This situation is all too familiar for parents. You wake up from hopefully a good night’s rest (but what does sleeping all night even feel like anymore…am I right?) and maybe you start planning out your day in your head. Maybe you start thinking about your to-do list, what activities the kids have that day, and maybe what you are going to make for dinner and if not dinner then at least breakfast.
Hopefully, before the kids come running into your room, you think about how your interactions with your kids will go that day. You are preparing yourself because today is the day that you aren’t going to lose your cool! Today you are going to stay calm, no matter how many times you have to tell your child to get their shoes on or to turn off the tv. The one goal you have for today is to “keep cool”.
Everything was going great! Until…you handed your child cereal in their Paw Patrol bowl. The bowl they LOVED yesterday and every meal needed to be served out of their favorite Paw Patrol bowl. Somehow by the time dinner was over and your child went to bed when they woke in the morning their favorite Paw Patrol bowl that they loved YESTERDAY was all of a sudden the worst thing ever. It actually seems like everything you knew about your child yesterday is suddenly wrong!
“I wanted the blue bowl!” or “I wanted 5 chicken nuggets not 3!” or “I don’t want that shirt!“
My this time you’re wondering “What happened to my happy, sweet, and loving child?”
By now your goal of stay calm today seems to drift farther and farther away…as your stress, frustration, and anger rise. It seems like no matter what you do, or the requests you make, or how calm you try to be. Your child throws themselves on the ground in tears kicking and screaming and you just LOSE IT!
The demands and requests your child is making make absolutely no logical sense to an adult and you react with rage- “STOP CRYING IT DOESN’T MATTER WHICH BOWLS YOU HAVE! JUST EAT YOUR FOOD” You yell.
Your child sits at the table with little tears and sniffles as they slowly pick at their food. Then it hit you, that gut-wrenching feeling, the sadness, the disappointment, the mom guilt….today was going to be the day that you were going to stay calm no matter what, but you didn’t even make it to breakfast before “losing your cool”.
You yelled at your child to stop yelling. You realize that your children do what you do and the mom guilt sinks even deeper.
Oh, man friend. I’ve been there all too many times and I know those feelings all too well.
I never felt good about myself as a parent after I “lost my cool”. As a former yeller, I remember at the end of the night when I was finally kid-free I would cry myself to sleep. It got to the point of being so sick and tired of feeling like a terrible parent and I wanted a more peaceful relationship with my children that I started searching for answers.
After years of studying Peaceful Parenting and becoming a certified parenting coach. I started implementing techniques that completely transformed my family and the parents I help. These methods have brought so much peace, love, and connection to my family and others. I want to share some of these methods of peaceful parenting and discipline strategies with you!
These methods will help you start to see misbehaviors in a new way and this list below is to help you get started and start seeing a MASSIVE difference in your home! These are methods that you can start using in 2021!
This is kind of a given since most parents know that it’s important to be consistent. However, being consistent isn’t always the easiest right? Plans change, additional things get added to your to-do list, and sometimes just life happens. Now there are always things in life that you can and can’t control. Consistency plays both sides, you can’t always control what happens in your life but, there are some things that you can control and maintain. Such as routines, your family’s schedules, and how you work together as a family unit.
Children THRIVE of consistency! They know what is expected, how and when to do things and life goes so much smoother for everyone. So let’s take a look at your morning routine, shall we?
“How is your morning routine?” Are your children expected to get dressed, make their bed, teeth brush, and room cleaned before eating breakfast? Or is your morning routine sort of “all over the place”?
Try to follow the same routine even on weekends and on holidays. I get how holidays and weekends can be, those are sometimes busier than the weekdays! If the routine isn’t followed to a T on even weekends or holiday’s that’s okay! It is okay to shake things up a bit. However, make sure you prepare yourself for Monday! It can take about a day or two before children get back into the rhyme of the routine.
