This week, I’m taking a slightly different approach. I’ve prepared a series of shareable graphics around a concept that I’ve been grappling with as my children have gotten older and their troubles are more developed than the need to nurse and have a diaper change. Truth be told, I flew into an angry outburst this past weekend and had to do a whole lot of apologizing and reconnecting.
I’m currently in physical therapy for a back injury (a large part of why I’m having difficulty maintaining my composure) and my physical therapist told me something really interesting about the body’s healing process. She said that healing is not linear. What happens is that we’ll have higher pain days and lower pain days. Over time, the higher pain days decrease and the lower pain days increase. I find that’s very similar to how I’ve experienced healing from childhood trauma. When I started out with peaceful parenting, I had a lot of angry days. I tried to avoid directing my anger at my children but I failed a lot. As time has gone by, the better days have become far more numerous. I still have emotional explosions and meltdowns, but they’re cropping up less frequently and I’m able to recover more quickly.
I think a lot of us have really rough days and we feel like we’re failing as peaceful parents, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We are HEALING. We are doing the best we can. And, through this work, we are equipping ourselves with tools that help us see our children in a more positive light, find avenues of connection, and protect our kids from the things we experienced as children.
I hope this snapshot series will be helpful to you as you work toward a renewed mindset around becoming the parent you want to be.
Text: If you’ve had any encounters within the world of gentle, conscious parenting, you’ve probably heard the mantra, “kids do well if they can.”
Text: While the idea is ancient, Ross Greene brought modern attention to it as a key theme in his Collaborative Problem Solving model.
Text: When we say, “kids do well if they can” what we mean is that children WANT to do well. They WANT to be an integral and accepted part of their social structure, whether that’s family, school, teams, etc.
Text: In other words, when children “misbehave,” it is not because they are manipulative, devious, or bratty.
Text: Rather, children behave in a way that reflects how well their needs are being met, how connected they feel, and how adequately their brains are able to manage their particular circumstances.
Text: This mantra, “children do well if they can,” is pivotal to allowing our adult minds to shift into an anti-childist, respectful worldview around child rearing and discipline.
Text: When we recognize that, every time a child does something we don’t want them to do, it’s because they CANNOT manage otherwise on their own, we can begin thinking in terms of problem-solving with them as opposed to punishing their childlikeness.
Text: And, when we get to the point where our first instinct is to help our kids when their behavior upsets us, it becomes a lot easier to stop yelling, threatening, and hurting them.
Text: Our children will grow in wisdom over time. They will become more and more able to handle difficult circumstances with grace and self-assurance, and we can help them get there.
Text: By modeling gentleness, curiosity, and helpfulness in the face of difficulty, we can help our kids develop the tools they need to operate from a growth mindset wherein flexibility, empowerment, and hope prevail. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.