Growing up, I remember constantly feeling like I was walking on eggshells. My behavior was always dictated by how I thought my parents would react. As is often seen in our Latino culture, our parents and grandparents have an “aqui mando yo” kind of mentality. If you had a different perspective, you were deemed to be a rebellious child, and they retaliated against you (e.g., abusive chancla culture).
As the children raised under generations of trauma become parents, we realize that there are different ways of parenting our children.
We can certainly discipline and teach our children with kindness and compassion, and not so much with threatening verbiage and even physical retaliation.
Gentle parenting is a method of parenting that has sparked my interest a lot in the past few years. Gentle parenting is more focused on your relationship with your children rather than focusing on harsh punishments whenever they misbehave. It targets setting boundaries with your children and respecting them as individuals instead of using external rewards or discipline to modify their behavior.
It is vital to explain gentle parenting to past generations so that we start breaking free from all these toxic patterns and behaviors. You may think that there is no point in teaching this method to them. However, here are some reasons why you should still explain it to older family members.
They Spend Time With Your Children
Now, we all know that we can’t spend every waking minute with our children. We have hectic work schedules, which sometimes require us to drop off our children at abuela’s house (it’s also okay if this reason is that you need a break). When this happens, you do not want to be worrying about how they will be treating their grandchildren.
It is vital to explain gentle parenting, especially to grandparents, because you want to be clear on how you wish to raise your children. Talk to your parents. Explain to them that while you respect them and appreciate them taking care of your children, you do not want them to punish them in ways they see fit.
Overcome Generational Trauma
The need to explain gentle parenting to past generations means they never had the tools and resources we do nowadays to break free and break down barriers. Having the opportunity to explain and teach this to them is a way of healing from generations of trauma and toxicity.
In a way, you would be giving past generations leeway to be happy. They would essentially heal their inner child because you empower them to focus on the joys of parenting rather than having it feel like a burden.
Understanding One Another
There are so many parenting methods, and there is a lot of conversation on which is the best way. Parenting is not a one size fits all situation. Speaking with past generations regarding gentle parenting paves the way for them to share their wisdom with you and the reasons behind their behavior.
You may even start to see that they genuinely believed they were doing what was best for their children.
And, you will be able to explain why you think you are doing what’s best for your children to thrive.