Just like a daily routine and schedule, it’s important to be consistent with another thing. Let’s take a look at is how you are maintaining rules and boundaries. What happens if your children don’t respect your family rules? To become the peaceful parent you want to be, it’s important that the family rules are CLEARLY communicated. That way your children know what the consequence is when a rule is broken. When a rule is broken because your child simply refused or “forgot”. Make sure to follow through EVERY time with the consequence that was discussed previously. Guess what happens when parents are consistent with the family rules and consequences? Their children are LESS likely to push the limits (wouldn’t that be nice!)
2. Look Beneath The Behavior
Okay, what does “look beneath the behavior” even mean?
It means that beneath a child’s negative or disruptive behavior there is something deeper that is causing the behavior. This could be that a need is not being met, they are experiencing some big emotions such as Anger, Fear, Anxiety and those feelings are exploding out or that they are possibly frustrated at their inability to do something (this is especially true for babies and toddlers).
Looking beneath a child’s behavior is a lot easier said than done. I promise you that I can be done, and I know this for a fact because I personally do it with my children and I have taught the parents I work with how to do this as well.
Because there is ALWAYS something beneath a child’s behavior that is motiving the child’s negative behavior. If you talk to any Positive Parenting Expert they will all agree with this.
Let’s take the example of the Paw Patrols bowl from earlier. Your toddler threw a tantrum because they didn’t want their cereal in the Paw Patrols bowl. To a parent, their toddler’s behavior is unnecessary, disruptive, and makes no logical sense. However, if we look beneath the behavior we can see that this behavior is intrinsically motivated by something. It could be because they are frustrated because they didn’t get their way or their need for independence or autonomy isn’t getting met and they probably lack the skills to manage their big emotions. There is ALWAYS something beneath the behavior.
Think of “misbehaviors” as the symptom. The challenge that parents face is finding the root cause. You do this by really looking at what is going on beneath the behavior.
Life would be SO much easier if our children could come to us and say- “Mommy, I am feeling sad because you have been spending so much time with the baby and I would really love some one-on-one attention time with you. Could we spend some one-on-one time after the baby is napping?”. As much as I bet any parent would love this, it is pretty silly to expect to hear this from a child no matter their age. Since children don’t naturally do this it is a skill that needs to be taught. They instead push our buttons, test the boundaries, throw tantrums, and argue.
Now parents are many things, like human slides, garbage cans, tissues, jungle gyms, a pillow, a playmate, a teacher, etc. The list could go on and on, one thing I am going to add to the list is, detective. I am not talking about playing detective with your child even though that is a super fun game to play! I am talking about being a detective of your child’s misbehavior and negative emotions.
Since you now know that misbehaviors are only a symptom, it’s important to find CLUES to what is causing the misbehavior.
Once you are able to gather all the probable causes for the misbehavior. You can then check off each one until you find the root cause. Doing this makes you become a more PROACTIVE parent and can prevent future outbursts! Boy, doesn’t that sound amazing!
So let me show you how this works with an example. Imagine that you have gotten the dishes done, the laundry folded and put away, and vacuumed. You are pooped and want to take a break, you plop yourself on the couch to watch some TikTok videos. Not even 3 minutes in your child comes running in and is demanding you to play. You tell them that you want a break for a second and will play in a little bit. You get maybe another 3 minutes before they come to you again. They start crawling all over you or start asking you to get them snacks, or a drink.
After you got your child a snack and a drink you go to sit back on the couch, but then they are back at it by jumping all over you. You give the “Stop jumping on me! I just want 5 minutes to myself”. You go hide in the bathroom or your bedroom just to get some peace and quiet time for 5 minutes. Maybe you don’t even get the 5 minutes because they are banging on the door. You open the door feeling frustrated, and exhausted from trying to get just 5 minutes to yourself.
Your child’s whole goal for running in when they saw you sit on the couch. Was most likely because they knew they could get all your attention! You weren’t preoccupied with other tasks so they saw that as their opportunity to get your attention in negative ways!
This situation has happened to all parents in one way or another. I share this experience with you so that you can learn how to be PREPARED and PROACTIVE in how you respond to your child.
