The Inauthenticity of Anger

Welcome to the July 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Anger

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 anger. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about breastfeeding.

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Feelings…..nothing more than feelings….Anger. It’s a very real emotion and one that many parents have experienced. Anger, even when expressed in healthy ways, is not healthy tough.

How can a real emotion be unhealthy? It is unhealthy because it is a manifestation of our inauthenticity. You heard me correctly. While anger can be very real, it isn’t authentic.

Anger is actually a secondary emotion. It always follows after other emotions. While emotions point us toward our met and unmet needs, as a secondary emotion, anger doesn’t let us know what is going on.

When we find ourselves angry, we have ignored the primary emotions, the ones that were there to tell us about our met and unmet needs. We haven’t been honest with ourselves or with the people we love.

It is important to take the time to discover the primary emotion we are experiencing in order to address what is really going on. When we are being authentic, including with our parenting, we address issues before we reach that point of anger. Sure, there are times that we may be frustrated, sad, upset, or just feel unappreciated. The time to address those issues is when they occur. Bottling up our feelings until they explode into anger isn’t helpful to anyone.

Be kind to yourself and kind to your family. Acknowledge the primary emotions and work together to meet everyone’s needs. Be authentic.

photo credit: Mysi(new stream: www.flickr.com/photos/mysianne) via photopin cc

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APBC - Authentic Parenting

Visit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss breastfeeding!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 27 with all the carnival links.)

You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do

The Taboo Carnival

Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the concept of loving versus liking our children and their behaviors. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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mírame - look at meTo say we have a dysfunctional relationship with my in-laws would be an understatement. They tend to be unintentionally disrespectful and blatantly disrespectful when it comes to us. Our choices, whether about birth, breastfeeding, gentle discipline, using sign language with our children, buying a house, having a pet, politics, religion, clothing, furniture, paint vs. wallpaper, and the list goes on, have all been met with criticism and ridicule at some point or another, most of which is on-going. The idea of treating others with respect, something which is ate the core of our beliefs, just doesn’t register with them.

We haven’t ever cut them out of our lives, though we have been close multiple times after over the top behavior. We want our children to have the opportunity to make up their own minds when it comes to their relatives. If we were completely honest, part of the reason (perhaps a large part) is the fact that my husband and I are family people. Family is very important to us, despite the fact that our extended relatives (at least those living) are lacking. We would love to have large family get-togethers with cousins running and playing, aunts and uncles for the kids to look toward for support, and grandparents who care more about the kids than what the neighbors think about how the yard looks.

So we suffer through visits, grit our teeth at a lot of things which are said and done, step in for the major transgressions, andprevent opportunities for damage. When we reach our breaking point and discussing cutting off contact, we are reminded of one thing: something we tell our children after every visit with them.

With as much as they have done, my husband loves his parents, my children love their grandparents, and while I wouldn’t say love, I do care about them. So many times our society combines like and love, as though they are different degrees of the same thing, when the concepts are completely separate. Loving someone does not depend on liking the things they do. That’s where unconditional love comes in. We love. Sometimes the toxicity of a relationship necessitates firm boundaries in order to protect one’s self, but unconditional love doesn’t stop.  “You can love someone and not like what they do.”

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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

the five love languages of children…

The Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, is not in and of itself a book about consensual living. It does skirt the issue of consensual living, though, and has merit for some parents. The book as a whole would be stronger if the authors had chosen to make the book either secular or religious, instead of their attempt at straddling both worlds. The outside of the book and publisher reviews make no reference to religious content. Single biblical references in each of the first two chapters lead to long Christian sections further in the book. Parents looking for a book without religious references will be sorely disappointed by the inclusion of religious references and opinion. Parents looking for a religious reference would be better served with a book that is straight forward regarding its references and position and which continues that theme throughout the entire book.

The book begins by addressing unconditional love, a term made more popular by Alfie Kohn. This is a concept often misunderstood by mainstream parents, and the authors clarify that while parents may always love their children, it’s the perception of the child that matters. This is an important distinction to make for parents. The concept of a love well, similar to Lawrence Cohen’s love cup, is also addressed at the beginning and utilized throughout the book. It is important that our children feel loved, and the book adequately addresses this fact. However, the beginning of the book, as well as various other parts, seem to meander around without clear focus, perhaps as a result of having two authors writing together; although other authors in a similar partnership, such as Faber and Mazlish, seem to do just fine with this approach.

The center portion of the book addresses what the authors refer to as the five love languages, defined by them as: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. The love languages seem to be loosely based on neuro-linguistic programming, with an emphasis on communication. I can’t argue with the concept of good communication and conveying to your children that you love them unconditionally. However, the overall concept is better explored with non-violent communication and other books on connection parenting. The authors begin addressing the concept of authority and the training of children towards the end of this section.

The last third of the book focuses greatly on training your children properly with love. The concept of training children stems from the belief held by many conservative religions that children are inherently bad and that without our help, they are incapable of making good decisions. This is not a concept held by families practicing consensual living nor by the world of psychology in general. The authors go on to end the book by addressing how their particular religious beliefs affect their parenting and how it should affect yours.

I would recommend this book to Christian parents who aren’t quite on board with consensual living or non-coercive parenting, but who are looking for more gentle ways to interact with and communicate with their children. Consensually living families will find the concepts of unconditional love and the expression of such more adequately addressed in other books.