Does It REALLY Matter? To Who?
Before reacting to a behavior, first ask yourself if it matters. Jumping on the furniture? Touching every cereal box in the aisle? Throwing all the bedding on the floor? Hitting other children? I find that often, actions not having a direct effect on other people are often disallowed just because we are used to saying "no" to that action. Often we fear what other people are thinking about our children's behavior or how they are judging our parenting and react out of fear of judgment. So asking myself what really matters to me and my child is important in picking my battles, and deciding what kind of reaction would be best.
They Are HAVING a Problem, Not BEING a Problem
When things are getting out of hand, and children are acting out it might be good to remember that our children are NOT out to get us. They don't behave in that way just to test us or to be at odds with us. Children want to be connected to us, but might not always know how to communicate it or gain that connection.
Children Are People Too
Say your child just threw their dinner plate on the floor, how would you react? Now, imagine it was your partner or best friend: how is the reaction different? This is the pinnacle of my reason for wanting to be a gentle parent. Children are people, and they deserve the same respect we do. These are not tactics we tolerate in the adult world, it makes little sense to use them on our children.
All that said: I have been at this parenting gig for almost 5 years. I am not awesome at this stuff. I even had a moment WHILE WRITING THIS that I imagined drop kicking my kiddo upon discovering the poopy finger paint done in the quiet moment I stole to add a bit to this post. Before finding people with similar ideals when my son was almost 6 months, I never knew people who wanted to use gentle discipline. I have to work each and every time something comes up to react in a way I can be proud of. I don't often succeed. The point is that I keep trying. And when all the techniques fail and I have no more tricks to try I know that just getting down on their level and asking for a hug will do us both a world of good.
Please join us all week, June 25-June30, 2012, as we explore the world of gentle, effective parenting. We have new posts each day by talented authors providing us with insight into why gentle parenting is worth your time and how to implement it on a daily basis. Check out all the carnival posts over on ParentingGently.com We are also giving away several parenting book and other goodies from our sponsors this week. Please stop by and enter to win! This year's beautiful motherhood artwork is by Patchwork Family Art. Visit the store to see all her work.