Unification News for March 2000

Children are from Heaven

by Hanna -- America

Children Are From Heaven by John Gray Harpercollins; ISBN: 0060175656, 1999, $25.95

Once in a blue moon a book comes along so helpful that you want to tell the whole world about it. Children Are From Heaven by John Gray is just such a book.

Many of us have benefited from John Grayís previous books beginning with Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus. His viewpoint that men and women are very different kinds of beings is not news to Unificationists, but is a controversial idea for Westerners in the thralls of unisex philosophies. Still, his detailed explanations of those differences and his practical suggestions on how to understand and harmonize them helped many of our marriages.

I donít pay attention to writers on child raising who have not successfully raised their own kids. John Gray spent many years researching child raising philosophies and then applying them and their techniques on his own kids. He also counseled other families and could learn from them what worked and what did not. I myself have spent the last 6 months applying his ideas with excellent and heart warming results.

Revolutionary is an overused term- yet Mr. Grayís ideas on child raising border on it. He makes a convincing case for moving from traditional child raising based on fear, punishment and guilt to what he calls "love-based" child rearing.

He simply states that children today are "more evolved spiritually". Therefore those old tried and true traditional methods wonít work anymore and end up creating negative results.

I, for one, have certainly found this to be true. My experience has been that the traditional child raising methods my parents successfully used with myself and my 6 siblings many years ago, decidedly do not work for our children today. One by one, my husband and I have let them go. Yet I was frustrated because I didnít have a whole lot to replace them. I felt we needed to do so much better as parents. I read lots of books and talked to lots of parents- but nothing extraordinary came up until now.

Grayís parenting goals are to create cooperative, confident and compassionate children. He argues that cooperative children are preferable to obedient children because child rearing ways that instill obedience do so at the cost of losing the heartistic relationship with the child. We drive our children away and close their hearts to us.

Younger children will submit and go along. But when adolescence comes and those parent-child bonds are so important, trouble begins.

Keeping and developing a heartistic relationship with your children through the teen years for me is of paramount importance and Grayís methods support the heartistic relationship as the number one priority.

At first glance, his 5 rules for positive parenting donít seem too earthshaking. But the accompanying techniques he offers for dealing with misbehaving, disrespectful and disobedient children and adolescents are fantastic. The techniques enable a parent to be peaceful and kind yet ever so firm when the going gets rough. Say "good-bye" to scolding, lectures, threats of punishments and punishments. Those are things I was more than happy to let go of!

More importantly, he also shows ways to create relationships with your children so that you have fewer crisis times and less misbehavior in general. Over and over again he emphasizes that children are "hardwired" to please their parents. But we need to parent in a way that childrenís natural desire to please us can go into action. Often, our ignorant parenting sadly thwarts a childís God-given desire to please us.

He also emphasizes that children are self-correcting: they learn foremost from our example. That places a lot of responsibility on us, as parents, to behave maturely. Rightly so. If parents provide a good example and use love-based techniques, children will self-correct their behavior. Miserable (for both parents and children) lectures, scoldings and threats are not needed.

Unificationists will be especially pleased with Grayís strong sense of family hierarchy. One of his most important principles is that children of all ages need to know that parents are the bosses and in control. He details why child raising theories in which parents share their feelings with their kids are too horizontal; they undermine the parent-child bond and interfere in a childís development.

Our mistakes in parenting tend to bear fruit in adolescence and we may not even be aware of them until then. If your children are still young you need this book - how I wish I had it 15 years ago. It would have taken a lot of stress out of our parenting. If you already have teenagers- this is also the book for you. You can begin tomorrow to create relationships in which you keep your position as the boss but there is a loving and open give and take.

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