In Search of the True Self

The search can be difficult and painful, since it relates to a situation that belongs binded to the past. 

So many people fear if they be themselves they will lose attachment from the relationships that are important to them. 

How many of us were raised in a home that granted us the freedom to be ourselves?

How can we live authentically if we continually search for what our own parents could not give us during childhood?

As adults, we must free ourselves from these illusions, even if the truth seems unbearable to us. This truth may cause us pain before giving us the freedom to be who we truly are.

The goal is to have parents understand their own repression in order to minimize the exploitation of the children who depend on them, to meet their unmet needs. 

No one can heal by maintaining the illusion.

As a child you can be happy or sad, you don’t have to suppress your anxiety or look happy to fit other people’s needs. 

You find out that it is costly for your relationships to be authentic. You adapt to what your parents say in order to survive.

You become programmed to hate a part of yourself and this is the part of your personality that has adapted to those threats. Threats of abandonment, punishment, and the withdrawal of love in order to get compliance.

As you get older you struggle to fulfill old and repressed needs with external validation. You suppress your feelings, but pay the price later on in life with addictions, mental illness, and physical ailments. Whatever you are forced to suppress in childhood gets distorted with who you become in the future. 

Why do we mask this pain?

You were probably raised in a home where your parents reacted negatively to your honest feelings. By sharing genuine preferences as a child, you forced your parents to assess their preferences and positions, which if they’d never created a genuine self, would cause internal conflicts within themselves. This would be projected negatively upon the child, creating a negative loop of repression. 

This is done unconsciously because your parents simply replicate what was done to them. If the repression stays unresolved, the parents’ childhood tragedy is continued onto their children and this is how the cycle continues to go unresolved. 

No longer is truth questioned and reality is distorted to fit the parents narrative. 

Since every child needs safety and security you disconnect from your true self in order to be taken care of. You develop a personality based on your parents’ needs, and although this certainly saves your life at the time, it prevents you from accepting yourself. Later on in life you deal with depression, emptiness, and loneliness because of this tragic loss of the self in childhood. This inevitably creates total alienation from the self as an adult. 

The true self cannot communicate because it has been ignored and underdeveloped, in its internal prison. 

There are many children who have not been free from the beginning of their life. No longer should we treat children as if they don’t deserve respect and are just the parents property. We need to be aware that they cannot be ignored, mistreated, and threatened without any consequences. 

Depression consists of denial of one’s true emotions and is facilitated through this mistreatment. 

If we never mourn this loss in our own childhood then we will easily fail to recognise the needs of our own children. This is a need that can never be fulfilled later on in life. 

Connection cannot happen from a position of authority.

When connection is created you have a child who is free to discover his true self. He is allowed to experience his feelings of sadness and ask for help without making his father insecure. He can be afraid if threatened or angry with himself if expectations are not reached. He is able to express his wants, irrespective of whether he will be loved or hated for it. 

The desire of all human beings is to be connected. As fathers we have the power to create a household that displays the importance of being accepted and loved. When your child knows that he can express himself openly without being afraid of the withdrawal or betrayal of his father’s unconditional love.

You want your child to behave well not because they have been threatened, but because they genuinely want to do good. 

Allow your child to freely be himself and know he will be loved regardless of your emotional attachment to a situation. This love is what will create the feeling of him being whole, and this is how we, as parents, can return to our true selves as well as set our children up to never lose it. 

The real you is not a puppet that life pushes around. 

The language of your home

The language we use in our house is usually an indication of how comfortable we are with our mission. Are we speaking to our children in a way that will allow them to understand their own desires and encourage the development of inner strengths?

First we have to be aware of the actual phrases and words that we use when speaking with our children. Then we need to be aware of how these words display our attitude and reflection of how we live our lives.

As parents we often want our children to be polite and say things that are considerate. We have this strange understanding that kids should know what to say and we should make sure they say it. We insist they say “thank you” for reasons unknown to them. A lack of empathy is apparent in every instance where we’re demanding instead of teaching. We command they say “I’m sorry” even when they’re too immature to adopt another’s perspective and not able to feel genuine empathy, so there is no genuine apology. It really comes down to a position of power and obedience rather than a proposition of instilling virtue. We want a mimicking parrot as opposed to a child that understands. The best way to teach your child respect and consideration is to make a conscious effort to treat them this way.

