I feel kind of silly asking this, but coming from a home/culture where babies and toddlers were put in play pens so they wouldn't get in the way, I just don't know the answer. It seems I know very well how to distract my children so I can get done what I want but not so much the loving attitude and daily routine it takes to raise happy, unconditionally loved children. I have read your book, loved it and was very inspired. Now I feel like I want to start over with my 4 year old and 19 month old, as I can see my previous ways of parenting are destructive and very conditional. So what is daily life like as an unconditional parent? Is there are routine in place? What activities are enjoyed?
Dear open hearted mother,
Your children are fortunate to have a mother who has the courage to change parenting direction. When we love our children the way they are, we don’t direct their lives. Instead we respond to their direction. They are born as people with a clear inspiration that comes from the inside. We can trust the flow that creates their lives. A child is not a mistake to be fixed or molded by parents. We do not need to shape or direct, only to respond and nurture what is already there.
With this in mind, it is clear that children don’t need you to create structure. If they need structure, they will create it or demand it as they demand a candy or a toy. Structuring children’s live is an adult idea designed for control and for the convenience of the adults.
As for routine; life provides it already; you need not add anything artificially. Life’s routine is dictated by the body and by nature. The sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, and the body creates routine around food, sleep, and the need for stimulation, love, learning and affection. All you have to do is let the natural flow show you the way.
Provide a nurturing, healthy, safe and cultural environment and let your children lead the way. Get up in the morning and follow them. Do they want to play? To be read to? To go outside? Are they hungry? When you don’t direct their lives, they take charge and they learn to trust themselves.
At the same time, unconditional love does not mean neglect or passivity. Children don’t know about the future and need guidance and protection of their young souls, bodies and intellect. To protect their freedom avoid TV, media, push buttons and other “passive entertainment” toys, junk food and other products that intend to addict the child and destroy her inner freedom.
To nurture their freedom and their independence, make sure your home, yard and social community are enriching their lives (and not enriching the industry.) They can do what they want when your home does not have anything you must limit. Provide natural and creative tools, books with kind and wise stories, sophisticated music and art, art supplies, musical instruments, and access to the outdoors and to physical activities. And, provide human connection that is authentic and fulfilling by being involved and caring but not dominating.
Warmly, Naomi Aldort, www.AuthenticParent.com