Updated: Oct 17, 2020
"Raise your words, not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder"
I’ve raised my voice with my son, not months ago but even a week ago. I try to focus on being a compassionate and gentle parent. Helping to guide and support them as they grow. I think simply knowing that you can do better and stopping to think about how you can be a more patient, compassionate parent means you care.
I'd get angry and frustrated trying to discipline or parent my 4 year old son. I've struggled with wanting to guide and teach them with compassion, but also the need to be stern on occasion.
I don’t follow some specific stance on parenting. I've read about different parenting styles - “toddlerese“, reflective parenting where you repeat their concerns during a tantrum to help them feel heard. I don’t follow a specific parenting method, but I incorporate things I read or hear and fit them into what feels right for me and my family.
I came to realize I needed to focus on a more compassionate parenting style for a few different reasons.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
It‘s cliche but home is so important for everyone, even for adults it’s where we feel safe and at ease. So I want home and family to be a place where my children feel safe and know they are protected and supported. This ensures they are surrounded by love, but also builds confidence and self-esteem. Knowing you have home to go back to after a difficult day at school, or failing a test, or missing a goal is so critical for kids as they grow and need to go out into the world. I know it helps me.
I WANTED TO STOP YELLING
I was losing my temper a lot. Partly because I wasn’t following through on my “threats” - which wasn’t providing my son with the structure he needed and it was pushing me over the edge and I’d lose my cool - and then I’d feel guilty for yelling. So instead I began focusing on providing warnings and then calmly sending him to his room if he didn’t listen. We have some house rules too that if you break you automatically go to your room.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
I want my children to be able to talk with us and feel they can be open with us and more importantly know the proper way to engage in civil discourse. As they grow I want to set a good example of how to politely disagree with others, get along with those who we may not agree with and in turn stuck up for yourself and your beliefs.
I focus on being consistent, explaining the rules clearly but always applying the same consequence. This has helped so much. I don't get as angry because it doesn't get as overwhelming or repetitive when you consistently demonstrate there are certain consequences and that those consequences always apply. This consistency helped me too, it alleviated my anxiety and guilt about being "mean" or losing my temper when disciplining because there was a rule and a specific consequence when that rule was broken. I found comfort in that very black and white approach. Honestly, it helped free up space in my brain to just know the response and it comforts him because he knows we're always here to guide him. Sure, there are occasions when I still lose my temper or get angry but I am always able to re-calibrate based on the simple act of remaining consistent. I literally have a moment when I’m starting to get frustrated and I realize I’ve given him too many chances and he need a to go to his room for a break.
Another thing that has helped me to alleviate the tantrums and behavior issues before they even start - is not always saying no to everything. Instead of saying no to little things he wants to do that may mean I have more to clean up or as an adult I simply don't see what the "big deal is" - saying yes to these little things may be a minor inconvenience to me but makes a huge impact in his day. Saying yes, gives him a sense of control over his life in a way that is important to him and let's him be a kid, doing things kids do that we as adults have forgotten how special it can feel.
lastly I often give him a say in a lot of things in his life - I'll give him a choice for a snack, what games or toys he wants to play with, if he wants to go for a walk or bike ride. then I read kids like to have a say in things but so many times their little brains are absorbing and learning so much all day they just want you to do things for them and give their little minds a break. It’s funny because in one instance you want to give them some choice and in another you don’t want to overwhelm them. It’s a fine balance.
What are some of your parenting tips? Have you found it easier when you keep a consistent parenting response or give kids room to be kids?