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Our Kids Need Love-This is what it looks like (part1)

When we think about what our kids need most from us, we think love. No one would argue that our kids need love from us. The problem arises when we explore what that love looks like.

The truth is that for all the centuries that mankind has inhibited earth, parenting hasn’t evolved much at all.

People have always believed and continue to believe that kids need to be taught compliance and blind obedience (any questioning from children gets labeled as rude and disrespectful). Parents who’s kids follow instructions without a peep get immediate praise, and we all know what happens when kids don’t follow our instructions.

The second strongest tenant of “good parenting” seems to be how much we can control and manipulate kids’ daily behaviors. We went from using physical punishment to psychological shaming to using rewards like praise and stickers to manipulate behaviors.

If I were to summarize the above two requirements of being a parent, I’d say our definition of love apparently means: 1- Teaching our kids blind obedience to all “elders” in their lives 2- Modifying our kids’ behaviors to fit in with societal expectations

I know what you’re thinking.

“But Maryam… don’t our kids NEED to be obedient in certain things especially? And I’m not modifying my child’s behavior to fit societal expectations.. I’m only modifying/correcting behavior which is wrong and bad.”

And I’d say, yes, sometimes we do need our kids to listen to us and this group provides plenty of ways to help our kids do what we need them to do.

However, we shouldn’t base our entire parenting methodology on teaching obedience. That just says “I’m going to love you only when you listen to me, and when you don’t, I’m going to show you just how unhappy I am with you.”

And sure, we do want to teach our children morals, values, empathy, gratitude, kindness, flexibility and all the other good stuff. It’s HOW we want to teach that stuff that’s incredibly flawed and goes against all the research ever done on children and parenting. This is why:

Our intense drive to drill these qualities in our kids implies that we think they already aren’t “good people”. Pause and think for a moment, aren’t all children born pure and good (on the fitrah)? This knowledge would imply that all we really need to do is create an atmosphere to match their inherent goodness to further cultivate those awesome qualities. How do we do that? BY MODELING WHAT WE WANT OUR KIDS TO LEARN. PERIOD. FULL STOP.

When kids seem to act like they’re NOT “inherently good”- it’s helpful to recall much of the brain science stuff I share in this group. That’s because almost every behavior they have that seems so unpleasant to us has a basis in their brains’ limitations and their understanding of the world which is very different from ours.

Finally, many of these awesome qualities we want our kids to have aren’t even possible with the brain and experience limitations they have. They’re qualities many of us are still learning as adults.

In other words- aren't we giving in to societal expectations of

how our kids should act without taking into account that they're still kids with very much still developing brains? Ok, so then what IS love, if not those things?

From everything I’ve understood from my own kids and the research and findings on love and relationships (Brene Brown, John Gottman and yes, Islam), I’m going to say love is the two following things. 1- Connection (here) 2- Belonging (here)

The following two sections will explain each with practical examples.

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Copyright 2020 Maryam Munir Parent Coach LLC. All Rights Reserved

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