How would you feel if you found out that the books you read in order to achieve success and think positively were commonplace in your child’s elementary school? If you are startled, it means that you have some degree of doubt that the misinterpreted Positive Parenting and the mysticised New Age philosophies are innocently strengthening emotional development. That is my doubt.
According to a critical perspective, the personal development rush that became very popular within the recent years is encouraging individuals to give up on their environment and focus solely on their existence:
“This search of soul is not sincere or real, but rather a moral search aiming to join in a cultural capitalism cult. (…) An individual cannot enrich her moral world by stepping into his own internal space and making self-benefiting decisions. The only way to start enrichment is to reach outwards to other people.” says Ilker Ozdemir in his Critical Evaluation of NLP Books.
In a New Age book for children published in 2013, we see a baby in her mother’s womb saying: “My mother is the most suitable mother for me”. I am not sure how my daughter will perceive this cute and simply illustrated modern times picture book. What can the concept of “My mother is the most suitable mother for me” do for a messy child when, for example, her mother is a neat freak and does definitely not fit into a good parenting model?P
Positive Parenting: A slow road to nowhere
The international yoga instructor Kimberly Johnson says that not all yoga instructors can handle looking unmotivated. She explains: “Because, the yoga instructor is a role model for her student.” Feeling as if she broke the spiritual groups’ pact of “seeing everything positively,” Johnson admits:
“I have found both in myself and in my peers a lack of courage to engage in truthful dialogue around teaching philosophy and practice. I didn’t have the nerve to tell my friend that she was giving the same dharma talk in every class and it was getting old. No one had the nerve to tell the male teacher to stop serial-dating his students. There is this gaping hole of communication, as if egos are so fragile and every class so personal and precious that there is no room for dialogue.”
Johnson, who devoted her life to yoga and meditation, wants us to realize this: The meditation does not reveal its power through singing songs in Sanskrit without understanding the lyrics or repeating “Everything is how they should be.”
“The positivity train is a slow road to nowhere. Why? Because just believing things to be awesome doesn’t make them awesome. Repeating to yourself (or others) that everything is perfect when you actually feel like shit just pastes a veneer over what you are really feeling, which then has to get peeled away later. In my experience, the fake-it-til-you-make-it approach doesn’t work. Shellac some positivity over trauma, and you’ve got yourself a grief pain packet waiting for you at some later date. Glue a “yes” onto some definite “no’s” and you get yourself a recipe for unexplained depression.”
‘Awesome’ parenting isn’t what the children really need
Many people say “There is no need to have a child in this crazy world”. But then, when the right time comes, we do have children… in this crazy world! Now that we have them, keeping them in a golden cage will not solve any issues. The best thing to do would be returning the child’s right to live his life as he wishes. Instead of controlling them, let’s try to be by their side when they need us.
Just like we do, children too have the right to cry, get upset, or grief after uncontrollable events. The healthy choice will be to not hide but tell the truth –of course, in the appropriate way according to his age.
All you really need to do is to make your child feel that you are on his side, even when he is sad.
By Gulus G. Turkmen
Turkmen is the author of the book Map of Motherhood published by Dixi Books http://dixibooks.com/categories/education/map-of-motherhood/