I see so many posts on social media and I hear so many conversations among parents about controlling their children.
While some parents really do want to control their kids, others realize the language and systems we learned about behavior and child development and parenting – and have used or are using – just aren’t the best methods, don’t really work, and destroy relationships with our families.
Most of us envision having our adult children over for tea or family meals, maybe vacations to the beach, or camping. We want to be there and have fun with our future grandkids.
That begins now while our children are young. We’re building an empire of love and respect now, or tearing down the future generations.
If, in a relationship we feel we have to do what another demands in order to keep them happy, the casualty is our own true self. It is not easy to love the “self” if we have lost our Authentic Self to a dysfunctional power dynamic. This is as true for toddlers and children as it is for teens and for us.~Viktorija Bert
Discipline is literally teaching disciples.
It’s more like coaching, guiding, walking alongside and learning together. It’s gentle, respectful, kind, loving.
Control is easy when kids are very young. It’s not so easy as kids grow up and learn to think for themselves.
Control is about power.
Power Over vs. Power With:
Using power over others is a form of violence.
We exercise power over others without their consent. When we use power over others, we come from a place that what we believe or want to do is right. As a result of our “rightness” we don’t believe consent is necessary. We think we know better, we have more experience, and we are right.
Using power over others isolates us. Power over stops communication in its tracks. It disconnects us from the other person. It comes from a place of scarcity and it is fear-based.
For example, we often use power over children when we feel there isn’t enough time, money, space, patience, or whatever we believe is scarce in our lives.
This is a place of scarcity and fear that drives us to disconnect. We believe we don’t have enough of whatever we need to listen to or discover what is happening for the child.
Instead let’s consider power with other:
- Power with creates mutuality and respect. When we operate from a place of power with, we create a space where each person matters. Power with opens up the possibility of both sides (people) being influenced and changed by the other person.
- Power with is grounded in a place of knowing that the relationship with the other person is paramount. Power with equalizes the power dynamics built into our culture and society. It allows for those who have not been heard to be seen and heard.
- Power with recognizes that each individual makes a difference and can change the course of events.
Source: Parenting for Social Change
Kids desire to please parents. They want to work with us and are confused when nothing they do seems right.
Kids learn to avoid harsh words and punishments. They learn to lie.
When kids get older, they learn how to deceive, lie, and avoid angry parents. Teens often rebel because they don’t have any choices.
This trauma-induced lifestyle stays with kids through adulthood. It often exhibits itself in chronic physical illness.
I wish I had known sooner and started practicing gentler parenting sooner.
My eldest child and I had a hard time growing up together. My middle girls only experience me as an angry mom for a few years, but that was too long and I see it in their anxiety and shyness. It took a long time to heal us and I’m still working hard on that. My son has never know me as a harsh parent and he flourishes.
We can do better as parents.
Don’t stifle your child.
- Don’t overschedule.
- Give them real responsibility with chores.
- Allow them to resolve conflict.
- Let them to make choices.
- Don’t be overly critical.
- Don’t be overprotective.
I don’t keep tabs on my kids with smart devices with GPS to monitor them. They purchase their own smartphone when they get jobs to afford it and need it when they become more independent and involved with activities away from the house.
I don’t touch my kids without their consent and never in anger or frustration.
We practice nonviolent communication. If I raise my voice, I apologize.
I don’t critique what or when they eat except to tell them when it’s close to mealtime or to offer additional nutrition to supplement.
I help them make wise decisions by offering information so they learn to make good choices without being constantly told what to do.
As a parent, I have to model self-control and help my child to learn it. This is co-regulation. I have to re-parent myself in order to be a better parent to my kids.
- Modeling self-control
- Anger Management
- Obedience is not Wisdom
- My Family Goals
- Respectful Parenting
- Respectful Parenting During the Holidays
We have to get our outside time very day and stay healthy by building our immunity. Physical health affect mental health and vice versa.
- Nature Exposure
- Sunshine and Fresh Air
- Getting enough rest and sleep
- Supplements like Vitamin D
- Essential oils
We practice servant leadership in our home and I encourage my kids to be peacemakers.
My children are supposed to be attached to their parents. I set clear boundaries as my kids get older and more independent, but I am pleased they seek me out to help when they need it.
I want to have healthy relationships with my kids as they grow up.
- Screenwise by Devorah Heitner
- Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology by Diana Graber
- Raising a Screen-Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age by Julianna Miner
- Viral Parenting: A Guide to Setting Boundaries, Building Trust, and Raising Responsible Kids in an Online World by Mindy McKnight
- Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids – and How to Break the Trance by Nichola Kardaras
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
- Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
- The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Sandahl
- Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
- How Children Learn by John Holt
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
- Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow by Lenore Skenazy
- Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
- The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté