This is a letter that a client wrote to her mother in her endeavour to make it clear that she and her husband were committed to peaceful parenting and that her mother wasn’t going to get her to change her mind. It was written with the hope that if she clearly explained her need to be accepted unconditionally, despite having different views about parenting, that there was more chance that her parents could do that. It’s been edited to preserve the identity of the mother who wrote it.
I’m very hurt and a bit angry by what happened the other day when little Ethan was really upset and telling me to go away and how you spoke to him. I know you believed that he was being rude and defiant and needed to be told off. I saw that he was upset and this was his only way of showing us, what he actually needed was for me to show him that I could see he was upset and to help him. He was overwhelmed at the end of a big day.
I know with all of my heart that you and Dad love me, but there are some parts of me that I feel you do not accept. I am doing my very, very best in this life, but I often feel like you and Dad think some of my beliefs don’t matter.
I realize that I’m doing things a lot differently than you did, and I realize that I value a lot of things you don’t. But I would still really like to have your acceptance of me, as I am. I want your unconditional love.
I am not writing this letter to hurt you; I am writing it because I don’t know how to say it in person, and I am writing it because I want you to know that I am committed to the way my family and I are living. I am committed to healthy eating, I am committed to healing myself, and I am committed to peaceful parenting.
I am writing this letter because I hope that it will help you understand what I am doing so that I can feel like my decisions are understood. Peaceful parenting is the parenting style we are following believing that it’s what fits with our values. It is also called aware parenting.
It has not been easy for either of us to change the way we are parenting; we still find it difficult and we are by no means perfect at it! However, after spending a lot of time researching it, this type of parenting really makes sense to us, and I can see the good it does for Ethan. There has been a lot of research done that supports this style of parenting, and I will send you some links that describe it. I ask that you and Dad read them, and read them with an open heart.
An open heart is what I have been searching for in myself – a heart that is open to all that life brings and all of the emotions that come with it. I want a heart that is fully accepting; one that loves unconditionally. It has not been an easy journey, and I am not done yet. But I believe I am getting there. I treat myself with more respect and love, which means I can treat others with more respect and love.
I have moved through lots of painful stuff, but feeling it, being aware of it, is the only way for those feelings to move. I cannot stuff my feelings down anymore and pretend they are not there. I believe the changes we as Ethan’s parents have made are the right ones for our family. We have a little boy who can show empathy, who hugs us or his little friend when upset, who says “it’s okay to cry.” I’m very thankful for Ethan, and for who he is.
Where you say some of his behavior is rude, I see a little toddler who is out of balance – feeling frustrated, feeling rejected, feeling mad. I often find that behavior frustrating, but I believe he is allowed to feel that way, and that he has a right to express his feelings. At his age, he is expressing his feelings that way he knows how. Also, I love him anyway, even when he is driving me mad. I hope that I have not hurt you with this letter, and I hope that the websites will help explain the benefits of what we are doing