This parenting technique sounds like a dream come true. Parents everywhere would probably love to hypnotize their children into giving them massages, folding the laundry, and doing all their homework without a tantrum. However, hypnosis parenting isn’t exactly about turning your child into a mini servant. Rather, it’s about using clear and direct language with your child that will ultimately get them to do the tasks you ask of them.
According to the National Accredited College of Hypnotherapy you can absolutely hypnotize your child into doing what you tell them to do. First, stop. Put your hand on the child’s shoulder, look directly in his/her eyes and give directions as statements, not questions. For example, you can say, “Amy, it is now time for you to take out the garbage, please.” This is much more effective than, “Can you take out the garbage now?” Open ended questions like this leave room for your child to have an attitude, whine, or simply say no. Want to increase the chances that Amy will do it the first time you ask? Simply nod your head up and down in a “yes” motion as you give your direction, and you will notice her nodding back!
Most children respond to hypnotherapy pretty well, which is why this technique is getting attention and becoming popular with experts and parents to resolve juvenile concerns. This works best with younger children (age 3-5), but can definitely work with older ones as well. Try talking positively and firmly to your child with accompanying body movements. What do you have to lose?
This concludes our Radical Parenting series. After reading, you may feel that many of these parenting methods seem strange, even crazy, but for countless families they are normal practices that help bring balance and peace into their homes. Most of these techniques aren’t even new, but have only recently been getting attention. In the end, it is about what works best for your family. Extended nursing, baby wearing, and hypnosis have all been shown to be beneficial for parents and children alike. Remember that not too long ago, cloth diapering, stay-at-home dads, nonviolent communication, baby sign language, early potty training, and tons of other practices were also classified as “radical.”
I. Rose De Lilly is a published writer, educator, and award-winning poet. When she is not working on her graduate degree or teaching children to read, she writes engaging articles for Educator.com. She enjoys traveling, spoken word, bike riding at the beach, finding new restaurants, reading, carpentry, and collecting miniatures. Connect on Linkedin!
In his book Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn, writes that all children have one basic need –unconditional love. They need to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments, rewards, and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. They reinforce the idea that “if you do this, you get that,” which permeates our society. It also makes children dependent on rewards, rather than teaching them about intrinsic goodness and character building skills.
People who use unconditional parenting methods in their homes believe that parenting begins with the parent and is not about reacting to the child’s behavior. It is about making a conscious decision about how you will interact with your child. Rather than looking at the child’s behavior or achievements, you accept the child for who they are as a person no matter what.
I’m pretty certain I got spanked with a leather belt and got my mouth rinsed out with soap as a child. I remember many punishments, revoked privileges, timeouts, and having to write standards at a desk in the corner. My parents believed that I would have a better chance of growing into a responsible adult if I was punished for my mistakes and rewarded for my accomplishments. Perhaps they were right, but I could have just as easily learned that if I break my new expensive toy in a fit of frustrated rage, I won’t be able to play with it anymore. The sadness of realizing I’ve ruined my own play thing would probably teach me to be more careful next time.
Maybe you have the types of kids who need to get punished from time to time, other parents just hypnotize their children into doing the right thing.
For parents who live in big cities this parenting style will probably seem the most terrifying. Columnist Lenore Skenazy, an advocate for free range parenting and writer for the New York Sun, let her 9-year-old son ride the New York City subway alone. Sounds crazy, irresponsible maybe, but more and more parents are realizing that giving children freedom has some incredible rewards.
“When you let children out, all the good things happen – the self-confidence, happiness, and self-sufficiency that come from letting our kids do some things on their own,” Skenazy says. These are some of the valuable sills I learned because I was allowed free range to investigate the world around me. There was a time when letting young children walk to school alone, ride their bikes around the neighborhood unsupervised, and hang out in the park didn’t seem like irresponsible parenting. Is the world simply more unsafe? Or have parents just become more fearful?
Back in the 80s, somewhere in the mountains of California, my parents had a summer house that our family had inherited and when I was growing up I would spend many long weekends there wandering around alone for hours. I remember being a pre-teen and having absolute freedom to explore even the furthest parts of the mountainous, wilderness city where our summer home was located. I would talk to strangers, climb dangerous rock formations, and catch frogs near a raging river. Cell phones were still rather new, so I didn’t have one, and I never wore watches back then, so I had no concept of time. Somehow, no matter how far I roamed or how lost I felt I had become, I knew exactly how to get back to my street before the street lights came on. Not to brag or anything, but that’s probably why I am now an adventurous, highly social, individual who seeks out challenges and doesn’t scare too easily. I can also literally feel which direction is north, have great spacial memory, and hardly ever need to use my navigational system while driving.
