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This old message I have just found on facebook sums up one of the solutions to siblings' aggression with amazing clarity:

"Hi Naomi, its me,Stephanie, one of your clients! I've been applying your advice to simply remove my baby Michael when his brother Steven pushes, hits, etc. Just now Steven dumped a shovel full of sand on Michael's head, laughing, and Michael simply removed himself from the unpleasant nature phenomena, no tears, no drama! :-) Thanks!"

 

 

 

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How a child forms a “self”, or, does she/he?

 

By Naomi Aldort

Author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

 

If you love yourself, then whatever your child becomes will be to your taste and joy. Any rejection of your child’s nature is a rejection of your own (either parent.)

 

But how does a child become, within their nature, the specific accumulations of habits, behaviors and what we call “character?” Is the child born with some entity called “self”, or are her traits a combination of innate possibilities and mirroring of us?

 

The big riddle is: What does it mean letting the child be free, be herself, be rooted inside? What “self?” Is there such a “thing” outside of the creation through thought and habits?

 

My current observation of this endless theme is that ultimately there is no “self” other than the accumulation of thoughts comprised of the impressions of life, parents first and others and all of life over time. And that the child’s “hard drive” has innate ways of absorbing the world trends, thoughts and habits. 

 

I think about this a lot because I find myself knowing less and less. Most adults who are joyful, powerful and take life with appreciation, humor and astonishment, come from parents who fit this description (at least one of them does), REGARDLESS OF PARENTING STYLE.

 

This does not mean that we throw learning and growing out the window. On the contrary. We may want to focus even more on raising ourselves and less on what we do with the child; while, the stories about the child is our teacher because it is our mirror.

 

The child becomes your offspring whether home schooled or not, whether co-sleep, breastfed… or not. Even authoritarian or not does not make as great an impact as who you are and what your relationship with your spouse is. The child may be a reaction against you, but that too is shaped by your being. There is no way out; just like physical genetics, the psychological make up of a person is formed from the “womb” of living with parents. 20 or so years “gestation.”

 

With this confusion in mind, how do I know if my young child is being herself or mirroring me? How do I know her way of being is innate and not formed by my ways with her? After all, a baby comes into our lives with no frame of reference from which to form a way of being. Children who grew up with animals and have animal like traits see themselves as being free to be themselves. 

 

Our job ends up removing ourselves from the equation. And it tells us that the best thing we can do for a child, is: Raise ourselves and get out of the way. Animals push their offsprings away. Birds push them off the nest when ready to fly. 

 

Knowing that the child is ready to fly is complicated for some of us because we confuse the child’s attempt to fit in with our expectations - with who they are.

 

This blog is not an answer, but an opening. My child is free and this is how he is… may not be ultimately or fully true. You can be a total attachment parenting mom and dad and allow the child to find herself within but what is she finding without your thoughts? You can also do the same external parenting care and not allow the child his own self-awareness and be fooled to think the child is being free.

 

Perhaps one reason parents love taking the family intensive retreat, sessions via Skype, and attend the 3 days workshops, is that in working on themselves they regain the ability to see and to distinguish the child’s nature from the child’s fitting in with their program. 

 

However you choose to help yourself, it is crucial to your child that you wake you up to reality for his own ability to form a “self” that is sustainable. Dependency and fitting into your story is not sustainable. 

 

With love,

Naomi

 

Copyright Naomi Aldort 2018

My sense is that practically every woman today has been at least sexually harassed and only those who were abused by someone well known are speaking up in public. My heart goes out to both, the abused women, and the accused men, (yes to the men too, in the same way I feel for the child who is the aggressor.) 

 

What is missing is the quieter and much less spoken of abuse of almost every woman in terms of the freedom to be oneself and to be the mother each one of us wants to be. The fathers too often don’t seem to do their 50% in parenting, and may even get in the way of mothering as part of unconscious patriarchy. 

 

Women’s liberation will only be complete when both, women and men relinquish the old imposed gender image cultivated over thousands of years.

(Since the agricultural revolution mostly, as a result of work and possession of land that created hierarchy, wars and sickness.) 

