You’ve made it through Christmas and the children are back at school. You’re breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the weeks to the next holiday time stretch a little to give you some relief. You relish the quiet around the house, and the time to get stuff done. You wonder why on earth your children can’t talk without yelling, why they can’t hear you unless you do. Now, I’m not the parent of many, nor of older children, but that’s the picture I see around me all the time and it makes me sad. It tells me that we’ve lost something, lost some of the joy of parenting. I know it’s not a way I ever willingly want to feel.
I am still trying to learn to parent peacefully. I think it’s like learning to be a doctor. It takes forever to get your qualification and then, to be any good at what you do, you have to keep learning because diseases keep evolving. I think that’s what peaceful parenting is like – how can you ever get ‘there’ when ‘there’ changes every day? You can’t.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying.
Which is where websites like Peace for Parents and Living Peacefully with Children come in.
Peace for Parents is run by Amy, mum to four children, and a parent educator. Let me explain my version of Amy to you. Amy and I belong to the same parenting network, and we’re both in a closed-group spin off forum. Amy is the person everyone turns to when they need calming, loving, gentle advice. If there are relationship issues – not just parent to child, but parent to parent, spouse to spouse, adult to grocery-store-attendant. It doesn’t matter. We all call on Amy.
She sounds like a cult leader, right? Well, she’s not. She’s on a journey of discovery, pretty much like the rest of us.
I learned something very valuable from Amy in October, after months of sickness and being a less than stellar mother – peaceful parenting doesn’t have to equate to perfect parenting.
Her insights into discipline also made so much sense to me. Amy says:
Your child is more likely to respond favorably to you when you are calm, centered, and confident.
And goes on to explain that a child who is ‘forced’ to listen to a parent may do so out of fear, but that fear does not stimulate internal motivation. Actually – I could quote pages of work from Amy, but I’ll let you experience her words for yourself.
Amy hasn’t written much on discipline with toddlers specifically, but what she has is powerful.
More importantly, Amy helps her readers find the way to peace. Is there a greater gift to give?
Living Peacefully with Children is a more hands on, lighter approach to many of the same things. As a blog LPWC provides an impressive amount of book reviews – I honestly do not know where Mandy finds the time for so much reading! – and as a home maker, she provides gorgeous healthy recipes, perfect for those with allergies.
Not only that, but their family crafting is so true to nature and inspirational, I am almost tempted to head into the woods and search for pinecones. (But only almost. I don’t like the cold much.) Oh, but don’t be fooled by the crunchiness – there’s also geek in there: check out the Harry Potter themed crafts. And on top of all that, Mandy co-hosts a monthly carnival that’s well worth joining if you’re of the crafty variety: Families Create.
While all that is nice and makes for an extremely enriching blog to follow, the true power of Living Peacefully With Children is in the serious posts. The Benefits of I-Messages, for example, talks about why handling confrontation with I rather than YOU is so beneficial to the relationship.
Another post that really shed light for me, was When Children Don’t Listen. Oh, how many times have I said the words ‘You’re JUST NOT LISTENING TO ME’. Mandy says,
When we wish our children would just do as we say, we need to consider the needs of both parent and child. Whether the parent is tired and needs a break or has a need to feel respected, understanding what we really want is an important first step to asking for it.
Such a valuable lesson.
I am so blessed to have in my circle, these women I can learn from in bite sized chunks. The way the women of old did around the village fire, perhaps, or the water well. Today I learn from them.