There’s something chilling about the disparity between the worries of many mothers in the developed world compared to mothers in places like Syria whose children are freezing to death. Here we are so close, and even surpassing, the ideal of providing the most optimal nurturing conditions, that studies are showing too many toys for example are counter to development and contributing to the rise of ADHD, while for thousands of mothers the only nurture they can provide is the warmth of their care as they hold their child in their arms wandering from street to street.
How can it be that some children have everything and their parents worry how to teach them contentment, while across the world children have nothing at all. Who is meant to provide for the children of the world if not parents of the world? We give so much to our own children. We ensure they have the right nutrition, the right sleeping conditions, the healthiest adjustment that strengthens their self-esteem. Children are dying in the snow in the same moment that a parent here ‘baby-proofed’ their kitchen.
Are we that naive to think we bear no duty of care towards children of the world, the children of our brothers and sisters? So many parents are outraged when they hear of cases of neglect, like a parent who leaves their child in the car alone while shopping, but aren’t we committing mass neglect without a hint of guilt or stir up from the media and parenting bodies? Gentle parenting is an incredibly sensitive, informed approach, but if it means investing everything in my own, and overlooking the care I can give to children elsewhere, then it is a violent, cruel method that is reinforcing the very structures that cause suffering to children. Structures that operate through creating distinctions and boundaries between people, roles, approaches, so as to blind citizens in developed countries from realising their own complicity and capacity to change the conditions of injustice.
In being so involved in the nurturing of one’s own child according to the latest psychological studies, parents are being distracted from taking an active role in advocating against systems of oppression that result in daily aggressive, savage attacks on children. I value the gentle parenting approach in my own interaction with my son, but if it will be the key to my passivity, then I will have to put the baby calm books on the shelf and refuse to be the violence against children.
As parents, we practice the power of unconditional love every day, if only we extend it to loving, acting, and rising unconditionally to meet the needs of all children.