The capacity to empathize with your children and listen to what they’re saying will allow interactions where they are comfortable speaking in a genuine manner. If we can begin to speak to our children with empathy we can start to build a foundation that will benefit them their entire life. Empathy is something not easily learned later on in life and if you were raised with the understanding that it’s important how others feel it becomes a natural thought process. If it wasn’t, then you’re likely unaware of the pain you may be causing to your children. This is why it’s important to be aware of the language we use and the influence we have over them.

“To be a parent-leader is not about controlling, but about setting things up such that no control is needed.”

Naomi Aldort

A long time ago, I had some ideas of how important my role as a father was to sculpt and influence my children by the language I used in our conversations. Of course I sometimes say the wrong things, but that can be easily reconciled with a simple apology. I often thought about how my interactions with my children would impact their life twenty years in the future and whether or not my grown children would enjoy my company. This led me to become more aware of how I speak to them. Even if done unintentionally, would I want to be around a person who constantly degrades me and minimizes my existence? Of course not. So I made sure my language was not only positive and motivational, but conveyed truth and honesty in line with my values.

I also make sure my language is not misleading. I want to be clear about my preferences and expectations of myself and my family. It is not always about being positive, but to have my kids understand that life is filled with obstacles and we make adjustments to move forward. I want them to know they have the power to push past their fears and pursue what they are passionate about in life. I want to be able to rise above my own challenges in life and find comfort in knowing I have prepared them for adulthood.

I know there may be some doubt, especially from fathers who may already have lost control of their homes and have had to resort to strict or harsh disciplinary measures. This will make your child feel disconnected and have them doubting if they are lovable. Being kind doesn’t mean you have to give the kids rule of the house or you always have to say yes. If you want credibility as a father you should be removing the implication of force to create order. You are showing them that because you’re bigger and stronger they must listen. Speaking and acting this way will consistently create power struggles, especially when your child gets older.

When we are honest and considerate we will earn trust. When you connect with your child they will admire and respect you. If your child knows you are listening to them and they feel they are being heard, then trust will be created. Setting boundaries can be maintained and bad behaviors improved, because you are acting in a way that is beneficial for both of you in the relationship. This is extremely rewarding when trying to solve really difficult problems that may arise with your child.

Being able to have self control is the first standard in creating a better home environment. Learning valuable skills in communication and negotiation will also help with moving from an authoritative or permissive approach and one that is more rewarding from connection. You will certainly have disagreements and the occasional outbursts, but this is no excuse to not be working on becoming a better parent. You will be teaching your child how to handle difficulties in life and that the people who love them will take the time to invest in them.

“Every time you talk to a child you are adding a brick to define the relationship that is being built between the two of you. And each message says something to the child about what you think of him. He gradually builds up a picture of how you perceive him as a person. Talk can be constructive to the child and to the relationship or it can be destructive.”

Thomas Gordon

If we want to create emotional health in the relationships with our children, we must learn to speak that language. We need to teach them the importance of boundaries and how important it is in a relationship with having the power to ask for what you want. Intimacy will be created if we allow our children to be vulnerable and feel safe with expressing their needs without being corrected, ignored, or criticized. We should be teaching healthy boundaries from modeling these behaviors in our home and allowing our children to express their preferences openly. If we are unclear about our own personal boundaries this can cause confusion in the relationship with our children. We should be working on improving our lives everyday. Showing our children that life is good and we should be appreciative of the time we have together.

What we all really want is to have a healthy and high nurturance family where we can all feel accepted and are comfortable with being our authentic selves. It doesn’t always mean we get along perfectly, but it creates an environment where we feel accepted enough to genuinely want to be with our children and them wanting to be with us. It lets your children know that when life gets difficult, their father is the one who will help. He is the one who can solve the problem, he can ease the pain, he can find the solution, and he can fight off the bad guys. There is no distortion of who we are, because we speak and act through love. We choose to be peaceful to our children and it will eventually show up in our future relationships with our children.

We Must Break the Cycle

As a peaceful parent I often get asked by other fathers for quick solutions to very complex problems.

