TRUST vs fear in parenting

When I first saw this slide it was entitled “Love based parenting vs Fear-based parenting.” Fear induces the release of stress hormones which over time has many negative effects. Ocytocin is our loving, bonding hormone which promotes optimal development, positivity, and connection. This visual displays vividly the continuum I feel in my heart, the dichotomy that exists in our society, and the constant conflict I face when I show others love-based responses. As I have been counseling families since 2001, I now prefer to say trust-based responses.

Sadly, much of traditional parenting is fear-based and punitive. I believe punishment is any fear-based reaction by caregiver that deprives child of a vital need, adds toxic levels of stress and the child has no safe place to process, express and have new understanding of the overwhelming emotions, behaviors and/or events. Most times when I witness parents interact with their children, they are operating from a fearful lens. Parents tend to view their children’s behavior as a report card that reflects how they are doing as a parent. They fear if the child is behaving this badly now, then they are for certain on a destructible path to failure and hardship in the future. This naturally instantly triggers fear and insecurity for the parent causing them to react negatively, mostly with threats and statements that send a message of mistrust or “What is wrong with you!?”Parents also lack understanding about normal development and have their own build up of unprocessed negative core beliefs, unmet needs, stressors and reactions based on how they were treated when they behaved similarly as children.

I understand how it may seem impossible to believe trust-based responses truly work when you are in the grips of fear and perpetually stressed. One is constantly being triggered into a reactionary state when our stress buckets are full and our vital needs are neglected. Taking deep breaths and becoming mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and actions help us slow down and choose an appropriate loving and respectful RESPONSE to relieve stress and get everyone’s needs met. Feeling safe and understood is VITAL for optimal growth and connection. Please fear less, LOVE MORE.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

The image at top is from this webinar on “Oxytocin and Children” by Dr. Bryan Post and Helen Timpone which you can watch below…I want to comment about how under the “Oxtocin Poor (fear-based) Parenting” list includes using medication which I agree is true when it is the first reaction. I believe medication can be useful yet best to first address other relational and environmental factors to best meet the child’s needs.

I recommend this article by Heath T Forbes on How to explain “Parenting Beyond Consequences”

Read books:

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control

From Fear to Love

For more about ocytocin read: