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, adopting a more peaceful style was in part a reaction, a rejection of authoritarian parenting. As a result, 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 the potential blind spots of a Peaceful Parenting:
-Can it lead to relationships with children that are too close, enmeshed or co-dependant? Can parents try to meet too many of their needs through their children?
-Can we be over-protective and anxious as a result of our own childhood pain? Could we be projecting our own sensitivity on to our children?
– Are we able to establish appropriate boundaries and limits or are we scared to cause our children distress by doing do?
– Can we be too involved without providing children with appropriate freedoms or chances to grow and be challenged?
-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?
-Do we edit our own behavior to an extent that would shield our children from having to own their own behavior? Is there a place to show appropriate amount of frustration or upset with regard to a child’s action? If we censor our emotions too much, can it be inauthentic and misleading to our children?
– Are we holding children accountable enough to grow into fully autonomous and responsible people?
These are some of the questions I have come up with as a result of doing my own version of peaceful parenting and watching others do theirs. This is not a condemnation of peaceful parenting. This is meant to make it stronger. Without reflection and self examination, any theory runs the risk of becoming self important and/or co opted by attitudes and interpretation that were not originally intended.
It’s better to know about and discuss potential pitfalls than to ignore them.