Thoughts on preparing children for the real world.
How often do you hear that the “real” world can be a tough place or that parents have to raise our kids so they are ready to face the real world?I read something about that the other day in a blog that was perplexing. The mother was advising parents to: choose your battles and then use whatever means necessary to never let the child win..ever.. or children will never be able to face the real world. It went on to say things like: set your rules and then use force; spank them, whip them; whatever you gotta do to make them comply every single time. When your kid needs something make them fend for themselves, like in the real world.
It’s true the world can be difficult, harsh, down right terrible. I’ve felt the sting of cruelty, I’ve been hurt, down right broken and yet, what prepared me to face the cruel and tough sh*t “out” in the world and climb back up was not being broken, whipped, slapped and otherwise made to feel shame or guilt by my parents.
No, on the contrary, my home, my parents, they were always a safe landing base. No, my parents weren’t perfect. They did however always make it clear that they loved me (and my sisters) no matter what. My parents did not demand or demean me, they chose to guide me to be responsible and caring, and they chose to do this with empathy and love. When things got tough, it was knowing that there were people in the world that loved me that helped me feel strong and capable.
Why would we as parents want to make our children feel terrible, shameful, guilty, or experience pain just because they might have the misfortune of experiencing that when they get out into the world on their own? I mean, would you take a baseball bat to a brand new car to dent it up a bit, you know, just in case? Would you say something mean to your partner right before a presentation so when his boss criticizes him he is ready to take it? Would you tell your friend she looks like crap, so if someone else does she’s ready to handle it? I hope you are saying NO here with me.
Life, the real world, yes, it can be a scary, tough, ugly place. There is no denying that there are mean people making bad choices every day. The world can also be a really awesome, warm, welcoming and amazing place full of loving people that care and connect. And If we as parents really care, the world can become an even better place.
One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.” – Charles Raison
We sort of get to make the choice here… yes, we as parents…we get to set an example, we get to choose love. We can lead with peace and mindfulness. We can choose to be the secure and always safe landing base.
What would happen to the world if instead of worrying about preparing children to face the cruel, harsh real world, we worked to show our children that people can be kind? That people can choose empathy, understanding, love and the value of being good citizens? What if we guide our children to make good choices, to learn skills? What if we give them freedom and expect responsibility? What if we give them so much love, no matter what life throws at them they will feel strong, courageous and ready to face life full on? What if instead of picking battles we talk to our children and help them learn, guide the way, model what we wish to see?
Parenting does not need to be about winning and losing battles or getting children ready to face the cold, harsh, real world, because parenting is not war. Parenting is a journey. Peace can be our compass.
Peace & Be Well,
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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a B.S. in Communication, is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, and has completed several graduate courses in child development, psychology and family counseling. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, one cuddly dog and "bluey" the fish.
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