Parenting, it’s hard as hell sometimes.
It seems like our children know just what buttons to push and when to press them to make us explode.
At least, that’s how it used to be for me.
I am a mother to 3 beautiful children. I have a 5-year-old boy, Maddix, a 2-year-old daughter, Arya, and a 3-month-old daughter, Harper.
I used to struggle daily with losing my patience and yelling at my kids. I even resorting to spanking them when I thought they deserved it. I felt like a terrible mother at the end of the day. I laid in bed crying, promising myself I’d be better the next day.
We were struggling with our son bullying his younger sister and finding it funny when she cried. They were hitting us, yelling at us, throwing things constantly when they felt mad. It was incredibly frustrating and what we were doing was obviously not working. If anything, it was making matters worse.
We were stuck in this loop for a while. I knew I needed to do better. Not only for my kids – but for myself. My husband and I agreed – we both wanted to change how we were parenting. So I started looking for help.
An inspiring friend
I was always inspired by a friend of mine who practices peaceful parenting. She is an amazing mother of two and an incredible person.
So I messaged her and asked for her advice. She gave me some brilliant ideas on how to approach the bullying issue.
My husband and I did more research and read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham. This book gave us much more insight into what we wanted to accomplish. Peaceful parenting helps teach respect by showing the child respect.
My husband did great at being peaceful right off the bat. Me? I was still struggling hard to keep my cool. While the spanking did come to a stop, the yelling and anger didn’t.
I felt angry with my kids every single day for the way they were behaving. I would yell at them to stop certain behaviors and take them to their rooms for a time-out. At the end of the day, I remembered that I only had so many days with them, and I wasted that day being angry and grumpy.
I slowly improved my peaceful parenting. Yes, I still had bad days, but things were getting better. I felt so much better about the way I was parenting.
I could tell a huge difference in my kids!
They were both screaming less. Maddix stopped throwing things out of anger. He got better and better about talking through his feelings with us. Arya still sometimes throws and shouts in anger, but we’re working through it!
Peaceful, not permissive
Some people confuse peaceful parenting with permissive parenting. The two are VERY different.
Permissive parenting is allowing the child to do whatever, whenever, without consequence. These parents don’t expect mature behavior from their children. They often seem more like a friend than a parent.
Peaceful parenting has clear limits and natural consequences for the child’s actions. NOT discipline. You learn to respond instead of reacting to your child’s behavior.
So you might be wondering what a “natural consequence” looks like.
For example, my son is bullying his sister. A natural consequence for that would be her not wanting to play with him anymore. He would then be playing all alone. In the real world, nobody wants to play with a bully.
I don’t ignore this behavior. Once the situation has de-escalated, I talk to Maddix about how he made Arya feel. I ask how he would feel if someone had done that same thing to him. We then work on mutual problem solving and think of ways to make it right with Arya. I then give him the chance to resolve things with her.
No parenting style is one-size-fits-all
Explaining to my family and friends the benefits of peaceful parenting was challenging. They couldn’t understand WHY I chose to go this route instead of spanking and time-outs.
People misunderstood what peaceful parenting was. It’s still challenging to explain to some.
To this day, I continue to see changes in my children. They know that no matter how they are behaving, they are loved and safe.
It can be challenging to remain peaceful when you have a child screaming at you or throwing things. But after the storm has passed, YOU can feel good about how you handled the situation.
I continue to work on myself every day. This helps me support my children through their own challenges.
We aren’t perfect. We can’t expect our children to be. We only have to BE the change we want to see in our kids.
Do you practice peaceful parenting? What are some changes you have noticed in you or your child?