5 Changes I Have Made For My Children

It is easy for us parents to get caught in a rut; we know what we do not want to do, but what can we do to make things better with our children? Here are 5 Changes I have made for my children.

5 Changes I Have Made for My Children OurMuddyBoots.comBut what have you done to make things better?  This was a question asked after last week’s post about learning to be more gentle with my children.  It is a really good question.  So good that I had to take time to reflect on it, and the answer is too big to answer in the comments section of this blog.  What did I do differently that has improved my relationship with my children, and my own life?

1.  I admitted that things needed to change.  I acknowledged that my relationship with my children felt compromised.  I said that there were parts that felt unauthentic, forced and unnecessary.  Though it was hard, I stopped pretending that I did not yell too much and that giving my children the cold shoulder was necessary.

2.  I started thinking of things from their perspective.  Every time.  When I was feeling frustrated and ready to yell or lose my temper, I consciously reminded myself to stop and look at my children.  I examined their faces and how tiny their bodies are still.  I talked myself through what it would be like for them to have me angry with them- what that would feel like.

3.   I sought out information like crazy.  I started following blogs and Facebook pages that talk about ways of parenting gently, peacefully and lovingly.  I read everything they had to say.  I followed the articles and other blogs that they linked to. I subscribed to their daily feeds, and read them.  I read with the intent of learning, not justifying or defending my past choices.

4.  I learned to trust myself instead of myths.   Time-outs always felt bad.  For me and for Owen.  I gave them up and chose to connect with him during challenging times.  I hugged him instead of isolating him and talked to him instead of ignoring him.  I only used time-outs because I thought I was supposed to.  It was a myth.  Once I trusted myself I learned that pulling him close instead of pushing him helped instead of hurt.  It made everything easier.

5.  I committed to being kinder.  By nature I am a warm and kind person.  There was lots of room for me to be kinder with my children though.  I focused on speaking to them in ways that would make them feel good and loved.  Even when I was mad.

Some of these changes felt awkward at first.  They were so intentional and required lots of thought.  Quickly though, they became easier and felt more natural.

As I said, this question required a big answer, here is part 2:  5 More Changes I Have Made for My Children.


19 Replies to “5 Changes I Have Made For My Children”

  1. I love this article. I connect with all the 5 changes that you have mentioned to a great extent. It was like reading my own mind. Thanks for writing this up.
    One more change that I have consciously made is NOT to quarrel with my husband in front of the kids. we sort out our disagreements when they are not around. It took a lot of effort initially but has become easier later.

    • Yes that is so difficult, we strive to do so but haven’t succeeded yet, sounds like it just needs more perseverance!

  2. Thank you so much for this! I too have been looking to change for my children and struggling on how to go about it… this is so exactly how I feel and would like to change!

  3. I definitely think pausing to see things from their perspective is SO HUGE. It makes it so much easier to keep your cool with them when you’re frustrated. I’m not saying it is EASY, but it helps, a lot.

  4. This is lovely. Making real changes can be so challenging; it’s inspiring that you shared the real changes you’ve made (and how you’ve struggled). sharing this.

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  6. Hello! Linking up from Flash Blog Friday! It’s crazy how much kids change your life, isn’t it? I hope you’ll come visit me at jugglingactmama.blogspot.com

  7. I really admire how reflective you are in your parenting and your commitment to being the best mother you can be. Motherhood is not about perfection, it is about learning. You do this very well.

    • Bree,

      I love the way that you said that. I don’t view this process as negative. Rather I see it as constant improvement. While some of it is clunky and I fumble through, I am always glad to be doing it.

  8. Ive come back to this post at least a half dozen times now, I love it, the simplicity, the love, the clarity, the honesty. Here’s my question: mom of two– 2.5 year old and 9 month old. Stay at home mom, husband works ALL. THE. TIME. we usually see him an hour or two most week nights, and on Sundays. I get frustrated with my two year old for hitting her little brother, not following directions (go pee pee, wash your hands, get your shoes on, etc), not eating her meals, the little things. I’m trying so hard to be a peaceful parent, but my learned responses from my own childhood pop in at my most stressed moments. What do you do when stressed, short tempered?

    • Megan,

      Great question. For me, it is hard to change in the moment. Instead, I have to change my expectations and reasons for them. I have to think about whether or not it really matters if her shoes are off or if she eats her meals. Not in a negligent kind of way- I educated myself and learned that kids will eat when they are hungry and to think of it in terms of a week instead of a day. “Eliminating resistance” is my theme this year. If I am artificially adding it, I figure out how to remove it. Are you on our Facebook page? There is so much useful conversation there about practical things, you might like it.

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