This is a letter to all of our extended Parenting Junkie families this season. Sometimes they may disagree with your parenting style (and feel the need to say it). Perhaps they think you need to be more strict, or less strict, less crunchy, or more crunchy…and this leaves you dreading family gatherings.
Writing a letter of love and gratitude to your family (even if it’s symbolically and only for your eyes), can prepare your mind and heart for a less anxious, and more joyous holiday season this year. Let me give you an example.
I know you don’t always get our parenting style. And if I’m honest, we don’t always get each of you either.
Grandpa may hug the kids a little too roughly. Grandma might bribe them with lollipops or money. Uncle Ben might play violent video games on loop.nAnd Gena buys the kids every plastic gizmo that China can manufacture, thanks sis.
Sometimes you criticize our parenting style. You disagree with us on dietary choices, or wish that we could be more strict, or less strict, more religious or less religious, more crunchy or less crunchy. That’s okay, a family doesn’t have to agree about everything. We know that when you give us your opinion,
it’s because you care about our kids. We know that even if we don’t always love the stuff that you buy (laughs), we’re lucky that anyone is buying our kids stuff at all. And we know that even when some of the stuff you do has a questionable influence on our kids, you’re loving family, and we love you no matter what.
We’re committed to being peaceful and accepting of our children, of ourselves, and of our family, even you, Aunt Jen. Sometimes being committed to peaceful and conscious parenting, to homeschooling or to healthy living, can alienate us from the people that we love. There are certain family dynamics that are truly toxic, and in those cases we have to set firm boundaries.
But those annoyances that just rub us the wrong way, like family saying or doing or buying things that we don’t love, we can’t let those minor grievances
come between us and the people that love us, the people who love our kids,
the people who make up our extended village, our story, and our heritage.
So, dear family, we just want you to know that we know that not everything we do is your cup of tea. And not everything you do is ours.
We’re going to focus on the gift of special time together, even if it’s rare, even if it’s rocky, even if it’s a little rough around the edges. Because at the end of the day, despite our differences, and perhaps because of them, we love you.
We accept you as you are.
We understand your perspective, and respect your opinions.
And we hope that you feel the same way about us. What connects us is so much more powerful than what separates us. We’re excited to spend time with you, and enjoy each other’s company.
And that’s just one more way we can love parenting, and parent from love,
Love Avital xxx
How do you stay ZEN when you’re dreading family gatherings? Is it easy for you or something you’ve practised?
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