Monday, June 25, 2012

Want a Hug?

It is hard to change the world. When everything you know about parenting and discipline is disconnecting and punitive, it seems especially difficult to want to do things differently. How do you deal with "bad" behavior, without punishing your child? How do you teach what you ave never learned? I have three ideas that were shared with me that I do my best to remember when interacting with my children.

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 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.

Monday, June 25

Are you considering Gentle Discipline and don't know where to start?  Not surprising giving how the media talks about helicopter and permissive parenting.  If you like the idea of gentle parenting but don't know where to start then today's posts are for you!
Want a Hug? by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy  
10 Principles of Unconditional Parenting by Amy from Presence Parenting writing for Natural Parents Network  
Spare the Rod? Does the Bible Promote Spanking? by Paige at Parenting Gently  
Biblical Instructions for Discipline: How Should a Christian Parent? by Dulce de leche  
Looking for a Better Way by Practical OH Mommy

Tuesday, June 26

Maybe you've read posts like yesterdays and you are intellectually convinced that this gentle parenting thing sounds great.  Now what?  Today's posts expand on the philosophy of gentle parenting as our authors break it down.
When Empathy Doesn't "Work" by Dr. Laura Markham  
Kids Are People Too - and how remembering that can make life so much easier by Momma on a Mission  
So You're Thinking of Trying a Different Way? by Practical OH Mommy  
Life Isn't One Size Fits All by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children  
To Me, Gentle Parenting Means... by A Teachable Mom

Wednesday, June 27 

Now that you have a great basis for the principles of gentle parenting let's look at one of the trickier parts of implementation.  Punishment.  Consequences.  Regardless of how mainstream parents talk about it this is the "big scary" thing that many parents worry will make their parenting permissive.  Today's authors talk about this important issue.
We Don't Do Discipline by Tat at Mum in Search  
The Fine Art of Natural Consequences and Logical Consequences by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama  
Save Time Outs for the Soccer Field by Practical OH MOmmy  
Gentle Discipline Basics: Teaching Skills by The HIppie Housewife  


  1. I really enjoyed this post because it is fundamentally about a paradigm shift that is so different from the dominant views in society. I feel like I need these posted on my fridge to keep me on track!

  2. I really agree about taking a closer look at the behavior and asking if it matters. A few times, the kids will be hopping around in the house and DH will say, "Pipe down!" or "Stop running!" Then we'll look at each other and he'll ask me, "Why did I say that??" LOL Cultural.

  3. Oh, how I love the hugs! Thanks for the reminder! I also wanted to drop kick my kids while I was writing my post for this Carnival. Grateful I made different choices this time! Great post!

  4. Great stuff, all of which I have to remind myself of multiple times daily. Taking 2 seconds in the middle of the chaos to ask myself "What kind of mama do I want to be right now?" has helped me remember not to give more fodder to the past, cultural learning about how to treat children but to put my faith into the connection, love and healing that gentle parenting provides.

  5. Children are people too- that's exactly what I wrote about in my post! :) So, so true.

  6. Thank you for this. It sometimes seems like it gentle discipline comes easily to everyone and that I'm the only one who has to continually change my way of thinking. So glad I'm not the only one