Meeting our children half way

We ‘dults’ have very fixed ideas about how everything must be. “Oh, my, its late, we need to have this done this way and that done that way by such and such a time.” Then comes the next task and the next, all day long, day after day. Even when we are completely engaged with the task De Jure we are anticipating the next with its deadlines, time schedules and pressure. And this basic mind-set we impose on our children, for their own good, of course.

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parenting

Forgive us, for we know not what we are doing

A woman was beating her infant-toddler in a stroller in front of our gallery. This is a busy tourist destination. One of my colleagues rushed out the door. “Stop that right now,” she said, as others stood by in silence. We are responsible for our children’s behavior, and yet we punish them for our sins, and have for centuries. "Father, forgive us, for we do not know what we are doing."

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parenting

The Child Creates the Father

Becoming a father is a profound stage in one’s personal development, more powerful than any adult mentor or teacher. Becoming a father elicits and demands entirely new senses, perceptions and behaviors that lay dormant, latent until awakened by the visceral experience of complete altruistic love, care, respect and affection. None of this is conceptual or intellectual. It runs deep, like the blood in one’s veins. Nor is any of this is part of the child’s intent or experience, therefore hidden.

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Ten Nevers One Always

Of course, never hit, spank or physically punish a child; time out is a punishment. Understand instead that you are equally to blame. When frustrations rage, invite empathy for yourself and the child. Look for a story that will lead, invite and encourage what needs to be done.

Never blame a child. Observe and share together natural consequences.

Never shame a child. Describe how you are feeling in ways that focus attention on, as Marshal Rosenberg, the founder of nonviolent communication, would say, will make your life wonderful.

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Setting Boundaries

Does being child-centered mean the little darlings can do whatever they want? What are boundaries and why do we need them? ‘For their own good,’ of course. Safety aside, for their ‘good’ or ours?

This challenge of setting boundaries is pervasive. Digging deeper, ‘setting boundaries’ in the parent-child relationship surface when what I call the ‘natural modeled-boundaries’ break down. This is when natural attunement, the feeling of surfing together, what David Bohm might call shared meaning, stumbles is impaired, broken or betrayed.

A passage in Joe Pearce’s early works comes to mind, describing young African mothers waiting for hours to see the white doctor, holding their tiny infants close with no diapers. Pausing for a moment, the doctor mused, how strange this was, do diaper - and even stranger, not one mother was soiled. So she asked, "how do you know when your baby needs to go,” she asked? The mother replied, “how do you know when you need to go?” Who needs boundaries when natural attunement guides the way?

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parenting

Is Abortion Murder?

One must wonder why the ‘abortion is murder,’ slogan is in the air. On Friday, May 4th, Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds (R), who has referred to abortion as “murder,” signed the country’s most restrictive abortion bill into law, outlawing the procedure once a “heartbeat” is detected, which is usually at about six weeks — a time when many people do not yet know they are pregnant.

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Respect or Overindulgent

I often wonder; what is the difference between spoiling a child and honoring their reality? Where does respect end and overindulgence begin? If Carly doesn’t like something on her plate, should we insist she eat it? Does respecting her necessarily imply that we should prepare Mac & Cheese every night because that is what she says she likes and therefore wants? When she says ‘no’ to getting ready for bed should we wait until she is ready or become indignant; “How dare you talk to me that way. I say it is time for bed!”

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More on Story, Imagination and Exploding Neurons

When I first met Joseph Chilton Pearce we discussed how bonding creates an intimate channel of communication through which shared meaning flows. Oh, if we were only mindful of the deeper meaning of the meaning we share.

The mother's name for the object, and her emotional state are built into the structure of knowledge of the object the child creates. All without any evaluation on the part of the child.

This obvious, but not so obvious, observation opens to a much larger developmental force - state specific learning and performance. The emotional state of an experience is woven into the body and the intellectual memory of each experience. Each of the primary brain centers - thought, feeling and action - resonate an internal image or state of each experience. We call the composite image or state memory. In truth there is a separate memory unique to each major brain center. Stimulate the physical brain and the associated emotional and symbolic images-states are reincarnated, or, as we say, re-membered as a latent experience of the original event. What we abstract as thought is just that, an abstraction. What is primary is the state. Some states cripple; feeling observed, compared, judged. Some provide the optimum context for learning and performance; what we call original or authentic play in which psychological failure is not part of the experience.

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Story, Imagination and Exploding Neurons

Like Alice in Wonderland, Carly Elizabeth changes so much each day it’s hard to know just who she is. Blink and she changes again. Astonishing! There is no other word to describe it, watching, day-by-day, as Carly’s capacity to imagine explodes. Equally astonishing is the way most of us miss what is taking place, right before our eyes.

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parenting

Why the Pain?

The higher you fly the more encompassing the view. Patterns emerge. Individual trees become forests. Hills become mountains. Lakes become oceans. Each of the observations that follow are profound. Together they create a constellation of insights that reflect universal forces that shape each of our lives, for better or worse. We call these forces nurturing, attachment, bonding, authentic or original play, feeling connected to the social web. The impact of these forces on a child’s development are immutable, absolute. When experienced, development moves in positive, life affirming directions. When not, the impact is crippling, aggressive, violent - even suicidal.

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