Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through character, emotions, and establishing authentic communication with their children. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Honesty.
If you were to meet me (and those who know me in real life will attest to this), you would quickly learn that I am no holds barred when it comes to expressing my emotions. I used to be the kind of person that kept things bottled up. Since becoming a mother, my outlook on expressing emotions has changed drastically.
We live in a society where we are all expected to have this “tough” survivalist persona. Anyone can handle anything and there is nothing worth getting upset over. This whole notion pisses me off. A lot.
When you observe children, it becomes clear that expressing emotions is an extremely important part of development. Furthermore, children cannot and should not stifle emotions. While they can learn to quickly hide an “unacceptable” emotion from their parent or caregiver, the root of childhood rests on the emotional being.
Part of being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both my daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also my own emotions. It is pretty simple at its core. You feel a certain way, you emote, and you move on from there however that might look. Unfortunately, we muck this all up with that idea that we need to remain strong and unfazed by life.
I refuse to give into this. My husband doesn’t like how expressive I am. He constantly accuses me of overreacting and setting a bad example for Tiny. He accuses me of causing her to “act the way she does” i.e. expressing emotion freely. This could be because I bottled everything for the first 7 years of our relationship and he is really at a loss as to this “new” me. It could be because he is very uncomfortable with my authentic self…the one who is no holds barred in her reactions. To be honest, I think he just plain and simply does not want to “deal” with the reality of certain situations.
When did emotions become so bad and looked down upon? Is everyone really happy going through life like a little robot? Smile when you are supposed to be happy. Smile in the face of disappointment. Smile when confronted with a loss. Don’t worry – be happy? Piss on all that!
For example, last month my husband had me watch a video of a young woman getting pranked. Her male friend was pretending to be an intruder and when she walked in her house and saw him, she ran screaming out the front door, into the street, and got obliterated by a car. I didn’t realize that this video was a fake but as I was watching it, I got really angry at my husband for showing it to me. I assumed he knew me better than that and would know that this is NOT something I would find entertaining. Real or not, it made me sick and what pissed me off more was that Tiny was right there asking to see it.
My husband told me that I was making a huge deal out of it and that I set a horrible example for Tiny. Really? Did I? I almost threw up when I saw the girl get hit by the car. My 3 ½ year old was right next to me. My husband should have known not to show that to me. And I was the one doing something wrong by vocalizing how I felt? I am quite sure I am not the only person on the planet who would have let out a scream when she saw this video.
The unfortunate part of this situation is that Tiny witnessed exactly the opposite of what I am trying to instill in her. She saw her daddy trying to stifle a natural response because in his opinion it was “wrong.”
I want Tiny to see that it is imperative to FEEL emotions and express them in a healthy manner. While I would never encourage violence or name calling, I pretty much support her in any other form of emotional release. If she needs to yell, she can. If she needs to blow off steam physically, we figure out a way to do that. If she needs to growl or cry, I let her. I give her the freedom to be who she is. I am there in the manner that she needs me.
When I am having a moment of emotional expression, I always make sure that Tiny understands what is going on and why I am reacting a certain way. I personally think that this is imperative when helping children to learn about their own emotions. If she sees me huffing and puffing but doesn’t know why, Tiny might draw the wrong conclusion which could have repercussions down the road.
Being an authentic parent means being an authentic person. For me, the root of authenticity is the emotional side of us. It is what makes us human. So why would I stifle that which makes me human? I won’t.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 25 with all the carnival links.)
- Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting – Authentic Parenting compares Western Child centered parenting with African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity.
- Honoring My Forgiving Heart — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
- Sincere and Credible — Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
- Being Authentic — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account…
- Authenticity — Sustainable Mum shares how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
- Authenticity through Consensual Living — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
- Authenticity Through Emotions — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer’s) own emotions.
- Authentic Grief — Erica at ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well-adjusted adults.
- Authentic Teaching, Authentic Learners — At Surviving Mexico, Survivor shares how learning how to be an authentic teacher was something she discovered rather than learned.