Remember when you were a child and for whatever reason, you were in trouble. You would get a proper talking to by either your mom or your dad, maybe even both. In memory, you can never really recall what that incident was about, but you do remember the overwhelming emotions. It was unfair how you were treated, your parents just simply did not understand, and they were just being purposely mean.
You do remember your parents saying something along the lines of ‘it being for your own good,’ but through your tears and anger, you were unable to absorb or accept this. There and then you made yourself a promise to never treat your children like this if you would have any. You would raise your kids differently, mark your words.
Fast forward to present day, and you might have had a few moments where you realize that instead of doing things entirely differently, you are doing it the same. More importantly, you now see, in retrospect, why your parents did the things they did. It’s not surprising this happens, right or wrong, as in most cases we are just expected to become a parent.
There is no formal training, no certificate to obtain, no interview, you just become a parent as soon as the first child enters your life. There is little time, room or expectation to have a conversation on how you would go about dealing with your new role. Like most of us, you just must get on with it. For better or worse, we tend to repeat the mistakes of our parents, if you still see them this way.
We all want the best for our children. For them to grow up happy and well-adjusted. For them to have the confidence in life to become what they want to be, either a budding writer, a fireman or woman, an associate for top personal injury law firms, a teacher or anything else.
A first step in achieving a more conscious parenting approach is to acknowledge that on some level, parenting of certain people is quite similar and that overall, there are 5 different schools of thought. There is positive parenting, attachment parenting, unconditional parenting, holistic parenting, and slow parenting.
Positive parenting is encapsulated characterized by a continuous emphasis on the good and what could be. These parents tend not to dwell on what is bad and what is not possible, but they will focus on the possibilities and the future. Saying ‘no’ to a child becomes sort of taboo, shifting to focus to the ‘yes’ and ‘what if.’ In other words, the focus in positive psychology is on building and growing rather than just repairing.
Attachment parenting focuses on the bond between the child and the primary caregiver. This is both a physical and mental one, as it promotes keeping your children close to oneself. The idea is that children develop a sense of safety early in life which then, in turn, gives them the confidence later in life. The focus is on meeting needs, best done by very close attachment between parent and child. That the more and the quicker you meet your children’s need, the better and the faster you prepare them for healthy independence.
Unconditional parenting is based on the principle that a child should feel supported. The underlying concept is that when we punish or reward our children, the motivation becomes external. With unconditional parenting, the child’s motivation for ‘being good’ is externally based rather than originating from within. It teaches a child that love is unconditional and that should allow him or her to seek out their full potential in life.
Holistic parenting, also called spiritual parenting, does not have its root in science as opposed to the previous three parenting approaches. Parenting this way goes beyond the relationship between parent and child. Taking aim at a much broader spectrum of influences in a child’s life, with a focus on food and health. It promotes eating organic and clean food and steers clear from processed foods. Also, when it comes to healthcare, it would consider alternative medicine more readily. Spiritual parenting is about respecting each child’s individuality. Parents create the space for each child to develop his or her own beliefs based on his or her unique personality.
Finally, there is slow parenting. The ‘slow’ part refers more to ‘slowing down,’ slow parenting subscribers would argue that is the ‘right’ speed. It argues that because we try to be as efficient as possible. We overload our children’s daily activities with playdates, lessons and classes and other hobbies. Children might not have time to ‘understand’ themselves until later in life.
Also, slow parenting is about allowing children to find their own voice on their own time. It’s about letting children explore the world at their own pace. This means few organized activities, as it is encouraged that children use their own creativity when playing.
Finally, there you have it, 5 parenting streams. If any of those has piqued your interest, it would be encouraged to find out more about them. You might find the truth for yourself in each one of them and challenge your own approach to parenting.
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