The dream of peaceful parenting, and being a zen, patient mother did seem pretty unrealistic to me at first. Ok I'll admit it, there are days when it seems pretty unrealistic still. But here's some stuff I've learned about peaceful parenting that I'd like to share with you. If you're wondering how to achieve that beautiful, loving connection with your children that you read about, and this magical land of 'no punishment parenting' this blog post is for you.
Listen up LP's especially, you don't need a house-elf, fairy godmother or other magical being to make this a reality in your home. Seriously, it's easier than you might think!
OK I hear you. It's daunting. So let's start by breaking it down. What even is 'Peaceful Parenting'?
Here's a basic run-down:
If you want to explore the theory more, there's a great site all about Peaceful Parenting here.
1) Parenting without punishment (a mysterious concept for many parents at first)
2) Clear communication, boundaries and limits (the holy grail in my house)
3) Mutual problem solving (yes, even a toddler can do it - honest!)
4) Role modelling for your child (ahh, do as I do, not as I say. A bit of honest self-reflection required here my lovelies).
5) Meeting your child's emotional needs (recognising them first helps)
6) Meeting your own emotional needs (should this really be last on the list?)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say number 6 should be number 1 in the priorities. What I've learned as I've travelled the bumpy road towards a more peaceful and gentle home, is that when I'm out of whack, life is out of whack. If I'm unhappy, I am also likely to have a firecracker fuse, be prone to over-reactions and generally quite un-peaceful.
So what does it take to be a peaceful parent, on the inside? For me, it takes time and space to be the best version of myself. I need to be able to meet myself as a friend and someone I actually like. When I have friendly thoughts about myself and can appreciate all my own good points, I'm much more able to share that person with the world. So if you really don't like yourself much right now, start with fixing that first. Here are some questions I really had to think about when I reset my parenting buttons...
Do you like who you are as a person?
Would you want to hang out with yourself right now?
Do you know what makes you happy, sad, or angry?
Can you step away from your personal drama enough to laugh about it and have a sense of perspective yet?
If you answered "no" to any of those questions, (and I did, not so long ago) I hear you. It's hard. It's sure as hell not a peaceful place to be. But it can change. And when it does, mountains move, landscapes change, and children stop throwing cereal bowls at you. Truly!
Over the next few weeks I'm going to blog on each of the other five points of Peaceful Parenting and explain what these principles look like in our house. I'll give you a real, honest window into how I've got on board with them, one by one.
First of all though here's my checklist for "meeting your own emotional needs"
- Start by making meeting your own emotional needs your top priority
- Abandon all guilt for needing 'me time' Right. Now. (Seriously)
- Find someone to talk to about the stuff that drives you crazy as a parent. A friend, a coach, a therapist, your own parent - I don't care who it is, as long as it's not your kid.
- Go hang out with yourself. The fun you. The person you actually like. Do the stuff you enjoy, and let yourself enjoy it fully.
- Now take that fun, relaxed, emotionally supported and happy person back home with you.
- Introduce them to your kids.
The rest of it comes later! Follow me for updates on the Peaceful Parenting path. You can find me on Facebook and on Twitter too.