From my experience, parenting is one of those subjects very few people properly understand, even in holistic circles. The trauma and pain inflicted on our offspring is rarely contemplated.
The fact is, children are second class citizens in our society. The unnatural way in which most of the world developed has created a massive rift between us and the animal kingdom.
As such, our children rarely know the luxury of respectful treatment.
It is almost a taboo to even dare question someone’s parenting skills. This is because many of us inherently know that most parents have absolutely no idea what they are doing and are just “winging it.”
Their inner guilt at being lost and confused manifests as defensive behavior.
Not enough people are talking about this. It’s one thing to profess to live a more holistic, mindful lifestyle, but how many people actually apply such philosophy to the way in which they treat their kids?
If we’re really serious about healing the world and creating a better society, the way in which we parent is one of the major areas that needs addressing. I’ve compiled just a few of the numerous absurdities, cruelties, and narcissistic insanity typically involved with child raising, in the hopes that it snaps some people awake.
A Newborn Infant is a Sentient Being
This makes them no less aware than you, no less capable of feeling pain, no less capable of fear, no less needing of comfort, surety, safety, and respect.
If you don’t treat your child like a sentient being, you dehumanize them and impair their psyche.
Striking a Child in Any Way Induces Trauma
No other animal treats their children with the savagery that humans treat theirs. Striking a child for any reason, at any time, is forbidden. Not only is it plain physical abuse, but receiving pain and emotional stress of that magnitude from the primary source of the child’s protection and love not only induces trauma (that often gets repressed), but creates an array of schisms and conflicts in the mind.
A child who must rely on an abusive caregiver must reconcile their pain, fear, shame, and anguish with the food they are provided, their warm bed, the roof over their heads. This creates the breeding ground for repressed emotions like resentment, inability to empathize, numbness and apathy, anger, bad coping mechanisms, and ultimately cognitive dissonance.
Physical abuse of a child is the number one precursor to all manner of errant adult behaviors, including the need to abuse others (in any shape and form) because they subconsciously believe that it is alright to do so.
Feeding a Child Garbage is Child Abuse
You hold the responsibility for what your children eat. If your little toddler survives off of chicken nuggets, french fries, and high fructose corn syrup beverages like Kool-aid and Pepsi, you are abusing them.
There is no room for debate in this. When you feed a child non-food, you essentially rob them of their health and future.
You are willingly increasing the probability of them developing crippling allergies and disabilities down the road, not to mention ruining their metabolism and increasing the likelihood that they will be overweight or obese.
When you feed your child cheap food, you are essentially saying that you are OK with treating your child like a garbage receptacle.
Children Pick Up Their Behaviors From YOU
Not TV, not their friends, not video games.
You are their primary source of information on how to behave, especially when it comes to how to handle stress, communicate, inherent beliefs, and so forth.
If you want to guide their behavior, YOU have to make the change. You have to be responsible, gentle, calm, aware, happy, and strong.
If they see weakness, aggression, vulgarity, and chaos from you, they will mimic it.
Children are Not Your Slaves
They are not brought into this world to “fetch the remote,” do menial chores around the house, perform slave labor on your property that would normally cost $15+ an hour for most adults to do, or help you do any of the other numerous nonsensical menial tasks that seem prevalent in our society.
Children are here to live out their needs and goals, just as you are. They did not incarnate on this plane to help you wash dishes or vacuum. They most certainly did not come here to be yelled at or mistreated for not wanting to perform such absurd tasks.
If you are at all interested in “getting things done” around the house, do so of your own accord, and with pride and spirit. If you do so, your child may be inclined to help you of his or her own accord. It is then and only then when you may impart tasks upon them or allow them to help you in your endeavors.
Children are Not Your Emotional Dumpsters
Just because you have baggage, doesn’t mean your children are there for you to unload on. Just because you’ve burnt all your bridges and don’t “have anyone to talk to,” doesn’t mean you can force your toxicity and negativity onto them.
Children need time to develop a healthy sense of emotional and mental space, and learn how to create psychic barriers, so that the emotions of others don’t affect them, and likewise, so their own emotions don’t affect other people.
When parents decide that they can just wantonly complain and whine to their children, it corrupts them, because this is not natural behavior. They get overwhelmed and overloaded mentally and emotionally, and this causes them to shut down, create unnecessarily hard mental barriers, and it can even lead to animosity toward the parent.
No one likes nagging and complaining, and that goes doubly for innocent children. There is nothing outside of advanced meditation training that could ever prepare a child for a continuous day-in and day-out deluge of negative complaining, gossiping, and lamenting. By choosing to unload your problems and complaints (weaknesses) onto your children, you are not only deferring your own responsibility and power, you are eroding your child’s sense of Self and their ability to form healthy psychic spaces.
Children are Not Here to Clean Up Your Mistakes
Which brings us to the next point.
Your children weren’t born to be your clean-up crew.
Just because you were a failure, doesn’t obligate your child to somehow redeem you.
They are not here to “mend ties” with other family members. They are not here to be used as “bargaining chips” in marital disputes or other family harangues. They are not your backup plan that you can hide behind or live vicariously through.
Children are sentient, sovereign beings. They have their own autonomy apart from the parents. This means that they are born completely detached from the commitments and karma of their parents. They only inherit these problems if the parent fosters it upon them against their will.
It doesn’t matter what you are involved in, what problems you have, or what you have done in the past. None of that should ever be of any concern to your child. They are not a plaything to be used for brownie points with other family members, or to be blamed when you mess up something.