What’s the simple answer? Do the work!

In order to resolve issues and solve problems, we must first try to understand what exactly is going on. Why as a father do I insist on having the same arguments with my children day in and day out? What is holding me back from trying to repair the chaos and find better ways? When we are over sensitive and reactive to our child’s disobedience it becomes very difficult to find solutions and we become unaware of how our actions might negatively impact our child’s emotional health. A big lesson I learned with my own family, was that when problems arise I needed to find solutions, instead of escalating the confusion. It was my job as a parent, but more importantly as the father to find solutions.

Even though it seems like centuries ago, I clearly remember how I would erupt into anger and speak to my children with contempt when they disobeyed. Since then, whether the issue was my child not wanting to brush their teeth or load the dishwasher, I made a conscious effort to help my them find a better way to get the task done. You will need the patience of a saint and a tremendous amount of practice. Once you remove the threats you can get creative to find alternate ways of making teeth brushing fun. Really simple tricks can be implemented like having them practice on a stuffed animal or instead of you doing the brushing let them try, even if ineffective. Either way you are removing any negative attachments and making it more enjoyable that will help them better understand the benefits of self care.

“When you become impeccable with your word, your mind is no longer fertile ground for words that come from black magic. Instead, it is fertile for the words that come from love.”

 Miguel Ruiz

I often hear parents complaining about their children. There is this common narrative that having a healthy and high nurturance family is unattainable. Fathers often joke that their kids are assholes and mothers can’t wait to go back to work. I get it, parenting is hard work! It doesn’t mean we avoid our responsibility or take the easy path. If we parent how we were raised, odds are you are unconsciously passing down psychological wounds that you never healed from your childhood. The great news is with support, hard work, and opening up this conversation, the positive results can happen quickly. Especially for fathers that have avoided this pain since childhood.

As new parents we are very receptive to any of our babies needs. We understand that they need to be fed, have their diapers changed, and get adequate sleep. Most parents understand these needs and usually do not let the cries from their baby cause them distress. They know how important it is that they provide these basic human needs, but as they grow things starts to change.

What typically happens is the child now starts to mirror patterns and behaviors that are all to familiar with his parents. This is a natural desire and the beginning of when a child needs to explore their new world. Because he can now say words and start to display preferences, as parents, we start to think he should understand what we say. We start to replicate the language and actions that were inflicted on us as a child. Though we love our parents and usually enjoy their company, this doesn’t mean we were not negatively affected.

A clear indication of how we were impacted is the emotional response we have from our child acting out. If we show discontent, frustration, and anger for the actions of our helpless 2 year old, that only desires to have love and acceptance from his parents, then we need a better plan.

In an attempt to get needs and preferences met the child reacts, not in the same way as a baby, but for the same reasons. This brings us back to our own childhood with the pain we felt and what we were denied as a child. The natural progression of a child is to grow, develop, and explore the world he was born into. Because the child will be strong willed, rebellious, and seem uncontrollable, the unhealed parent will see this as a threat. You will have pain and anger that was held in since childhood because you were once not allowed to display this independence. Unfortunately this is when the emotional abuse starts and in time this usually escalates into physical abuse since the parent now has the power that was once held over him as a child.

This moment might show up with your child being what you perceive as acting careless. Jumping off the couch and smashing onto the floor might get your blood boiling, but instead of over reacting you could place pillows to cushion the fall. Instead of your “wild” child feeling shamed for their natural inclination to be full of life, they can now feel whole without burying any negative feelings. This also allows you peace of mind because your child is safe and you took responsibility over the situation. This will encourage freedom with minimal suffering for both of you.

With ideas of love and family a common narrative that most children hear from their parents, the actions they witness sometimes display the exact opposite. The parents are now reactive and over controlling in order to protect themselves from this exact pain. This continues the cycle and has the child questioning if they are really the cause of all this pain. I mean, your parents love you and they know what’s best, right? This sets the stage with the child creating the false self.

In order to survive the child must suppress who they are and how they feel. In order to please the parents they learn to treat their natural desires as unimportant. They start to realize that if they simply obey, their parents will no longer withhold love from them. They also start to think there might be something wrong with them, that they are a bad person. They think, why else would their parents get mad all the time?

