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Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through character, emotions, and establishing authentic communication with their children. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Honesty.
Authenticity was a key word here at Chez Green during 2012.
Mr Green and I looked at aspects of our lives where we were not being authentic and started to make changes.
There comes a time in your path, I feel, when the inauthentic parts of you start to jar more and more…
The compromises you once made no longer feel right. The fear of not shining your light gets too much to bear. And you just don’t feel comfortable inside yourself; you feel exhausted and a wrongness in your core.
But it’s not always easy to be authentic because there are cultural expectations, community expectations, family expectations…
People seldom like change; particularly when they’ve boxed and labelled you and ‘know you’. They’re thrown into a loop when you change because their safe reality has to change too.
So you can find that as you become more authentic, people around you create situations with you in order to test things out…
Once of the values that has been most important to me in my relationship with Little Miss green has been honesty. And for that, I guess I mean, authenticity.
We say it how it is.
The other day my daughter said “I just need to say that when you did xxx I felt really angry and upset. You said xxx but then you xxx” and so it went on.
I nodded, validated and we moved on.
but it wasn’t enough. I could see she was actually looking for a fight, an argument. Hey, she’s a tween; remember that need, that urge, that CRAVING to fight all the time??!!
So she started again to try and goad me, to get me to rise to her bait.
I looked at her and said “I’m not here to argue, we argue too much and it depletes my energy. I’m not here to apologise because I feel that what I did was ok. Instead I’m validating the way you feel – honouring your angry and upset feelings.”
She went off for a minute, slammed a door, but within five minutes had asked me for a cuddle…
Despite the work of John Holt, I’ve always been one for praise too. I admit this is because I felt I had none as a child and it wounded me. As parents I think we flip the other way – perhaps our children will be the ones to find equilibrium and balance! But with the praise comes the criticism – the authentic opposite.
If little Miss Green brings me a piece of work to admire, I’ll admire it – if it’s worthy of admiration. But if I know she could do better I’ll say so. If it’s a piece of art I’ll say whether I like it or not – after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. She likes to dress up, do her hair and will ask for my feedback. If I like her choice of outfit I’ll say, but if not I’ll say that too.
Sometimes I can be quite harsh. I’m naturally critical so I strive to balance authenticity with diplomacy. Then I see it as constructive.
What I’m hoping is, as my daughter moves into her teenage years, she’ll know where we stand. She’ll know she can come to me for honest opinion. She knows she can come to me with whatever is on her mind or whatever she is experiencing. Yes I might get angry and upset her with my reaction, but it’s real. It’s raw and honest and I don’t know about you, but I can deal with whatever is thrown at me as long as I have an honest response and know where I’m at. She knows she is fiercely loved by me and that my love is unconditional.
I ask for space when I need it (I’m an introvert, highly sensitive and I need a LOT of time alone).
I express my anger (not in the best way; I usually throw things, but I’m working on it and it’s better than the anger that hides behind a superficial smile).
I express my love
I cry, I laugh, I dance like a child, I sing in the supermarket operatic style when I’m feeling brave 😉
Being authentic is listening to that inner guidance, meditating when you need to, crying when you feel like it, shouting when it feels good to release, scribbling on a page, creating a beautiful meal, having space alone, cuddling, being one person one minute and another the next (and loving them the same), loving the moment, hating the moment, singing at the top of your voice (even when there are people around) being true, not being scared to be you in all your glory…
Being authentic is raw, evolving, primordial, it can hurt, it brings joy…
What about you? What does being authentic look like to you?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 25 with all the carnival links.)
- Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting – Authentic Parenting compares Western Child centered parenting with African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity.
- Honoring My Forgiving Heart — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
- Sincere and Credible — Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
- Being Authentic — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account…
- Authenticity — Sustainable Mum shares how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
- Authenticity through Consensual Living — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
- Authenticity Through Emotions — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer’s) own emotions.
- Authentic Grief — Erica at ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well-adjusted adults.
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