Parental authority - Opting for benevolence

21 September, 2018

As parents, we have an essential role to play in our children's lives: to give them the tools to be ready for the next stage of life. Depending on the circumstances, our personality, our own experience and our background, we have developed a parenting style all of our own. These different parenting styles are all somewhere on the line from diktat to laxity. At one end of the spectrum, the adult decides and the child submits to it, while at the other end of the spectrum, the child decides and the parent submits to the wishes and whims of the child. Somewhere in between is benevolence. Many parents mistakenly believe that caring parenting is a limitless parenting where the parent must listen to the child king, his stories and all his emotions until he is thirsty. Thankfully, this is not the case. Caring is about doing good, and good also means "no", "stop" and limits. So what is different from authoritarian or lax parenting? In caring parenting, there's a lot of communication, exchange of views, trial and error, and a lot, a lot of humility and acceptance. This benevolence must first begin with oneself. Recognizing imperfection It is quite a challenge to recognize that we are imperfect beings. However, this recognition is salutary because it makes us feel less guilty and we are more active in correcting situations, errors... "I am an imperfect mother. Perfect mothers haven't had a child yet." -Karine Trudel Also, not only will acknowledging our imperfection make us feel better about being a parent, but at the same time it will make it easier for us to accept our children's imperfections. Our requirements thus modulated will be better adapted to the child's development. Oh how many episodes of stress, anxiety and anguish are spared by the simple fact of recognizing one's imperfections and ceasing to seek perfection. Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, we fail. So at go, we get up, we readjust and we move on to the next call. Rolling ourselves into a ball or banging our heads won't change anything except make us brood and reinforce a negative image of ourselves. Come on, action! Be humble To remain in caring parenthood, it is important that we can put our egos aside and be able to recognize our mistakes. First of all, for ourselves, it is the most effective way to improve. You can't change what you don't recognize. Denying, deflecting or trying to hide our mistakes and inappropriate reactions only keeps us in this pattern of behaviour. Then, for our children, hearing a parent who acknowledges having made a mistake - that parent who is a God in the eyes of his child - allows him to develop this humility as well. He sees that an adult can make a mistake and that in order to correct the situation, it is important to recognize our mistakes and to act accordingly. Developing our acceptance First of all, it is important to know that acceptance is not at all synonymous with approval. When I say acceptance, I mean acknowledging the facts for what they are, acknowledging them for what they are. The facts are there. We can't change what happened. Refusing to accept that leads us to feel anger, and that anger does not build anything positive. It is therefore important to distinguish between acceptance and approval. In acceptance, I focus my attention on the facts: I see that you hit your brother. I understand that you don't want to go there anymore. I hear that it doesn't suit you. I can see that you're angry. Acknowledging this reality will make the child aware of what is happening. Then comes your judgment about the behaviour. However, I disapprove of this act of violence. Nevertheless, I consider it important that you respect your commitments. In spite of that, I've decided this is where we're going. And I refuse to let you throw your toys at me. Since benevolence begins at home, start by identifying 10 things you can do to make yourself feel good. Then spend 30 minutes a day doing it. It's not simple you'll see, but if you apply yourself to it, you'll get a taste for it, you'll do yourself some good, and once you've done it, you'll feel less empty when it's time for you. With kindness, Karine Trudel