In part I of this post I addressed two arguments I often hear from parents against seeing ourselves in partnership with our kids - of being in an equal, respectful relationship.
*But children need to have boundaries set for them! and
*They need someone to make the important decisions!
In this post we will unpack:
*They need someone to teach them right from wrong.
*They need authority figures, and
*A parent has more wisdom, emotional maturity and ability, so the have to be in charge.
Let's get right into it.
‘They need someone to teach them right from wrong!’
I prefer to think of behaviour as ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ – which immediately makes you zoom in on the specific circumstances – rather than ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
It is also important to remember though that behaviour is a form of communication ('what is my child trying to communicate with me when she throws herself on the ground? If she hungry? tired? frustrated? Did I say I was going to make her a snack but instead I took that call? How can I catch these signs earlier?').
Thinking about things in terms of right and wrong makes black and white what can, in reality, be very subjective. While a kid jumping on a couch may not be acceptable in one household, it may be encouraged in another.
Rather than seeing your role as one of shaping your child and child's behaviour at all given times ('this is the right thing, this is the wrong thing'), why not explore different perspectives together?
Also, recognise that our perceptions of right and wrong are not the be all and end all.
This makes me think of a quote I love:
’Once we stop seeing our kids as buckets into which we can pour knowledge, they become trusted to be active learners.’ ~ Jan Fortune
‘They NEED authority figures!’
Being in a partnership with your child doesn’t mean our job as parents isn’t important or that we aren’t there to guide. We are.
That’s the job description in my view: To guide, to mentor, to uplift, to be our children’s advocates and champions.
Authority – when it is defined as ‘the power or right to give orders and enforce obedience’ – is about abusing our power.
Our children don’t need that kind of authority. What they need is the kind of leadership that lifts rather than diminishes, and this is what comes of seeing the child as a whole person, as a full human being from day 1.
‘A parent has more wisdom, emotional maturity and ability, so they have to be in charge!’
I would argue that I know a lot of adults who are not particularly emotionally mature. Often, children are in better touch with their emotions and know how to self-regulate much better!
How many adults do you know have their sh*t together?
I am learning emotional intelligence alongside my kids!
In fact, they are my teachers.
Dr. Joe Dispenza describes wisdom as a past experience without the emotional charge.
But adults often hold onto things for days, months, years and years and years!
These negative, toxic, ‘held-onto’ experiences turn into our moods, attitudes and personality traits and they are not always accompanied by wisdom.
We often don’t give enough credit to our kids. Yes, they have to learn how to self-regulate. This is a crucial life skill. But let’s not fool ourselves that adults have it all figured out.
So, instead of focusing on raising ‘such and such type of child’, let’s focus on raising the standards when it comes to how we treat children, how we treat ourselves and what happens inside the home.
Here's to evolution!
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