A reader from Wisconsin sent me the following anecdote about his family life and what he has learned while doing his best to parent his children respectfully. ~
The twins will turn 9 soon. As they have grown over the years, the independence we have instilled presents a dilemma. They start to question everything! They have a million questions. I know, this is what we want, but, over the long haul, it can be trying.
And then we run into an even bigger issue... OUR shortcomings! Mom and Dad were raised in a very different way. Intellectually, we understand the situation, thanks to authors such as Alice Miller. We realize that OUR programming runs deep, and it is hard to keep our guard up all the time.
To be blunt, we blow our stacks on occasion. This is most likely when we are busy... We farm, work must get done, or we don't eat.
And that "need to get work done" is an error. It is old programming re-surfacing. There is actually plenty of time, we just need to check our egos, and our priorities.
So, we as parents, are not perfect.
So, how does one handle this dilemma? How does one prevent history from repeating?
What we do, is fess up.
The twins know who Alice Miller is. They know how we were raised. They have heard about the beatings. They know what the subconscious is, what that deep programming is. And they understand!
And what is most remarkable, is they help Us!
There are too many examples of this to document, how many times one of them have said... "Dad, don't sweat the small stuff."
Just one example;
One day, last summer. I got into the "Don't bother me, I have work to do..... GRR!" Mode.
My son walked up to me, after letting me calm down a bit, and took my hand. "Dad, I'm taking you fishing." I froze a moment... And finally said OK. Setting down my work, we grabbed out rods and packs, and off we went. hours later, while hiking along the stream, he asked me, "Dad, do you feel better?"
And I did, a lot better. And the work got done, in the end, just fine. And doing the work was enjoyable, thanks to a different attitude.
So, our relationship, has, more and more, become a partnership. One based on understanding. And, boy, can children ever Understand. If just given a chance.
I realize that our situation, as homesteaders/small farmers, is pretty rare. But, I think there is a lesson here for urban job holders. Obviously, their circumstances will dictate there own version of this.
But, always share yourself with them, be honest and frank. And never, ever underestimate them. Don't pretend you are perfect, that you know everything.
They see, they know, they can understand... if you share, and they can help!