Visiting China…a life changing experience!
By Carol Dores
I recently was fortunate to spend 12 days touring China, followed by co-facilitating a “Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way” workshop, and attending and speaking at a Positive Discipline Conference in China. It was a profound life changing experience, much of which I knew, and brought things to a much deeper level of understanding.
China is so rich in history, which truly forms how people are. The government controls so much, which provides a safe feeling for people. Because of this control, I believe it is more difficult for people to change, than it is here (in the U.S.) People are raised with a deep level of respect for their elders, but the respect is not mutual. Most people are very kind, yet humble, and so self-respect can be challenging. Parents want what is best for their children, and there is significant pressure on children to succeed from a very early age. Much of this is the same as we experience in the U.S., but to a different degree.
In teaching Positive Discipline, many participants wanted a formulaic answer to how to implement it, and how to teach it to others. They are accustomed to having answers provided for them, so being flexible and creative seems to be more challenging. We all share a love of our children. Shame, blame and pain seem to be more a part of parenting currently in China than in the U.S., and so the shift to non-punitive methods will be a bigger one.
Like here, competition is embedded in the culture, and begins from an early age of what kindergarten a child will go to. Many Positive Discipline people in China talk about wanting to collaborate with one another, yet some behave in more of a competitive way. The same is true to a lesser extent here.
According to Alfred Adler, we are all moving toward the goal of mutual respect and dignity. It is not a question of the goal, it is more a question of each of our individual starting points. We find differences individual to individual all over the world.
It is about progress, not perfection.
I am honored and blessed to be doing this work to help families, teachers and communities all over.