Good morning! I stumbled across an amazing article last night and the words have resonated with me. The article is based off a certain style parenting that I strive to follow, called Gentle Parenting. It addresses a very common question that I am certain all parents ask themselves during their parenting journey…and that is “What do I do when my child simply refuses to do what I am asking them to do?”, otherwise worded as “What do I do when I’m not in control?”.
C O N T R O L. That’s right. Control is something that all of us feel we have to have when it comes to our children, however, this article really made me think differently. Our children aren’t some worker bees that we should feel the need to control. They are live human beings with their own thoughts and desires and no one should ever feel controlled…little or big. The article pointed out some real life statements that I know I have said inside my head…
“If I don’t make them do it, I’m a pushover,”
“She HAS to. I’m the parent, I have to make her do it,”
“It’s my JOB to teach her. She may be stubborn, but I can outlast her.”
“My life is going to be hell if I don’t insist that they do it. They’ll walk all over me.”
“I am NOT going to have one of those entitled kids who expect their parents to do everything for them.”
“They have to learn responsibility and that actions have consequences!”
“I have to make it clear that I’m in charge. It’s non-negotiable. I’ll sit here until they do it.”
However, after reading those statements out loud, I find myself questioning the statements!! Just like the writer states, ” I find myself in a position of seeing things a bit differently. You know what I think and feel as I read those examples up there? I think that they all sound a bit like we’re dealing with the enemy. They’re adversarial. I’m right, they’re wrong. I know better. They’re just stubborn. I have to break them. I’m The Parent.”.
“And fear. Let’s not forget about fear. Fear that we’ll be ineffectual. Fear that our children will grow up to be entitled. Fear that our friends and relatives who think we’re those kooky people who do that “gentle discipline stuff” will laugh and shake their heads at us, either in our presence or behind our backs, or both. Or worse yet, they’ll “tsk” at us, as if to say “Well, if you were more in charge, your kids would have better manners.” Lots of fear in parenting.”
“See, the thing is, I don’t think we have to have that sort of relationship with our children. I know we think we do. But we don’t. It’s a choice. It’s not a non-negotiable. There are other ways.”
And my last quote before I just let you read the article yourself…
“Now, before you think I’ve gone completely loony tunes (or–gasp–that I am in favor of permissiveness, which I assure you that I am not), let me say that yes, I do know and accept that our role as parents is to “teach” responsibility, values, helpfulness, manners, self-care, independence, routines, cause and effect, blah blah blah. The problem–and it is a problem–is that these are things that can’t be taught. Well, okay, they can be taught. It’s true, you can make your kid do anything. But the things that you “teach” don’t stick. Not in the way that I want them to at least.”
“Children do not learn from what we say. They don’t even learn from what we do. They learn from who we are. And they’re always watching.”
That last one right there…that is what I fell asleep last night thinking about and what I woke up this morning still thinking about. If I want Luna to grow into a responsible, independent and kind human being who respects others…I HAVE TO BE THAT PERSON. And this article really sets some amazing examples on how to be that person even in the most stressful situations where power struggles are at a max. I encourage you to read the entire article and I hope you walk away from it learning something! After all, our children deserve our best and every single human being deserves to be respected.