You have to do all of this sometimes on 2-3 hours sleep and throughout it all, you’re still just you. A human being... But so are they!
I didn’t have an exact parenting style I was planning to adhere to. There were certain things I was clear on and I was trucking along, as what I hope was a pretty decent parent until we hit age two and I found myself, once again, out of my depth!
A friend put me on to a page that helped me further hone in on a style. I wanted to be a Peaceful Parent and things were going ok, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of room for error. Luckily in amongst it all I was led to a website where I found a one-size-fits-all amazing parenting approach. It had plenty of ‘dust yourself off and try again’ advice. The approach really did fit every child.
You don’t believe me do you? There’s no such thing I hear you say! You can’t say THIS child will respond to something when they are completely different from THAT child!
However, all children have one thing in common. They are little human beings. They are human beings who come out of the safety and warmth of their mother’s womb into a world that is busy, confusing, scary and sometimes has rules even as parents we don’t fully understand. They develop and struggle with the same emotions we have. Big, overwhelming emotions that are often too much for adults! It is a lot to expect from a little human.
The one-size-fits-all parenting approach is actually really simple. It’s all about parenting with empathy. You put yourself in your little ones shoes and see how they are looking at a situation. When you do this enough, you start to understand and connect with your little one and then you know how to lovingly set limits and boundaries together.
Children naturally want to please their parents; it may not always seem like it but ultimately they do. This desire is often at odds with their quest for independence or their poor impulse control (that doesn’t fully develop until age 16 and is practically non-existent under age 3).
One of the biggest things I have learnt is to choose your battles. What are your non-negotiables? If it’s dangerous, is there a safe way to engage in a similar activity and are you able to redirect the situation? Spend a lot of time using play as an outlet for ‘undesirable’ behaviour and for power-reversal that is a great tool to help them feel like it’s not always us vs them.
The three most invaluable resources I have come across are the Aha Parenting website (www.ahaparenting.com), and the books ‘Peacful Parent, Happy Kids’ by Dr Laura Markham and ‘Playful Parenting’ by Dr Lawrence Cohen.
Like all parents, I am not perfect. There will always be moments you are not proud of, but I can honestly say this approach turned my life around just when I needed it and having used it from birth with my second, I can see the difference. It all comes down to remembering that they are people just like us and we are their whole world.
This article was written by Chantal from www.auntyask.com
Chantal is a local mum to two little ones who she’s trying to raise as peacefully and gently as possible.