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.
But 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.