Over the past few years I’ve written and talked enough about the benefits and joys of empathetic, mindful, conscious, and peaceful parenting. In fact, I started my blog as an outlet for this passion because I was worried my friends and family had heard enough and would soon disown me. I’m only half joking. Anyway, I like to promote and defend the virtues of these more gentle styles of parenting.
If I had to make one choice, I believe the peaceful approach is the best option out there. However, I’m not naive enough to think that anything is 100% perfect. Or that pendulums can’t swing too far the other way.
The practice of peaceful parenting has a solid foundation and has transformed my life, but it is relatively new (compared to the obedience model), and evolving as we speak. Thanks to all of the pioneers and early promoters of this approach, we all have benefited and learned so much. I have much better relationships with my children now than I did when I was following the obedience model of parenting. And my kids are better behaved!
However, what I like to do from time to time to keep myself in check is to ask: “What am I missing? What is my blind spot here”? I’d like to ask the same question to peaceful parents. What are we missing? What are our blind spots? Can we poke some holes in the theory, or at least how it is being practised? Doing this I believe is an essential part of becoming stronger. Being truthful enough to look at your own shortcomings is hard work, but it’s worth it, trust me. For me, as a reaction to authoritative parenting, I need to keep an eye on this. There is the danger of swinging too far, into permissive parenting. So, where do you think the application of peaceful parenting for you could be missing the mark or misinterpreted?
These are some questions that I have pondered when thinking about where my potential blind spots could be:
-Can it lead to relationships with children that are too close, enmeshed or co-dependant?
-Can it be over-protective and anxious? Can we be too involved without providing children with appropriate freedoms or boundaries?
-Can peaceful parents protect their children too much from feeling bad, from boredom, from failure, and frustration? Is this healthy?
-Do children develop enough resilience? Can we rescue our children too often from difficult or uncomfortable situations?
-Do kids need more chances to be challenged, to be in tough situations and to rescue themselves?
-If taken too far, is extreme peaceful parenting actually unrealistic, incredibly hard and perhaps unnatural? For example, anger is natural and at times appropriate? Rather than not showing anger, is there a more appropriate way? If we censor our emotions too much, can it be inauthentic and misleading to our children?
I’m not trying to be a hater. These are real questions to wrestle with. I’d like to know your thoughts. Where do you see peaceful parenting missing the mark? How do you avoid the pitfalls?