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How our generation failed at parenting

Have you thought about your childhood and how it shaped you? I’ve talked to a number of people throughout this journey, some of which are parents. Being a parent myself, I know the difficulties one faces when raising another human being. The terrible two’s are still the stuff of nightmares. Here’s how I believe our […]

Have you thought about your childhood and how it shaped you? I’ve talked to a number of people throughout this journey, some of which are parents. Being a parent myself, I know the difficulties one faces when raising another human being. The terrible two’s are still the stuff of nightmares. Here’s how I believe our generation failed at parenting.

I have the unique opportunity to “study” two different types of parenting simultaneously, because my son lives with me 50% of the time while attending kindergarten, and my daughter lives at home with her mom. Every child is different, of course, but there’s something very interesting about how they behave individually by the beginning of the week and how they behave at the end of it.

Because my daughter is at home and not in kindergarten, her mom has kept her busy. She needed some form of stimuli in the day, so they draw, read, sing, dance, play etc. Because of this, my daughter is very creative. She has a brain for learning, it seems. And because of the subjects I’ve been studying the last year or so, I know that she has that because of her routine. Genes play a part here too, of course, but if she had been sitting infront of the TV or playing on some other device all day, her neurons wouldn’t have been wired as they are.

She has actively used her brain every day, so that piece by piece, it has grown stronger in the areas she has practiced. When I became a father, I didn’t really care about neuron connections, behaviours, habits, psychology or any of that stuff, but seeing my kids grow and seeing how they develop, made me really interested in seeing how we can guide them in the development.

That’s why I want to start journaling about this subject and do case studies on different techniques. Hopefully it will help some of you if you’re struggling in an area with your kids.

The difference in my kids

Trym

Trym is currently 4 years old. By the time he was 1, he lived as the majority of kids these days, at his mom and his dad, but at two different places. He was a very jolly kid, always smiling and laughing.

Because me and his mom were new parents, we had no idea what we were doing. We had to learn, like everyone else. We thought we did a good job, although looking back, I can see where we might have gone a bit wrong.

Chu-Chu TV. Do you know what that is? It’s one of the many pitfalls we have these days. Trym was often put infront of the iPad or the TV where he’d be watching Chu-Chu TV. So often infact, that I had that damn themesong on my mind for weeks on end afterwards.

It was easy. I could sit in peace on the phone until he needed food or we went out. A simple shortcut to avoid doing anything. Not to mention, Chu-Chu TV had colors and songs, so it had to be of some good for him, right? If I only knew what huge disservice I did him back then.

FML How our generation failed at parenting

When we watch TV, our brain goes passive. You can see by the glazed look on kids, that they might be home, but according to the drewl and tilted head, there’s nothing going on in there. They’re zombified. Because of this, Trym’s development hit a snag early. Sure, the kindergarten did a great job, but when he got home, the TV was there as the “relaxation device”.

He slumped down on the couch, often side-ways, because he can’t sit still, and he would sit there until he was ripped away from it. If you gave your child permission to sit infront of the TV for a week, I don’t think you’d find a whole lot of resistance, am I right?

A downward spiral

Look at it from his point of view.

  • Wakes up.
  • Driven and dropped off at kindergarten.
  • Plays and follows the program.
  • Picked up from Kindergarten.
  • Maybe we’ll drop by the store to get dinner.
  • Get home to cook said dinner.
  • While parents are in the kitchen, the TV is there to keep him busy.
  • Eat dinner.
  • Watch some late TV before bed. Long day in the Kindergarten, he’s “earned” it.
  • Brush teeth.
  • Read book with parents until he falls asleep.
  • Repeat.

This was more or less the schedule in the beginning. We’re often tired from working a job we hate all day, so we can’t be bothered. I couldn’t.

They become insecure

After doing this routine long enough, the relationship with the parents will become distant and the TV will become comfortable. The brain will go passive, even when the TV is off, because they’re not used to activate it. They become bored and are unable to figure out what to do, because the TV usually handles that part.

As time goes by, they become insecure, because they haven’t faced any challenges on their own. So they start to doubt themselves and grow up to feel victimized and depressed. Then they isolate themselves and are unable to live a full life.

I know, the last paragraph might’ve seemed somewhat dark, but my life has been my greatest teacher. And seeing the development of kids these days, scares me. I read about development and neurology, because I want my kids to be able to handle the world when they get of age. The thing is, something happened between us and how our parents brought us up and it was a big mistake for those who didn’t see the value in it.

