Peaceful Parenting is Activism, our Ritual, and Legacy

Photography: Polina Downar Photography

By Lelia Schott

When I started my online advocacy and consulting page 9 years ago, I was often insulted online and “lost” friends and family.  

Standing up for the rights of children in the parent-child relationship and classroom can trigger trauma in individuals and society.  

I’m forever grateful for the likeminded mentors and friends I found online. I continue to learn from so many of you. Thank you for being a part of the peaceful parenting moment, which is growing every day.  

Before I found my tribe, advocating for nonviolent discipline felt hopeless, especially when even the so-called experts, pediatricians, psychologists, teachers and religious leaders, the very people trained in the area of physical, psychological, relational, educational and spiritual health, often advocate for punishment, rewards and fear-based leadership in an attempt to modify behaviour and grow humans.  

Through independent research, I discovered that there have always been people against punishing children and fear-based practices. I read and share the work of the pioneers who advocate for children and gentle parenting often.  

I’ve grown to understand that even physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health experts were once children programmed by their relationships and environments. 

Under all our conditioning and coping mechanisms, we are the gentle and strong people we aspire to be. If we choose to acknowledge that we all have patterns to unlearn.  

I now consider myself a parent activist as well as a child advocate. I advocate for the child within us all.  

I am thrilled that many academics, specialists, leaders and celebrities are speaking out against corporal punishment and advocating for mental health and social change through conscious parenting.  

We know that a child’s nervous system develops over the first six years of life and their brain takes up to 24 years to fully develop. We also know that although it takes a lot of inner-work, it is possible to rewire the brain and reprogram the nervous system at any stage.

Many now believe that reparenting ourselves as we parent our children is a second opportunity to nurture our body, brain and bonds. 

Humans require secure attachment, emotional coaching through coregulation on repeat, and a good enough example until maturity to grow kind and resilient. 

As parents, we don’t have to be perfect. In fact, that would rob children of the opportunity to learn how to take responsibility for mistakes and how to repair ruptures in relationships, and to be loved and accepted for the imperfect beings we are. Growing with our children is part of nature’s design. 

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