Parenting opinions are not difficult to come by, especially with the world wide web. Sometimes I wonder if parents have always been bombarded with varying views on one of the most unique relationships known to humanity. While perusing the broad range of parenting approaches can certainly be helpful at times, it can also lead to a lot of blame and shame.
We don’t need blame. We need collaboration.
Parenting is probably the most challenging experience many of us will ever have. While we can learn to embrace the challenges as opportunities, there are times that we may feel far from seizing the gifts in parenting frustration, doubt or just the everyday craziness.
While we might not intend to blame, shame and ostracize each other for our differing opinions on parenting – our words and actions may speak otherwise. I feel sad as I think about times my words may be received this way because down deep I know we’re all doing the best we can with the resources, experience and skills we have at the time. If someone is struggling or parenting differently they don’t need ridicule, they need understanding.
We need compassion.
Earlier this evening a mother shared that she saw a mom do something with her child that felt very upsetting. She was shocked that such a parenting tactic was used and found herself very judgmental of the mom she witnessed. She also didn’t want to feel so harshly toward the other mom.
I’ve been on both sides of this equation – the one judging and the one being judged. Neither feels good. Neither is a place most of us want to be, but it’s common in our world. We can change these tendencies by starting to be compassionate with ourselves. As we learn how to gradually notice, feel and choose how we respond to the judgments we have about ourselves, we can do the same with others. It’s not an overnight process, but it helps us move from blame and shame to responsibility — and eventually collaboration. As we’re able to experience empathy for others we open doors for conversations that can lead to life changing insights and healing.
We’re able to see that maybe the mom we saw doesn’t think her actions are okay, but she was frustrated and lacking other skills. Even if she would defend her actions, she may feel a gnawing inside and would prefer other forms of communication if she knew how to implement them. We realize that we all really are doing the very best we can. At the base, we are okay as we are. We come to understand that our reaction to another’s actions speaks to our own intentions for parenting in ways that feel respectful to us and if we want to share anything of value we need to lead by example with compassion.
Let’s use compassion to cultivate collaboration.
As I continue a life long journey of sharing helpful information to alleviate suffering, expose myths and uphold truth I am reminded that regardless of how we parent, we have more in common than different — if simply because we share the same grace given breath. We want the best for our children and ourselves, even if we vastly differ in how we approach those goals.
Presence Parenting is about addressing the presence we bring to parenting, especially when we feel frustration, anger or rage. We delve into the depths of our experience to clearly choose how we respond in life. No topic is taboo and challenges are turned into opportunities.
I invite you to respectfully discuss any questions you have with me and others in this compassionate space, one that I hope we can extend into the world. We don’t need any more shame to separate us, we need to come together. The change we want for our children starts with us.
Take gentle care,
Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope.