Gentle Parenting

I have been pondering how to share our parenting style for quite some time.

It’s been laid on my heart to share how we choose to parent.

I don’t claim it a perfect ‘method’ (whatever that would mean anyways),

I don’t have all the answers,

but what I do have is some well-behaved kids.

Ironically, I was met with a full-on raging temper tantrum from my 4 yr old at the park while I was pondering how to share our perspective of raising children.

Ultimately he was frustrated (and I knew this) but it soon escalated to wwwaaayyyy out of control.  Screeching, flailing, swinging fists at anyone who would get near him, screaming ‘stupid-head’… so… it was time to go home.  We (Katie, Andrew, my nephew, and myself) all walked to the car with this ear-pierced screaming child behind us… and with a playground full of parents and their kids staring at the whole scene.

Who, here, has looked on to such a scene and said (or thought) “not my child” while shaking their head?
Who here knows better?  *cheesy grin*

As this is all taking place, I am muttering to God about why on earth am I suppose to be sharing our parenting abilities when clearly I do not have it all together?  Then a swift kick to my shin jolts me back to focus. 

Reminder to self:  *exhale*

All the kids get in the car (they know to do this thankfully) as I squat down to look this distraught child of mine in the eyes, and verbally express his feeling to him.  “I am sorry that you are frustrated right now.  It must of been hard not to keep up with the big kids on your way to the tire climb.  Next time, use your words to say ‘hey wait for me’. ”  Then I hold him for a few minutes (to calm him), whisper a prayer (to calm me),  and inform him of his consequence.  My heart knows the ‘why’ behind this meltdown, but he needs to know it is not ok to display this type of volatile behavior.  If we cannot behave in pubic, we cannot be in public.  No park days for 4 days, then we will try it again.  By the time we got home, Bryson was his bouncy-boy self.

And I roll my eyes upwards knowingly~ ok, I get it ~

Gentle parenting… it’s all about grace.

Listen first, respond 2nd, communicate always.

Listen first – find out the ‘why’ behind the behavior.  Temper tantrums still tell ‘why’ even when they are not ‘talking’.  Beyond that, all kids (any age) should be able to have a voice behind their ‘why’.

Why did you color on the table? (4 yr old)
Why did you tear your sister’s bed apart? (7 yr old)
Why did you not do your chores? (10 yr old)
Why did you tease your sister? (15 yr old)
Why were you out so late? (19 yr old)
Why are your work jeans on the floor? (23 yr old *lol*)

… and the uniformed reply is… “oops, sorry”   Ok, so I am half kidding, but that is an answer often given.  =)

Respond 2nd-  Do to others what you would have them do to you~ Matthew 7:12

In other words, respond to your child in way that you would want them to respond to you.

Do you scream at your kids?  (I have)  Does it make screaming ok?
Do you spank?  Does it make hitting ok?
Do you give your kids the silent treatment?  Does it make ignoring you ok?
Do you send them to their room?  Does it make walking away from you ok?

I am not judging, just wanting to make clear what may be communicated by our own actions.

Communicate ALWAYS-  always make clear the ‘why’ to the correction.  Why something is not ok, why something is wrong, and always follow up with equipping your child with positive options.

When you color on the table, it ruins the varnish, please use paper.
When you ruin sissy’s bed, it makes her sad, please use a pillow to get aggression out.
When you don’t do your chores, I get more work which give us less time together, please do your share.
When you tease your sister, it ruins trust, please find some quality time with her (such as a walk, a game, etc).
When you are out late, it makes this mama heart restless, please text me a heads up.
When you don’t get your work clothes to the laundry, I can’t bless you by getting them washed for you, please use the basket I’ve provided for you.

Discipline:
We don’t spank.  NO, I am not judging anyone else, just something we choose not to do.  We have found other effective way to correct our children.

The Thoughtful Spot:  A place to sit by one’s self when having a particularly difficult mood. To read, pray, write apology letters, draw, or just think, etc.  This is to replace time-out (once the child is at a reasoning age, and can somewhat read and write).

Frustrated at the world? this is the place to unwind.  Read, pray, relax.
Battling with character issues? (ie rude, dishonest, etc)  A great place to write an apology letter or to look up ( and write) scriptures on said difficult behavior.  I usually will have the child look up the positive trait that is opposite of the undesired behavior.  (ie rude?  then write scriptures on kindness).

The boys in particular, have stayed clear of this, lol.  The daughter, however,  being more dramatic in her younger years has needed this.

A revoked public pass: one needs to behave in public if one wants to be seen in public.
In general, the terrible 3’s seem to bring this one on the most.
The days revoked go by the age they are (thus Brysons 4 day restriction at the park)

Curb appeal: Scream, yell, fight in carI will pull over and let you sit on the curb (within safety ofcourse) until one can choose to behave. Yes, this does include in the rain. (note: stay calm and matter-of-fact, this one is very effective at any age. I do give one warning, and have had to only apply this once per needed child).

Military Style: We have 5 boys ;^) that being said, we expect them to horse around, as in rough playing. All in fun is ok… in anger is not. If someone gets hurt randomly, then they just have to stop, period. But if there is an angry attitude or teasing (or the like), then it will require push-ups or wall sits. If they have enough energy to pick on each other, then they have enough energy for “physical” punishment. ;^)

_____________________________________________________________________

Confession time~ I have not read many parenting books (only one to be specific, and I.was.not.impressed.)  I find “parenting expert” to be an oxymoron.  What would define one as a parenting expert anyways?  a PHD?  Parenting many children?  Parents who have successful children?  Parenting for a certain amount of years?

My advice?  Find a family you respect, then listen and learn from them.  There is no one way to parent or discipline.

There are extremes though:
too strict?  children become rebellious (before or after they move out) OR cannot think for themselves.
too lenient?  tend to not have a firm foundation to set their feet on, tend to lean on trial and error rather than the tried and true advice of parents.

I have found that prayer & communication is the only true key to successful parenting.

Admittedly, it is not often that we have to ‘punish’ our children.
Corrections are a necessary means;
just as the Holy Spirit guides us in our own decision making,
we need to help guide our children choices.

All I know for sure is that we are blessed
with children that seem to be reflective of how to treat others,
which is how one would want to be treated.

What do you wish? Shall I (we) come to you (our children) with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:21

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2 thoughts on “Gentle Parenting

  1. Thank you for the well thought out reasons on your parenting style.

    I do believe spanking is biblical, and would rather use it than wall-squats. (My mom used those too often, with some siblings who probably needed a swat.)

    However, with that said, I still enjoyed your post. I think I parent very gently and use all of your methods above. I just include spanking for deliberate disobedience, hurting others and rebellion. I do agree though, that whether you spank or not, having good communication with your children and understanding their reasons for things goes a LONG way in seeing where they were coming from, and most usually leads to them not needing disciplined.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Suzanne in KS
    (from the RC4JC forum)

    1. Yes, I too, recognize the Biblical perspective for spanking, and you have good reasons outlined for using it. Most, if not all, my friends do this; we have just found other things to be more beneficial in our own circumstances. =) Just as the “rod” was used to strike a sheep, so too was it used to hook (guide) the sheep back into obedience. That’s where we both agree that communication is key. Thanks for sharing your take on things! Blessings, Sheri

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