Bravo Scotland, you’ve just become the 58th country to completely ban all corporal punishment of children – at home, at school, everywhere! You have joined Ireland and New Zealand, in becoming just the 3rd mostly English-speaking nation to have done so.
With 55 more nations committed to this change, I think we can safely say this: “to strike a child constitutes an act of domestic violence” – and this idea is now NORMAL. It’s a brave new world!
Does the advice to ‘sleep-train’ your baby make you … uncomfortable? Against all the conventions of developmental science, this practice is still being widely recommended. I’ve heard from countless mothers who are heartbroken by ‘controlled crying’ techniques foisted on them, fathers who are angered, and I often hear of awfully distressed babies. despite the ceaseless efforts of international baby-sleep experts, ‘controlled crying’ (under a host of different names) persists.
Good news: this Facebook group has been set up to support you with healthier advice, and the comfort of a hugely growing community of parents who have had it with the culture of denying babies their emotional needs.
Judging by the rapidly growing thousands who join, there must be an enormous level of discontent – and a huge level of devotion to peaceful and nurturing methods.
This is not a happy blog-post. South Australia just became the second last state to comprehensively ban the corporal punishment of children in schools – all schools. Do we say bravo to this, in the 21st century? Queensland, meanwhile, is the last state to allow religious schools to hit children.
Some context: beating children is illegal in the schools of over 130 countries, and illegal in the homes of 56 countries, where it is recognized as domestic violence. It’s fair to ask why Australia is such a laggard, why we hold on to this entitlement to smack the most vulnerable.
The world evolves, but Australia clings onto punishment. Retribution. Authoritarianism. Politically, we remain embedded in the past. Unreconciled, exploitative, hoarding. How we treat our children, they will treat the world.
I had a wonderful time chatting with Emily Giles from ‘Untaming Podcasts’, for a series called: ‘Rewild the CHild’. From the sublime to the comical, from the personal to the political, we unpacked ‘body-memory’; how our childhood experiences influence our relationships: both one-on-one and societally. How are we all affected? How can we awaken from the early memories that drive our perceptions and our behavior, and find freedom? If we can heal personally, can we also heal our societies at a time of environmental emergency?
These news could have far, far reaching implications. A profound paradigm shift is underway.
The first Surgeon-General in California, Dr Nadine Harris, is a leading advocate for the new understanding that our greatest diseases spring from emotional trauma in childhood. She will promote screening sick children for Adverse Childhood Experiences.
This is a huge game-changer! The beginning of the end of the ‘Pharmaceutical Theory of Everything’ – that makes a market from human sickness. It also marks a great leap forward in our awakening to the primacy of childhood in all human endeavour. Better policy for better childhoods.
It all has to start somewhere. But you have to admit: California is one hell of a somewhere!
Nadine Harris: you are a giant change-maker. May you be a domino. Check out her TED talk. Perfect summary of the gigantic, world-changing ACE study. The implications are utterly transformative, revolutionary. The end of the Drug Era, the beginning of health.
When we ask why a nation behaves the way it does, the first question we should ask is: “how have children been treated there?” In 2011, I published a thumbnail sketch of the state of childhood in USA. By most critical measures, the USA languished at the bottom of all other affluent ‘democracies’, and below many developing nations. It was a powder-keg. What would happen as more and more of this critical mass of children, raised in neglect and authoritarianism, reached voting age? Cut to November 2016: the scaled-up torment of American children bore bitter fruit. Could it be that, what most refer to as “politics” and “economics”… is in reality a collective Symptom? When is “politics” a shared rationalization driven by fear, suspicion, rage and hurt; deep-set childhood trauma expressed as a set of beliefs?
It has never been clearer that the way we support parents, raise children and educate our young is the greatest determinant of any nation’s future behavior.
Here is that overview of the state of childhood in USA, it was written as an Epilogue to the second edition of my book: “Heart-to-Heart Parenting”.
It’s time, it is most definitely time. For fundamental change. For sure, it is scary to think of how endangered we are if we keep on with business as usual. But it is equally exciting to see the bounty of eco-intelligent solutions that are already here. Society needs a new narrative so we can all thrive into the future and secure a healthy earth for our children and descendants. A wonderful think tank – and heart-tank! – is taking place in Tasmania, February 2019, with a wonderful range of enlightening speakers and innovators. If you are moved to join us, use this discount code: ParentingForPeace when booking your tickets. Here is the where, the how, the what and the why.