As I am nearing the end of my first 40,000 words on this blog (new words, that is, beginning with “Using Our Mother (or Father) Powers for Good,” I thought I would extend a call for feedback from those who have come across my writing, whether briefly or in depth. I want to know everything you think about it that you’d be willing to share. I’m also specifically interested in knowing if why my use of the term “child-friendly parenting” makes sense and the extent to which it is clear on its own without a lot of explanation. It’s not a phrase that is commonly used, which is why I selected it and am using it as much as I can so that it’s a phrase that becomes more and more uniquely associated with my writings and the approach I use in raising children.
Other phrases that I consider synonymous include “mindful parenting,” “responsive parenting,” “peaceful parenting,” “connection parenting,” and “unconditional parenting.” Other concepts that fit within the framework of “child-friendly parenting” include emotional intelligence, tough love, parenting with love and logic, parenting with an emphasis on choices and consequences, and child-centered/child-focused parenting (similar to the child-centered classroom or student-centered teaching). Also, a main thrust of child-friendly parenting is an emphasis on fostering healthy family dynamics (such as building a family that is free of [unhealthy adult] narcissism (whether clinical or descriptive-by-adjective only), abusiveness (whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or financial), and oppressiveness (whether intentional by the parent or perceived by the child).
It is my hope that what I have attempted to offer here with this blog is an accessible trove of practical information and application of effective parenting and happy-family-building approaches. I have resisted the urge to get too specific because I think that misses the point with this sort of thing. How child-friendly parenting will look in each family will be different, but the main idea can be similar: Is the environment (that our parenting practice creates) good for our children? Parenting that is child-friendly (as opposed to being parent-friendly) places a high priority on the well-being (in all senses) of the children entrusted to us. Therefore, we must not rely heavily (because it’s simply unnecessary and because it’s harmful to a child’s development) on blame, guilt, and shame to get our children to do what we want them to do. We must not let our emotions run away with us (including anger, despair, and being withdrawn). We must, instead, take responsibility for our own selves, treat our children as the human beings that they are, and learn how to be a grown-up grown up as we move forward in our parenting journey. This may be very difficult for some of us because we may not have very many helpful examples to follow. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to become the good and loving parent that we want to be and know that we can be (and that our children both need and deserve). It just means that it will require a little more work for us than it may require for someone who came out of a truly well-functioning family environment.
Effectiveness (in any field) is something that can be learned. Effectiveness involves a bunch of skills that can be sharpened to meet the needs of whoever is seeking effectiveness. And since our job (as parents) involves others (our children), our needs (whatever they are) must include taking into consideration the needs of those in our care. Our children need to be heard, seen, known, accepted, comforted, encouraged, and guided. We, as the parents of our children, are the only ones who can do this with the greatest effect. And with that thought in mind, I wish you the very best in your journey of child-friendly parenting.