Positive Parenting is impossible without mutual respect between the parent and the child. Positive parenting does not come from a place of fear, or a need to control outcomes. Positive parenting relies on parents establishing healthy boundaries that will allow children to come to their parents in times of trouble without fear of receiving shame or punitive punishment.
Reading the journal or diary of another person without their consent lacks respect to the individual, even if that individual is a child or a teen. Would you read your spouses journal or diary? Do you require your spouse to tell you everything that is in their heart and mind? How would you approach your spouse if you were concerned with his or her actions, would you demand to read his or her private thoughts? Would you want your child to read your journal or diary? Your child deserves the same consideration.
Since birth your child has gradually exhibited autonomy over their bodies and lives. Positive (Authoritative) Parents have created boundaries which have guided their children along every step of the way towards independence. Reading the diary or journal clearly indicates that the parent does not respect the boundaries they have worked hard to create, and communicates a lack of trust in the child. If as a parent you are concerned about your child, ask them what is going on. If your concerns as a parent continue, consider therapy as an option to give your child an outlet for his or her thoughts and providing you with a professional who will alert you if anything dangerous is looming on the horizon.
While it is irrational to expect that your child will fill you in on all the details of their life (do you tell your husband/ mother/ friend EVERYTHING), parents should work hard to create open dialogue with their children from birth. Talk to your children, share appropriate stories from your life that will communicate that you understand the pressures and joys of growing from child to adult hood. Don't judge and never shame, listen, and provide feedback when appropriate. Your children might not divulge all the contents of their mind, but this is the best way to ensure that they won't shut you out and seek advice and counsel elsewhere.
As a parent how would you feel if your parent, friend or spouse read your journal? Does your child deserve to endure that violation of trust?
empathy proactive parenting healthy attachment respect
Lawrence Kohlberg, an American psychologist, theory of gender identity in children believes that young children have yet to grasp that gender is a fixed concept. Three and four year old children often believe that something as simple as a short haircut will turn a girl into a boy. As adults, we know this is not true, but children have yet to understand that gender is fixed, and her thoughts and beliefs are not a sign that she will become bisexual or homosexual later in life.
Mom remain patient and understanding when your daughter makes these statements. Don't allow a possible fear of your child's sexual orientation changing, to dictate how you respond.
Mom, I ask that you look within yourself and ask yourself why you have these concerns? Are your concerns predicated by your religious beliefs? Would you be ashamed or embarrassed if your daughter chose to live as a boy?
Ask your daughter why she believes that she is a boy? Ask your daughter why she wants to be a boy. Explain to your daughter, in simple terms, what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl. The next time that she tells you that she is a boy, simply say, "Okay, and I am your mom".
Yesterday a group member submitted this video of a mother and her child who appears no more than 3 or 4 years of age. Apparently the child is whining about the shoes as mom asks the child why she does not like the shoes. Mom, who is obviously displeased with the child's response launches into a tirade of curses before telling her child to buckle up as the video ends.
This purpose of this post, is not to judge mom, but to offer guidance for parents who are interested in learning how a Positive Parent would respond. In this video two key elements of Positive Parenting are missing, empathy and mutual respect. The mother indicates that she is not interested in the child's opinion or feelings, and her verbal interactions with the child are aggressive and demeaning.
How would a Positive Parent apply empathy and mutual respect?
Ask the child why she or he does not like the shoes? Don't take the child's response personally. Everyone, young children included, has preferences, even if they can't properly articulate their feelings
Validate the child's feelings and let them know that you understand that she does not like the shoes.
A child's feelings and opinions are often disregarded, but even children as young as 18 months can indicate preferences in clothing and toys. While parents make the ultimate decision, allowing children to make choices is essential to their development. The small choices that children make in childhood, provide the foundation for the difficult decisions they will later face. Though it may seem irrelevant, choosing the pink shoes over the blue shoes prepares them for the hard decisions that will affect their lives for years to come. Learning to make good decisions is a process that does not begin at the age of 18 or 21, instead it begins in the toy section, at the dinner table or even in the parking lot of a shoe store.
Mom's if you ever find your self in a similar situation, try this response:
Mom: Why don’t you like your new shoe?
Mom: You don’t like ‘em? Why not?
You look wonderful in those shoes, the make your eyes sparkle? I bet that they can also make you run faster! Would you like to race mommy? You would? Okay, let’s go to the park and race. I think that you are going to beat me running. I am going to help you into your car seat. Okay, let’s go to the park.
If you or anyone that you know is interested in learning how to parent with empathy, mutual respect, proactive parenting, healthy attachment and positive discipline, A Nurtured Child has a Facebook group just for you.
Black Mom. Positive Parenting. A Nurtured Child- Support and encouragement for Black Moms (women only) who practice or are interested in actively learning how to apply the tenants of positive parenting.
Growing Together. Positive Parenting. A Nurtured Child - Support and encouragement for women and men of all cultures who practice or are interested in actively learning how to apply the tenants of positive parenting while embracing diversity and teaching acceptance.
Black Dad. Positive Parenting. A Nurtured Child - Support and encouragement for Black Fathers (men only) who practice or are interested in actively learning how to apply the tenants of positive parenting.