Wednesday, August 3, 2016

If you’ve never heard the term gentle parenting then you are probably a bit confused.  In our society we think of parenting as difficult, frustrating, emotional, really anything contrary to gentle.  And honestly, it is those things.  It is also beautiful, life-changing, and likely the most rewarding thing we will ever do.  So what then is gentle parenting?  Well, the gentle refers to the actions and attitude of us, the parents.  We strive to be gentle to our children, to walk through life beside them in the most peaceful, mindful way possible. (You will also hear gentle parenting referred to as peaceful parenting, mindful parenting, conscious parenting, etc. and these synonyms are very helpful when changing our thought process about parenting.)
Gentle Parenting is a deviation from authoritarian parenting, from us vs them, me over you, my will, your obedience, parenting, to a relationship based on mutual respect, that seeks to guide and develop the whole child.  Gentle Parenting realizes that the child is no less of a person than an adult is and deserves to be treated as such.  There is no physical punishment such as spanking, no shaming, no isolation such as time outs, no taking children’s things.   A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in your child’s shoes by asking “if I did x would y help me or hurt me?”  
The truth is I suck.  James is much better but he can suck too.  It’s part of our humanity creeping upon us, always, these little monsters of irritation, frustration, pride, and selfishness, and it’s damn hard to work around those.  And yet, we keep trying.  Constantly.  Because our souls are thirsty for goodness and peace that only comes when we let go and try.  More importantly, because our children, these beautiful tiny humans, deserve it.  They deserve a childhood free from tyranny, violence and self-diluted lordship.  They deserve to know that they are people and we respect them as such.  They deserve to have a voice.  They deserve to know that we are merely humans too, and we fail, make mistakes, are not all knowing.  They deserve to walk next to us, partners in this dance of life.  And our world deserves to evolve its sphere of peace when finally led by a generation of people who were raised peacefully and with respect.
Our children deserve better than what they are typically given.  They deserve to develop naturally, organically, without having their wills broken and their dreams crushed.  They deserve peace, not chaos.  They deserve gentleness, not violence.  They deserve respect, not to live in fear.  So many parents just follow the example their parents gave them.  They do what was done to them.  They believe the lies society perpetuates that children whose wills are not broken, who are not made to suffer when young, will grow up entitled, lazy, disrespectful, and will likely end up in jail.  One of the most dangerous common phrases is “that’s the way it’s always been done,” or said another way, “that’s what was done to me and I turned out fine.”
Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  The bottom line is, doing things the way they have always been done is normal and typical but humans were designed to be beings of growth and progress.  We are to take what we know, take our examples, our experiences, and move forward.  Just because you were spanked as a child and turned out “fine,” (though to be fair, the belief that a child needs to be hit in order to learn something doesn’t seem like something a “fine” person would think) doesn’t mean that the idea of spanking as discipline is as far as we go.  We take what we know about children, people, right and wrong, the brain, how people learn, how people respond to kindness, fear, love, reward, punishment, etc, and realize that we don’t have to do the same thing that has always been done.  In fact, we can do better now that we know better.
That is the purpose of Choose Kindness parenting, to help guide parents to something better, to walk alongside them as they learn to choose another way, a kinder way, a more gentle way.  We are here to help you in your unique situation and to offer you practical steps to move towards gentle parenting in your family.  Our children deserve it.
             More information, along with coaching package info, coming soon...

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