The goal of peaceful parenting isn’t to make our child less challenging (although it really helps!) The goal is to help us respond better when things are hard.”- Sarah Rosensweet
My client, Lauren, is new to peaceful parenting. She sent me an email this week after a hard evening.
Lauren’s 7 year old, Sophie, didn’t want her 2 year old brother, Ethan, to play with her doll stroller. Fair enough. We don’t ever want to force sharing as forced sharing greatly increases sibling rivalry. So Lauren bought Ethan a new doll stroller. Sophie was very unhappy that her brother got a new stroller and had a giant meltdown with crying, screaming and trying to pull the stroller away from Ethan. Then Ethan was trying to hit his sister. Lauren and her husband, Steve, stayed calm through this whole thing! Amazing!!! So hard to do and so well done. She was exhausted at the end of it and wrote, “We definitely earned our Respectful Voice Chart stickers last night! It’s just so hard.”
I wrote back to Lauren and Steve, “Well done for staying calm! That sounds incredibly tough. Sophie is an intense kid. The point of peaceful parenting is not necessarily that we don’t have days like this. (Although things will get easier once you’ve had some more time and practice.) There will ALWAYS be tough times when you have intense kids. The point is that when those tough times happen, you can stay calm and show up for your kids when they are having a really hard time instead of getting upset yourself and either losing it on them or shutting them down. At least the goal is that you can stay calm most of the time. You don’t have to be perfect.
Those of us that have to be intentional about parenting usually have to do so because we have intense kids. Kids who are a little bit “more” or “extra.” More spirited, more strong-willed, more sensitive or more anxious. Or a combination of these things!
Peaceful parenting DOES help children learn to regulate their emotions and want to work with us. And it definitely makes life with these more challenging kids easier.
But the thing is— our kids will always be “more.” There will always be hard days and challenges.
What makes it all work out okay- and even great- is when we can show up with calm and compassion for our intense kids. We can deal with the situations without damaging them or our relationship with a tantrum of our own. That’s the gift of peaceful parenting.
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 13, 16, and 20). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”
Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com