Peaceful-Parenting is parenting without using any aggressive behavior towards your children, including when you are disciplining. Here I will provide you with a list of the things you cannot be doing if you want to be a peaceful parent.
You might be doing everything on this list or just couple of things. Either way these things are harmful to your children and need to stop. Unfortunately, I have done some of the things on this list. Obviously, I am not proud to have to admit that I wasn’t always a peaceful parent. If I could change one thing about my past, that would be it. However, I am living proof that you can, at any time, choose to start being a peaceful-parent and change the lives of your entire family. It is NEVER too late to be a better parent.
I’ll add that I fell so in love with the alternative ways of doing things that I decided to start this blog!
You might have some push back on what I think is aggressive behavior, and that is okay. I will give more in depth detail later, in individual posts, that will explain the reason and evidence behind how these things are harmful.
1) No Use of Physical Force
This includes, spanking, hitting, grabbing, pulling, etc.. Anything that requires you to touch your child in an aggressive way is abusive. I understand becoming frustrated and not knowing what else to do. Let’s face it, it’s what was probably done to you. However, hitting is not the answer. It doesn’t fix the problem, long term, and it hurts your child. It also fails to teach them how to communicate. They need to learn to negotiate and talk things out. You don’t want them to respect what you are saying because you are bigger. That’s not real respect anyway. You want them to respect you because you have earned it by being respectful. That is how all functional relationships work after all.
2) No Yelling
Yelling at your kids can be harmful in a number of ways. When you yell you slam the doors of communication shut. Do you want to talk to anyone who is screaming at you? Because I sure don’t. Do you want to talk to anyone who is screaming at you? Because I sure don’t. Do you want to negotiate with someone who is screaming at you? Yeah, me neither.
You know that old saying “Every time I open my mouth my mother comes out?” You can directly apply that saying to the temper tantrums your child has when they are screaming at you. They are screaming at you because that is behavior you have modeled for them. Yelling only teaches them that they win an argument if they can scream the loudest.
3) No Timeout
Most people I know do time-out the old fashioned way. They tell their child to go sit somewhere (bed, couch, corner, floor, etc.) and then they say “You can get up when I say you can get up” or they set a timer. When the child has no concept of time this is like torture to them. They don’t know when they will be able to play or if you have forgotten about them. The rules usually aren’t explicitly outlined for how they are expected to behave. If they are, they are usually unreasonable; sit still, no talking, no moving, no laying down, no fidgeting, etc. Your child will be under immense pressure waiting for you to choose a time to get up or waiting to hear a timer. This makes it almost impossible to sit still and “behave”. You want your child to be thinking about their poor behavior but all they will be thinking about is when they will be able to get up. Setting your child up for failure is not going to teach them anything, and it’s not peaceful.
Honestly, put me in a chair for an arbitrary amount of time and I’ll probably break all of those rules.
4) No Imposing Your Will
It is your job as a parent to teach your children, not to force them to make the decisions you want them to make. This means you have to explain a lot of things a bunch of times, in very creative ways. When your child comes to a point where they don’t want to do something you need to explain why you want them to do what you are asking and let them decide if it is reasonable. If they don’t find it reasonable then it’s time for a discussion.
Most of the time, what you are asking them to do is going to be reasonable, they just need to better understand WHY it is reasonable. Let them ask questions, answer them, make sure they understand and if they choose not to do something then they have to deal with the natural consequences. Here is an example of what I mean by natural: “If you don’t pick up your room, you will have twice as much work to do tomorrow.” Usually once they see, after weeks of learning the hard way, that not picking up creates a bigger mess for them the following day, they CHOOSE to pick up because they see that it is in fact a reasonable request.
You can speed up this learning process by reminding them that mom and dad clean up after themselves when they make a mess. I started casually mentioning that after dinner when I would be cleaning the kitchen. This showed them that I wasn’t expecting more from them than I was doing myself.
5) Do Not Silence Your Child’s Voice
This is a very important one. As a parent you feel that you know best for your child, and you probably do in most cases. However, your children should be included in all of the decisions that impact their life. Your child should have a say in things such as: the house rules, where they live (if you are planning on moving), where their toys go, where they go on vacation, what’s for dinner, etc. Now I am not saying the children get to choose all of these things and Mommy and Daddy have to concede to what the child wants. What I am saying is that you need to give your child a voice and consideration. They are individuals with their own thoughts about all of these things, and they deserve to be heard. A child’s voice is crucial to healthy development.
There is so much more that will be discussed on this page. If you stop doing these 5 things you will notice a difference in the overall happiness and cooperative behavior in your children. More importantly, you will have a relationship with your children that you couldn’t have imagined in your wildest dreams.