Do you ever feel you have to make a choice between parenting peacefully and having well-behaved children who listen to you?
Or having a sense of order in your home?
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Or even though you don’t believe in coercive and authoritarian parenting, do you sometimes just wish you did so your children would do what you say? Even obey you?
Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to choose.
It IS possible to have well-behaved children who listen to you while fully honoring and respecting them.
What I’m talking about here is not obedient children who blindly follow any directions but children who trust you and know in their bones that you’re on their team, and therefore WANT to listen to you.
One thing I've sadly found through working with many peaceful, attachment, unschooling and Continuum Concept families, is that many of them end up giving up on the idea of effectiveness in their parenting, because they don’t believe it can happen in a way that’s respectful of their beloved children.
They don't want to squash their spirits.
They don’t want to control them.
They don't want to be authoritarian.
They don't want to do to their children what was done to them when they were children.
Sometimes chaos ends up reigning in those families. It's challenging to make anything happen.
And eventually the parents snap and respond to their children in ways they promised themselves they'd never do.
Does this ever happen to you?
I'm here to tell you that you don't have to give up on effectiveness to fully respect your children and to honor their spirits!
On the contrary, grounding yourself in Clean Parenting, which is highly effective because it taps into children's innate desire to cooperate and learn from their elders, is actually doing them a favor and meeting needs which aren't when we're afraid of offering clear, needed and appropriate guidance.
How would that feel?
And now imagine that you have a local guide who is there to help you acclimate. Would you do whatever you want, or would you check with that trusted person to find out what's appropriate?
Would that person be controlling you or helping you adapt to the culture?
As far as that guide goes, would you prefer someone who is afraid to give you information, who is apologetic and who avoids giving you directions as much as possible? Or would you want someone who knows you well, knows what you already know and what you haven’t encountered yet, and matter-of-factly presents you with the information you need when you need it?
I’m hoping you got a clear sense of what I mean by being a benevolent leader by doing this reflection.
Being a leader as a parent is tapping into the natural order of things, from an evolutionary perspective, in which children look to their elders to learn about the world and for guidance on how to conduct themselves.
In our society parents tend to either be:
1) AUTHORITARIAN, in a way that doesn’t really respect children and meet their needs, and damages their sense of self
2) PERMISSIVE, because they really want to honor and trust their children and not do to them what their own parents did. Yet those permissive parents often find themselves wavering between the two approaches because they can’t find something that works and is in alignment with their values.
The thing is that young children don't have the experience nor the big picture in mind to make decisions, in many situations. Therefore it is normal and healthy for us to make those decisions for them, for our family. This organically and quickly shifts as they get older and grow in their ability to make decisions.
At the same time it’s critically important that we guide them in a way that is totally respectful, nurtures their sense of self, and doesn’t in any way damage our relationship with them.
Here’s what it looks like:
Watch this video of my 27 year old daughter demonstrating how she used Clear Benevolent Leadership to a boy in one of her coaches' gymnastics classes (as well as to see what a child parented in the way I teach looks like as an adult - proud mama moment here. ♥)
What I’m describing here may seem utopic, but I guarantee that it’s possible. It is the trickiest things I teach (which I’m eternally grateful to Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept for teaching me!) because it’s not something most of us have had any modeling of. But when it clicks into place with my clients is when I suddenly hear how totally easy their life also gets!
It does take work to integrate, but I promise that once your leadership is established, your life will be so much easier! It might be even straight up easy, as mine was, so it’s well worth the time and focus to achieve it. And it is well worth doing any inner work you need to do around this to clear what’s in your way of embodying it.
In order for this firm, clear and benevolent leadership to work, the following HAS to be present: