"We are born of love; Love is our mother." -- Rumi (Persian poet 1207-1273)
Children are special! At least that is what parents say. The culture of raising a child is different today and different in many cultures. Every day children are born in thousands of places, in environments of splendor and in poverty. They are born with love and joy of life. In our society parents are slightly blind-sighted. Today's trends written about in hundreds of manuals and "how-to" books parents are given instructions from the cradle to the first grades and beyond. The trend is more praise, more adulation, more of everything. What is missing is discipline and given explicit rules. This discipline and these rules will be part of a child's life, all lifelong.
Of course love is a tool, not only of giving affection and caring, but also a tool to exercise control, underlying all that is so children today are expected to be child-adults. They navigate their iPhones, their computers expertly... as if they climbed out of the womb punching the keys with their little thumbs, but are confused in being and playing a child and being a child with all the wonderments of the environment. Exploring the world around them they see that their little friends have all the same tools and toys.
Expressing love for child is a daily act of caring, it is communicated constantly. To validate the parent's love needs not be a conditional love... or the feeling of earning love. Love is not a control factor... a gift of love cannot be bought or earned... it is grace by which a parent and child find a mutual gift of being and of loving. One of the best tributes is for a parent to trust himself or herself. Commanding respect is part of teaching it to a child, observing oneself of how one speaks to child or in front of a child.
Karen Proner, a child and adolescent psychoanalyst in New York, observes the following.
"Parenting a child is the most complex challenging event in our lives. It is meant to engage all parts of us. There is a reason for this. Melanie Klein, the British psychoanalyst, who is one of the most influential analytic figures of the last century, brought a new emphasis to Freud's thinking. She understood that the earliest relationship that an infant has with his mother lays the foundation of the unique character of his experience of the world and will directly influence the development of his personality. These early days are the most important in a baby's life in building a sense of one-self. A baby's sense of self comes from being known by its mother. That means responding in a way that conveys to her baby her understanding of his capacities, his tolerance, his sensitivities, his internal resources. This kind of "knowing" which is experience gathered from being with and observing your baby is the basis of what I later call discipline and is the hallmark of good parenting. This makes you able to encourage development with challenges that a baby can meet but not ones that overwhelm or force them to grow up too quickly. This is not easy for a parent, as they have to continue to learn about their child as their child grows. It is forever changing. The kind of growth I am talking about is incremental for both mother and child. A mindful mother offers her infant challenges that they are ready to grasp. This is the true essence of discipline and good parenting for infant, child or adolescent."
Raising a child often is a mirror image of one's own childhood , it resonates and lingers and the magic it represents pervades our consciousness. Parenting is challenged on all levels of memories and deals directly with old emotions, desires and fantasies. All serve as an echo of our own experience. Part of this experience is discipline and a worthiness of the love given. Today the pressure, which parents are experiencing, is also effecting their sensitivity in bringing stability and continuity into their child's life. Moms and Dads want happiness for their children and for themselves... and pursue endless ways to define these roles and needs.
"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge." -- Thomas Carlyle (Scottish essayist 1795-1881)