Keeping Gentle Focus
If all my Facebook Friends and their networks are any indication, the world at large does not subscribe to the Gentle Discipline philosophy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cringed when I’ve seen a friend calling out for help with an “issue” they are having with their child only to get pretty “hard core” disciplinarian answers back from a long list of friends. (I usually message them directly with a much longer GD suggestion to try along with links to some blog posts or books to read to help lead them down a different path.). So, in a world of “time-outs” and getting back to traditional values (aka spanking), it’s not always easy to stay on the Gentle Discipline path.
That’s where this great network of GD bloggers, authors and more comes in so handy. There are times when I’ve felt I’ve lost my way and my “mean Mommy” is starting to creep back into daily life. All it takes is a 30 minute reminder of some basic principles or a blog on exactly the issue I’m dealing with to get me back on track. I started keeping a list of all the posts that really spoke to me. I thought I’d share them with you here. (Please note: I am not a big non-fiction, self-help book reader. I’m more a “trashy, clear out the brain fiction reader to turn off my brain before bed” kind of book reader. So, I really learn a lot more from others experiences and “best of” lists. If you’ve got some wonderful books that have helped you, please add them to the list for others.)
This is a great definition of what the heck we are talking about and a concise way to explain it to others, which I just had to do at lunch today. Someone asked, “If you don’t punish, what do you do?” Well, that’s not a short answer, my friends.
I love this one because it focuses on the feelings of the parents and the child and gives some great examples of how to tap into the emotions behind the behavior in many different situations.
(This nugget is part of a larger post, that is all good, but I think this part at the end is the best!)
I admit it, I am a nag. I pride myself in the fact that I can get people at work to do things they don’t want to just to make the nag go away. I’m a nice nag, but a nag none the less. But I absolutely hate having to tell my children a dozen times that they need to do something. I caught myself doing this tonight, so this is a great post to come back to time and again for some good reminders about stating facts rather than commanding. Like, “The dog is whining because she needs to go potty”, rather than “Take the dog outside, take the dog outside, please, take the dog outside…”
This is my single favorite blog post I ever read on gentle discipline. Wow, did it hit me like a zinger! Just think about this, when you are asking your child to “co-operate”, do you really mean, “do what I say, now”? I know that’s what I meant. And sometimes that’s what has to happen, but I no longer kid myself into thinking I’m getting her to “co-operate”. Read this one, it will rock your world! Then, read this one:
Some good tips to working towards actual co-operation, not the kind I was deluding myself I was achieving
This one takes me back to my training about how all humans experience narcissistic wounding, by not being seen as they truly are by their parents and not having their emotional needs met. Something I definitely want to avoid. This post helps me remember why I’m taking the extra time and effort to be different and raise my children in a way that is a path less taken.
This blog post is a basic top ten list. This is how I convinced my husband that I wasn’t performing voodoo on our kids. I remember, we were on a long car trip and I printed this out and brought it along. We chatted while the kids napped about each one of these. At the end, he said to me, “OK, I think we do most of these anyway and I agree they make sense, we can just be more consistent and intentional about them.” I think I saw a rainbow appear when he said those words and I knew I had him. This is a great list for beginners to think about and to share with childcare providers as well.
We talk a lot in GD circles about the “Gentle” part and what that means, but I had a harder time finding information about the “discipline” part. I like this post, because it gives some good advice on setting the limits that are necessary and teaching our children. This could be a great response to the “What do you do, if you don’t punish” question.
This is probably the most controversial of the articles I’ve collected, and the hardest for me to actually follow. It’s just such a natural tendency to blurt out, “Yeah!” or “Great Job!” Makes a lot of sense to me though, so I try to insert some, “Looks like you worked really hard on that.” And “What’s your favorite part of the drawing you did?”.
So, if you don’t say “Good job”, what do you say. Here’s a list of like 30 really encouraging things that focus on a child’s effort, problem solving skills, etc. Every one of them would be really encouraging if someone said them to me. In fact, I think it might be time to print this one for the fridge.
You’ve probably figured out that I don’t have an original thought about gentle discipline. I’m still a novice on this journey and there are many times when I have to be gentle and forgiving with myself. I’ve gotten very good at apologizing for my behavior to my kids and asking their forgiveness and understanding when I lose my temper. As a coach, the thing I most want to help my clients become is “self-correcting”, so this list and the reminders that are offered, help me self-correct when I get off track.
And did you notice? Most of the posts came from the 2011 Carnival of Gentle Discipline. Can’t wait to see what I add to my list this year!
What are your favorite books, blog posts, or resources for Gentle Discipline? Help make our top 10 list even bigger! Enter your own favorite resource at the very bottom of this post (it can be by you or someone else and you can enter as many as you like!)
What a Carnival! So many great posts and inspiration for our parenting journey! Thank you to all of our bloggers who shared so freely of themselves.
3 things you can do right now to continue your Gentle Parenting journey:
1. Subscribe to all the Carnival of Gentle Discipline blogs at once with this combined RSS feed! I’ll be adding last year’s Carnival authors soon. With this one subscription you can quickly browse some of the best gentle parenting blogging in the world. I use Google Reader and read mine on my iPhone with the MobileRSS app whenever I have down time (waiting rooms, for example). You could subscribe by email and quickly browse once a day. There are tons of ways to integrate this into your routine. Find yours.
2. Follow the Carnival of Gentle Discipline Twitter list:@babydust/parenting-gently-mamas If you are a twitter user you might prefer this to RSS. You can follow the list and have one place where all the best gentle discipline tweeps are tweeting.
3. Get your own Parenting Gently gear to spread the word that there is a better way! Proceeds help us run Parenting Gently and keep it ad free.
Please join us all week, June 25-June30, 2012, as we explore the world of gentle, effective parenting. We have new posts each day by talented authors providing us with insight into why gentle parenting is worth your time and how to implement it on a daily basis. We are also giving away several parenting book and other goodies from our sponsors this week. Please stop by and enter to win! This year’s beautiful motherhood artwork is by Patchwork Family Art. Visit the store to see all her work.