Nowadays kids don’t have much free time. They are too bogged down with homework, academic projects, monitored after-school programs, and supervised sport activities. Everything detail about their day is carefully planned out. Take for example, the new family that recently moved into the neighborhood I grew up in. They have two, maybe three, school-aged children, and they are only allowed to play in the gated front yard of their home. They look more like caged puppies than children and sometimes, as I’m passing their house on weekends, I want to unlock the gate and set them free.
Even if you aren’t comfortable letting your child wander around the city alone, as a general rule of thumb, it’s good for parents to love their children unconditionally. But should all punishment be abolished?
While attachment parenting is in most cases a highly respected approach that promotes securely attached children, baby-wise parenting has been known to be the exact opposite. In some instances it has been known to include detachment, behavioral disorders, dehydration, failure to thrive, irritability, infant anorexia, and even infant death. So why on earth would parents use such a method?
In theory, baby-wise parenting claims that parents can establish a routine in their baby’s life from day one and stick to it no matter what. According to Dr. Garry Ezzo and Dr. Robert Bucknam, authors of On Becoming Babywise, “Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF) is an infant-management strategy designed to meet the nutritional, physical, and emotional needs of the baby as well as the needs of the whole family” (38). Structured feeding times are beneficial because they create a rhythm for the family, rather than make everything in the parent’s lives focused on the child. Yet, this technique seems unreasonably harsh: “Your baby’s routine is to serve you; you are not to serve your baby’s routine” (132). The method is supposed to promote balance within the family unit and help new parents transition into life with a newborn, however babies can be unpredictable and it is very difficult to keep them on a strict schedule that adheres to the parent’s.
When parents should and shouldn’t pick up their crying baby is also a topic of debate with baby-wise parenting. Ezzo and Bucknam claim that “Babies become not only conditioned to being picked up at a whimper but also abnormally dependent on being picked up” (38). In essence, baby-wise parenting is almost the direct opposite of attachment parenting and you can read a complete chart of the many differences here.
You can control your child’s every move, watching over them like a hawk, or you can set them free!
Pediatrician William Sears coined the term “attachment parenting,” a theory that explains how a child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood and this bond has lifelong consequences. Sears also recommends that sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well-being. Sounds great, right?
On the surface this approach seems very beneficial for the baby. The principles of attachment parenting outline that parents should prepare for pregnancy and birth, feed their child with love and respect, respond to their child’s needs with sensitivity, use a nurturing touch, ensure safe sleep by allowing the child to share sleeping quarters with the parents, practice positive discipline, and strive for balance in family life. Some parents try to keep their baby with them almost 24 hours a day.
However, it is probably very difficult to achieve family balance when a parent solely focuses on their child’s needs, at the expense of their own. With this method, the baby’s wants and needs always come first, often regardless of what is practical. And what about working mothers? Sociologist Sharon Hays argues in her book Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood that the “ideology of intensive mothering” imposes unrealistic obligations and perpetuates a “double shift” life for working women. In addition, parents may lose out on quality time together, which could affect their sex lives and social lives. Many people who question this parenting style claim that too much attachment could also create a child who is spoiled, demanding, and disrespectful.
Parents who want to be attached to their children as much as possible may agree with the next type of parenting style as well. But is doing what’s best for your baby at the complete and total expense of everything else, always the right thing to do?
This parenting style is very similar to helicopter parenting, with an extreme twist. Not only do these parents obsess over their child, providing him or her with high-quality everything, but they also linger over their child’s every move, protecting their child as if he or she were fragile crystal. Yes, children need protection and can easily get hurt, but they are not made of glass either. A few bumps and falls won’t ruin the child’s life. However, like a precious teacup heirloom, children from these types of families are often treated as their family’s most cherished possession. As a result, many children who are treated like fragile tea cups grow up to be perfectionists. They feel as though they must measure up to a particular standard that was set for them by their parents, who brag about their every accomplishment as if they were putting their child up for auction. However, this parenting style often leads to children, who when they do not get their way, literally crumble.
I never went to pre-school or kindergarten, because as a sickly infant and my mother’s first child, I was her prized possession. When I was very young, she worried about my constantly and undoubtedly treated me like I would break at any moment. She watched over me like a hawk, monitored everything I touched, and would panic to the point of hysterics if I somehow got out of sight. I am one of the lucky ones however; I eventually got older and broke away from her suffocating grip. She still worries more than necessary, but what good parent doesn’t? I did however, hold on to being an over achiever, which isn’t a bad character trait to have to our competitive world.
Tea cup parting is a lot like this next form of parenting. Some moms and dads just don’t know when, or how, to let go.
