I’m going to be honest, while I and TJ have benefited greatly from gentle parenting, it is also triggering as hell. I wrote about choosing to be a gentle parent. But it has not been easy.Continue reading “Trauma and Gentle Parenting”
I grew up as an abused kid. Constant beatings with the belt or chancla. It was no fun being a kid for me. I vowed that I would never do that to my kid. I would never hit or hurl abuse at them. I wouldn’t treat them the way I was treated.Continue reading “Choosing Gentle Parenting”
Cn: street harrasment, sexualization of children
I’m back home and wanted to share some of the food I find only in Puerto Rico.
People always tell mami she’s lucky she had at least one daughter. They tell her I will help her and grandma. That will take care of them. No one ever mentions my brothers.
CN: suicide attempt, absent fathers
I never know what to call you. Father seems too formal. I usually just call you “my dad” when I talk about you, I use your name when I talk about you to mami or my brother. I never became comfortable with calling you “sperm donor”. You were there at least for the first two years of my life. Papi and Daddy have too many positive connotations attached.
CN: SA, CSA, domestic violence, corporal punishment
CN: brief mentions of SA, CSA, use of the word r*pe uncensored
I recently saw the above image on Facebook. Long story short it’s talking about not forcing children to hug people that they don’t want to. To give children a choice and a say in how and when they interact and show affection to known adults. It explains that by teaching children they have a right to say no, that lesson could keep a child from being abused, or it gives them tools to be able to speak up about it.
While most of the comments were positive there was one commenter who balked at the notion of a child not hugging a grandparent, for example. They basically implied that teaching bodily autonomy in the form of hug refusal could lead to intimacy issues or emotional divides. They questioned what kind of family is it that would respect a child’s wishes to hug or not be hugged. They alleged that unless the child is Autistic or has some sort of other sensory issue then that child should always hug someone even if they don’t want to. Otherwise it is disrespectful.
Now please explain this to me: how is it respectful of me to force my child to hug someone she doesn’t want to? Is my child not worthy of respect?
The same person said that the idea of children having boundaries is silly because something about being potty-trained, so that obviously children do not have the cognitive ability to make boundaries.
This person kept going on and on about respect. When I was little my family forced me to hug a certain family member. That didn’t teach me respect. It taught me I had no say, it taught me that anybody had a right to my body. I do not find it a coincidence that I’ve been raped and sexually assaulted. I was taught not to say no. Is that what we want to teach our children?
If I want to model good behavior to my child, if I want to teach them that they have bodily autonomy, if I want them to grow up to be people who respect others’ autonomy; then childhood is the perfect time to do so. It is in childhood when you set the foundation for who they will become as adults.
This goes back to an older post I wrote in which I said that as a culture we do not respect children. We don’t see them as fully fledged people with ideas and dreams and hopes of their own. We don’t think of them as people who can have opinions, wants, dislikes and likes. We see them as carbon copies of ourselves but they’re not.
If we want this current generation of children to grow into compassionate, emphatic adults then we need to teach them that they have value; they have worth. That they have bodily autonomy and that they have to respect others’ right to space and privacy.
We cannot tell them (whether through words or actions) that they are not worthy of respect. As parents, educators, as elders we owe it to our children to show them respect because otherwise, why should we expect them to respect us?