i’m not a parent and harbor no intentions of raising any offspring any time in the future, near or far. but it’s a topic of great interest to me. after all i’ve been the subject of it through the earliest years of my life.
my earliest memory is thinking my parents were too stupid and i’m too smart. delusions of grandeur comes to mind but i continued on that path and rebelled against everything they said.
my decision to raise myself rather than allow anyone else to raise me led to many near death experiences, both real and hallucinatory in nature. so it could be argued that i didn’t do a great job of raising myself either.
twogether we can
oft quoted but not nearly as much in the parenting context. have you ever considered that both parents and child are equal stakeholders in the quest to survive and thrive?
the baby chimpanzee uses the infant’s grasp reflex to hold on to the mother as she hurled through the trees. the onus is on the baby to hold on to the mother and not the other way round. how soon before we humans begin to expect the baby to keep up with us?
if parents start looking at children as needy and dependent they may never stop doing so. this might offer a significant ego boost to the young adult parent. but at the cost of the child’s self esteem and agency.
while parenting offers the power play role of being the protector, it also places undue pressure to perform at an unnatural expectation. most parents are constantly obsessed with monitoring every move of the child.
the child’s apparently chaotic behaviour plays amok on the adults structured personal and social existence up until now. the game now changes as the child becomes the centre of the parent’s universe.
and here’s the catch 22 situation. if the parent accepts the child’s existence being a pain or a nuisance, then guilt comes knocking. if the parent portrays the child only as a blessing while suppressing the pains of parenting, frustration grows deep.
we’re all children here
what if we even as adult parents were to think of ourselves as children? the inner child in us deserves to live as much as the new born child. why is it then that soon as children are born, parents relinquish their own dreams?
worse, those are then planted into the child’s head to nurture as their own. inception of goals is not unhealthy in and of itself but the fact that adults do it because of the sense of ‘game over’ is saddening. we can always give life to our own dreams while allowing children to do the same.
imagine if you’re both children and you’re caring for your child as a peer and not as caretaker. you interact with the child as an equal and not as a dependent who’s incapable without your help. what would happen if you can try this perspective instead of playing the parent role?
one of the recent playtime attendees had this to say about using this framing.
You just changed my life. I'm raising my inner child, and my daughter at the same time. It's nice to have that awareness. I couldn't articulate how parenting doesn't feel like a power-over relationship, but an equal-to relationship. It makes sense when I think that there are two children in the equation, rather than one adult and one child.