Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick

Encouraging people to think critically about everything.

Peaceful Parenting is not…

on July 23, 2015

I’m aware that there is a lot of misunderstanding about what peaceful parenting actually is. Mostly, I know this because I was once one of the people who misunderstood it! To start, I would like to define what peaceful parenting is to me. In short, it’s treating my kids the same as I would treat anyone; understanding that they have the same emotions and thoughts and are just lacking the same vocabulary, ability, and experience needed to express those thoughts and emotions. Consequently, I am not here to tell them what to do or who to be; I’m here to be their mentor and guide, their voice and their advocate. That said, here’s what peaceful parenting is not…

Peaceful parenting is not…letting your kids do whatever they want.
This has got to be the most annoying assumption out there! Would I sit back and watch a complete stranger wander out into traffic? Would I watch passively while my husband was about to grab a hot pan? Would I do nothing if I knew my friend was spending so much time playing games on the Internet that it was interfering with the quality of her life? Would I walk away from people fighting on the street without doing something to try and stop it? The answer to all of these is no! Being peaceful doesn’t mean watching people be self-destructive or harm others. It simply means that when those situations arise, they are dealt with in the most peaceful manner possible. And if my children’s behavior is not harmful to themselves or others (physically or mentally), then I don’t attempt to change it.

Peaceful parenting is not…selfless.
It may appear that a parent must completely give up their own wants and needs in order to peacefully parent. That’s not completely true. Yes, I do give up a whole lot for the sake of their wants and needs, but there are certainly times when I am selfish. That doesn’t mean I am completely uncaring about it, though. For instance, I like to have my coffee first thing in the morning. That’s not exactly feasible with two little ones, but just as soon as they have their immediate needs met (diapers changed, something to snack on, drink), I absolutely do go get myself a cup of coffee. Even if that means they cry a bit. I will tell them what I’m going to do and that I’ll be done shortly. I sometimes carry one of them with me. And yes, sometimes my first cup gets postponed because things happen. Peacefulness requires adaptability and compromise, it’s definitely not conducive to rigidity. If it seems like peaceful parents are selfless, it’s because we realize that children grow up quickly. They will not always have such great need of our time and attention. There will be plenty of time for me to do whatever I want once they’re older.

Peaceful parenting is not…lazy.
Far from it! Take it from someone has practiced both authoritarian and peaceful parenting; requiring your kids to follow arbitrary rules without questioning, and responding with immediate punishment (physical or otherwise) when they don’t, that is far easier than responding with empathy, critical thought, and an explanation of your reasons. Isolating them in a corner to deal with their big emotions (“tantrums”) alone is far easier than comforting them through those emotions and helping them to learn a healthier way of expressing them. Demanding that they eat whatever you feel like making for dinner is easier than asking them what they want or allowing them to choose between what you’ve made and a hot dog, peanut butter sandwich, or whatever else they particularly like. However, in the long run, the peaceful way will be easier! Establishing a deep emotional and mental connection to your children now will ensure that you will have the same connection when they are teenagers and adults. You might think that all teenagers rebel, but does it have to be that way? If the only rules you establish are to keep them and others physically and mentally safe, if those rules are explained in great detail time and again, and they are fluidly changing to meet current needs, then what will there be to rebel against?

Peaceful parenting is not…perfection.
I certainly have many moments, sometimes entire days, where my actions and words are not peaceful. I am only human, after all. I make mistakes. Part of peaceful parenting is how I handle those mistakes. Admitting those mistakes to my kids and apologizing for them is important. Being aware of patterns of undesirable behavior on my part and coming up with a working plan to change that behavior is crucial. Being in tune with my kids’ reactions to me, whether spoken or not, and figuring out if I can change what I’m doing to improve the situation requires a high level of introspection. Taking responsibility for my own actions is what will model peace to my children. “Monkey see, monkey do.” Children parrot the words and actions of their parents. That is my motivating factor when it comes to peaceful parenting. It’s what helps me keep trying even when I screw up.

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25 responses to “Peaceful Parenting is not…

  1. Dissilusioned Dad says:

    This would be a great introduction for someone skeptical of peaceful parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:
    Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick has this to say about peaceful parenting…

    Like

  3. sewloveable says:

    This was great….I agree we have to show our children respect. We must consider their feelings all the while setting up boundaries they must abide by. I also agree with apologizing. If I make a mistake I apologize. I do that with anyone which includes my children. Maybe if it’s renamed….more people will have an understanding of Peaceful Parenting. Life is funny like that, rename something that has the same principles and more people seem to get on board and have a thorough understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard it called many things, but my favorite is “natural parenting”. Basically meaning, do what your instincts tell you is right. Whatever you call it, I think more and more people are realizing that the strict, authoritarian-type, emotionless parenting of our recent past is not the best way. And while our parents certainly had the best of intentions, when we know better, we can do better!

      Liked by 1 person

      • sewloveable says:

        I was reared with that emotionless/ authoritarian technique…..it’s horrible and I refuse to be so unloving with my daughters. You are right, there is a better way of doing things no matter what it’s called.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, so was I. The worst phrase for a parent to say is probably “because I’m the mom/dad”. I hated that. I always wanted to know why, and I was punished for it. I realize now that there probably wasn’t a good reason a lot of the time! Even though I was more authoritarian with my older kids when they were young, one thing I always strove to do was ask myself why I was saying no to them. I’ve always tried to answer their questions honestly. I think that was one of the major factors that appealed to me about unschooling when I first read about it.

        Sorry, I could go on and on about this topic!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes! Absolutely true. You said it well and I subscribe to not giving them whatever they want, when they want it. They need boundaries. Parenting is hard but we keep learning and re-learning. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For a second, I was startled when I opened your blog and then I smiled. We share the same theme and I enjoyed reading this as a parent. Thanks for sharing and do visit when you can, maybe you will find something you like in my space http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If only I had read your post when my children were young! Older but wiser now, but can’t go back. Your post is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I know what you mean. I was a much different parent when my older 2 were little. But thus is life; we cannot move backwards, only forwards! Hopefully, our children can forgive us and be understanding that we tried our best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fortunately, mine turned out to be beautiful people. Strong, and they love their Mom. Parenting was hard for me. I had to find my way in the dark.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh then they do know you did the best you could and that you loved them with all you are! Love always wins 😉

        I often feel like I’m grasping at straws, walking blindly in the dark. None of my friends with children parent the way I do, and my family and in-laws think my husband and I are that dreaded “permissive parent”. But we keep trying, adjusting when necessary, keeping the lines of communication open with our children. Sad as it may be, I count it as a win that my oldest isn’t contemplating suicide, as I was at 11. I truly feared I’d do to my kids what was done to me. I feel I’ve broken the cycle, and it encourages me to continue, in the dark if I must!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. […] also like to do a shout out to Danny over at Dream Big, Dream Often for recently reblogging my post Peaceful Parenting Is Not…. If you’ve never checked out Danny’s blog, start by visiting his current Meet n Greet, […]

    Like

  8. […] That’s exactly what I’m aiming to do with the page I run on Facebook: Recovering From Authoritarian Parenting. We can break the cycle of abuse. We can raise the next generation with gentleness and peace. Authoritarianism and permissiveness are not the only options. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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