We want change because we want better. But we can't have better if we don't change ourselves. Before we seek for change outside of our own lives, we should first look at ourselves and start from there. The fact that we have been conditioned to believe so many outdated concepts need change. Outdated beliefs, outdated educational system, and my most favorite thing to talk about, outdated parenting methods.
While I do believe that there is no one size fits all to anything most especially parenting, there should be a level of understanding and informing ourselves about the long term effects of the way we parent our children. We may not see it consciously but most of how we are now as an adult, roots from our childhood. Some would insist, "...but they're just children. They don't understand anything. Also, I was raised this way and I turned out fine" Ekkk, wrong.
Children are not JUST children. They're human beings worthy of respect just like anybody else.
They might not understand things now but they're unconsciously absorbing everything from their environment.
What qualities do we want our children to have as an adult? Because that starts to happen through our example and yes, that includes being the role model for self-care rather than self-sacrifice.
Turned out "fine" depends on how the word is being perceived but if we're still living in a society where we cannot acknowledge emotions, where we struggle to empathize with people who have different situations than us, where bullying, racism, discrimination is rampant, where we hit, bribe, punish children to make them do what we want, then maybe we should ask ourselves if this is the kind of society we want to pass on to the next generations.
The goal for the kind of parenting we're used to seems to be having "good" children but we all know that that only means well-behaved children who do exactly what we want them to. I believe that we should veer away from that concept of good vs. bad children because there are no bad children, only misunderstood ones. A reminder that when children misbehave, rather than focusing on finding ways on how to make it stop (short term solution), we should look for the root cause and address that need because only then will we understand them (long term solution). After all, misbehavior is still a form of communication. One that is often left unaddressed. I recently saw a quote somewhere about how the most painful thing about labeling children as "bad" is at some point, they actually start believing it – that they're incapable, untrustworthy, and undeserving. Isn't this the recipe for many emotional and mental triggers as an adult?
We plant the seeds of change by doing the work in our own homes – by choosing better parenting methods (I am not suggesting any because every family and every child is unique), by being open to learning other ways even though it's not what we're used to and not what we see in mainstream culture, and most of all, by choosing respect and intention not only on how we treat other adults but also on how we treat children (even the ones that are not ours). I love when Eloise Rickman (author) said that parenting can truly be a radical act. That it's a powerful tool at our disposal and that whether we like it or not, how we treat our children can have a positive (or negative) impact on our families, communities, and the world. Needless to say, a peaceful world starts with a peaceful home and self.
“They are in our care for such a short time and then the world will be in their care. Let’s treat them with the same kindness and respect we would like them to treat the world. Children truly do learn what they live and live what they learn.” L.R Knost