“But what if…?”
“But I’d be worried about…”
“But don’t you get scared that…”
“I couldn’t do that”
When asked about parenting and educating against the grain, the most common questions all surround fears and doubts.
I think that people think that those of us who live these choices do so free of any concerns. The truth is we have had many of these fears and doubts too.
I’ve said many of the things I hear people say now as justifications for why they apparently are unable to be a respectful parent or unschooling parent. I was the mum thinking yeah that’s not for people like me, that’s for people who are more than me.
The thing is that the very act of doing things differently can feel scary! The fears and doubts are however part of the process. They aren’t something we can escape. If we are committed to changing for what we believe our children deserve, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Pushing beyond cognitive dissonance is like the growth pains in my sons legs during a growth spurt. The discomfort is part of the growth.
Growth isn’t meant to be comfortable.
It’s called a comfort zone for a reason. Stretching outside of it is confronting.
For those of us raised in authoritarian households and who went to authoritarian schools, staying in our comfort zone means denying ourselves our self-worth and respect and that of our kids.
Not growing beyond that authoritarian paradigm means not embracing the respect we deserved and our children deserve. It can mean stagnating in our own growth in self-worth as it’s a huge factor for most of us! Let alone how significant respectful parenting and learning is for our children’s self-worth.
Growth is uncomfortable but the opposite also means projecting that reality onto our children. Our discomfort means they won’t have to go through the same unlearning process when they are older.
Growth and the things they lead to don’t always have to feel uncomfortable. For many there are intensive processes but there’s a more harmonious light at the end of the tunnel.
I know there were times where I thought the discomfort and misalignment of my hopes vs my reality would be never-ending. However, as cliché as it is, thankfully it gets easier.
So what can we do?
1 – Lean into the discomfort.
Fall down that rabbit hole. Don’t fight the process. Accept discomfort as part of the package.
2 – Feel it.
Allow yourself to feel all the feelings associated with the growth and struggle. Validate your feelings. Acknowledge that it’s hard and don’t berate yourself for not finding it as easy as it may look in others (It’s often not!)
3 – Read all the things.
If you’re anything like me consuming all the things I can (books, articles, blogs, podcasts, etc) about that thing is helpful. Finding information that supports your growth.
4 – Express it.
Write it out or talk about it. Express it in the ways that are helpful to you. Sometimes just voicing the discomfort and expressing the difficulties associated with growth can let off some of the steam.
5 – Find like-minded friends.
Find friends on the same journey and support each other through the growth. They can usually help with numbers 1-4 and you all help cycle through the growth together.
How have you found the process of growth?
I hope this was helpful!
Thank you for reading!