No, I Do Not Support Your Parenting Choices

parenting choices
Some people will say they will support you in your parenting choices, whatever those choices are. I am not one of them.
If an adult hits or threatens to hit another adult, that’s abuse. If a parent hits or threatens to hit a child, that’s abuse.
If you know that smacked children are more likely to become adults who misuse alcohol, experience depression and engage in anti-social and aggressive behaviours, and still choose to use violence or threats of it against your children, I can not support that choice.
If an aged care worker wilfully ignores an elderly resident’s calls for assistance overnight, that is neglect. If a caregiver wilfully ignores a baby or child’s cries for assistance through the night, that is neglect.
If you know that sleep training is highly distressing for babies, often needs to be repeated and does not teach your baby ‘how’ to sleep but that you will not come to their cries, and you still wilfully ignore the physical or emotional needs of a child simply because the sun has gone down, I can not support that choice.
If an adult is spilling their heart out to a trusted friend, and that trusted friend tells them to “stop crying and get over it”, that is hurtful, dismissive and breeds mistrust. If a child comes crying to a parent, for any reason big or small, and the parent tells them to “stop crying and get over it”, that is hurtful, dismissive and breeds distrust.
If you know that invalidation leads to emotional distancing, conflict, disrupted relationships and mental illness, and you still choose to respond to your children in ways that are hurtful, dismissive and breed distrust, I can not support that choice.
If you didn’t know before, now you do.
These are all choices that adults make in response to situations and behaviours children have little control over, and to say I will support you in making those choices would position me as an enabler to the continuation of harmful cycles of intergenerational trauma.
So no, I will not support you in using tools from an authoritarian, emotionally oppressive and thoroughly outdated parenting playbook, but that does not mean I won’t support YOU.
I will support you to see that all infant and childhood behaviour is communication, and there are ways to achieve cooperation without the need for controlling standover tactics.
I will guide you towards resources to better understand biologically normal infant sleep, and support you to implement strategies that make night-time parenting manageable.
I will support you to get comfortable with your own feelings so you can hold your kids through theirs.
In short, the current crop of parents can do the work of circuit breaking now, or we can stick our heads in the sand and leave it for our kids to deal with (or not) 25 years from now.
It’s never too early to make a change, never too late to change tack and try new ways of being within our families.
Whenever you feel the pull to make a better choice, I’m here to support that endeavour.
Until then, I’m not, and I’m not going to apologise for that choice.
[ID: Anna, a white woman with blonde hair, looks at the camera. She wears a red floral shirt and woven earrings. She is not angry, but not smiling either. She is hoping people understand she still loves them without agreeing with their choices.]


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