I often say the language we use is very important, especially how we speak about ourselves. The power to transform your homes comes from within. You have the opportunity to give your child the love that you were denied as a child and fully embrace this feeling now as an adult.

“It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.”

Debbie Ford

I hope by opening up these conversations more fathers will be aware of how destructive their unawareness can be to their family. I hope more fathers will take better care of themselves to help lead their families in a healthier way. Right now is the time when we need fathers to be more engaged, more involved, and better role models for their children. When we can follow the “golden rule” and allow our children the freedom to be who they truly are, then we will start to see the rebuilding of healthy families.

Forgotten Strengths of Fatherhood

In modern society the role of the father has become very misguided. Many fathers have lost control of themselves and aren’t aware of how they should display their masculinity in the home. The primary job of the father is one of protection, to encourage their children to explore and develop confidence from a masculine role. A father should be able to teach his children about the importance of becoming their own authentic person and having the ability to be independent in the world. This must come from a place of learning, negotiation, and without the use of force. Initiating force is not always an aggressive act or one that requires physical contact.

When my son was younger I remember thinking how he was feeling when adults were demanding his affection. I know this may not sound important, but why were his feelings not considered? How was I allowing others to push aside my son’s feelings in order for them to not feel offended? This went against everything I valued with raising a confident boy. I was telling him to ignore his instincts, suppress his feelings, and be worried about pleasing others. We should be teaching our children about healthy relationships that do not require coerced affection. It is not my child’s responsibility to satisfy others needs. I should be displaying self respect and teaching my children to be grateful for the relationships we’ve created that help us grow stronger. Instead of being stuck in the continuous trap of being authoritative and trying to control every situation, which then leads to irritation, dishonesty, and ultimately needs more authority. You now have a family environment that is out of control, building resentment, irritating, and has an overall feel of negativity.

We live in a society that constantly diminishes a man’s value within the family and promotes the narrative that we are indispensable to the world. It is my belief that in order to bring peace to our family we need fathers to understand the vast differences between their role in the home and their mission in the world. To go out into the world and face your fears. Having the ability to overcome adversity is a characteristic of a truly powerful man. The father’s role outside of his home should be one that welcomes challenges from other men and looks to succeed through competition. The environment is completely detached from his parenting mode and should not be conflicted. A harsh world demands he embrace his inner power in order to compete with other men and secure the survival of his family. The masculine man does not care about the weaker guy.

“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very, very dangerous man who has it under voluntary control.”

Jordan Peterson

This idea that men should be more empathetic about people in the world that do not care about him is the trap. It is a form of self abuse to think this way and a continuation of the abuse you may have suffered as a child. As a child you did not have a choice, but as a man you have a choice to not allow others to abuse you. You give empathy only to people who give it to you. If you raise your children with empathy, they will better understand what a healthy relationship looks like. They will not be manipulated from others by being overly empathetic. I remember when my middle daughter made the decision to advance in the opposite direction of the herd. At the time I am sure she didn’t understand her new path and probably felt very lonely. The thing is most people don’t realize they are alone. They would rather be surrounded by empty and meaningless interactions instead of going down the time consuming and strenuous path of self knowledge. This can only happen when we commit to focusing on ourselves and raise the standards we have with the people we choose to have in our lives. Your children will develop motivation from within, not with the purpose to please their parents or other adults.

Being consistent with your words and actions will help create trust and respect. Teaching respect through action instead of demanding it is very important. Understanding the degree of respect you will be treated with is the degree that you treat yourself and others. It is disrespectful to your wife and children if you are not treating yourself with respect. To display characteristics that show them you do not take care of yourself, to think you are not valuable, and to not carry yourself with respect.

“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”

Carl Jung

You would be amazed at how productive life becomes when you give your child the freedom to choose. When your child displays confidence in themselves from the teachings you instilled through patience and dedication. Imagine the strength and love we could create by supporting fathers with practicing peaceful parenting in the home. I think this has the power to change the world within a few generations.

Vulnerability in childhood

Men have a passion to conquer.

Men have a thirst for knowledge.

Men are curious and seeking answers.

Men are doing the hard work to be masterful.