When I grew up, the internet didn’t exist. We were out playing, hurting ourselves, falling from trees and learning what our bodies were capable of. Our parents let us out and trusted us enough that we would handle ourselves. This happened all day, every day. Have you thought about how that shaped you?

Some people nowadays would look at such a childhood and think “If only I had todays technology. My childhood sucked.” Because they’re the last generation that lived without the internet and smart phones, of course things would be different. The problem occurs when they see that as a bad thing and wants to give their children what they themselves never had.

So you give an 8 year old a smart phone, because everyone else in the class has one. The kid isolates itself in its room to “socialize”. Selfies and filters are the new “in”. Kids today take 86 selfies and pick one, then they add several filters to it. Then they get depressed when it doesn’t receive the amount of likes it should, given how much actual work went in to capture that perfect selfie.

Hiding a broken wrist

See, those “problems” didn’t exist 20 years ago. Back then, it was more in the ways of trying to hide a broken wrist so that we could go on a vacation. (Okay, not everybody had a quite as wild childhood, but you get the point)

When people like that grow up, those people who has lived a double life on social media since birth, they will have a completely different take on the world than what we have, those who grew up PRE information age, that is.

The way I see it, we have two choices. We either need to step up and become conscious about how we use our technology or we have to keep it out of sight until the children are mature enough to see it for themselves. It has reached a point where I plan to hold meetings about the do’s and do not’s on social media at home. This is a new era and we’re fostering a new race. Never before has information been as available as now, and never before has it numbed the brains world-wide by overendowing them with said access to information.

Instead of learning the secrets of the universe and how we can become a better, more sustainable race, we tend to look at Kim Kardashian’s ass. In my opinion, that is dangerous. Our kids will be a direct product of us. If we sit on our devices every day, all day, they will see that as the norm and lash out when they can’t do the same. The sense of fairness is extremely potent at a young age, and it goes towards the parents’ use of devices as well as the unbalanced distribution of grapes among siblings.

The brains of our children has the power to shape the world of tomorrow, make no mistake about it. What we do today will stay with them for as long as they live, so we have to be conscious and aware about how we take on that task. We have a duty to make the world better for them and our ancestors. How can we do that if Chu-Chu TV is the main component in their development?

Too busy to parent

I learned, luckily, that I failed at parenting. If there’s more people out there right now, who’s a bit caught up in our busy world, maybe this will make them take a second look on how their kids interpret life. And by that, take action to prepare them for the world.

Teach them how to be more empowered in themselves and self reliant. Teach them how to believe in their own abilities. If you’re religious, that’s fine, but give your kids the option to choose for themselves, by giving them information about all religions. If you don’t eat meat, tell your kids why, don’t simply alter their diet and say “no, we don’t eat meat”.

Everybody is the products of our own upbringing, and a lot of what we learned when we were young, might be proven to be wrong. Give your kids all the perspectives of a belief or an assumption and let them figure out their own truth. We’re all imperfect and flawed humans and nobody knows everything. But our own personal truth isn’t necessarily the truth.

That bring us to.

Violeta

Violeta is currently 2 years old. She’s had one hell of a life already, because she was deported with her mother, shortly after her 1st birthday, and lived in Chile for 8 months.

FML How our generation failed at parenting

She saw the other side of the “good” life because, in Chile, she was loved in a different way than here in Norway. Here in Norway, we tend to be more distant and cold, which fascinates me to no end. But in Chile however, they are warm and loving in a different way.

My daughter had this for the first stage of her life. It shaped her. When she got back, she hugged everyone, she kissed strangers on the cheek, she greeted everyone. She still does. She loves the world, period.

Because she has had a different parenting style than my son, she is warm and “free” in many ways. She’s more independant, more creative and more self reliant. When we leave the house, she’ll shout “La luz!” before she goes over and turns off the lights to save energy. When she has finished her dinner, she picks up her plate and puts it in the sink. If we arrive or leave a place, she will wave to everybody to announce her arrival/departure. She loves to dance, she enjoys drawing, when we’re reading, she is interested in spelling, and she speaks 2,5 languages. Did I mention that she’s 2 years old?

There’s a theory that our DNA is shaped as a helix because of how we get conditioned early on in life. That if things were as it should be, our DNA would be more flowing and energetic. There’s been scientific studies conducted in this area and I look forward to see where it goes, because from what I can tell, there’s something fundamentally different about my daughter. I think it’s because of how she’s brought up and the core values she’s developed.

She acts from pure love. She loves everything and she hasn’t been told what to think. Instead, we encourage her to find her self and help her where she struggles. Of course, Trym gets the same treatment, but his interest is basically non-existant. He needs someone to tell him how to act and what to do, which is the area we’re working on these days as far as his development goes. We’re basically “unschooling” him, so that he’ll become the master of his life again.

