Parenting through Connection
“The attitudes and behaviors parents model will always (always, always) trump the lessons we’ve taught.”Janet Lansbury
So I absolute am infatuated with the work of psychologist Dr. Vanessa LaPointe, and her view of parenting, so of course I had to share. Obviously we’re all struggling through this parenting thing – for me, on a daily basis – but why I love Dr. LaPointe’s work so much is that she stops to ask the “why” behind so many things, and of course I am drawn to connection in every aspect.
But in her book, “Discipline without Damage,” even just the introduction resonates with me about what we as mothers expect from fellow mothers and their children. In her book she shares two impactful stories; 1 of a child’s behavior at a wedding, the other, a personal story of her very own 3 year old punching her in the face.
The second story made me feel compelled to write this blog most, not only for my own views, but for our societal perception and treatment of parenting.
Instead of viewing a mother’s method of parenting in a “I can do it better” way, why don’t we just ask questions, or better yet offer up support in place of judgement? Why do we not create a tribe and instill connection with other parents going through the same things instead of isolating ourselves out of fear?
I love her terminology – parenting is ‘messy.’
It truly is, and it’s the best way to describe it. We applaud our child’s talents, and uniqueness, but yet require formal, rigid commonality in behavior, especially in public, because we will be judged as ‘bad parents’ and our children as ‘bad kids.’
You are not a bad parent. Your kids are not bad kids. We are human, and with that comes mistakes, and messes, and emotions that take over. We are all stuck in the middle of trying to figure this out, and every single one of us is doing what we think is best regardless of what path we choose. When we do make mistakes, we learn from them and simply try again, just as we’d tell our kids.
Parenting takes time – time our society doesn’t give out easily. We have work, meals to prep and cook, commitments, practice, homework, …the list is endless. We don’t make time to address the why behind the reaction. We require a quick solution.
Through my own struggles, I’ve slowly come to learn that the hardest part of parenting is taking on my own baggage and learning to reset my own behaviors and reactions, and man is that HARD!
But, when I get it, and it clicks, the response of my children is absolutely priceless. My heart melts, my children show connection, grace, and empathy. They show me the person that I want to be, and it’s in those moments that I connect with them on a whole new level, and I strive to come back to. So in my house, I try to choose to parent through connection at any opportunity I can muster – mind you, I mess it up (A LOT), but I think it’s so worth the effort!
If you’re interested in “parenting through connection” check out Dr. LaPointe’s book (Discipline without Damage), or you can read the intro to see if it’s for you. Here’s the link: https://www.overdrive.com/media/2334923/discipline-without-damage
And even if you’re not interested in this method, please just remember to support each other, regardless of the path they choose. If you feel like you need to criticize or offer up advice that was not asked for, why not keep it to yourself, and instead ask the other mom if there is anything you can do to help, or better yet, empathize with her or the situation. Our children are watching everything we do and say, and learning from us. Be the person you want them to become.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated or receiving anything from the author or anyone associated with this book – I just really, really love it and think this parenting thing can get tricky. Why not have a few helpful resources on your side?