Parenting is stressful. Let me rephrase that… parenting is REALLY stressful. I don’t know about you, but when I gave birth to our sons, none of them came out with an instruction manual. I had poured over the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book, but once baby came along life looked a lot like a roller coaster with hubby and I strapped into the front seat, hands thrown up and screaming in both terror and delight as we plunged into a downward spiral with a little one pushing the accelerator lever to full speed ahead!
Most of us enter parenthood with ideals in our head of what a great mom/dad we’re going to be. “I’m never going to yell.” “I’m going to have a perfectly clean house and make all meals from scratch for my precious little one.” “I’m never going to (fill in the blank).” Remember those days? We think about what kind of role model we want to be. But do we actually make a plan of how we want to approach parenting? Without a plan, when you get into the thick of toddler tantrums and nights of little sleep, we tend to stray from our ideals and just go with the flow. For many of us, we react too quickly. Our buttons get pushed and the mad mommy monster comes out.
But what if it didn’t? What if we learned to parent peacefully?
Somehow I ended up on the complete opposite spectrum of peaceful parenting. I tend to be a tough mom, a strict mom. We have rules in place for a reason. I want my NO to mean NO and I want my kids to respect that. I want my children to understand consequences and not be sheltered from disappointment when they don’t get their way. At the same time, I don’t want to be remembered as the mean mom, the mom who yells and loses it. I don’t want my boys to pick up on my poor behavior choices and adopt them as their own. My kids are 9, 8, and 5 and I’m claiming that there is still hope for us. They have already seen a lot and heard a lot. But we can make a change. And so can you. It’s never too late to parent better or to love more.
Parenting is a learning experience all in itself. We all parent in different ways. You don’t have to choose a specific style of parenting. That’s the great thing about families… we’re all created uniquely so your parenting should reflect your family’s values and the uniqueness of each family member. However, having a plan and sticking with a parenting philosophy may have its benefits. Whether you cling to the whole of the peaceful parenting philosophy or just adopt pieces of it, I want to offer you this perspective with hope that it may help you become a calmer, less anxiety-filled, less angry parent and, perhaps, help to calm your household in those stressful “learning” times.
The Peaceful Parenting Philosophy: How to Be a Peaceful Parent
What is Peaceful Parenting?
Peaceful parenting is an approach that is effective, valuable, and has proven to be successful with many families. While most traditional parenting philosophies aims at punishment to acknowledge bad behavior, peaceful parenting strives on effective communication and setting realistic boundaries.
wehavekids.com explains: “Peaceful parenting is using intentional, gentle ways to guide children using empathetic and cooperative solutions versus trying to control their behavior with bribes, yelling, and punishments. It involves working with children by listening, understanding, responding, and communicating with intention.”
According to an article on peacefulparent.com, the communication is set through patience, clarity on your expectations, and never raising one’s voice. Moreover, mutual problem-solving is a key factor: “Adopting a democratic, mutual problem-solving approach to parenting lifts both the adult and child out of the power struggle. This approach teaches parents to relate primarily to the feelings beneath the behavior and to respond primarily to the feelings.”
Transitioning Into Peaceful Parenting
The transition to peaceful parenting can be a smooth one. You may not even realize it, but perhaps you already exude some behaviors that align with the peaceful parenting philosophy.
The first step: starting with yourself. According to Psychology Today, “The “peace” in peaceful parenting comes from you. Specifically, from your commitment to regulate your own emotions. That means that when you feel upset, you stop, drop your agenda (temporarily), and breathe.”
Calmness is a large aspect to peaceful parenting. When used as a noun, the word calm is defined as: “the absence of violent or confrontational activity within a place or group.”
And that’s exactly it: peaceful parenting is all about your approach to teaching, control, and regulation. As a peaceful parent, you’ll commit to setting limits, finding connections with your kids, and following the win-win model.
But What is the “Win-Win Model”
The win-win model bases itself on an understood compromise. Psychology Today uses the following conversation as an example: “I know your little sister gets on your nerves sometimes, and she always wants to play with your things. That’s really annoying to you. You deserve to be able to keep your treasures safe. But it isn’t okay to yell at your sister or hit her. Why don’t we work together to find a safe place for your treasures where your sister can’t get at them? And if you start getting annoyed at her, what can you do instead of yelling?”
It may take a few sessions of trial and error. As you transition to the peaceful parenting philosophy, you may find yourself losing your temper, ready to scold your little one, etc. In turn, your kids may not respond well to your new-found approach. However, if you both stick with it, your communication will greatly improve. You’ll find that you’ll come to agreements and solutions together and with less stress.
One may see peaceful parenting as a calm and controlled form of negotiation. It bases itself on the idea of empathy and “walking a mile” in your child’s shoes. You will learn to show more compassion and be more understanding. It will have you both communicating efficiently and effectively, coming to a solution that’ll benefit both parties. And it will help keep anxiety at bay… both yours and your child’s.
So friends… I challenge you to think about your parenting approach. What can you change? How would your children respond differently if you modeled more peaceful responses to your children? It is my personal goal to yell less and love more. To show more respect to my children and to reach their heart, not just change their behavior.
Tell me if you already practice the peaceful parenting philosophy. Or are there any aspects of it that you plan to implement?