Tag Archives: Connection

It’s Easy to be a Peaceful Parent… When Nothing Stressful Happens!

newborn-1506248_1920Stress. It’s something we all experience at some point or another. For mothers of young children, teens, multiples, home educating families or families parenting children with medical issues, to name just a few, the stress levels can increase exponentially.

When there is nothing more challenging than choosing which bagel topping to have for lunch or what film to watch on Netflix, it is easy to be calm. But the more balls thrown into our ever juggling arms, the more our stress levels can rise.

Our children are like sponges, soaking up our moods, be they calm or fraught. And when it is the latter, their own stress levels rise to match our own. They reflect it right back at you, no matter how hard you try to hide what you are feeling. You cannot mask your true mood from them.

They know.

They know you so deeply, they see through the false smile. And when they mirror that stress, absorbing all that tension, their behaviour descends into mayhem. They have to release it. A calm, serene child has little need to lash out and be destructive. They have no urge to argue or shout furiously in response to your requests. But when their insides are pulsing with pent up tension, mounting stress, they have to let it out.

They have to explode.

And it is the worst possible thing for us weary, drained parents. We are balancing on the edge of patience at all times. We are so close to reaching our absolute limit. We can’t manage a single extra challenge. And we are suddenly faced with a child who neither knows nor cares that we are hovering at breaking point, who is lashing out, needing support we can’t summon up the reserves to give.

This is parenting at its hardest. This is when things fall apart and we react in ways we later regret. When we ignore feelings, when we say harsh words or forget how scary it can feel to be lost in such big emotions when you are so very small. It all becomes just a step too far for us to manage.

It’s so easy to talk about the merits of peaceful parenting. It’s all so wonderful in theory. But is it really possible to be the parent you so desperately want to be in these times of undeniable stress?

Fortunately, the answer is yes. But it’s not easy. It’s not going to come without hard work. But it is worth it. Let me share how with you now.

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The Key to A Peaceful Home (And 3 Ways We Keep Ourselves Locked Out)

***This is a guest post written by Shannon Wasie***

First Night Akron 2015

We feel it deep. A craving, a desperate need for peace. Peace.

The violence, hatred, political, ecological and humanitarian distress in our world can be tremendously heavy.

And then, we read the studies and our intuition confirms: the peace we crave begins at home.

The violence of abusive parenting breeds violence in the hearts and bodies of the next generation. And what’s more, it seems the innate rejection experienced under hyper-critical, shame-based parenting does the same.

We need peace. Wild peace. Wholeness. Healing.

We need peaceful homes.

BUT HOW?

How, when the ten thousand demands on us are pulling us to shreds?

When our finances are in disarray, and our children are driving us mad?

When our relationships with our partners are full of conflict and pain?

How can we possibly find peace?

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When Taking a Backwards Step is a Positive Thing

20160216_130424About a year ago, my four year old son decided that he was ready to start brushing his own teeth. I was hesitant. Dental hygiene is obviously very important, and I had read some great Steiner Waldorf based articles which stated that tooth brushing is a skill very similar to writing. When a child can write (typically a skill acquired around seven years old in Waldorf education) they can also manage to brush their teeth competently.

However, despite my reservations I had no desire to tell my son what he could and could not do with his own body. And so, we started a gradual process of handing over the task of tooth brushing with my role becoming less and less until after around a month, he was doing it all by himself – and very well too.

He was excited with his new found skill and taking on the responsibility of his own personal care. Yet, as the months passed by, this excitement waned. I began to notice that he was wandering around chewing his toothbrush, but not actually brushing his teeth. I felt frustrated. I knew he could do it well, but he just wasn’t interested.

I went back to reminding him how to brush every tooth. I tried brushing my teeth alongside him. But it didn’t work.

He lost interest to the extent that he didn’t want to clean his teeth at all, and mornings and evenings became a time of stress and nagging. He would whine, “Can you help me? Can you do them for me tonight?” and I would reply, “No, you are perfectly capable, please go and brush your teeth. I know you can do it darling.”

He wouldn’t, and I would get more and more frustrated at having to ask again and again.

Every single time became a battle of wills.

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What I Learned From Not Being Able To Breastfeed

I have been writing about the importance of breastfeeding for years, so it was rather ironic and very shocking to me when after feeding my son for four years, I was then unable to give the same gift to my daughter.

She was born pink and perfect, save for the fact that her digestive system just didn’t work. Over the months we went back and forth with our breastfeeding relationship. I offered her the breast as often as I could, though she continued to refuse it. I fought to get her tongue tie cut and I finally managed to get her to latch with the use of nipple shields. For a blissful few months we managed four to six five minute feeds a day, and I was hopeful that this would continue to grow, though the majority of the milk sat undigested in her tummy. But as the weeks went on, the milk made her more and more uncomfortable. She squirmed away from the breast, and when she did latch it would only be for a minute or two.

Then she had major surgery, and after that try as I might I could not get her to feed. When I did manage to coerce a few sucks, she would be so uncomfortable and distressed the rest of the day that I felt guilty and awful for pushing her.

I continued to express daily, wanting to build a stash of milk she might someday drink, and keep my supply up in case she should suddenly take to the breast. But as the months went on it became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen.

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Is Natural Parenting a Fad?

As you wade through photographs of another Mum’s £2000 sling stash, or catch an oh so carefully planned glimpse of a ridiculously expensive custom made cloth bum, you could be forgiven for thinking that this whole “Natural parenting” movement is nothing but a poorly disguised cover for mass consumerism, more about making a fashion statement than it is about the baby.

To the casual onlooker it can seem utterly daunting and unattainable to be one of these “Natural parents,” and often the real message of the movement is distilled amongst the competition of the latest must have accessories.

Of course, for many of these mothers who become collectors of slings and nappies, it is a passion, a love and a hobby, one which brings them joy and compliments their parenting choices, but never overshadows the real importance – that of parenting their child lovingly and naturally.

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