The next time around try this- 10 minutes before your almost done with your to-do house list say to your child’s “I am almost done with my to-do list. When I am finished I would LOVE to play something with you guys for 10 minutes. So start thinking of what you would like to do”.
Once you are done, make sure to give your child 100 percent undivided attention! During playtime with them, you can remind them of what is going to happen after “I love playing with you guys!. Once our 10 minutes is over I am going to take 5 minutes for myself and then I would love to play with you again.”
When the 10 minutes is up, give your children a choice- “Mommy is going to take a break now for 5 minutes. Would you guys like to play with the legos or watch a show while I take my break?
When you do this, the chances of filling up your children’s attention bucket in positive ways are greater. Their bucket will stay full longer which leaves you to peacefully enjoy 5 minutes to yourself.
3. Avoid Punishments
If you are newer to peaceful parenting you may not know that punishments and discipline are NOT the same!
Punishment is focused on making a child behave by using blame, shame, or pain. Because you are inflicting a penalty or find fault with someone.
Discipline, on the other hand, means “to guide” the root word of discipline is “disciple. When parents teach their children with empathy and connection they are guiding them to be empowering, competent, and capable humans. Even though it’s better to discipline instead of punishing. I think we should steer clear of the word “discipline” because that word can often get misinterpreted. I like to think of parents as being children’s coaches and they are coaching them with empathy and loving guidance.
Parenting is not a sprint to the finish line, it’s a marathon. Sure spanking, hitting or causing any type of punishment may get your child to stop at the moment. If children are not guided on how to appropriately behave, parents are hypothetically just placing a cheap band-aid on a long-term problem and that band-aid is most likely going to fall off in an hour anyway.
This is leaving parents feeling exhausted all the time. They are constantly just placing cheap band-aids on long-term problems that actually require your care, attention, and time to heal.
4. Coach Instead Of Control
As I mentioned above, parents should strive to be their children’s coaches and focus on guiding instead of controlling. Now my friends I know it is really hard to not control especially in the heat of the moment! However, if parents can just remember that there is always a REASON for their child’s behaviors and that they do have their own free will (which they implement frequently). They will be able to RESPOND instead of reacting to their child’s misbehaviors.
What would change if parents coached instead of controlled? Well…let’s take a look!
1. It would change parents’ understanding of their children! Instead of the belief that children need to be “disciplined” to convince them to behave appropriately. They would see “misbehaviors” in a totally different light!
2. Children would be more WILLING to cooperate and follow their parent’s guidance. The parent-child relationship would be built of connection as long as the connection doesn’t compromise their integrity. Connected children mean cooperative children.
3. Children’s behaviors will drastically change when parents respond to their root needs. A lot of children’s misbehaviors are actually totally normal and can easily be “corrected” through loving and empathic guidance.
There is big emotional freedom when parents realize that they are not always in control of their children. But they can ALWAYS control how they respond.
Parents can control how they RESPOND to a situation when they decide what they are WILLING to do BEFORE HAND!
This isn’t permissive parenting I promise. You are still the leader and it is your responsibility to guide your child’s behaviors. This way of parenting does not mean that you hand the reigns over to your child and give them everything they want. There are still limits and boundaries that need to be followed; no they can’t color on the walls, throw toys at the TV, bite the baby, etc. You may still insist that your children follow the limits, boundaries and behave in accordance with your family values. You can help them do so by guiding them, listening, empathy, and by working together as a team to find win-win solutions. Children will feel heard, loved, and understood even then they don’t get their way.
When you can PREPARE what your responses will be beforehand to challenging situations and COMMUNICATE very clear what your expectations are. You will find that your children are more willing to cooperate and that you will RESPOND in the heat of the moments instead of reacting.
We all know that parenting is hard, however when you have the right tools in your parenting tool kit and you know how to properly use them. I truly believe that parenting can become so much easier, more enjoyable and that parents CAN BECOME THE PARENTS THEY DREAM TO BE!
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I will teach you how to get your children to cooperate, listen, deal with big emotions, and loads more. With consistent hard and PROACTIVE work you will start seeing changes TODAY!
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