BEING A PARENT IS NOT HARD WORK!!
HELPING A CHILD GROW UP IS A RELATIONSHIP, NOT A JOB!
For years and years, we have been misguided about what it means to be a parent.
When the Behaviorists promoted their philosophy and parents embraced it, being a parent changed from what can be an enjoyable relationship with a new small human being into what had become the difficult job of controlling an uncivilized creature with a blank, programmable brain. We were now saddled with this complicated programming job to do.
When we, as an entire culture, adopted the Behaviorist methods and integrated them into an already established system based on ancient myths and beliefs about children, we rendered ourselves incapable of functioning as loving supporters and teachers of children. Instead we cast ourselves as authoritarian controlling adversaries of our young.
Please see the chapter, TRAINING SEALS?
With all the rules, punishments, and rewards we were busy establishing, monitoring and enforcing, living with a child became a complicated and overwhelming job.
In the process, we stopped being human ourselves. We lost our natural instincts for tenderness and empathy as we worked hard at the now difficult job of enforcers in our own homes after taking on the role of Official Parent.
While we were busy figuring out how many minutes Bryan should spend in time-out for not picking up his toys or how many days to ground Jennifer for coming in 30 minutes after her curfew, our children were becoming alienated from us. Our involvement in the big job of Parenting disconnected the entire experience from real life and from the human needs of our children and ourselves.
One reason being a parent became such hard work is because no one likes being treated the way we have been treating our precious offspring. Our children have been living under and resisting against a form of chauvinism John Breeding calls Adultism.*
Alice Miller called it The Poisonous Pedagogy.**
Punishments, authoritarian control, behavior modification through manipulation and general disrespect toward the young weaken the Attachment Bond, driving our children away from us and making it difficult and sometimes impossible for them to act on their natural instincts for cooperation.
Our inborn drive to cooperate is extensively researched and documented in anthropologist, Ashley Montegu's 1955 book, THE DIRECTION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.***
Although this drive sometimes appears to be non-existent we all have it in us to cooperate with our fellow human beings. The three-year-old struggling against getting into his car seat was born to cooperate.
Somewhere along the line the relationship between parents and children was given a job title: Parenting, with a capital P and along with the title came a job description: DIFFICULT AND EXHAUSTING.
Alfie Kohn's book UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING**** describes the difference between the conditional love embodied in the Behaviorist job and true Unconditional Love most parents would hope to demonstrate to their children.
The way we talk to children. The words we say to them. The things we do to them, our traditional attitudes toward children make being a parent difficult and exhausting. There is absolutely no need for it to be this way.
WE HAVE DONE THIS TO OURSELVES!
As you come to understand how to work with your child's potential for positive growth, self-discipline and cooperation you will gradually release yourself and your children from the prison of punishments and rewards. You can escape from the tyranny of antiquated beliefs and habits grounded in ancient myths about inborn evil and our duties as parents. With exposure to understandings about the instinctive positive qualities all children are born with, you will find delight and genuine satisfaction in being a parent who supports and nurtures each child's ongoing blossoming and growth.
Raising a child can be the most enjoyable adventure of your life when you escape the burden of traditional beliefs about your JOB as a parent and begin to enjoy LIVING WITH CHILDREN!
* John Breeding describes adultism as The systematic mistreatment of children and young people simply because they are young. The overall
conditioning against emotional expression is laid down through adultism. The pattern is one of massive disrespect.
From his book THE WILDEST COLTS MAKE THE BEST HORSES
Copyright 1996 by John Breeding
Published by Bright Books, Inc. Austin, TX
**You can learn all about this world-famous and ground-breaking psychoanalyst on her website www.alice-miller.com where you will find a list of her books and a review of FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, a book every parent can find eye-opening and compelling.
*** THE DIRECTION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
By Ashley Montegu 1955 Harper Brothers publishers New York, NY
**** UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING
Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
by Alfie Kohn
2005 Atria Books publishers New York, NY