This post is written as part of the Round Table Discussions with Natural Parent Network volunteers. In an effort to discuss, support, and promote a kinder, more gentle world, we are taking an in depth view of various books. Our current book is Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. We hope you will join us with an open mind and a desire for change and growth.
We speak a lot about parenting peacefully and being a peaceful parent. But what exactly does that mean? It doesn’t mean being a perfect parent. It doesn’t mean that small woodland creatures will dance and clean your home as you sing folk ballads to your children, making everything from scratch and by hand. It also doesn’t mean that you will always feel peaceful.
Being a peaceful parent is a work in progress, from both the perspectives of parenting our growing children and from growing as we parent . It is something for which you strive. You won’t always feel peaceful. There will be times when you feel frustrated, hurt, angry, or exhausted beyond belief. Being a peaceful parent means you are being less reactive and working toward being more peaceful.
What are some qualities that peaceful parents work toward?
1. Peaceful parents work toward regulating their own emotions, regardless of how our children may be acting or how little sleep we got the night (or the month) before. We realize that as grown-ups, we have to act as grown-ups and model how we want our children to behave, as they learn from watching us.
2. Peaceful parents make staying connected with our children a priority. Every person, including every child, needs to feel heard and understood. They have a need to feel valued. When we make an effort to be connected with our children, we build a bridge of trust, love, and guidance. When our children feel valued, they are more able to treat others that way.
3. Peaceful parents act as coaches rather than dictators. We support our children, guiding them as needed. However, our role is one of mentorship, with the goal of discipline as one of teaching and learning rather than punishing.
It isn’t always easy to stay calm, especially if we find ourselves in the middle of a situation. In a best case scenario, we would learn to recognize the early signs that we are stressed out and being pushed beyond our limits and take action then to bring ourselves back to a calm state. But when we miss those signs, or when we are still learning them, we can break the cycle of stress and discontent by actively working to calm down, modeling the things we want for our children, and/or asking for help. Try taking a deep breath. Try grabbing a few moments to yourself. Make certain your needs are being met. Remember that it isn’t the end of the world and everything works out one way or another. Take some extra time to reconnect with your children.
Interested in reading more about the concepts in the first chapter of Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings? Check out these posts by Natural Parent Network volunteers:
Preventative Maintenance: 4 Habits to Strengthen Parent-Child Relationships Preventative maintenance refills kids’ love tanks and gives them an emotional tune-up everyday, so you don’t end up in the breakdown lane. Dionna at Code Name: Mama talks about the 4 habits parents can practice!
Introduction: Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings Having a multitude of tools in our parenting toolbox makes parenting easier. At Embrita Blogging, Emily talks about some of the tools she has used with her children to help them better communicate with one another.
Three Really Hard Things The Artful Mama, discusses how timely the topic of “three really hard things” was for her and her husband when they welcomed their third son and decided that she would stay home from work. Both parents felt that the stresses of these new changes made them less than gentle in their interactions with their older children. The reminder has them looking for new ways to refresh their gentle parenting journey.
Coach Rather than Referee: Helping Children Get Along Sometimes it feels like your children may need a referee, but at Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy urges parents to focus on coaching instead so that children can learn the skills they need to effectively communicate, regulate themselves, and work together.
20 Fun Ways to Roughhouse with Your Kids Not only does roughhousing build your parent-child relationship, it also helps kids (and adults!) release stress and anxiety. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 20 ways to start roughhousing with your kids today!
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings – Introduction and Chapter 1 Amy, of Presence Parenting, shares some quotes from the beginning of the book that stand out to her, a solo mom of five (who’s really grateful for this book right now).
Peace is a Sometimes Hard Choice Being a peaceful parent means you have to choose to be peaceful day in and day out. Kat at MomeeeZen shares how reading Chapter One of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings” gave her the hard nudge she needed to solidify that being peaceful is a choice that requires constant practice, especially when she is at her wits end. Read on to find out how she’s implemented some strategies to make it easier to choose peace.
The Journey to Peacefulness in Parenting Parenting is hard work, including the work to regulate our emotions as parents and parenting in a manner which helps our children learn and be intrinsically motivated. At Natural Life Mom, Julia talks about the first chapter and the importance of connecting and acknowledging feelings.