Sweet violence, do you know? You know, those little sentences or those little gestures of almost harmless annoyance that you can do without thinking badly. We don’t really pay attention to it, because “there is nothing bad about it”, and that we sometimes (even often) grew up with it as a child…
“Because of you, we’re always late!” “But what are you pissing off on me?” Or say to a friend in front of our child “I don’t know what he’s got right now, but he’s unbearable!” . Anyway, you might think they’re not that bad… My friend Caroline, mother of Sid, 16 years old, Noah 10 years old and Isis 7 years old tells us about her experience and how she managed to take them out of her daily life.
Did you say Douce Violence?
In fact, when I first became interested in this concept of “gentle violence”, I admit that I took a bit of a cold in the back! And yes, many of my mom’s reflexes don’t seem really good to me 😅! And yet, it has been a few years since I started towards positive parenting, with the firm intention of raising my children in a benevolent and respectful way …
The objective is not to make people feel guilty (even if frankly, I do not know how to do without 😉 yet), but already to recognize these little displaced peaks!
In fact, it is about realizing how we address our child, what gestures we have towards him, what we make him feel. Because seeing oneself done is a first step in being able to change (in some ways deprogram) our behavior!
Like a “deafening silence”, a gentle violence is an oxymoron, two terms which are opposed and which have a priori nothing to do together. Perhaps you did not know this term, and yet these little gestures or words often dot our daily lives. It is not a question here of physical violence such as a spanking, a slap, a tantrum or other corporal punishment, nor of psychological violence. (See also our article on ordinary educational violence.)
What is the difference between gentle violence and VEO?
Of course, in either case, the parent usually has no intention of harming.
In the case of ordinary educational violence, punished by the law of July 10, 2019, the parent uses means, considered physical or psychological violence, to achieve educational purposes. He has the will to coerce the child “for his own good”.
As far as gentle violence is concerned, the parent does not realize that their behavior can hurt the child. For example, he uses a ‘cute’ nickname that the child hates, laughs at, or makes a promise without keeping it, etc. It is more repetition than the act that creates violence.
It is in fact small acts that we may think harmless, but who, by dint of repetition, can build in our child a emotional insecurity. There is not really in adults a will to be mean, to scold or to hurt… Here are some keys to recognize them.
Recognize Soft Violence, “little” phrases or gestures that are not so harmless
In fact, to recognize gentle violence, it’s simple: let’s try to imagine this same situation with an adult (a friend, employee or supervisor). Would that be accepted? If the answer is NO, bingo! You are at the right one (well suddenly the wrong address) … Here are a few examples:
Forcing a child to eat or sleep, etc.
Who hasn’t insisted a little on Loulou swallowing a tablespoon of soup, or forbidding him to eat alone to prevent him from putting it everywhere? In fact, if we want to teach our child that he is the sole master of his body, forcing him to do so against his will can be felt as a violation of his physical integrity! By forcing him to swallow food, to give a kiss if he doesn’t feel like it or to sleep when he doesn’t feel the need, we are doing “gentle violence” in spite of ourselves and without thinking badly. .
Blackmail or manipulate
You know the famous if… “if you don’t finish your dish, you will be deprived of dessert!”. Or sulk because our child did not want to do what we had decided … In fact, we weigh our love against his obedience. It’s a kind of conditional love “If you do what I want, I love you. Otherwise… ”We can imagine the violence felt if our darling gave us this ultimatum.
Moreover, positive education interests you and you would like to receive some advice and tips, leave us your address and receive (free of charge) our “Positive education pack” with the keys to know. More cooperation while shouting less, it feels good! 😉
Have demeaning words
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. These little sentences that overflow from our lips when we are in the morning speed (tell me yes, otherwise, I’m going to believe myself even more of an awful mom 😅 !!!) “Because of you, we’re always late ! ” “What are you annoying me!”… We can simply say “Loulou, if you don’t put your shoes on, we’re going to be late and that annoys me because I don’t like being late” … (see also the keys for a non-violent communication). We feel all the nuance between the TU which takes the other in its entirety and the WHEN YOU DO THIS which makes it possible to modify the problematic behavior …
Take a child without their consent
We imagine the scene: the annoyed mother who grabs her 2-year-old baby under the arm, saying “Come on, that’s enough! In the bath now! ”. Or the dad (yes, each in turn anyway 😉) who grabs the wrist to take the child out of the sandbox … Let’s take two minutes: what if our boss grabbed us by the shirt to get us out of the meeting because we said something stupid (however big it is…). On the way to the HR department and that will only be normal, right?
