So, here’s a thing: My parents are awesome people. Genuinely. I don’t know if ideas like “attachment parenting” were common when I was little, but from what I’ve seen of those ideas, my parents would agree with them.
They were so strongly against the normalization of violence that they were reluctant to let me play with water squirt guns if they looked too much like real guns. My father disapproved of Pokemon, because Pokemon are supposed to be living creatures that are like pets, and then you make them fight each other? That’s not ok, why would you do that? (I never really wanted to get into Pokemon, so I thought it was kind of endearing that he cared so much about fictional magical animals.)
Corporal punishment was completely out of the question, and not only that– I can count the number of times I’ve heard my mother either curse or even just raise her voice in anger on one hand.
Gentle describes everything about my upbringing, I believe, not only the outward actions I’ve described but also in subtext and intent. I was sometimes worried about disappointing my parents, but I was never afraid of angering them or of being punished. I never felt unsafe because of them.
The only problem is, their gentle and well-meaning way of dealing with my childhood misbehavior often involved asking me to explain why I did things. So they could understand. So they could help. And I don’t want this to sound like I think they weren’t sincere, because I believe they were, and I don’t want to suggest that this is always a bad strategy, because it would probably work for some children, but for me, it didn’t work.
(to be continued when I’m less tired)