts.
APBC is hosted by Living Peacefully With Children and Authentic Parenting. Find out how to participate in next edition of APBC.
Many parents experience some sort of loss of the self while parenting. It is true that having a child is a life changing event, suddenly, you're responsible for another human being's wellbeing 24/7. Your life will be legitimately turned upside down and many things will change.
Some women fight this loss of self by refusing to breastfeed, or to stay at home with their child, or to care for them at all.
But should we lose ourselves in order to be (good) parents?
If we look at more traditional cultures, like here in Africa, having a child does not mean the loss of self. Quite on the contrary. Having a child in Africa - as far as I can attest - means an enrichment of life and also a continuation of life, in various senses.
In the obvious sense that when you die, something of you remains on this planet, but also in the sense that when you grow dependent, you will have someone to care for you. But most ardently: life goes on pretty much the way it was before after you've had a child (not counting the postpartum period, because in most of Africa, this is really respected).
What's the big difference here?
Child-centeredness of parenting - For since we cannot spend every waking hour with our child, we must at least make the most of the moments we have. We must sit with them and play with them and read them stories.
I might get a few rotten tomatoes for saying this, but child-centered parenting is at the source ofd many parenting frustrations in the West, such as tantrums and bad sleeping habits. In this way of parenting, life indeed stops when it is time to become a parent.
We try to cater to our child's every need, want and desire. (well, attached parents often do - we won't go into how paradoxical mainstream parenting tries to ignore needs, but does cater to wants).
But children thrive when they get to live with an active parent, who tends to him/herself too and who doesn't dissolve him or herself because of them. Who follows passions and keeps busy. Who feels ands speaks their emotions (in a non-violent manner).
So how does one go about parenting a child and remaining true to oneself?
- ensure a safe environment for your child to roam free
- Trust your child and stop hovering and fretting
- Make room for your child in your life, not the other way around
- follow your passions
- be active
- take care of yourself
- try building a community of care
- stop your fatalistic thinking: yes you can do anything with kids, it just requires sound judgement and a bit more planning
This post has been added to the Tuesday Baby Linkup
- Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting - Authentic Parenting tests Western Child centered parenting to African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity.
- Honoring My Forgiving Heart - Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
- Sincere and Credible - Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
- Being Authentic - Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account...
- Authenticity - Sustainablemom writes how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
- Authenticity through Consensual Living - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
- Authenticity Through Emotions - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer's) own emotions.
- Authentic Grief - Erica @ ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well adjusted adults.