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.

How to build healthy adults?

I am constantly wondering why so many parents and adults would want to cause children so much pain.

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” – Alfie Kohn.

Why do I always hear the narrative that we need to hit children, punish them, and shame them in order to teach them? Why do we keep repeating phrases like kids these days are screwed up because their parents are to easy on them? Do we really think that our life as an adult would be better if we were hit, beat, and physically abused as a child?

How can we be so disconnected from what our child is going through, but at the same time think we are creating a relationship they will want to be a part of? How do we not see the parallels in our own struggles as an adult to have meaningful and satisfying relationships?

What if we started to really do the work necessary in creating healthy children? What if we focused more of our attention on nourishing and repairing our relationships with our children? What would that look like?

What would our families look like if we raised our children without threatening them, if we didn’t intimidate them, if we stopped punishing them, if we stopped raising our voices at them, if we stopped teaching them to submit to authority and power?

What if we encouraged them, we listened more, we apologized, we took the time to teach them, we were patient with them, we helped build confidence in them, we showed them what its like to grow up with love, to grow up being proud and strong, and to have them look up to us because of how they were treated.

For them to know that we put in the work, we challenged ourselves, we pushed through hard times, we didn’t make excuses, and we did not submit to the easy and instant gratification at the expense of the long term relationship we could have with our children.

Avoidance of our own true identity through parenting.

Most people understand the concept of projection and displaying our own characteristics out onto other people. Whatever we don’t own about ourselves we project onto others.What I have noticed is this concept is completely disregarded when it comes to the person we nurture and care for from the time they are born.

When we are able to be authentic and love ourselves we will take the necessary steps to creating our healthiest and best selves. We will love ourselves enough to eat healthy, exercise regularly, read and expand or minds, and focus our energy on creating better and more balanced lives. These concepts and principles will be transmitted to our parenting styles and how we treat our children. I often see parents being reactive and speak to their kids from stress, pain, and discomfort. Instead of being in control of their emotions and thoughts they will use language that is hurtful to ease the pain within themselves. If we are feeling anxious or stressed we will project that onto our kids and create a chaotic atmosphere which then will be blamed on the children. In order to create happy and healthy environments for our children, first we must change the way we speak to ourselves. Once we can accept our selves then we can work on changing the language we use with our children. We will be able to speak in ways that are effective and transmit love, connection, honesty, openness, and respect.

Most parents do not accept their children for who they are. They try to shape and mold them to fit into a narrative that is most pleasing to the parent. This happens usually because the parent does not accept them self. The effects lead to the child creating a false self and suppressing who they want to be in order to appease their parent. They will seem obedient and favorable to the parents desires in order to escape pain and fear. In order to create a genuine experience for your children you must learn to speak their language. You must encourage goodness, creativity, and have them be passionate about who they will become. This process takes a lot of strength and courage on the part of the parent. They must look inward and learn to accept who they are. They need to understand that their self acceptance is the crucial tool to be passed down to their children.

In the United States over 80% of parents still hit or spank their kids.

I wanted to share the facts and evidence showing that all the consequences of hitting and spanking result in negative outcomes. There is no counter argument that supports the positive effects of hitting and spanking.

In all studies hitting a child causes very harmful effects such as increased aggressive behavior, lower self esteem, increased drug addiction, increased antisocial behavior, increased criminal behavior, increased risk of spousal abuse, decrease in mental health and physical health as an adult. Very similar results were found with spanking. The evidence is clear that by hitting your child you could have a huge negative impact in determining their future health and happiness.

How we are treated as a child and our relationships with adults will shape how we experience the world. There is no dispute that early childhood trauma from violence is damaging. Most parents I speak to resort to spanking because they see quick changes in behavior. It is a quick and easy way to resolve a problem and generally will please the parents. To raise better children we must take the time to to solve problems, we must listen, we must have clear communication, and we must give our children the same attention that we would want in any relationship.

I know parenting is hard and stressful. I have 3 kids ages 21,18, and 13 that I am currently experimenting with! When I started to make the shift to peaceful parenting a lot of people questioned the effectiveness and criticized my abilities as the man of the house. The true sign of confidence and strength is how the stronger, bigger, and smarter individuals in society treat the smallest and weakest. My kids were not hit, spanked, and have not been punished in over a decade. When I see the relationship that has been created with them over the years I am continually amazed at how open, honest, and genuine they are. I am grateful for their understanding of how important they are not only to me and their mother, but to themselves.

I constantly hear phrases like, be present with people without sacrificing who you are, live your life like you’re the hero in your own movie, and create a life you love. The narrative to think happy thoughts, the power of the mind, rewire your brain, be self aware, tell the truth, and be authentic, is continually promoted by self help gurus, social media stars, and some of the most inspiring authors. What if we can take concepts that look to help people reach their full potential in life and apply them to our children. If we start raising kids peacefully and stop abusing, hitting, spanking, neglecting, shaming, and punishing them I believe this will be the best way to get past the road blocks most of face when trying to improve as adults.

There are many things to improve on with raising happy and healthy children. The first step for a better future is, as parents we need to take responsibility for our actions and start raising our children without physical violence. Spanking is violence.

My journey in becoming a peaceful father.

My story started over 12 years ago when I decided to listen to that little voice in my head that was telling me I needed to start taking care of myself. I needed to focus more of my energy on becoming a better dad but also a better person. I made a choice to raise my 3 children peacefully and wanted to learn as much as I could about giving them the greatest chance at having a happy and healthy life. In an attempt to help prevent my children from experiencing all the dysfunction and pain I was seeing in the world I knew I needed to start with basic principles like no hitting, no spanking, and no punishing. This was not a common parenting method at the time and I really did not understand why so many people were not embracing and implementing these positive ideas into their families.

As I started my journey and started reading books, articles, and listening to podcasts on peaceful parenting I knew this was the path that I needed to go down. I learned many valuable lessons and one of the most important was actually not about being a father or parent but more about loving and accepting myself. When I learned to empathize with myself as a child, I now had the capabilities to understand what my kids were going through when they were misbehaving or not being present with me. I gained this power that allowed me to work on myself and focus on improving me so that I can help and be available with my kids.

“So while you can’t control your children, you can control someone who has a tremendous influence on how your children relate to each other. You.” 
― Laura Markham

Lead by example is a saying often used and sounds like common sense but is very difficult to follow. I see many men not taking care of themselves in regards to their health and diet these days. If you are to be strong enough to take care of your family, spouse, and kids you must start with yourself on every level. You must love yourself enough to be healthy, to go to the gym, to exercise, to eat good foods, and to make this a priority in your life. If we do not raise our kids peacefully with love it is a clear indication of how we see ourselves.

My purpose of this blog will be to share my journey and progress on how I raised my standards in myself which ultimately led to me raising my standards with my children and within my family. I have experienced first hand the power in repairing parent and child relationships through connection, love, kindness, patience, and negotiations. I have had many uncomfortable discussions about how kids these days are spoiled, entitled, and have no respect for their parents and how
being weak or soft as a parent is the cause of this. I find it hard to believe that the smallest and most vulnerable people in society would not benefit by being treated the exact way we would want others to treat us. The challenge is do we love ourselves enough to create the change?