But Violeta has had this treatment since birth and she is unique because of it. Everybody will tell us that there’s something different about her and we know, because we’re as fascinated ourselves.

That’s because we’ve consciously looked for the areas in her development where we can strengthen neurons and develop her brain. We’ve also taught her to not be shy or hide emotions. We haven’t transferred our irrational fears into her, so she’s more secure than some teenagers I know.

People think that we’re born with our IQ or the way we “are”, but that’s simply not true. We are built from birth. If we don’t like how we are, we can change with the snap of our fingers. Every second of the day, we have the power to change how we think and design our future selves.

What you THINK, you will BECOME.

If people only embraced the power they have, the world would be fundamentally different. Here’s just a few of the things that would become history, if people embraced themselves.

  • No more depression due to unchangable facts
  • No more inconfidence, because people would understand their value and wouldn’t be influenced by others
  • No more jealousy or envy, because people would know that they control their reality
  • No more hate or fear of the unknown, because people would trust and love themselves enough to love everyone else
  • No more victims of a failing system, because people would see where they could change their life
  • No more relying on doctors to give bandaids or pills for a “diagnosis” that stems from ignorance and profit
  • No more wars, because people would see that we all have different opinions and be fine with it
  • No more backstabbing, because people would be working for “we” and not “me”.

The list goes on. Can you imagine a world filled with empowered, conscious creators that wants to make a difference for the good of everybody? I can, and that’s what I want to start building. It all begins in our kids.

Some people might say “I don’t want to bring a child into this horrible world”. Well, why is it horrible? And if it is so horrible, why don’t you want to fix it?

The world can change from one person. As a matter of fact, the concept is aptly called “The Power of One”. By teaching a child to be confident and never settle, teaching them how to trust themselves and not take everything for granted. And by teaching them how to take responsibility for their actions, while also being a force for good actions in others, not only will you end up with an unstoppable, confident, loving and fulfilled human. You’ll have a leader for positive change who can make a significant impact in the world.

So why would you deny the world such a chance, by not bringing children into the world?

I can’t

“I don’t know how to do teach someone to be like that, because I’m not like that” is a popular answer.

Well, then I have great news. Neuro Plasticity. We used to think that when we reach a certain age, we’re done. We can’t learn anything more and we’re set in our ways. Well, that’s just some victimizing propaganda, born out of ignorance. ‘scuse my language, I get passionate bout these things. You can also check out the article on how your thoughts work to get a better view of this. The subject gets even more covered in future content.

You CAN learn how to do that. You can learn everything you want! You’re not born great at math or physically strong. You learn it. If you don’t know how, then there’s many techniques to learn it easier and faster. Grab a book, take a course, talk to someone with experience. Don’t fail at parenting. You’re the guiding light in your children’s eyes.

There’s so many options out there, that simply saying “I can’t” is irresponsible.

My son told me for months that he couldn’t get water in his eyes. In fact, during summer, he’d wade in the shallows on the beach, but as soon as a DROP touched his face, he’d run back up to a towel and wipe it off, almost in panic.

THAT is a problem that will severely hold him back later in life. That is, if we accept that that’s just how he is. I didn’t.

In the shower, we made a game. The rules were simple:

How long can you let the waterbeam hit you square in the face, without raising your arms or turn away. And how long can you let the water run down your face after we remove the beam, without wiping it away with your arms?

If he managed 2 seconds, he’d get a treat. When he managed more, he’d get a better treat. And if he manages a minute, where he don’t feel the urge to wipe it off, he’ll get diving goggles and we’ll spend a day at the water park.

The world is “safe”

When he realized that water was not only safe, but pleasant, his world opened. He became free to explore more on his own. More confident. That’s how it works. Our brain is our own worst enemy, but when we know how it works, we can use it to change our own limiting beliefs.

FML How our generation failed at parenting

My son is on his way to become more creative, adventurous and self reliant, but it takes work. The biggest mistake we can do as parents is to go “Meh, that’s just how he/she is” and give up. Of course, there’s nuances to this. If my son turns out to be gay, I won’t tell him that it’s wrong. That would be horrible too. We need to learn how to strengthen the person and help them develop by actively showing them what they’re capable of.

This turned out to be a way longer post than intended, but I feel like I got my point across.

If you have any questions, reach out in the comments, DM, mail etc. This is the internet, if you want to, you can reach anyone 😉

-Tor Erik

By: Tor Erik
Category: Life | Parenting
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