Adultism: The Hidden Toxin Poisoning Our Relationships with Children

Mother and kids by the lake.

As parents or parents-to-be, we commit ourselves to understanding the physical and emotional needs of children. We learn about breastfeeding and its importance to the optimal health of children. We make conscious choices about the foods we provide and the toys we give. We delve into research about child development so we can provide developmentally appropriate experiences for the children in our lives. Read More

Unlearning Adultism

Mother and children on sunset

In part one of this article, I introduced the idea that the dominant belief system in our culture around parenting is one based on adultism. Adultism is defined as “…all of the behaviors and attitudes that flow from the assumption that adults are better than young people, and are entitled to act upon young people in many ways without their agreement.” (1)  I also described the broader societal framework that operates to disempower children and how this disempowerment sets the stage for other forms of oppression and discrimination to be perpetuated. Read More

Children are the Mirror for Our Internal Work as Parents

parenting

Did you ever have someone tell you that whatever conflict you were having with someone was just a mirror for the internal work you needed to do?

I remember having heard that when I was in my 20s and 30s. At the time, I thought it was just some trite saying that people used to try and defuse a conflict.

I wanted to hold on to whatever frustration or anger I had with another person because I knew I was right and they were wrong. Besides, I told myself, people who used that saying were just trying avoid being accountable for their behavior. Read More

Hope and Despair

The tragic shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston have weighed heavily on so many of us. I have felt it and talked with many others who are struggling to make sense of what is happening in our world. And if we claim to be a force for change and justice these events can provoke feelings of helplessness, anger, grief, and sadness.

When such violence and hatred occurs, I find myself feeling intense urgency to do something. At the same time a feeling of overwhelm shows up in a big way. I want to make a difference.Teresa Graham Brett

And then I remind myself that sitting with all of the emotions that arise, finding some sense of clarity and understanding allows me to find my way through all that is happening outside of me and within me.

After sitting with trying to understanding what difference I can make, Read More

The Ripple Effect (and my birthday!)

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here.

Why? Because it’s my birthday and I’m celebrating. And instead of keeping it quiet, as I usually do, I want to share it with you.

It’s become apparent to me, that when we Parent for Social Change it leads us to invest in connected movements and causes. It’s a beautiful and powerful ripple effect that I have seen and felt over the last several years in very deep ways. These connections have changed the core of who I am.

One of the ripple effects of Parenting for Social Change is a project with an organization in South Africa. Read More

A Must Use Tool in Parenting

I’m going to be vulnerable here, and completely honest.

Before I was “Teresa of Parenting for Social Change,”
I was “Teresa, what the hell is going on in my family?!” Read More

Q&A: How do I foster compassion when it feels like the world does not?

Hello! Parenting for Social Change

After my email last week, I started to pay more attention to how news and events out in the world came up in our family life on a day-to-day basis.

Those reflections reminded me of a question a mother wrote to me that really made me think, and perhaps it’ll inspire you too.

She said, How do I explain to children to be empathetic and compassionate and also make sure they understand that not everybody is kind and people do bad things?”

What I love about this question is Read More

Mindful and Just Parenting: Cultivating the Courage of Radical Compassion

Although I have written about the research on the positive effects of mindfulness and presence in my book and in several articles, today focus is slightly different. I want to address that aspect of mindfulness that is the process of bringing to consciousness what has been unconsciousness as a way to create a deeper understanding of experiences.

Read More

How does your family talk about the news?

I’m writing today with an insight into how my experiences with control relate to my family and daily news. And perhaps you can relate. Because this email was spurred when another mother, overwhelmed by the situations in Nepal and Baltimore, asked me this question,

“How does your family talk about the news?”

And it’s so interesting, you know. Because I realized it’s been quite a process to get from where we started to where we are now (and where we will one day be when they’re 30 years old and we’re discussing the world at large). Read More

From My Heart to Yours

Parenting for Social Change
Although much of my energy these past weeks has been focused on my Transform program, the recent events in Baltimore are weighing heavily on my heart and mind.

A lesson I learn over and over, as I watch the news, read inspirational commentary, and connect to my heart, is this:
I cannot make sense of what is senseless.

So for those who choose to read this, know that I write as much for myself as I do for you. To try and find my own role in the world and to carve out space for you to find yours. Read More