Parenting is one of life's most rewarding and challenging experiences. It takes hard work, patience and love — but despite the joy it can bring, people often speak about their children with contempt. Examples of this sentiment include: "I'm happy to be back at work because the kids were driving me crazy”, "You'd better get some rest now before the baby arrives”, or “Dad is babysitting”. I can’t stress this enough, you cannot babysit your child, it’s parenting! Calling them "crotch goblins" or treating them like pass-the-parcel reveals a negative view of parenting in today's society — seen in everyday conversations, social media posts and even mainstream media.
As a parent myself, I reject this sentiment. In this blog post, I'll explore why people may feel contempt towards children and how we can cultivate a more positive relationship with our kids.
Parenting is tough, there's no denying it. Raising a child, another human, requires a lot of time, energy, and effort. It drains you physically, emotionally, and mentally. There are moments of frustration, anger, and fear but also joy, love, and delight. Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster. Not always easy, but oh so worth it—the benefits outweigh the costs!
At the same time, parenting also brings a lot of fulfilment and joy. Watching your child grow and develop, seeing their personality emerge, and experiencing their achievements and milestones is an incredible feeling. Parenting is a privilege, a blessing, and a duty. It allows us to shape and influence the next generation, to pass on our values and teachings, and to make a positive impact on the world.
While parenting has its challenges, it's also a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It's important to remember this and to focus on the positive aspects of parenting, rather than dwelling on the negative. Anything worth doing is challenging.
It's understandable that many people may feel overwhelmed by parenting. Raising a child is hard work, and it can feel like you give more than you get back. It's common to have high expectations for your children, only to be disappointed or frustrated when they don't meet them.
But remember: kids are still learning and growing! They need our guidance and support. It's also essential to recognise that parenting is a two-way street. While we are responsible for our children's well-being and development, they also have a lot to teach us about life, it’s meaning and bringing a sense of joy and fulfilment to our lives.
It's natural for there to be highs and lows in parenting, but it's essential to strive for a positive and loving relationship with our children. This may involve setting realistic expectations, seeking aid from others, and practicing self-care to help manage the demands of parenting. This is part of the reason children from single parent homes, typically lone mothers, are generally disadvantaged. Without the support and partnership of a co-parent, single parents may have a more difficult time maintaining a positive and encouraging relationship with their children due to the added demands and challenges of parenting alone. Sad, but those are the facts. Child-rearing is a team sport. As the old adage goes; it takes a village.
Parental scorn can have dire repercussions for their child's health and growth. Criticism, belittlement, and disrespect can damage a child's self-esteem, confidence, and relationship with their parents. It also hinders emotional and social development.
Negativity towards parenting and children can contribute to a culture that stigmatises and discourages parenthood. It gives the impression that parenting is a burden instead of rewarding, which discourages people from having kids or embracing their role as parents; stewards of the future.
Studies have shown that children who experience disdainful or hostile parenting are more likely to suffer a range of negative outcomes, including emotional distress, behavioural problems, and social difficulties. They may also be at increased risk for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Leaving them vulnerable to the poison in the world.
On the other hand, children who experience positive, supportive, and nurturing parenting are more likely to thrive and develop into confident, resilient, and well-adjusted individuals. We must remember that our words and actions as parents have a powerful impact on our children's well-being and development. Cultivating a positive and loving relationship with our children is essential for their growth and happiness.
If you find yourself feeling contemptuous towards your children, it is important to take steps to combat this sentiment and cultivate a more positive and loving relationship with them. Consider the following strategies:
Set realistic expectations: It is natural to desire the best for your children, but it is critical to remember that they are still learning and growing. Be patient and understanding of their limitations and mistakes, and try to set realistic expectations for their behaviour and development.
Seek support: Parenting can be isolating and overwhelming at times. Seeking support from others, whether it be from your partner, family, friends, or a professional such as a therapist or counsellor. Sharing your struggles and seeking guidance from others can help you manage the demands of parenting and feel more connected and supported.
Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential for being able to effectively care for your children. Should an emergency occur, you need to put your oxygen mask on first, before attempting to help those around you. Make time for activities that nourish and recharge you, such as exercise, hobbies, and relaxation.
Reflect on your feelings: Consider why you may be feeling contemptuous towards your children. Are you overwhelmed or stressed? Do you have unrealistic expectations? By identifying and addressing the root causes of your feelings, you can better understand and manage your emotions and behaviours.
Practice gratitude: Focusing on the positive aspects of parenting can help counteract negative feelings. Take time to appreciate your children and the joy they bring to your life, and express gratitude for the gift of parenting.
It is also important to remember to be mindful of your attitudes and behaviours towards the children of others and towards children in general. Watch your mouth. Showing respect and kindness towards children can help create a more positive and supportive environment for them. By being proactive in cultivating positive and loving relationships with children, we can create a more nurturing and supportive world for all kids.
In the end, parenting is a trying yet rewarding experience that requires hard work, patience, and love. It behooves us to recognise that parenting has its highs and lows, and that it is natural to feel overwhelmed or frustrated at times. Yet, it is crucial to cultivate a positive and loving relationship with our children, rather than allowing negative feelings of derision to take hold.
Scornful attitudes towards parenting and children can have grave consequences for their well-being and development. It also contributes to a culture that stigmatises and discourages becoming a parent. To instead what? Waste time drinking alcohol or for shopping for unneeded chaff? Worthy pursuits, of course. By taking steps to combat contempt and cultivate a positive and loving relationship with and toward children, we can create a more caring environment for them to grow and thrive and maybe a better world.
We must remember that children are the future, and that they are our legacy. They are the point of it all, not consuming everything in the world and leaving behind nothing but a scar on the earth. We have a responsibility to guide and care for them, to help them grow and develop into confident, compassionate, and responsible individuals.
I encourage you to embrace the joys and challenges of parenting, and to remember that your words and actions have a powerful impact on children. Parenting is a privilege and a blessing, and it offers us the opportunity to shape and influence the next generation positively. Not for our sake but theirs. Let us work together to create a brighter future for all children.
As the Tao Te Ching states, "Nurture them, and they will grow. Foster them, and they will be strong. Raise them, and they will stand on their own. Let go, and they will find their own way." Let us embrace this wisdom and strive to be nurturing, fostering, and loving parents.