The other day I came across an article on how to defend your choice of positive parenting to naysayers, you know, those parents stuck tight into the rigid rules of society, too scared to do one tiny thing out of whack in case someone frowns upon them…..and far too afraid to really let go and just have FUN!!
It was one of those articles where you find yourself nodding your head in agreement all the way through…well, at least I did.
“But does your mother-in-law say you’re soft?” Nod
“He’ll never learn to self-soothe if you don’t let him cry.” Nod nod
“She needs to tell him who’s in charge.” Nod nod nod
“Western society expects a parenting approach centered on adult’s wants rather than children’s needs. Punishments, time-outs, threats and rewards have become normal tools in the parenting toolbox.” OMG NOD NOD NOD
“So, when you’re swimming against the tide of conventional parenting how do you defend your choices?”
Yes…yes…this is what I want to know!
Already feeling like a bobblehead I delved right into the rest of the article, reading about the psychology of attachment. It is our job as parents to make our children feel SAFE, to give them that safe and secure platform from which to make their ventures out into the unknown. Their brains aren’t equipped with the skills to cope with overwhelming emotions, especially fear and anxiety. They need that one (at least) solid foundation that is unconditional….that safe place.
And there I said it…the magic word….UNCONDITIONAL.
It seems to me that way too many parents fail to be there for their kids unconditionally….there is often a sense in the child of “we would love you more if you could behave better…..if you got better grades……if you stopped wetting the bed……if you didn’t cry because…well, just because…”. And I think that this is not a deliberate thing, but an automatic parenting style that then creates in the child this perception of not being really loved unless they are performing to some level of expectation….to some standard already predetermined in the parents’ minds.
The thing is…..these are kids. They are not mini adults. They cannot be expected to have the same self control as we expect of adults…and that is our job as parents…..to provide them with that environment whereby they can learn and develop…..where they can feel safe to make mistakes, where they can fall down, knowing that there is a loving hand ready to help them back up with unconditional reassurance.
I don’t subscribe to the “throw ’em in the deep end and let them fend for themselves” style, neither do I approve of a “one size fits all” approach.
I believe in being the “rock”, that stability and security required by my child as she learns and develops…..as she stumbles, falls and gets back up. I will continue to soothe her wounds in preparation for the next round of battle that is life.
And she will venture out with confidence, knowing that I am here, knowing that regardless of whatever mistakes she makes I will love her just the same…….unconditionally.