Yesterday I returned from the festival “Russian Tuscany”, where we organized tea house on the beautiful shore of Lake Tuscany in Vorsma, 10 km from our family homestead settlement, Dubrovo. There were many people at the festival, and parents and children often looked in at our stall. We served herbal tea from real samovars and homemade pies and cheesecakes.
I had a great opportunity to observe the relationship between parents and children. What once seemed normal to me back in the city now seems unusual. It made me think hard. For example, here came one mum with two children. The little son looks like five or seven years old. There are many people at the stall all trying to order, and the mother needs to speak quickly.
She says, “Pies, tea …”
“Mum, I want pancakes!”
“Give me some more pancakes with jam.”
The son cries, shouting to her through the noise of the crowd. She does not listen to him. She pays. We serve them quickly. The son continues to cry and shout something. When the order is completed and lies on the tray, I ask the boy: “What’s up?”
“I wanted a pancake without jam!”
The mum says, “Don’t listen to him, he’s always such trouble.” She picks up the order and goes out to the tables …
There were a few more cases that day that made me think hard. When a child is born in a family, parents definitely want him to grow up to be a happy and successful person, to achieve a lot in life. As soon as the child grows up a little, he goes to education in English, dance, wrestling, developing leadership qualities … Parents invest and invest, in the hope that the child will learn everything and then become successful. But really, in pursuit of good English and leadership qualities, parents forget to teach the child the most important thing. What really helps them in life is the ability to negotiate.
And you can negotiate precisely in the family. It is very important! It is important to learn to hear yourself and your child. It is important to teach the baby every day to negotiate, by example How? Simply by communicating with your child themselves!
When we force a child to do something against their will, we unwittingly train them in a slavish psychology. That person learns from early childhood that the greater authority, or the one who screams more, is right. They learn that to become successful you must break the will of other people, or else they will break yours. That person does not even know how to feel, how to indicate their own boundaries, and therefore they are ready to tolerate disdain and humiliation from their boss, co-workers, husband / wife, children … Or maybe, on the contrary, they become a person who demands, degrades and offends others, ready to defend their interests “to the last drop of blood” in order to be finally heard and respected …
Respect for the child and the ability to negotiate with them … These skills were difficult for me to gain. After all you need time and attention to negotiate with anyone, let alone your own child, , and even more so with your own child, and it’s always lacking. But if you think about the future, then what can be more important?
What kind of person would you like to see in 20-50 years? Your own grown child, surrounded by a bunch of material things (superficially very successful), but with a wounded soul? Or a grown up child who can always find a common language with others, agree on mutual assistance, make boundaries and perceive others’ boundaries, and not allowing themselves or others to violate them. A child who is always benevolent and respectful not only with elders, but also with younger ones. Who lightly and joyfully looks at the surrounding world, radiates harmony and warmth, a person with whom you want to communicate again and again?
Yes, I know that the path to conscious parenthood is not paved with rose petals — it is very difficult and thorny. Yes, we were brought up differently, and of course it’s much easier to just adopt the model of parenting from our own parents than to create a new one that requires conscious attention and a lot of time! But if you still decide on this path, you will decide to invest your precious time and attention in learning to negotiate with your own children – this will be the best gift for them for life!
Family Homestead Settlement Dubrovo
First published in Russian on 11 July 2018