Quick question, when is it okay to talk about killing or physically assaulting your child? Seems like an easy answer, doesn’t it? If so, then why do I regularly see these kinds of statements being flaunted around parenting pages on Facebook and heard coming out of parents mouths.
“However we treat the child, the child will treat the world.”
– Pam Leo
I was raised in a fairly authoritarian family, my parents were very interested in child development and my mom loved learning about psychology but if we mis-behaved we were given hidings. This is what they truly believed to be the best approach to parenting and back in those days information was not as easily available as it is today, and gentle parenting was never heard of!
Studies in parenting were done using mice, they monitored the mice and observed their parenting techniques and what they learned is that mice tend to parent how they were parented – if they took a baby mouse away from its parent who was naturally a more aggressive mouse and they placed it with a more calm mouse those mice would grow up to be calmer and parent in a more gentle manner and so was true of if they took mice away from a calm parent and placed them with a more aggressive parent those mice would grow up to be more aggressive and parent more aggressively. They concluded that parenting techniques are a learned behavior, from the moment your baby is born they are learning how to be a parent. Scary.
(links at the end of the article)
A question I see often from parents who are interested in gentle parenting is how to let their spouse in on the secret and get them to see parenting differently.
The hardest thing about the light-bulb moment is that once it happens you never see parenting the same again which is wonderful, except if your spouse still practices authoritarian parenting, then it can be quite painful watching your child go through something that you know is not right.
Not many parents know how to drop the bomb that they want to practice gentle parenting, in most households its a very hot topic and just the words ‘gentle’ and ‘parent’ together are enough to cause an uproar with scenarios of children running amuck causing havoc and parents idly standing by too scared to ‘stand up’ to their children. This is not what gentle parenting is about but unfortunately not many people know or understand this so be ready to be met with some resistance.. did I say some.. I meant A LOT of resistance. For now, let the naysayers nay, its not important, what is important is getting you and your spouse on the same page and the rest can wait.