Breaking the Cycle is Hard

Writes Kicking it Unschool:

I’m going to start the day off on a negative note, but it will get better from here.

I don’t always like being a peaceful parent. There, I said it. And I bet some of you feel this way sometimes too, and maybe you feel guilty about feeling this way, so you don’t talk about it. I get that.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I want to say, “Do what I told you, dammit, because I’m bigger and older and what I want is more important than what you want.” I think about how I didn’t get to be free and treated equally when I was a child. My parents got to do everything their way. When is it *my* time to get to live life *my* way?! Why does it feel like I’m getting the shaft here? Why am I the one to break the cycle and give my kids what I never had? Why didn’t anyone do this for me?

Quite clearly all those thoughts up there are very selfish. I realize that. And then I feel guilty for thinking them. What kind of person am I that I put my own wants over the needs of my children? Too often I do peaceful parenting actions because I know it’s what I should do, but my heart isn’t behind it and that makes me feel really terrible. That feeling then brings me back to thinking about my childhood and how I’m emotionally stunted, immature, and I wonder if I’ll ever grow out of it. Then I get angry again that no one gave me the gift of being raised peacefully, and the vicious circle continues.

Breaking the cycle is hard. “Natural” parenting doesn’t come naturally for those of us who never knew it when we were growing up.

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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.