Men are displaying a strong desire to improve their lives.

Men are learning to be vulnerable and are becoming powerful.

Sometimes the pain and fear we experience is associated with our inability to understand how helpless we were as a child. When we were children, we could not express our needs because it made us vulnerable to being hurt more. We were often put in situations where we experienced negative emotions and were not allowed to express them. We had to keep these negative emotions buried inside in order to please our parents. If we expressed unhappiness we were made to suffer with more punishment. There was no explanation of how we should express ourselves in a healthy way. There was only a demand of compliance. This is the start of emotional abuse in the home.

Numerous studies show that spanking doesn’t work and overtime the level of severity increases in order to get continued compliance. Over the last fifty years, these studies have revealed only long term negative effects in child development. Resorting to this method of parenting is not the behavior of a man with self control.

Click to access corporal-punishment-gershoff.pdf

We will struggle with this same process in our home as a parent. We become adults who get easily frustrated by our own child’s unrelenting behaviors. This is usually a sign of how unaware and disconnected we really are with ourselves. We become angry, aggressive, and often spank our child when they don’t listen. This feeling of being helpless has nothing to do with our own child and is an indicator that we still struggle with our own true identity. We are not angry with our child. We are angry with our parents.

“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”

Epictetus 

There is an understanding that from failure we can grow stronger. The same is true with understanding our own weakness. We make excuses to avoid the truth. The truth that we had no say as a child. The truth that we were not considered a priority to the parents we needed love from the most.

Avoiding the abuse that was done to us is reflective of how society is shaping up. With all the serious problems that are specifically threatening men in society these days, I believe breaking this abusive pattern in childhood will help men be better equipped with solving difficulties in adulthood. As you take responsibility for your own parenting you will have anger fill your mind. This anger will allow you to stop making excuses for those who wronged you. Anger is sometimes needed to grow.

A Fathers Internal Prison

There is this constant desire to have our children bend to our will. To obtain power with their submission even if our intent is not virtuous. This very acceptance of mistreating our children in the face of authority is a submission to our own internal prison. We are allowing fear to control the future of our families existence. If I am imposing my will on my child in order to attend to my needs, then it is not a genuine relationship. We should want our children to live their life according to their own innermost desires and not according to somebody else’s ideals.

We were all once a child and all once innocent. The unawareness we have with our own children is an exact indicator of how we suppress this innocence. As men, we have failed at trying to cover up our ignorance. The slightest amount of pressure reveals nothing but darkness and pain. We have allowed the ego to control our intelligence. No longer is the child allowed to be free, instead the agenda has become about being impenetrable. The ideas of vulnerability are cast aside. This leads the child to feeling they can not engage with their parents in an emotional and honest way. In an effort to appease their parents, children are now living through a false self to meet the demands. Eventually leading to a  lack of genuine connection, which fosters a relationship lacking emotional authenticity. Every interaction becomes about the parents’ needs and the role a child must fill to please them. As an adult it becomes difficult to have open and honest relationships because you were taught to always put others first. We lose a sense of who we really are, our true self, and find difficulty connecting with people who openly accept us for just being who we are.

“Because sons have disagreed with their fathers, forefathers, with their whole tradition, man has evolved. This whole evolution is a tremendous disagreement with the past. The more intelligent you are, the more you are going to disagree. But parents appreciate the child who agrees; they condemn the child who disagrees…”

Osho

The resistance we experience with allowing our child to be fully accepted is related to our own struggles with self acceptance. Giving your children the freedom to grow, learn, be adventurous, make mistakes, and sometimes fail, will teach them lessons in obtaining confidence with their own decision making. You may have disagreements, but remember, they are part of a healthy relationship. Most fathers have nothing but the best intentions for their children, however, they have a hard time letting go of this control. Are you centered? Are you living with virtue? Will you be happy to have a child and will the child be happy that he was fortunate to have a father like you?

Working on self discipline in myself has eliminated the need for enforcement of these disagreements. I started to find peace when I stopped trying to control the external and took responsibility for my power of the internal. A true savage knows that peace does not come from control, but from relinquishing control. The child is simply a continuation of the father’s being.

