The politics of parenting: A personal matter on public display

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

July 2015 Monthly Round Up

Parenting is an intensely personal endeavor on public display.  Photo: You by Subharnab Majumdar vi Flickr

Parenting is an intensely personal endeavor on public display. Photo: You by Subharnab Majumdar vi Flickr

A recent post by a mom on Yahoo Parenting  expressed dismay about her own hostile reaction to her uncle’s critical comment regarding her parenting decisions. This got me thinking about why parenting can be such a touchy subject. There is something intensely personal about parenting.

We have all done it.

We have all judged a parent by their own actions or the actions of their children. The temptation is great to summarily approve or disapprove of how a parent-child bond is demonstrated in public, and by the same token defend our own philosophy and choices.

It is the politics of parenthood.

When a child does something wonderful, good or amazing, we exalt the parents and proclaim there must have been excellent parenting skill involved. Or if a child does something in appropriate, depraved or horrific, we immediately jump to the conclusion that the parents did a poor job. I have been that parent in the supermarket with a child lying on the floor as if making angels in the snow, refusing to get up and blocking customers from leaving the store. Yes, I am a parent of strong-willed children who express their talent for independent thought leadership in their own unique ways. And over the years of parenting free will, I have had to surrender my own ego (worrying about what the neighbors will think) in order to be the disciplinarian who is a trusted resource.

"For most people, the family is the place where one learns to love, or not." -- Helen Alvare Purchase your copy of the 2015 Edition today! $15.00

“For most people, the family is the place where one learns to love, or not.” — Helen Alvare
Purchase your copy of the 2015 Edition today! $15.00

And the truth of the matter is that there is a tendency to take too much credit for the good and the bad. Laudable parents can have sons and daughters who fall into addiction, while negligent and abusive parents can have children who grow up to be laudable adults. It is folly to believe that we have control over our child’s thoughts and actions. Now this truth does not imply that parents don’t matter – to the contrary. Never before has the role of the parent been more important than it is in a hyper-connected world. The opportunity to impart the spiritual wisdom and personal discipline of our chosen faith has never been better as digital natives (born after 1990) are conditioned for authority as a relational experience and are craving this authenticity from us.

Cyber connectivity introduces an element of emotional highs and lows that inspire fear and disturb the peace. And when our peace is disturbed, which with social media and texting is a 24X7 cycle, it is easy to believe the lies about our own worth and focus on things that don’t matter. That is when the right circumstances and the wrong thinking come into play inspiring bullying, addiction and exploitation. No human being is invincible in this regard.

Over 30 years of parenthood has reinforced that parenting is not about me at all. Rather it is about meeting the spiritual need of my child (which requires less of my ego) to experience unconditional love through all of their choices, and thereby learn how to think correctly in all circumstances, and find their own strength to be well with and strengthened by all of the consequences of their choices. And I have learned that this is more difficult when I am fearfully judging myself and others.


Last month, BMF held its inaugural event in Citrus Heights – a symposium on meeting the Spiritual and Mental Health Needs of Modern Youth and Families. It was attended by therapists, counselors and faith leaders and featured insights about individual resilience that is learned at home – it is the authority in me, in you and in our children to overcome the undue influences (bullying, exploitation and addiction) that inspire fear, shame and guilt, and in the process pursue a better future. In this regard, I have come to appreciate parenting is about communicating Divine Love, by putting trust in one mustard seed of faith that our God-given command over our own intellect and will can never be taken, but is easily surrendered. My faith informs me that raising our children with this mustard seed of faith inspires an executive movement at home and in our community that involves choosing to learn how to love one another as God loves humanity, without fail, throughout all of life’s challenges and experiences.

Consequences + Love = Empowerment


1. Preparing youth for starting middle school, high school, and college

Tues., August 4, 6:30 pm—8pm and encore Wed August 5, 10am to 11:30am   Every graduation brings promise and uncertainty. How to clarify anxiety your child may be experiencing and impart wisdom for handling new academic & social challenges with holy confidence.

Location: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church, 7200 Auburn Folsom Road, Granite Bay, CA 95746, 916-786-5001

Mark your calendars for more SJM Parent University training on bullying and social media in September and October in Granite Bay, CA

2. Fresh Start Trainer Certification

Friday, Sept. 11, noon to 4pm, Roseville, CA

This training explores the divine principles of creating a family culture that builds trust,  is characterized by open communication and promotes individual resilience in the social network and in the flesh. This is a culture that fosters healing and empowers individuals to overcome the adult issues of bullying, addiction and exploitation hyped in the network culture.

3. SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, October 4, 2015, 8am to 1:30pm  – Carmichael, CA

Teaching modern youth to recognize the difference between exploitation and prosperity

The symposium will be aimed at parents and teachers of middle school students on teaching youth about the difference between exploitation and prosperity. In the social network, kids get a lot of mixed signals, and the value of human life and money is very distorted at times. And the girls, in particular, are at great risk of being exploited sexually for the profit of another. (A recent FBI outreach is asking for help identifying 250 victims of a sextortionist who skillfully terrorized 12-year-olds into believing they had to conduct lewd acts on camera in order to gain their freedom…all of this of course taking place in the home.)


July 2015 Round Up

Cyber Safety for Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner


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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.