Before becoming a mother, I always envisioned what it would be like. I had this magical idea in my head of how I would deal with the “messy” stuff. And in my head, I had it all figured out. I would stay calm and collected, my children would listen and be super cute and we would all live happily ever after.
Let’s just say all of that went right out the window.
Babies are not too hard, most of the time. But toddlers and preschoolers are a whole new ballgame. Children are filled with energy and curiosity, and accidents, and questions, and tantrums, and laughter, just to name a few. I found myself farther and farther from the mother I wanted to be in the hard moments.
This is when I changed my mindset to peaceful parenting.
Peaceful parenting is a philosophy developed by Laura Markham, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of the blog Aha! Parenting. You may have heard of her book, “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kid: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting,” published back in 2012.
Peaceful Parenting consists of three parts
- Regulating emotions as parents
- Connecting with your children
- Coaching instead of controlling
The goal is to improve behavior from the inside out and build a strong parent-child bond. We want to give children the tools they need to recognize their own emotions — and, as a result, make wise choices as they grow.
Heres how you can apply these with your kids:
Regulating emotions as parents
Try to decompose a situation when you feel like you are about to get angry. Take a deep breath and ask yourself why your child might be acting a certain way. Stepping back for just a moment will help you asses the situation in a better mindset.
Connecting with your children
Really connect with your children. Interact and play with your kids, spend one-on-one time with each child if you have more than one, prioritize family time like meals and bedtime routines. Plan family activities where kids can play and have fun. Creating a bond with your children will help you connect and build a relationship of trust.
Coaching instead of controlling
Coaching means explaining your emotions and trying to work through your child’s emotions as well. An example of this would be if a two-year-old is screaming for a new toy at the store. Instead of saying “no, we are not getting another toy!”, try telling them that “we don’t get a new toy every time we come to the store”, of course, if they are yelling and screaming you might need to try and calm them down first, maybe give them a hug and ask them a question about it. Coach your child through emotions, and try to put yourself in their shoes.
Peaceful parenting is a great way to slow down and be more mindful of how we are raising our children. This method can help you with children of all ages, not just the little ones. It’s not easy, and it takes practice, but it has worked for many parents and it might work for you!