Humiliate the child or deny the emotion
The mockery, the irony, the little phrases which under an air of humor tend to belittle or deny “So there, bravo! You made your sister cry again! ” (come on, a pinch of guilt for the road 😉). “Ah yes, it’s always like that with her, how clumsy she is! A real Pierre Richard! ”. Moreover, when we talk (badly) about our child to someone without paying attention to the fact that they are hearing, this also constitutes aggressive behavior. We can imagine the violence if we hear our colleague slandering us at the coffee break, when we are right next door, and he also knows that we are right next door!
If you’ve had siblings, you probably know how hurtful it can be to be compared. One is good, the other bad. Some people think that a little competition can help you surpass yourself, but if it comes from the most important person in our life, the parent, and regularly finds your brother better than you, odds are you will. ‘we feel more sadness, this feeling of being “less loved” than of motivation. In addition, for make our children a team, better to focus on mutual aid than comparison!
Put a label
When Noah was 4-5 years old it had become a given in the family that he was slow! He took his time, he dreamed… And in the middle kindergarten section, I often had the opportunity to talk about it with his teacher who made the same observation “Bah, Noah… We need time!”. But one day, while talking to him, he said to me “You know, it’s normal Mom, I’m not fast!” He had perfectly integrated this state of affairs, since everyone seemed to agree! Suddenly, little by little, with the help of the teacher and the grandparents, we patiently deconstructed this label. “It’s not that he’s slow, he just hasn’t finished yet!” And to celebrate all the successes that underscored the opposite. In short, if we are stick a label, we end up bending over backwards to stick to it.
Punish or practice isolation
The punishment, the corner, the “file in your room”… We know them well and sometimes, at the end of the day, even if we don’t fundamentally believe in them, we can end up resorting to them because we have no another idea! But if the punishment was useful or effective in the development of the child, it would not be known? Of course, that does not mean that we cannot say to our toddler “You scream a lot, and I need calm, go to your room so that you can do it without disturbing others ”.
Les Douces Violences, an often transmitted heritage
Without wanting to find excuses, I think the world has changed a lot, which is why we parents, we learn every day to do differently from the model we had. And it is not easy!
Personally, I grew up with rather caring and attentive parents. Which does not prevent me from remembering some punishments (a turn on the corner or deprived of TV)….
But like many, the child’s understanding, the uses were not the same as today. And my parents themselves grew up raised by parents for whom the donkey cap and the rules were considered normal elements of education… And before them, the swift, deprivation, etc.
In short, from generation to generation, we learn to consider the child as a whole being deserving of respect, attention, listening and kindness. Little by little, the neurosciences, understanding the emotional security or the attachment theory change mores and what society considers acceptable.
Learn to get out of this gentle violence
The idea, again, is not to feel guilty or to give the impression that you are a bad parent! On the contrary, if you are reading these lines, it is surely that you want to improve yourself… Of course, it is not always easy because we are simply HUMANS, and YES, sometimes we are tired, stressed, at the end of the line … and we shout because that is, often, what we have learned …
However, we can get out of it little by little, by taking small steps in our daily life! Moreover, it is with this idea that Charlotte created the Cool Boost… A collective moment where we take a little of our (precious) time to settle down, laugh while watching his videos, exchange with other cool parents (it’s good to feel less alone), and take concrete steps to help us become a better parent! To discover the Cool Boost, it is by here 👉
We wish to thank the author of this post for this incredible content
Sweet Violence | Recognize them to better avoid them