Gentle parenting is a crock of shit. I said it, but you were thinking it.
For the baby boomer generation, the fad was to deny and suppress the trauma altogether. You’ll hear your parents and grandparents say, well, you turned out fine, didn’t you?
For Millennials, it is all about admitting we have the trauma, then doing nothing about it, which I refer to as spiritual bypassing.
Spiritual Bypassing is a form of avoiding or going around having to do the deep internal work necessary to grow. Things that fall into this category are toxic positivity, relying on psychedelics for “a moment with God,” or in the parenting realm: gentle parenting.
Listen, gentle parenting is not all bad – I am simply shedding light on how people are confusing what it is and how to utilize it.
The term “generational trauma” has become a total buzzword, and you’ll notice it all over the internet, especially with light-hearted memes and jokes referring to parenting.
Do I laugh? Absolutely. Does gentle parenting stop generational trauma? Absolutely not.
Let’s start with what gentle parenting actually is:
It is a box of tools. This box of tools is what parents can refer to when they need assistance learning how to RESPECT their child.
These techniques provided by teachers, coaches, therapists, etc., are excellent. They provide instruction, insight, and reassurance for parents ready to address their children differently because they recognize that they deserve it.
It is also the first step to recognizing in yourself (as the parent) that you experienced behaviors and patterns in your childhood that you don’t want to inflict on your child.
Here is where people start to get lost in the sauce.
While utilizing gentle parenting techniques does create space to change the narrative generationally, it does not stop the patterns from being passed on. The only way to not pass on patterning is to HEAL them in yourself, so they are not present for your children.
Let me give you an example of this.
My mother’s trauma from childhood was having an alcoholic mother, who put the responsibility on her to essentially raise her little sister. She, in turn, raised herself and others because she was not emotionally supported.
When my mother had me, she was deadset on not repeating the same mistakes. This meant she was never to drink, and she would never put the responsibility on me to care for my siblings. It is true – I did not have to experience these things.
But you know what I did experience?
A mother who meant well, but was never shown how to nurture, so she was emotionally absent my entire childhood. She focused on providing financially. Working to pay the bills and give the latest clothes and sneakers was the only way she knew how to show love.
What did this result in? I emotionally raised myself because she could not support me.
Do you see now that even with a different narrative, it was still passed down the SAME generational trauma wound?
My grandmother, my mother, and then myself as a mother were a line of women who were shown they were undeserving of love and emotional support.
Had my mother taken steps to heal herself, she would have had the capacity to show up for me differently.
This brings us back full circle – This is why gentle parenting isn’t working for you.
If you are leaning on these techniques to stop the cycle of trauma from being passed down, you are spiritually bypassing.
The only way to stop the cycle is to EMBODY healthy patterns.
Too often we put all of our energy into our children; we put them first and ourselves last.
I feel another buzzword coming on… it’s always in good company with gentle parenting and trauma – TRIGGERS.
People who have not taken steps to start their healing journey often refer to gentle parenting techniques to AVOID and SUPPRESS triggers activated by their children.
This is not parenthood. There is a reason our children mirror back our wounds; it’s, so we do something about them.
You cannot escape yourself. And when you choose to deny, push away, or avoid the pain being presented in you, you indirectly show your children they should do the same with their pain.
INACTION is still an action.
We are not meant to suffer this deeply as parents. There is a reality where your children do not trigger you.
Hard to believe, right? Mainstream media has made a killing off of telling moms that having daily meltdowns and going into psychosis is part of being a parent.
Not in my reality!
Okay, you may be wondering; Krystal, you got a point here. But how do I start my healing journey?
It’s time to get help. If healing were easy, we wouldn’t be passing down ancestral trauma like it’s our job.
The best place to start is your childhood. Take a step forward by choosing to unpack it and look for resources that help you heal your inner child.
For me, this was so amazingly presented through a grief specialist. You don’t need to lose a loved one to see one – You can mourn experiences, people, places, and even the old you.
Life coaches, spiritual coaches, general therapists, and specialized therapists (I recommend grief and PTSD-focused) are great starting points.
Make the time. Carve out an hour a week that is concrete and non-negotiable so you can dive deeper into yourself. I don’t care how much your husband works or how many dance recitals and soccer games you have this week – if you want to stop the cycle, you have to change the cycle.
All in all – gentle parenting does nothing when it stands on its own.
But gentle parenting can be truly empowering if you use it as an added support while you do your shadow work.
Think of it like peanut butter and jelly, they are enjoyable individually, but they are out of this world together.