I was being a smart alec tonight, and just for fun, I started googling the following ‘mean parenting‘ phrases to see what would turn up. Here are just a few that I looked for:
- How to get your kids to obey by smacking them
- Ways to punish a child so they will turn out to be happy and loving adults
- Cave babies didn’t know how to fall asleep, but were left to cry it out
- Constantly yelling at kids turns them into loving adults
The search engine results were hardly anything worth reading. A few popped up from religious extremists. Some results were poorly written news articles backed by obscure ‘studies‘. Other results were discussion threads in which people were questioning the methods of smacking and crying it out. One parent asked, “Does crying it out really work? Because I felt so bad while my baby was screaming that I had to wear earplugs and put her crib in a closet so that I couldn’t hear it”… Sad, but true. Despite the few of my findings that were relevant, MOST of the search engine results were from writers and commenters arguing to the contrary of the phrases that I had jokingly searched for. Thank God!
MOST of what I found, were sites with valuable evidence based resources! Most of these sites offered information and advice to suggest that nurturing a child’s physical space and emotional needs is only a good thing and that every parent should at least start there! There is hope for humanity yet! It seems to me that parents are starting to wake up and see that severe punishment, manipulating, threatening, and smacking are so, like,,, yesterday (insert sigh of relief)! A new wave of conscientious and educated parents are slowly starting to emerge as the new ‘modern parent‘ (which is actually nothing new at all). Breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, gentle discipline, holding a baby without the fear of spoiling it, understanding, communication, building trust and good old fashioned common sense and love… it’s all coming back again! Slowly…
Trends in the parenting department are most certainly changing for the better! And, whether you’re writing something, reading it, or leaving a comment somewhere… somehow… people are starting to catch wind of this ‘new/old’ idea of positive parenting. Try searching for ‘mean parenting blogs‘ ok, you might find a few funny ones, but really, I’m talking, a ‘mean parenting blog‘ that encourages smacking, yelling and punishing as actions that produce loving, nurturing, confident adults. I doubt you’ll find much that sounds convincing. People are starting to realize that being a mean parent sucks. Acting mean to your kids doesn’t make you feel good and you often end up regretting things that you’ve done. Most people who support corporal punishment and the sorts only support it because they say, “Well, that’s how I was raised, so how bad can it be?” (Scoff scoff, look how our generation turned out, at least 1 in 4 of us have diagnosed mental disorders).
Deep down, I honestly feel that every parent is doing the best that they can, even the ‘mean ones’. I truly believe that all parents are doing their darnedest, even in the worst case scenario. However, stressed parents do stupid, desperate, regrettable and sometimes dangerous things. And, often, tired parents appear to be lazy and uncaring. Can we blame them? How dare we judge anyone, in a world where we live so isolated from help and so void from positive role models? Nobody is taught how to be a parent and our ‘village‘ (our help and support) is living behind closed doors. Often, the only help that a parent receives is either through a book or through the internet. (Hands up if you’ve googled every grumble, pain, tantrum, milestone or ‘odd’ behavior that your child has lived through).
So, to all the positive parenting story tellers and story writers and to the people who listen to or read those stories and share them, I would like to say, “Keep up the good work!” Keep sharing experiences and sharing ideas. Every positive parenting action, idea, or inspiration that you share with another parent out there has a ripple effect. Even if somebody looks at you like you have two heads when you tell them YOUR story of being a gentle parent, you just never mind! You never know who is reading what you post or listening to what you say IRL (in real life), even if their facial expression says otherwise. Sharing ‘Just another gentle parenting article‘ on your facebook page might mean that one less baby has to cry it out. Or, talking openenly to another parent about a gentle discipline idea, may mean that one less child is getting smacked. Sharing ‘just another gentle parenting idea‘ may mean one less child’s enthusiasm gets squashed. Sharing your experiences of being a kind and nurturing parent can impact the world… one child at a time. Because, we just don’t know who these kids are going to grow up to be. So, let the world know that you are a gentle parent and BE PROUD OF IT! Stand up for what you believe in and know that there are many many other parents, just like you, out there!
For more information on some gentle parenting ideas, check out Dr. Sear’s website for a great list of resources!