My journey as a father

“Your baby is not growing enough in your womb and is not receiving everything he needs from your placenta due to the single umbilical artery. For that reason we are going to take you into labor and delivery immediately.” As a husband, my immediate reaction was to console my wife and reassure her as best as I could that everything would go smoothly. Was I sure about this? Absolutely not, but I knew that I needed to be the rock in our relationship, especially in such a traumatic moment of having an unscheduled C-section.  

This is where my journey began, working everyday to be the best father I could be for my son in addition to the husband to my wife. My son was premature 5 weeks with a net weight of 4.9 lbs and measured 16 inches in length. He is the most precious nugget in the world. The moment my son opened his big dark grey eyes and looked at my wife, I could not hold back the tears that I had witheld the last two days in the hospital. The flood gates opened, and out came the river of tears. It was the best feeling of relief that I have ever experienced, I knew that our little fighter was going to be just fine.

I wouldn’t have been able to stay positive like I was if it wasn’t for the support from my brother-in-law. Anthony has helped me to become the best version of myself. He was able to help me connect to what really mattered in my life, and not the nonsense around us. As a husband and father, the most important thing is to help each other grow and keep ourselves honest to move forward.  I began doing the deep work of reading books and listening to psychologists and peaceful parent activists such as Dr. Mate, Dr. Markham, and the philosopher Stefan Molyneux. What I really needed to focus on was myself, and I started doing that in an effort to be the best version of myself. I began reading more books than ever before that ranged from self-growth, parenting, and healing. With the likes of these books and Anthony, I realized that in order to be the best, we have to be able to heal first. I started healing from my trauma by having conversations with my parents about why they raised us the way we did. From my adolescent years, I promised myself that I would be better to my children when the time came. The benefits of an open and honest relationship with your spouse, a loving and caring relationship with your child, and surrounding yourself around people who challenge you and encourage you to grow is what is truly important. Change begins within, if you put in the time and effort, ultimately the value of your work will shine bright.  Being a victim of trauma, rather than focusing on the pain and hurt, I realized what I needed to do. Many men struggle with this trauma and lash out on their spouse and children rather than addressing the root of the trauma and heal. As men it is important to reflect on our feelings and emotions, and react in a positive manner rather than the social norm reaction that has left adults with more rooted trauma than before.

-Michael P

What guides you?

How do you judge the direction your going?

As a man and a father, I have pushed the limits to learn what is needed to raise my children in a healthy environment. In a world that doesn’t seem to care much about children, I made it a priority to show my kids what a high nurturance, functioning family might look like.

With the majority of parents still hitting their kids and using punishment for bad behavior, as a society we have a long difficult path ahead of us. I think a large problem lies in the responsibility of parents, and the diminished role of the father in today’s family. What are the principles being passed down? What are we actually showing our kids, what life is supposed to look like. Are we being consistent with our parenting and honest with ourselves?

When we yell at our child for making a simple mistake, are we aware of what we are displaying? Do we expect them to understand patience if we ourselves are not practicing it? As a man it frustrates me that fathers do not have the self control to focus and engage their children in a way that will be beneficial for father and son. We have lost our way in setting standards to what a healthy and mutual relationship looks like. We no longer think long term solutions, but rather seek instant relief from simple and annoying problems. We are controlled by the inner voices that make us lash out, speak harsh words, and use brute force. These are not the tactics fathers should be using to raise children. We fail to recognize with our true self, all while we are passing down our own childhood traumas to our children without any awareness of the damage being done. We have built a system based on falsehood and avoid any real solutions because of a fear in the pain we would feel from taking the path of healing ourselves.

In order to create structure within the family we need to stop allowing excessive shame, guilt, fears, intolerance, neglect, denial, and abuse guide us as fathers. We need to start having important conversations about effective communication, needs and nurturing, healing psychological wounds, reducing childhood trauma, and what we need to do as fathers to restore family values. We need to create love and connection by accepting these challenges and becoming stronger men in the process.

“There’s no weakness as great as false strength.”

― Stefan Molyneux

Thoughts on bullies?

