Nourishing Peace in Our Children

I felt delighted to read Tony Narracott’s letter about Lou Beaumont’s photo of Lana Rose at the peace pole.  As Lana’s mum, my aim has been to nourish her natural peaceful essence through Aware Parenting.  As an Aware Parenting Instructor, I have learned that hurtful behaviours come from children when they have experienced unmet needs and stress that they have not healed from.  Studies show that the amount of time that babies are held close day and night predicts the levels of peace and violence in a culture.  Babies and children need lots of closeness for secure attachment.   

Observation shows that children who have been given emotional support to heal from stress and trauma through crying and raging do not hit, bite, pinch, or scratch.  They are naturally compassionate and gentle with other children, adults and animals.  “Aggression is not an inborn human trait, but rather an acquired behaviour resulting from an accumulation of stress.”  (Aletha Solter).   

Research indicates that punishments lead to increased aggression and violence, and rewards lead to dislike of the rewarded behaviour.  Instead of these methods, Aware Parenting values democratic discipline.  Here, parents and children seek ways to meet both their needs.  

Children who have healed from hurt and who are treated with respect naturally enjoy cooperating.  Lana and her friend Joseph, who was also at the wishing tree, can often be heard finding strategies to meet both their needs.  I also enjoy the language of Non-violent Communication – avoiding words like, “should”, “must” and “naughty”.  In this way, Lana and Joseph have not learned to label others but try to understand the feelings and needs behind their actions.  Instead of conflict, they gain mutual understanding.  Robin Grille’s recent book, “Parenting for a Peaceful World”, shows how each evolution in society was preceded by a change in parenting approach.  Seeing Lana and Joseph together gives me hope that peace really can flourish in the world. 

Marion Badenoch Rose

First published in The Byron Shire Echo in 2006