Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Parenting from love not fear

This weekend, I decided to organize the books on my bookshelves. I absolutely love reading and once I fall in love with a book I find it hard to give it away, unless, of course, it is a gift for someone who would appreciate the book.

One thing I noticed as I was looking over the parenting books I own was that many of the parenting books I have read in the past have made me feel fearful--as if I, and every parent out there is “doing parenting all wrong”. Some popular books have even given me the feeling that I am definitely going downhill into the sea and drifting away into an ocean of parenting regret. If I dared not follow their way of parenting, I am doomed to raise a "hooligan" or even a future "juvenile delinquent"!

I know in my heart that every parent is the real expert on their kids and knows them better than anyone else. Tools and techniques as well as support is very, very helpful in this journey. But I've noticed that when I or the moms I consult with, parent out of fear, the result is more fear.

The opposite is also true: when I parent from love, my child can feel that love, even when the established consequences for her bad behavior are not pleasant for her. It’s not that she jumps for joy at the sight of her chores, or her homework: it just becomes less of a battle or a struggle.

When I choose to parent from love, in a calm and caring way, I have fewer regrets and many more successes. It requires me to be present, available and connected to my child even when my first reaction is to run in the other direction.

The bottom line is that not much good comes out of doing anything from a place of fear. I read somewhere a long time ago that the opposite of love is fear. If that is true indeed, where would you rather parent from?

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