Authenticity through Consensual Living

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.

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Father and child

Photo by David Blumenkrantz

I once had a parent tell me that the reason she didn’t like consensual living was because she felt that thinking about your response in a situation rather than saying the first thing that popped into your head was “fake parenting.” In her view, contemplating the situation and one’s words was unnatural. It’s a popular belief in our society. Most anywhere you can go where there are parents and children, you’ll hear parents saying catch phrases to their children, threatening kids, or jumping to conclusions about their children’s motives. While these actions may be automatic for them, these are all examples of reactions rather than authentic interactions.

We’ve all had experiences during our lifetimes, and those experiences shape our lives. It’s an inevitable fact of life. However, the extent to which those events shape our lives is up to us. Reacting relies not on conscious thought but on unconscious scripts. If you have ever heard yourself say a phrase which reminded you of your mother or father, you know exactly of what I am speaking. In order to authentically communicate with our children, we need to be willing to push past those automatic responses.

When we react, we allow outside influences to control ourselves. When we react to others, we shut down further explorations of the situation, open communication, and mutual understanding. It is only when we open ourselves to examining our beliefs, words, and interactions that we find ourselves pushing past the hurt and anger of reactionary living in order to live authentically. It is through thoughtful interactions that we allow ourselves to live fully in the moment, to grow as individuals, and to open ourselves to honest relationships with others.

 

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

 

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.)

responding versus reacting…

I once had a parent tell me that the reason she didn’t like consensual living was because she felt that first thinking about your response in a situation was “fake parenting.” In order to be “real,” she thought it was important for the parent to say whatever was first thought. However, that isn’t responsive parenting; it’s reactive parenting.

We’ve all had experiences during our lifetimes, and those experiences shape our lives. It’s an ineveitable fact of life. However, the extent to which those things shape our lives is up to us. Reacting relies not on conscious thought but on unconsciuos scripts. If you have ever heard yourself say a phrase which reminded you of your mother or father, you know exactly what I am speaking of. In order to authentically commnuicate with our children, we need to be willing to push past those automatic responses. Naomi Aldort’s S.A.L.V.E. technique has helped a lot of parents with this.

  •  S – Silent Self-Inquiry or Separate Yourself from the Situation - Before you unleash the words that want to pop out of your mouth when an incident happens with your child, take a moment to separate yourself from the situation. If you jump into your automatic script, you will merely be reacting rather than authentically responding.
  • A – Attention on Your Child – Pay attention to your child and try to understand what is really going on from his perspective.
  • L – Listen – Really listen to your child. We learn the most when we stop talking and pay attention to what is going on.
  • V – Validate – Your child has feelings which affect his behavior. Regardless of what just happened, he needs to know that you love him no matter what. By validating that you understand his point of view, you will be strengthening the connection you share with him so that you can work together to come up with a solution which meets everyone’s needs.
  • E – Empower – Empower your child be expressing your trust  in him. CHildren are very resourceful and are quite capable of coming up with solutions for their problems or helping to come up with solutions to meet everyone’s needs.