They say it take a village to raise a child. But they never usually talk about the fact that how that child is raised is sure to affect the entire village. As a parent, I have always disciplined my children in a way that was best for my family, but I never really thought before about the way my parenting style could potentially affect society as a whole. That is until I read Parenting for a Peaceful World, by Robin Grille, an interesting book that delves into how child-rearing customs have shaped societies and major world events. Parenting for a Peaceful World looks at how children adapt to different parenting styles and describes how these early experiences underpin the adults they become.

After an intense (and somwhat horrifying) look at the history of child rearing though the ages, Parenting for a Peaceful World walks you through what Grille calls the "five rites of passage of core emotional development" -- in other words, the five stages of ealy child development. Grille defines these stages as:
  1. The right to exist
  2. The right to need
  3. The right to have support
  4. The right to freedom
  5. The right to love

For each of these stages or "rites of passage," Grille writes about what is going on within the child at this time: developmental needs, emotional needs and learning skills, as well as "most-wounding" experiences, how experiences shape emotional makeup and beliefs, how emotional wounds affect behavior, and the social impact of wounds.  

Now, I have to say that I don't particularly agree with everything that Grille has to say about the essential needs of a child. Will my child really develop "murderous" impulses just because I didn't co-sleep with her or because I tell her she is being silly when she throws a tantrum? I doubt it. But I do think that Grille has a point when he says, "The best 'discipline' measure is affection, and the kind of parental responsiveness that helps a child to feel heard, seen and emotinally secure, from the dawn of life."  And I like the tips he offers to help you create a discipline style that is supportive of your child's emotional development.

Overall, Parenting for a Peaceful World is an interesting read and a hopeful look at the future. It's given me a better perspective on the emotional needs of my children and how my words and actions affect them ... and society as a whole.

Parenting for a peaceful world
Does your parenting style affect society as a whole?