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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Aubin, LCSW

Decolonizing parenting

Autistic therapist minnesota online california

When I was pregnant with my first child, I already knew society was very sick and that it had been sick for a long time. My ancestors had been passing down their pain generation after generation. Already I felt like a complete outsider to this sick society due to my autistic brain. On some level I also knew that our society wasn’t good for any brain or nervous system. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I was raised in this sick culture, and I was a product of it. How could I provide something better for my kids when this is all I knew?

So, like with any problem I encounter, I dove into books and research. I quickly realized that I had to return to the past or to cultures/peoples that had deeper, healthier roots. I read almost every book on hunter gatherer parenting and ancestral parenting practices. I wanted to just hit control-alt-delete and delete agriculture and see if I could glean wisdom from people who provided their children with total autonomy and respect.

I also didn’t want to fall into the trap of appropriating or romanticizing indigenous peoples either. So much has been taken from indigenous people, I didn’t want to add to the pain. I realized I would need to analyze this information and then seek resonance within myself to form my own conclusions.

This led to me following what most people would call “attachment parenting” but it was actually far deeper than that. I came to the conclusion that to decolonize my parenting meant to partner with my children as full autonomous human beings and give them the maximum amount of freedom possible with the maximum amount of affection, acceptance, and support. To do this I had to deconstruct ideas about power, control, autonomy, affection, proximity… Everything I had ever been taught or seen in society needed to be questioned.

5 years later, I am still deconstructing my own programming. It seems clear to me that my culture of origin is the one who spread the domination/control-based parenting style around the world via the violence of colonization. I want to break this cycle and I am deeply pained to see so many of us repeating it.


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