We constantly see campaigns and programs to help combat the epidemic of bullying in our children’s schools and playgrounds. Bullying is a big problem in society and is a serious threat to the mental health of our children. With all the resources and attention that is invested into combating bullying, why do we still see a constant need for help? I think it is important to examine the effects of how children are parented in their earliest years and how it conditions their perception of bullying.

The reason why parents mistreat their children has less to do with character and temperament than with the fact that they were mistreated themselves and were not permitted to defend themselves.” Alice Miller.

The first five years of a child’s life is the most impressionable and will determine most of their personality and behavioral traits. We blame video games, hardcore music, and even some cartoons for the violent behaviors of our children. Why do we think that all these societal influences are more harmful than spanking your baby or young child?

To condition your baby for the first three years through threats, yelling, screaming, blaming, and punishment will be the biggest indicator of their future self. As a parent if we instill obedience, submission to authority, and reinforce complacency as opposed to encouragement, curiosity, and self worth, we are subconsciously setting the stage for bullying. If we move our focus away from these obvious abuses, we can start to explore aspects of self esteem, patience, negotiation, and reasoning in regards to reducing the effects of bullying in our society.

I really believe all parents try to love their children, but have difficulty providing a truly nurturing and functionally healthy home environment. They never fully healed from their own childhood and continue to pass down their unresolved pain. This to me is the start of how we condition our children to become a bully or be the victim of one. If we speak the language of fear, anger, resentment, and pain to our children from the time they are born, this is the language they will speak to the world. We must learn deal with our children during their most impressionable years with love, kindness, and patience. We need to get out of the mindset that this problem with bullying is external. Children mirror their parents and so we must work on loving ourselves more to help our children.

Being kind and taking the time to teach instead of using force will not make your child weak. It will create connection and a bond that can be used to communicate openly and help to build mutual relationships. To me these children that are raised peacefully will be the key to a future with no bullying.

I would often think that I needed to prepare my children for a harsh and cruel world. Now I tell my children that they have the responsibility to spread love into the world.

If we really want children to stop bullying than we need to stop blaming the children and look at the behavior and actions of the adults who are raising these children!

Fathers raising sons

“It is easier to build strong children than fix broken men.”

When you have great strength, the lightest touch is true masculinity.

Why is there not more of a focus on how we treat our sons the first 5 years they are born?

I think disregarding the effects of physical and emotional abuse in the first 5 years is setting up the ground work to allow the dysfunction we see in our society.

The destruction of the family, the breakdown of masculine values, and the constant diminishing of a fathers importance seems to be a common narrative these days.

Today one third of children are living with an unmarried parent. About one in five are living with a single mother. I believe that children being raised by two parents and within a loving and healthy family will be the most important factors for a better future.

“Living in homes without dads is more correlated with suicide among teenagers than any other factor.” ― Warren Farrell, The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It

So how can we raise strong, happy, and healthy sons?

I believe that we should raise our boys with a great balance in life. With power, strength, courage, confidence, empathy, patience, compassion, determination, kindness, and love. The old narrative that we need to be hard on our boys has shown to be a very destructive path. I think following an ideology that is not based on virtues will ultimately fail and I believe this is what we are seeing in our society. For generations we have conditioned our boys to be to hard, to obey, and to submit to authority. We have disciplined through hitting and created obedience through fear. You can not learn and grow from yelling, shouting, hitting, and being under constant control. If we want to help men we need to take responsibility as fathers. As strong and powerful men we need to protect our children and not be seen as a monster. We need to stop hitting our sons and raise them with virtue. We need to stop allowing pain from past generations destroy the bond between men. We need to come together and speak about important issues. We need to have difficult conversations about disciplining children, creating connection in our families, building strong bonds between men, showing our daughters what it means to be a good man, how men can support each other, and why we need more honesty.

We need to have a focus on how important fathers are in the family and share with each other the great things that were passed down to us from our fathers. We need to have self love and care about ourselves enough to heal, so we can be the hero to our own sons. We do not need super powers and a cape or the ability to slam dunk from the foul line, but we need to start taking responsibility for our own lives, eating healthy, exercising, reading books, meditation, creating good habits, practicing good routines, and continuing to become the strongest version of ourselves.

We need to create intelligent, strong, capable, compassionate, kind, and masculine men that will not have to spend their life recovering from their childhood.