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.
Life gets busy. Life with kids gets even busier. And in all of that busy-ness, it can often feel like we are running around from one crisis to another. If our children are happily playing, we assume we have a few minutes to ourselves and life is grand. Conventional parenting agrees with that. Parents step in to put out the proverbial fires: the medical emergencies, the melt-downs, and the sibling wars. Unfortunately, that method tends to leave parents scrambling from one problem to another, gasping for breath in between, and not enjoying our children as much as we could. It also focuses on the problems.
While our children definitely need us during those times, by doing a little bit of preventative work, we can help our children, and ourselves, live calmer, more peaceful lives. Peaceful parents want to figure out the cause of the problem and work together with our children to both fix the current problem and to help learn new ways of doing things so that we can prevent it from reoccurring. What can we do now to help make things better all of the time?
- Children need to feel special and appreciated. When our children are secure in the knowledge that we love them for the very unique person they are, they are less likely to act out or to compete with siblings for our attention.
- Children need to feel connected with their loving adults. When we feel connected with another person, we are more likely to cooperate and work with that person.
- Children need to feel safe. When children feel safe, they are better able to regulate their emotions, which means they are less likely to bottle their emotions up until the metaphorically explode.
- Children need help. There will be times when our children, who are still learning about life, will need us to step in. Pay attention to the warning signs so that you can step in and coach your child before the nuclear melt-down.
- Children need frequent positive interactions. No one feels good when everything is negative. When we interact with our children in positive ways, they feel more positive about how they interact with others. When we work with our children, they have more positive interactions with siblings, too, making them more likely to be empathetic with their siblings.
- Children need a positive role model. Our children learn more from our actions than from our words. Respond in ways you want your children to respond to others: with empathy and caring, with consideration, and with respect. They are watching.
When our children have their emotional and physical needs met, they are more empathetic to others, more likely to work together with others, and are better able to respond rather than react to situations in general.
Interested in reading more about the concepts in the second chapter of Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings? Check out these posts by Natural Parent Network volunteers:
Rethinking and Refreshing Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the ways her family is talking about emotions and connection with the use of concrete tools and techniques to help each child feel more in control of themselves and more empathetic of each other.
Preventing Breakdowns in Our Kids Julia, of A Little Bit of All of It, writes about the importance of connecting with our kids and scheduling daily special time with them and how meeting their emotional needs helps to prevent breakdowns..
Positive Parenting Affirmations and Resources Dionna at Code Name: Mama is committed to positive parenting. She has shared five of the top reasons she practices positive parenting, including her desire to build strong sibling relationships.
Why We Won’t Be Scheduling Melt-Downs Having a lot of techniques for dealing with issues we face as parents is beneficial. However, at Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy explains why scheduling melt-downs is one technique her family won’t be using.
Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals “Why do you read so many books about parent stuff?” Was the question Kat from MomeeZen got from one of her daughter’s recently. In this post, Kat from MomeeeZen, writes about how emotionally tough it was for her to read Chapter Two of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings,” and how she explained to her kids that being a parent is something you learn because kids don’t come with manuals.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: Chapter Two At Embrita Blogging, Emily discusses the use of empathy, something she feels is sorely lacking in our culture, in raising siblings who get along with one another.
Parenting without Punishment: Savvy Siblings At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses the ways in which punishment actually work against the goal of parenting: teaching and guiding.