Most people don’t like to be criticised, especially if they feel an element of guilt about their actions.
I’ve been on the receiving end of it. One shuts down, emotionally and mentally, and just tries to get the criticiser to shut up, however right they are.
There is an art in offering advice/criticism/suggestions - and it often involves saying nothing at all when one judges that it will not be well received. If people want one's advice, they'll ask for it (and even then the best response might be to say nothing at all)
So many people mistreat their children. They complain about them, they send them to school against their wills. They leave them crying in the night. They complain that they cannot sufficiently control them, as if they were radio cars, not autonomous humans.
But what they want to hear is not “apologise, pick yourself up, strive to do better by yourself and by your child.” Instead they want to hear “you’re doing your best, girl. It’s a really hard thing being a Mum. You have to be cruel to be kind. They’ve got to learn. They all go through it. (S)he'll be fine soon, tears all forgotten”
There’s a part of me screaming “those children have to have someone advocating for them” but maybe it does more harm than good – maybe it sets the mothers on a self-defensive path of following the consistency principle. It certainly gets one seriously flamed. And being flamed is good for getting the adrenilin flowing, but less good at stomach-ulcer-avoidance.
I wish I’d read this:
“To so many parents, stopping a child crying by cuddling it will spoil them and
no research will persuade them otherwise unless they repeatedly see
real-life examples. I wish I could package up all that I’ve been lucky
enough to learn and experience and hand it to other parents, but I
can’t. All parents have to make their journey themselves and I have
to just hope that the small exposure they may have to how we do things, and
to how our children turn out, might add to any other exposure they have to
similar families and might, just might, give them the confidence to trust their
before setting off on yet another doomed crusade on the mainstream boards. It’s right. Small steps, Ellie, small steps. Just live your life, and treat the children you meet yourself as fully human, and let the ripples spread in their own time.
Better to look to learn rather than to convince or teach. Whether others are doing the same or not is their responsibility. If there are spaces where one learns little of value, avoid them. There is an arrogance in going to those of different beliefs and values and saying "here, try mine, they are much better". One will always be convinced of the moral superiority of one's own position, or one wouldn't hold that position, but that does not mean that it is infallibly better, and nor does it mean that explaining it to someone else is going to be helpful to them. Much better to find spaces in which one can challenge and refine one's own ideas than to attempt to teach others.
'Sfunny, I've taken to the idea of unschooling as the ideal for children like a duck to water, but have had this big blind spot in my dealings with other adults...