What is Peaceful Parenting? A Revolutionary Approach.
Parenting is regularly described as one of the hardest, yet most rewarding events in one’s life. As we go through life we inherit beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours generation after generation, all of which shape our world and how we act in it. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we then use the methods taught, experienced, or observed as we grow older and navigate through life. Various beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours will drop off and/or change when we face new situations. This is where we have the opportunity to choose whether we wish to continue the cycles or learn from the past and break away, trying out new approaches.
Authoritarian parenting is a commonly used parenting style. It is based on the parents having expectations for their children, expecting them to meet those expectations while providing negative feedback and often, very little nurturing. A core method of authoritarian parenting is using punishment as a strategy for modifying children’s behaviour. Using methods such as time-outs and isolation, or other artificially imposed consequences may work short term, however, have long term negative consequences for the child.
Authoritarian methods create feelings of fear and a lack of understanding of emotions. The result is tense and emotionally insecure environments to live and learn in. Instead of encouraging personal growth, authoritarianism fosters feelings of stress, defensiveness, rejection, low self-esteem, rebellion and causes children to display reactive tendencies. Punishing a child fails to identify and attend to any underlying needs that drive out of balance behaviour. It is no more effective in gaining genuine listening, calm communication and willing cooperation from children than it would be effective as a strategy with an adult.
So what’s this revolutionary approach?
Peaceful parenting teaches you to alter your perception to understand and respect your child as a human being, eliminating the power struggle between parent and child. A child is a living soul, as you are, but has yet to have learned about life and all it entails. You are in effect the child’s leader/teacher and the child is your student.
Using a punishment free approach establishes a relationship built on trust, mutual respect and a healthy team spirit within the family.
Being a peaceful parent fosters more willing co-operation, integrity, and self-discipline slowly over time, as natural development allows.
As opposed to reacting to your child’s behaviour, explore techniques such as getting down to their eye level and asking them what they are feeling and why. Help them to understand situations as a whole, why things have happened as they have, and what they can do in the future to prevent negative experiences and emotions. Patience, presence, and full attention help to relay information in a manner that a child will understand.
When you show your child that you are willing to be patient, listen, and allow them to discuss their feelings without punishment, you provide a safe environment that allows your child to express strong emotions. Communicating those emotions helps them to return to balance and again live happily in the moment. When emotionally settled and calm, children will naturally give their full attention and enthusiasm to daily play and learning.
Peaceful parenting knocks the saying of “don’t do as I do, do as I say” out of the park and instead helps you to develop your child by encouraging you to become a role model. It is important that as a parent, you own your strong emotions and feelings to avoid any form of escalation and demonstrate to your child how emotions can be handled healthily. If you, as a parent, allow your emotions to overwhelm you and cause negative reactions, regardless of what you say to your children, they will replicate the same behaviour.
Providing an alternative to outdated fear-based authoritarian techniques, peaceful parenting creates a culture of mutual respect, empathy, respectful listening, diplomatic problem-solving. All of which help to foster more open communication based on love, respect, and compassion.
As a parent, you have the responsibility to meet your children’s needs for emotional safety, security, and developing emotional intelligence and unconditional love. Children are the future of the human race – how they are raised will shape the direction of the future. Which approach will you take?
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