Most people are familiar with physical abuse and emotional abuse. Many of us lived with that growing up even slipping into unhealthy relationships which were much the same as adults. Another form of abuse is control and behavior modification — the primary tools in dealing with children in our culture today. Becoming aware of this is of great importance. Children are next on the human rights agenda in order for us to shift the world towards more peace and freedom.
As adults we relive the patterns we once lived as children. We become either oppressors because of what was modeled to us or we stay victims of control and abuse. It is rare that people get out of this way of being in their lifetime but I’ve come to realize that the only way in which the world is going to shift towards more peace and compassion is to reawaken the empathy and compassion that was robbed of us as children. Almost all of us were born with the tools to empathize and be compassionate people. It’s the natural state in which humans are supposed to live together.
Controlling another is a from of human engineering in which they are trained to obey above all else. This is a narcissistic approach with no regard to what damage this may cause in the child. Control, manipulation and coercion are practices that warp the human condition. This abuse is so widely accepted that over the years, as I’ve advocated for peaceful parenting and letting go of these destructive ways of being with children I’ve been told that I am, “abusing my children and doing them a huge disservice by not controlling them.” I’ve come to learn that most people feel this way because as we were being controlled, punished, shamed, coerced, and manipulated as children themselves.
Many of us were told that the adults in our lives were doing it because they loved us. We were told that children whose parents didn’t treat them that way weren’t loved. We began to form the belief that control is how we express love to someone else. We had to believe this as children! It was a survival mechanism but something within us has always known this idea was wrong. However, many learned to silence the inner-voice and have for so long that they began disconnecting from the truth it shared. When our inner-voice becomes a soft whisper it’s easier to ignore and cope with pain in life. Self-doubt and distrust of one’s inner-voice is a sad but very real side-effect of control.
This idea that control equals love has been passed down for generations and it is time we bring this tragic legacy to an end. Times are changing. Consciousness is evolving. The old paradigm of parenting has shown us again and again that it simply does not work and parenting as we once knew it is outdated and damaging. In time, we will look back on the past as a shameful time in human history and we will wonder how it went on for so long. When we collectively evolve enough to give children the rights and respect that they so deserve human relationships will step into a new era of richness that we’ve never experienced before.
One of the biggest tragedies of living a life where we were controlled by parents, teachers and the other adults in our lives was that we were trained for obedience and to please others above all else. We learned self-destructive survival skills as children which have devastated and in some cases, destroyed our lives as adults. When a human being is controlled, and unable to live a life on their own terms the innate desire for freedom overrides all else and the only way to have needs met as children was to learn to lie, cheat and manipulate because more direct ways of communicating our needs and our pleas to be heard were ignored and often times we were punished for even having them. Our needs and emotions were a great inconvenience for adults so we learned unhealthy ways of thinking and relating to others in order to have our needs met. This has profoundly affected our lives in negative ways as adults, leading us from one broken relationship with family and friends to another. Over and over again we inadvertently shatter relationships because of the unhealthy tools that we had to create in order to cope and survive as children.
There was so much abuse in most of our lives that we’ve anchored specific experiences as fearful or dangerous. Then specific triggers of these times are tattooed in our minds and when we are reminded of trauma from our pasts through present similar experiences we become overly reactive and past hurts flood our consciousness causing us to see people and problems in distorted ways. This is the root of many of our relationship issues today. When we have unresolved childhood issues we are incomplete adults. We spend our energy trying to tell the world that we matter and that we are important too even at the cost of our relationships with our children out of sheer desperation that we will not be heard.
We spent our childhood years crying it out only to be ignored for what we were told was necessary for us to learn that we aren’t the center of the Universe. Sadly, this common tactic backfired and made us toxic, needy, overly dependent, fearful and feeling invisible to everyone around us. We then spend our lives in a state of demanding, bullying and forcing others to see us, listen to us and respect us only to have that backfire as well. The entire premise of “tough love” has proven itself to be false over and over again yet it’s still promoted as essential at “teaching” a child how to be independent. It models the opposite but sadly we still live in the, “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality even though it’s proven itself wrong time and time again.
Our culture is so full of hypocrisy that it rarely acknowledges that children are born wired to be dependent and the only way to foster healthy independence is meeting a child’s dependent needs lovingly and consistently. When a culture starts promoting that ignoring a child’s needs is the right way to create independence we are encouraging abuse as a form of child-rearing. This is devastatingly dangerous for the child the parent and the future of our humanity. Putting convenience first is what everyone today seems to want. With parenting however the manipulative way in which this is promoted is not easy to recognize because when a person is raised having their own needs ignored they feel the only way to validate their own upbringing they must do the same with their own children. By admitting that a disconnected, detached approach is not in fact healthy they are left to face their own issues and must face that they were in fact abused. This isn’t something most people are ready for. By repeating history they never have to face the truth and their incomplete and damaged selves. Ignorance is bliss, but when you choose ignorance over truth bliss becomes delusion.
It can be abundantly difficult for parents raised in authoritarian paradigm to let go of fear of their own needs not being met long enough to meet the needs of their children. Authoritarian parenting is a fear-based approach and therefore control is the first and ongoing thread of energy in that type of relationship between parent and child. It is only through helping a parent heal from their own upbringing that we can encourage and support a parent enough to let go of unhealthy, damaging tactics such as yelling, shaming and blaming. In order for us to help our children we have to help the parent by supporting them as they take a deep look at their own childhood to acknowledge that they were disrespected and oftentimes abused. When we allow them to see the past and themselves with compassion and understanding the healing process can begin. This is an essential component to stepping into a space of peace and partnership with their own children.
Change takes time. It may be another generation or two before a more peaceful approach is widely accepted, but it is slowly happening. When enough adults can admit to themselves that what they had to live with as children wasn’t fair, healthy or respectful, then we can bring in a new awareness about something better. Children are living in the now and their needs matter as much as our own. They are not dogs that need to be trained. They are not incomplete humans who need to be controlled in order to learn to be good people. Children are dependent and need us by their sides to support them on their individual paths to independence and self-awareness. This is the time in human history when we will look back and know that now is when it all began to change. The evolution of consciousness has many branches. Parenting is one of the most important missing piece in the whole picture of what’s needed to support the possibility of world peace. We are so close! It’s only a matter of time before we are finally done with authoritarian parenting as the norm and we can fully embrace a more loving, connected and respectful approach to raising human beings to be whole, healthy ambassadors for a better world.