I want to make choices that bring my children and I closer, not push them apart. This is why I am learning to discipline gently. Author’s Note: Now I refer to this as parenting gently.
The first years were easy for me. At least in terms of choices.
Once Owen was born, there was never a question in my mind about how I would care for him. His needs were my priority. In every situation and moment. There was never an exception.
Many said that I was not taking care of myself and that I was spoiling him, but I did not listen. Every part of my being knew exactly what to do.
Though the actions were easy for me, the time period was not. And while part of me would give a lot to go back and snuggle a newborn Owen, too much of me would never wish to relive that time period. But that is a story for another day.
4 1/2 years later things are not coming as intuitively for me.
And now I can clearly see that I need to learn more; about child development and what my children are developmentally capable of, and about why my kids act the way that they do. Because with each new piece of information that I learn, my patience increases and my interactions with my children become more respectful.
I was lacking in both of these regards for some time. In fact, I handled things extremely poorly for too long.
I think because the first years came so easily to me, I did not realize that there had been a shift, and that I was struggling and resorting to impulsive and thoughtless reactions to things like hitting and toy grabbing and spitting. Without realizing it, solutions that litter the news stands started running through my mind. Like time-outs and withholding toys and promising that a favorite activity would be taken away.
Just like when Owen was a baby and the “solutions” presented in mainstream parenting magazines felt horribly wrong for my baby, so did they for my toddler and preschooler.
Then one afternoon things reached a crescendo, and it suddenly became clear to me that I needed to make a change. That I needed to find ways of working through these challenges that would bring my children and I closer together, not push us apart.
As soon as I acknowledged that this positive change needed to occur, many resources became available. Resources that are helping me learn how to guide my children while remaining respectful, kind and loving.
And in just a few short months things are better. Never perfect, but measurably better.
This part of our family life will see a constant need for improvement from me and my husband. But we are willing to commit. For the sake of our children, and because it is what feels right.
Click here for five changes I have made for my children.
Have you had a shift like this? Have you been caught thinking the only way to discipline is one that does not feel right to you? Let us know in the comments below.