The Benefits Behind Peaceful ParentingMar 13, 2021
The Benefits Behind Peaceful Parenting
You know that feeling you get when you walk into a place like a bakery, and you automatically feel calm and your stress vanishes? Do you get that feeling at your house with your children? Do you want to?! Sometimes that peaceful home seems like it’s out of reach and you just can’t get there. Maybe you feel like you just don’t know how to connect with your children to create that peaceful home. If you’ve been wondering what you can do to have a more peaceful household, this post is for you!
Along with those same questions, maybe you know about peaceful parenting and even what it means, but are there actually benefits that you’ll be able to see? I mean, what will it actually mean for your household?
We’re going to look at what peaceful parenting is, how to practice peaceful parenting, and the benefits that can come from following this philosophy. Let’s get started!
What is peaceful parenting?
Ok, so before we get into WHY peaceful parenting can be so beneficial, we need to get on the same page about WHAT it is. Peaceful parenting is a style of parenting developed by Dr. Laura Markham in 2012, when she wrote the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. Dr. Markham has a website full of useful information. Here Laura Markham gives three main ideas behind the peaceful parenting philosophy, so hop over there if you want to take a look. For now though, I’m going to tell you what peaceful parenting means to me and how it relates to YOU.
First, as a parent, regulating your emotions is key. You’ll see as we get more into this topic that when you focus on your own needs and emotions as a parent, you’ll be more equipped to teach and correct your children WITHOUT seeming like you’re following a “do what I say, not what I do” philosophy. Let’s look at an example:
Let’s say you’re sitting down for dinner with your family, and you’ve noticed that your children are talking WAY more than they’re eating. Dinner starts to drag out, so you remind your children to just eat instead of talking so much. You’ve told them three, four, five times by now. Now you’re starting to get upset and threaten punishment.
This would be a good time to regulate your emotions. Why are you getting upset? Is it because you had something planned for after dinner? Is it because YOU got dinner on the table later than planned and now the kids might get to bed later than they need to? Are they really talking that much? Gathering your thoughts about WHY you’re reacting this way will help you deal with the situation much more calmly.
The second idea behind peaceful parenting is to connect with your children. That can look different depending on your needs and your children’s needs. Maybe they want to play a card game with you. Do they like reading? Take some time to sit down and read a few books together, funny voices and all! Family dinners can be a great time to connect, ask about their days, and share meaningful time together. One of my favorite ways to connect with my kids is snuggles!!
That connection will help your children feel safe, secure, and loved which will make it much easier to be a peaceful parent.
Last, but certainly not least, is coaching your children instead of controlling them. I know…this is a tough one. We know so much better, right?! Maybe you think that if you don’t have harsh consequences, they won’t respect you or you’ll appear weak. Interestingly enough, the opposite is actually true. Swift, harsh punishments can create feelings of anger and resentment. BUT, if you coach children through their emotions, it’ll help them learn to manage them on their own and give you more peace in your home.
Peaceful parenting is all about mindfulness. Be aware of your emotions. Be mindful of what is making you react a certain way in a situation. Be mindful of underlying needs and how you can meet them. Be aware of your children’s developmental and attachment needs. This principle of mindfulness will help bring you the benefits of peaceful parenting. Also keep in mind that peaceful parenting IS NOT permissive parenting. You’re being mindful to help yourself love parenting and your children to be emotionally intelligent. You’re not being indulgent or neglectful. You are teaching them through showing them mindfulness… they will learn by how YOU are with them, not through punishments.
How do I apply peaceful parenting?
Great! Now that you know what peaceful parenting is, you might be wondering how you can use the philosophy to actually become a more peaceful parent. I’m going to briefly give you 7 tips that’ll help you develop the peaceful parenting discipline in your life. You’ll notice some of them correspond to what we talked about in the previous section.
Reflect before you react
This one really goes hand-in-hand with regulating your own emotions. One of the best ways to practice peaceful parenting is to find some inner peace. Have you ever yelled at your child to stop yelling? Or yelled at them to calm down (if you’re yelling, you’re not calm!)? It’s so important to reflect on why your emotions are building the way they are before you put those on your children. Take time to breathe and think before you respond.
Think about if your actions are strengthening or weakening your relationship with your child
Whew! That’s a long one, but it really puts things into perspective. Again, with yelling…is that helping your relationship with your child? Have you ever felt closer to someone who has just yelled at you? If what you’re doing is putting a wall between you and your child, that’s a good indication that what you’re doing ISN’T working. Work on strengthening your relationship and connection with them through your THOUGHTS about them. The way we think, creates how we feel and fuels what we DO. Start with your thoughts first.
