Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Parenting: or, The One Where I Talk About Yelling

This discussion of parenting that we've been having (and it truly is we, since That Post rustled up so many comments and emails and spinoff posts on my and other peoples' blogs and on FB) has been very, very positive. For the most part, people are listening with two ears and speaking with one mouth, and being gentle with each other. And considering Grace Based Parenting, although it's hard.

Tonya alerted me to a blog post she came across which addresses yelling, and I thought it was a good addition to the conversation. The author is a pretty good authority on raising children, since she has FIFTEEN of her own children! I don't agree with her assessment that it takes a village to raise a child is a fallacy: I am not sure what exactly her problem with that idea is, or what her definition is...perhaps she means that a child doesn't need a village (I disagree but can see how with fourteen siblings it's not really all that necessary), but when I'm talking about the village, I mean the PARENT needs a village! And on that point, I just can't budge. But I really agree with her philosophy that modeled behavior is extremely powerful when parenting, which is at the heart of her daughter's affect on children. Not just modeled behavior, but a strong sense of peace about the way one goes about things. A parent who disciplines with confidence and peace is very powerful a calming influence on their children. Anyways, here is the post (it is part II of I, but the first post is a mediocre poem and a verse from the Bible: good, and applicable, but not really universal in content for those who aren't Christians so I left it up to you to read part I on your own if you like).

I'm also reading a book called Discipline Without Distress by Judy Arnall. I find her a little ridiculous sometimes (okay, a lot), but I'm reading it for tips on discipline and teaching my kids in order to add to my toolbox, so the odd theories behind her methods don't really matter I guess. If you would like to read it, feel free to disagree with me!! But I just think she is arrogant and one dimensional in that she has The Answer with a One Size Fits All approach and frequently calls upon her years of experience as a parent educator and mother of five children. Congratulations: you may be an expert but you've just lost your credibility with me by calling yourself an expert. And it's sure hard to relate to someone who recounts ONE incidence of spanking EVER, in raising five kids, and lists ways of dealing with anger that are rather....inadequate....I mean, maybe she's never felt the kind of rage I have felt? But taking a bath just doesn't do the trick when all you can see is red...

I rarely feel that kind of rage anymore, and if I do, I have effective ways of managing it. But I look back on myself with two small toddlers and an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and I just KNOW that this author has no idea what I was dealing with. You know? At any rate, all of that is suffice it to say that I actually DO find some good stuff in this book and I'll discuss it in another post sometime. Here's a quote from her book that I thought was good;

Good parents sometimes feel anger toward their children. It's a basic fact of life. We need to accept that anger is normal in every love relationship, whether partner, co-worker, friend, or parent-child. How we deal with that anger can damage the relationship or make it a valuable source of teaching and strengthen the connections.

Just as it is valuable and affirming to validate a child's emotions, it is important that we validate our own emotions as parents. Sometimes, we get angry. And that is okay. We are still people, recipients of grace, fallible, yet good and valuable at our core. The better we can get at managing the anger, the kinder parents we will become, and the stronger that core attachment with our kids. And we will all be healthier as a result. Stumble, fall, get back up. THIS is courage.


Asheya said...

People think they need to call themselves experts to sell books, and on most subjects that's a good idea, but when it comes to human relationships...nothing works 100% of the time. THere's that little thing called free will, along with the myriad combinations of parent/child personalities etc.

I'm hoping to get in to see a counsellor soon about the anger I've been experiencing--I feel like I'm on simmer all day, with occasional blasts of boiling and then boiling over. I WISH I could just talk to my kids really nicely all the time. I really wish that. But there's this anger lurking under the surface so much of the time, it seems. I gotta figure out why.

nancy said...

the mom of the 15!! kids had some wise words to pass on. I don't like the term "good parents" any more than "good kids". The judgement it implies is offensive.

Tonya said...

I think the idea of "it takes a village" has very negative connotations for many people. I *think* it stems from the idea that the village that needs to raise the kids is the government. IE - very early publicly funded day care, public school, etc. The idea that without the gov't helping us, we can't raise our children. OR shouldn't. OR that the gov't knows better what to do with our children. It's a very political idea, thought, statement - and can upset people. SO, when YOU say it, I know you mean we need community - we need to be surrounded by people who love us, support us, encourage us, challenge us and help us. But when many people hear "it takes a village", they think of the idea that without the government "helping" us, we won't know how to be parents.

So, I *THINK* that is the feeling behind that statement. Being your sole hyper conservative friend, but not one who is politically motivated, that is the feeling I get.

Oh, and I think it all stems from Hillary Clinton writing a book titled just that. And most of us conservatives aren't a fan of hers, SOOOO ...