This parenting method is probably the most extreme and difficult to maintain. Elimination communication is when parents let their baby or toddler signal to them when they need to go and then defecate without their diaper on. The parent can usually get there fast enough to catch the waste in something, but what about when the parent doesn’t get there in time? Gross.
Advocates for the practice say elimination communication is better for the bank account and the environment, as it cuts down on the amount of diapers parents need to buy and use. An older baby usually goes through 6 to 8 diapers a day and it could cost anywhere from $50 to $120 per month to diaper a child exclusively in disposables. After three years, you could easily spend more than $3000 on diapers alone. That’s a lot of money! Plus, using this parenting method supposedly speeds up potty training because your child never becomes dependent on diapers. However, most children grow up in families where both parents work outside of the home. It would be difficult for parents to do all the time, but could be done on a part time basis.
Some parents let their children use the bathroom wherever they need too, while others place their children on pedestals… or in china cabinets.
Thinking back to those long, lecture-filled, car rides home, where my father rambled on about sportsmanship or my most recent grade on a math test, I wish he had un-parented me. My parents weren’t exactly helicopter parents, but I definitely got my fair share of punishments and never ending speeches.
Un-parenting doesn’t mean that parents don’t take care of their children, but rather that they turn off the part of parenting where they lecture and issue mandates or punishments for their child’s mistakes. Instead of going into auto-pilot and yelling at children for their choices, parents who use this method rely more on their instincts and try to listen in order to understand why their child made that choice. In that way, this method could be very positive because it teaches parents to be more objective rather than rushing to reprimand.
Natalie Tucker, professional coach of the un-parenting movement, believes that youngsters are not too immature to make good decisions. She claims that un-parenting is a positive approach to parenting that helps parents “abandon assumptions and listen cleanly” to their children, which can lead to better parent-child relationships.
I don’t care how good it may be for the environment, it’s going to take a lot to convince me that the next type of parenting is a good idea. Maybe after you read about it you’ll be able to tell me otherwise.
Like a helicopter, parents who adopt this parenting method, tend to pay extremely close attention to their child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. They are the types of parents who “hover” over their child while he completes his homework or sit at the back of the classroom on the first day of school. Helicopter parents also tend to be strong disciplinarians, who expect nothing but the best from their children. You may be familiar with the term “tiger mom,” made popular by the 2011 book Tiger Mother- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. In the memoir, Chua uses the term “Tiger Mother” to mean a mother who is very strict about education and stern when enforcing the rules of her family.
However, parents who care a lot about their children usually have their child’s best-interest at heart. Chua later clarified that her mother was a good parent, whose tough-love parenting style helped her become the strong woman she is today. In addition, Katie Roiphe, author of “The Seven Myths of Helicopter Parenting,” reminds readers that helicopter parenting is not the product of “bad or pathetic people with deranged values … It is not necessarily a sign of parents who are ridiculous or unhappy or nastily controlling. It can be a product of good intentions gone awry, the play of culture on natural parental fears.”
And then there are the parents who do the complete opposite of hovering, un-parenting.
Do you let your child sleep with you every night? Do you monitor his every move, protecting him as if he were an expensive piece of china? Have you ever hypnotized your daughter? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be what pediatricians and psychologists are calling a “radical parent.” Yet, even if you don’t attach yourself to your child 24/7, you may practice some of these radical parenting techniques without even knowing it.
Raising a Child as Gender Neutral
Sasha, who recently turned five, made headlines this year for being raised gender neutral by Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper. The couple decided not to reveal baby Sasha’s gender to the world so that he would not be influenced by society’s preconceptions and prejudices. Like Sasha’s, there are many parents, who allow their children to play with toys that are unassociated with a specific gender or gender role. They expose their daughters to race cars and science sets; let their sons pretend to feed a baby doll in a play kitchen; as well as, give their children gender neutral toys such as blocks or cards. I suppose my parents were a head of the times because I had Lincoln logs to build with and a Barbie dream boat to float in my dinosaur kiddy pool.
Raising a child without gender restrictions sounds liberating and forward thinking, yet there has been backlash against this parenting method. When it comes to clothing choices, many families draw the line. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter Shiloh has a short hair cut, runs around in boy’s combat boots, and wears her brothers’ shirts. And Discovery Health’s most recent segment of “Extreme Parenting” featured a little boy whose mother allowed him to play with pink castles and wear dresses.
It is difficult to judge or determine whether this parenting method is harmful because according to Dr. Daragh McDermott, a psychology lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, “The effect of raising a gender neutral child is not yet known. It is hard to say whether being raised gender-neutral will have any immediate or long-term psychological consequences for a child.”
Maybe you aren’t as “liberal” as some other parents, but you could easily be the type that hovers over your child’s every move. Find out what’s going on with helicopter parents.