Connect BEFORE you correct
Ah! This one sounds familiar. We talked about how connecting with your children is important, so it makes sense that we should connect before offering correction. This could look like stopping what you’re doing to look at her in the eyes while she explains why she’s upset. This could look like picking him up so he feels your loving embrace. This could look like stooping down to be on the same physical level as her. Anything you can do to make your child feel safe when you’re giving correction will go a long way.
Set limits with empathy
Children need limits, but they need those limits to be reasonable and set with love. Time for another example! Let’s say you’re getting ready to go grocery shopping with your 4-year-old daughter. You know she’s prone to asking for EVERYTHING in the store. So, before you go out of the house, you tell her that today you’re not going to buy toys or candy because she has lots of those at home already, and she’ll be getting more for Christmas. Once you’re at the store, she asks a few times for things, but you remind her what you talked about at home, and she says, “Oh yeah! That’s right.” And that’s it! Because she already knows the limit, that gentle reminder is all she needs.
Think of defiance as a relationship problem
If you feel like your child is being defiant, it’s likely because your relationship with that child needs to be strengthened. Children naturally want to please those they view as authority figures, and you’re no exception! However, if you’re not connecting with them or regulating your emotions while interacting with them, that desire fades. It’s important to look at that defiance as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Go on an outing, have special time together, and rebuild that bond! Remember that the first step to changing our relationship is to work on our THOUGHTS about our children.
Avoid timeouts and authoritarian consequences
Timeouts isolate your child when what they’re wanting more than anything is belonging, connection, and attention. This can lead to feelings of resentment in them and breaking down of our relationship over time. Who is the timeout really for? Authoritarian consequences are the same, like when you say, “you’re gonna do what I say or I’m taking away your TV time for a week!” Children respond better when the consequence is natural. Involving your children in what should happen in response to a certain situation or behavior helps keep the peace and respect flowing.
Treat your child how you want her to treat herself
Have you noticed your child being too hard on herself? Have you noticed him saying things like “I’m dumb” or “I can’t do anything right”? Does it break your heart?! Children accept what we put out there, and whether it’s positive or negative, they’ll start to think that way about themselves too. Make it positive!
This starts by looking inward at how we treat us. “We can only love others as much as we love ourselves,” (Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection).
What are the benefits of peaceful parenting?
NOW we’re getting to it! This is what you came for! We know what peaceful parenting is, we know how to apply it and practice it, so now we can get into how it can benefit your family as indicated in a study of children in Chile.
You’ll have happier, more well-adjusted kids. Children who feel loved, respected, and safe will be happy and know they have a place in your heart. They’ll be on the path to learning how to do the same things you’re doing!
You’ll yell a lot less! Isn’t that one of the most desired side-effects of peaceful parenting?! When you take time to regulate your emotions and address the underlying issue both with yourself and your child, there’s not even a desire to yell.
You’ll have a closer, more connected family. You know, one of my favorite things is when my children are playing together without fighting. It may not happen as often as I would like it to, but I know that it happens because the connection is there.
You’ll have more emotionally intelligent children who’ll keep those skills into adulthood. They’ll be more prepared to deal with whatever life throws at them AND more likely to pass those same skills on when they have kids.
Your parent-child bond will be stronger. You’ll feel more connected to your children, and they’ll WANT to come tell you everything and share all of the things that made their day awesome or hard or both! That is also something that will carry on even after they leave your house.
You’ll set a positive example for your children. Leading by example is the most powerful way to teach, and it’ll show your children that these principles are not just for them. They’ll know you’re working on things, too, and it’s okay to not be perfect.
You’ll see more respect in your home. They’ll respect you for trying hard and for lovingly teaching them how to deal with their big emotions. They’ll respect your limits because they make sense. You’ll respect them and their big emotions.
You’ll have better communication. Let’s say your 8-year-old comes to you to say her younger sister won’t listen to her. Instead of brushing it off or telling her to let it go, you ask why it’s so important. She tells you she’s worried her sister will choke on a clip she’s holding in her mouth. That’s an important detail you wouldn’t have known without that communication!
You’ll have children that have higher self-esteem because they know they’re important. They know that you respect them, hear them, and want to be around them. You’ll model what self-esteem and self-love looks like, and they will grow and learn from that.
Closing thoughts on peaceful parenting
Peaceful parenting is something you can achieve! As you’re more mindful of your emotions and actions, you can teach your children to also regulate theirs. Remember that peaceful parenting starts with you…the PARENT! Look again at those benefits. They are worth the struggle and investment! Think of the culture you can build in your home as you incorporate peaceful parenting.
As always, remember I’m here for all your peaceful parenting needs! I’m ready and willing to help you with whatever you need to be more mindful in your parenting choices. A great place to start is by checking out my Freedom Moms podcast for some helpful tips. You can also find out your parenting superpowers by taking my free quiz.
Crystal The Parenting Coach