 

Once men are free of the old image that thwart their inner freedom to feel and connect, they will naturally do their full share of parenting including nurturing, and learning. At the same time, for women to be free, they too must relinquish the passivity, dependency and sometimes inability to assert as equals that results from the same old indoctrination. The feminine and masculine images are supposed roles are simply an invention, not a natural phenomenon.

 

Amongst you, there are more and more couple who actually are equal partners, allowing us to witness the transformation that occurs when old images don’t grip us any longer. In such families I see tender and nurturing men and women raising human being without injecting any concepts about gender; I see qualities of strength and leadership in both girls and boys, as well as tenderness, emotionality, and creativity. This delightful evolution is the inspiration for generations to come. 

 

At the same time, most of you mothers and fathers are still playing the game of patriarchy to some degree. Until you stop, the next generation will not be free of inequality. It is your job as parents to take life on as human beings and raise human beings who value each other as united equals; without teaching them division. It means modeling such equality as well as avoiding all stereotyping (gender, race, religion, nationality... anything.) Males and females will stay males and females, only without the added limiting imposed character traits and the burden of specific duties.

 

The way to create peace is by abolishing domination and hierarchy at all levels and with every human being. This will also stop the raping of our planet. Destroying the planet can only be perceived as correct by a culture of dominance that sees one being as more important than another, one gender, race, nation, creature above anything and above the earth. In reality inclusiveness is the way towards peace and including women and children in sharing life as equal members is the beginning that can bring to an end all dominations and exclusions. When we do that, we know the earth too is part of us. Division is a mind invented concept that is the source of most struggles on this miraculous planet.

 

Keep Eckhart Tolle’s words in mind: “Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.” Egos (mind, thoughts) create the illusion of division and therefore of hierarchy and domination. I invite you to make a conscious commitment to model to your children how to be conscious humans. That means being inclusive of all beings, life and humans with no “us and them” or any attitude of being better or worse than anyone else. Believe it or not, this includes not pumping the children’s heads with a sense of being special. The child is a miracle and so is everyone else. When children grow up seeing the miracle in themselves and in everyone, they will create a society that celebrates all humans with awe and love, with no distinctions of rights or roles based on gender or any other concept.

 

I will start with me: Traveling and speaking I often encounter people who wish to “pin” me to nationality and other specific attributes. I always say: “I am a human being from planet earth.” By not identifying as anything other than a human being, I invite connection and inclusiveness. I am saying that I am part of you, us, the planet.

 

Raise children whose identity does not create division of me and you, us and the others; raise them to feel one with all humans and the planet/universe. No family, group, religion, country, nationality... Just like John Lennon’s timely song, Imagine. Although they kept John’s lyrics unchanged, saying in the masculine, “brotherhood of men” they staged and sing the song so clearly in the spirit of unity that I recommend you not only listen but also watch:

 

And, you can sing with the children with this Karaoke video: 

 

  ©Copyright Naomi Aldort

 

 

Naomi Aldort joins Antony Sammeroff to talk about emotional handling and conscious parenting

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Q: It takes hours for my children (seven and two) to get ready to go anywhere. My two-year-old daughter gets dressed endlessly; I try to help her and she just gets upset. Last time we almost missed the whole zoo outing. As for my seven-year-old son, I can’t even get him off what he is doing and I end up yelling because he asks to go places and then he is not getting ready. Help! 



 

 

A: Can you fathom children not showing up when you serve ice cream or bring a new toy they like? Children do what they want to do. They live in the present; something we,

adults, are yearning to learn from them. Why talk them out of this marvelous trait? They will lose it anyway, but what’s the rush?

You say your daughter wants to go to the zoo, but does she? Not now. Now she wants to play putting clothes on, and she may want to do so for a couple of hours. What fun. It is kind to remind her and inform her that at some point it would be too late to go today. But do so as an open door for her decision, not a threat that she would miss something. You can even say, if today we don’t go, we can go another day.

You may worry that she will cry later when the zoo is closed. Well, then she will cry and you will be with her listening and validating. She learns to be the cause of her reality; a powerful way of being. Perhaps she doesn’t want to go anywhere, or maybe she wants to try on a few dresses and then go and show off her dress of the day.

“But isn’t it an educational experience for her to see animals?”(Or whatever the enriching outing may be).

This thought causes parents a lot of needless stress. You didn’t teach your children to talk, you just talked; you didn’t teach them to walk, to breath, to eat or to relate. Life unfolds. As a parent, you are in the position of the gardener watering a flower; you are not the one to shape its petals or to control its timetable. Your child is the authority on her own development; cherish this reality and you will find peace in parenting.

If you coerced your daughter to go, she will not remember the zoo, but she will internalize the experience of being coerced and of being a follower instead of a leader in her own choices; she will learn to look outside instead of inside. Shse will also remember the experience of struggle and recreate life in this image. The answers to her life are inside of her; keep her connected to herself. Putting clothes on is what is most useful for her at that moment, or she wouldn’t be taking so much time to enjoy it.

In a similar situation, a father asked me, “so at what age should I take my son to

the Zoo or other such experiences?” My response was, “When he asks for it, and when he takes responsibility for being able to get there before it closes.” Not today is fine. Take children places and expose them to different experiences, but there is no rush to do so in less than a peaceful way that you and they enjoy. They learn much more from how you get to the Zoo, than from being in the Zoo.

Like your daughter, your son is also busy with something more important to him than the outing he previously thought he wanted. Even though it was his plan, he is now in a differet state of mind. If he is not getting ready, he does not want to go. If he regrets it later, that’s a valuable life lesson; instead of learning that someone will rescue him from his own “wrong” decisions, he learns to own his choices and his actions.

Many adults can’t operate without someone micro managing them; such a dependency is not necessary. It is fine to remind your son about his request to go somewhere, but if he prefers to flow with his activity and not go, that’s up to him. If a friend is waiting for him, you can offer to call and cancel the visit. The lesson of commitment does not require coercion. Instead, coercion is it’s own lesson of disconnection and struggle. Reality provides all the lessons, powerfully and kindly.

Even when you must go somewhere, time your errands when someone can stay with the children as much as possible. If that’s not avialble, be authentic about asking them to accompany you on your errands. You are far more likely to generate a caring response when you ask them to meet your need, than if you treat them as though they are supposed to flow with your program. If the child has to see a doctor, it is still your desire to take him there, unless he feels a lot of pain. Children like to be in charge rather than be told what to do. Give them the information and discuss preparation in advance, including timely reminders.

“My child should learn to stick to her plans.”

This is a typical thought that leads to much strife in the family. But is it worth the struggle? Is it even true? How do you know? Maybe the planning was inauthentic? Maybe the commitment to one’s integrity is more powerful and true than sticking to the plan? Each situation is different and each child is worth trusting newly in every moment.

Sometimes people compulsively stick to a bad plan due to such training and regret it later. Is it your duty to make sure that your children follow through with your or their plans? Only they know what is right for the them and they are doing it. If you think some plan of yours is worth following through even when you don’t want to, model such commitment and trust your child to know when to do the same.

“Life isn’t always in the moment and one must learn to be accountable...”

This, too, is a tug of war. If “life isn’t always in the moment” then when is it? Indeed, it exists only in the moment. And if accountability improves outcome, then children will encounter such reality and learn...provided that they can experience the (safe) result of their own choices. Coercing them into sticking to plans, calling it, “being accountable” teaches struggle and harms your relationship with them. Most often it is not truly their plan anyway, but our idea that they said “yes” to, yesterday, (often inauthentically) and do not fit their world today. We envy children for their ability to be in the moment with such immense joy; why talk them out of it? They let go of pain as easily as they do of plans. Indeed, Life Learning occurs without manipulating reality into a lesson.

©Copyright Naomi Aldort


Naomi Aldort is the author of, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Parents from around the globe seek Aldort's advice by phone, in person and by listening to her CDs and attending her teleclasses, workshops and family intensives. Her advice columns appear in progressive parenting magazines worldwide.

 

Naomi Aldort is married and a mother of three thriving young people. For free newsletter, information on teleclasses, recordings, videos, personal and family phone sessions: www.AuthenticParent.com

 
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