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(3) Parents & Kids

Dr. Gabor Maté: Consequences of Stressed Parenting

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Our texts offered in the conviction that parenting is one of the most important, most rewarding, and most demanding activities that human beings ever undertake. With an emphasis on creating respect and co-operation between parents and children, the texts introduces 7 keys to unlock and inspire specific parenting capacities.

These capacities include parenting with a purpose clearly in mind, looking beyond behavior to the needs that motivate it, and actively choosing structures and practices that fulfill one’s purposes and intentions.

We still vividly remember our younger selves as new moms in our twenties, mothers of grade-school children in our thirties, and mothers of high-schoolers in our forties. During all of those times, we wanted more understanding, clarity, and support for our parenting. What we were then experiencing ran  counter  to  society’s  prevailing  notions  of parenting. We were seeing an integrity and wholeness in our children that we wanted to interact with, marvel at, and learn from. We saw possibilities for growing with our children, learning together, and coming to deeper  understandings  of  the  world  through  our  interactions  with them. At that time in the 1970s and 1980s, most support for parents did not focus on ways to reduce family conflict and enjoy being with children but instead promoted ways to manage conflict by managing kids’ behavior.

This behavior management  approach  to  parenting  persists  today. Hundreds of books and articles are published each year that direct parents to get kids to do what they want them to do through guilt, shame, praise, fear of punishment, or promise of rewards. In recent decades the approach has softened a bit. Terms that are currently being used, such as natural consequences, time-outs, and positive incentives, sound friendlier, but the end goal is still the same-to control kids’ behavior.

Most parents we know have tried at least a few of these managerial approaches and have found them less than satisfying. Although the tips and methods sometimes help them get more of the kind of behavior they want and do reduce conflict for a while, the gains are always short-term and always come at great cost. The more these parents have tried to manage their kids’ behavior by laying down the law, imposing consequences, and motivating with rewards, the more power struggles, yelling matches, slammed doors, icy stares, and tears they experienced. Many parents tell us that these behavior management approaches are difficult to carry out because they go against their parenting instincts and their desire to create goodwill and heartfelt connections with their kids

  Build Your Capacity to Create a Loving Home

 Your home is where your children learn the most elemental lessons of human life-how to take care of their own needs and how to contribute to taking care of the needs of others. Home is a foundation for your children’s  future  relationships  as  spouses,  life  partners,  mothers,  fathers, aunts,  uncles,  grandmothers,  grandfathers,  good  friends,  community members, co-workers, and stewards of the planet. And home is a sanctuary  to  protect  your  children  so  they  can  learn  lessons  of  caring  and contribution at their own developmental pace and with your support, guidance, and respect.

A loving home is free of fear, which is the source of all conflict. It is a place where children trust that their needs matter and that everyone’s needs-theirs included-will be considered and cared for. They can then relax into the life that calls them forth with such urgency-and find their place in the net of giving and receiving that forms a family, a community, a nation, and a world.

While Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a foundational element of our texts, it is presented here as a means or vehicle for arriving at a state of mind and heart that is the deeper goal. Although you will be introduced to the specific language components of NVC later on, the emphasis of these texts is not so much on the mechanics of the language as on the inner posture of respectful parenting. The practice  of  NVC  transforms  dualistic,  adversarial,  and  fearful  thinking-which  is  the source of internal and external conflict-into a respectful, loving awareness of the life-enriching human needs at the core of all behavior.

 

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