I'm new to blogging and newer to blog Carnivals. This particular topic intrigued me because while I consider myself authentic, I never really thought about what that means for parenting. In my personal life, while on one hand what you see is the real me, on the other hand I don't show everything, fearing some judgment and negative repercussions from even my closest of friends for sharing my deep down goodies. I don't pretend things I don't believe, I don't display traits that aren't mine, but I don't show or say everything. It's like holding back of all my truth rather than lying--but I'm just splitting hairs here.
So what does this mean for me in my parenting? I mean, I'm parenting...I'm doing it my way... I have no idea. I looked up 'authenticity' in the dictionary to help inspire me, and there were three main categories of definitions: being genuine (this has to do with things, so I'm disregarding it), sincerity (for people) and having credibility (in speech). So, again, what does that mean to me regarding parenting? We'll start with sincerity. This takes me directly to what I mentioned in the first paragraph. I am sincere in my words and my actions towards my kids, however I do not hold back. I'm full-blown me, in all of my love, all of my opinions, ideas, emotions, actions, everything. I fear no repercussions, negativity, judgment. When I'm happy and goofy, I'm all the way happy and goofy, I don't hold back, I sing songs about poop, I dance funny little dances...and when I'm angry, I own my anger, I raise my voice, I say what I'm angry about, and I use any and all of the tools in my toolbox to calm myself down and best my best 'me'. I also provide them a space in which they can emote safely, without fear of negativity or punishment from me. I tell them all my crazy ideas, I impart my wisdom (ha!) from experience and trial and error, I try new things. So I'm really much more sincere in my parenting than I am in my day to day.
On to credibility. I get a lot of flak from my partner about this one. I wasn't raised exactly like I'm raising my kids. I had an incredible childhood, but it lacked emotional depth and it did involve some shaming and blaming, so those are the areas I'm working on most as a parent. I read A LOT--and my partner doesn't like this. He doesn't have experience in his life with gentle discipline or positive parenting, but he also doesn't have lofty goals of doing it differently than his parents did. He'd like to take it a day at a time with no parenting tools, even though he's the first of his friends to have children, doesn't remember his childhood much, and first touched a baby when he touched our first child. I, on the other hand, want the research that shows how detrimental it is for a child to cry alone, to be spanked, to be shamed, blamed, rewarded, punished, and in general treated in a way I don't want to be treated. I want the research that illustrates all of that AND the tools to help me in case I find myself in a situation where I feel violent toward the tiny humans that I have chosen to share my house with. So I read, I ask my friends for advice, I listen, I watch, and I learn, learn, learn. I only have three kids, and they're very young, so I don't really feel I have credibility in the practical applications of what I've learned, but I'm comfortable in my discerning, I'm happy in my parenting, I have amazing kids, and that, to me, is all the credibility I need to continue parenting the way I have been with the foundation I've built. So does that make me an authentic parent? I think so. Now...I think it's time to start applying all of that to my personal life. Visit 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.)
- Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting - Authentic Parenting compares Western Child centered parenting with African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity.
- Honoring My Forgiving Heart — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
- Sincere and Credible — Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
- Being Authentic — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account...
- Authenticity — Sustainable Mum shares how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
- Authenticity through Consensual Living — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
- Authenticity Through Emotions — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer's) own emotions.
- Authentic Grief — Erica at ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well-adjusted adults.
- Authentic Teaching, Authentic Learners — At Surviving Mexico, Survivor shares how learning how to be an authentic teacher was something she discovered rather than learned.