You also cannot create a legacy for yourself through your child. Parents in this society have this bizarre notion that they can obtain honor and glory by forcing their children to be great.
In reality, parents that do this are abusive and narcissistic. Your child’s wants and needs are not the same as your wants and needs. Everyone has their own Path which must be followed in accordance with their will and understanding.
You cannot redeem yourself by forcing your kid to make the high school football team or become a doctor. Your mistakes will still be your mistakes and your karma is still your karma. Own them.
“I Was Spanked and I Turned Out Fine” is the Biggest Lie of Them All
Probably the biggest misconception about spanking and physical / mental abuse is that you or people you know endured it and “turned out fine.”
“Fine” is a standard set so low, it basically includes anything outside of you being dead or in prison. And even that sometimes doesn’t cut it.
Just because you’re a semi-functioning adult with a family and a job doesn’t mean you “turned out fine.”
“I was spanked as a child and I turned out fine.” Proponents of spanking often use a sample size of one with no control group to know how they would have fared had they not been beaten. Once again, unrecognized trauma is the root of their reasoning.
— Stacey Patton (@DrStaceyPatton) June 2, 2019
The average individual is harboring years of repressed trauma, that influences all their behaviors and seeps into their choices and relationships.
Your anxiety, being quick to anger, impatience, lack of courtesy, shyness, inability to exude self-confidence, inability to empathize, running thoughts, insomnia, night terrors, inability to control your own kids, proclivity toward over-eating, drinking, or other vices.
These are all signs of repressed trauma.
The excuse “I turned out fine,” is just that, an excuse.
There are people who go off to war and kill twenty men, live to tell the tale, and don’t even need medicine for depression or trauma.
Does that mean they aren’t traumatized? Does that mean the horrors didn’t affect them? Perhaps they were already numb to violence and pain to begin with and they have learned to wall everything off, never process any emotion, and just go through the motions?
Many people subconsciously do this. If you abuse your children, you can expect that they are suffering, and they will find ways to cope. Those coping mechanisms will stay with them through adulthood until they are processed correctly.
Which means that there are millions of what we could call “barely functioning adults.” They get up and go to work, make sure their children to their homework, eat, go out to the movies, and for the most part enjoy life. Yet they have repressed trauma, they lack any ability to discern truth from fiction, they are easily angered and snap even at loved ones, they are unhealthy and have little to no desire to better themselves, they have numerous vices and addictions, they have restless sleep and have to self-medicate often, and frequently feel depressed, lost, tired, anxious, and afraid for no reason at all.
This may be “normal,” in our society, but it is anything but natural.
Holistic Parenting is the Only Parenting That Actually Works
Anyone can have a child. But not everyone can “parent.”
If you look at the parenting behavior of most animals, it centers around a delicate combination of pure nurturing and teaching.
Everything they do with their child is to either one of those ends.
There is never torture, aggression, violence, extortion, terror, or punishment.
If you just “have a kid” and then treat it like your own personal property, pushing it around, calling it names, slapping it, and forcing it to do your whims, you’re not parenting. At most, you’re just running a gulag. It’s not impressive, or even sane.
Many parents are running around treating their offspring like prisoners of war or science experiments, and then they have the gall to get angry when you question their parenting skills.
Understand that if you are not treating your child like a sovereign being, you are not parenting correctly.
True nurturing and teaching is just that: gentle, steady guidance.
For a picture of what parenting is, you need only look at the animals that we’re most closely related to, other high mammals.
Regardless of whether or not they are carnivores or herbivores, or something in between, parenting doesn’t differ much between mammals, because our core needs are mostly the same from a biological standpoint.
You see the same threads running through parenting tactics in the wild: unconditional understanding, gentle guidance, molding behavior by showing not telling, imparting life skills and discipline from a very early age, no artificial separation from the parents (cribs, playpens, etc.), lots of physical activity and room to play, no psychological manipulation or other enslavement tactics, and above all else, vigilant protection.
Humans turn parenting into this complex, difficult thing, when in all actuality it is quite simple.
If you look at the behavior of native and tradition peoples from all over the world, their children act and behave far different from what we’re typically used to. It is because their parenting methods are actually somewhat holistic.
The child is always with one of the parents or being held by a caregiver. There is no yelling at children or blaming them. There is no emotional extortion. They are allowed to play, explore, learn, and grow. They are given good food. They are treated with reverence and respect. They are loved.
This simple recipe alone is enough to ensure a decent outcome for a child.
There are many native tribes that don’t know what it’s like to have cranky crying babies or the “terrible twos.” These are divergent phenomena that arise only in cases of terrible parenting.
If your baby is crying for any reason, it means its needs aren’t being met. If your older child is acting out it’s a cry for attention, their needs aren’t being met.
Holistic parenting means constant contact, love, respect, and creation of a sphere of safety.
This is the bare minimum that is expected out of a parent. Even animals in the harshest, most desolate environments on Earth, with limited food supplies and no shelter, manage to give this to their children.
What’s your excuse?
Break out of the patterns this society teaches you are normal. They are not normal.
Always take into consideration that your actions may traumatize your child and may affect them their entire life. If you are not approaching them with the love and respect that is due to them, you are essentially sabotaging them.
Raise your children in an holistic manner, with awareness of your actions and an understanding of their needs. This will go a long way toward creating a better world for us all, one full of compassionate warriors instead of fearful, violent, and lost souls.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.