Google+ Authentic Parenting: Gently Disciplining Ourselves - Part II

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gently Disciplining Ourselves - Part II

Written by Dulce

This post is part of a series which focuses on setting up a toolbox to cope with our personal emotional overflows and parental short circuits. Read about the other parental coping tools here and look out for a follow up post next Friday.

Image: Candace Morris on Picasa
There are several things that can help us as we strive to grow into the parents we desire to be. In fact, many of the same tools you use to gently guide your children into becoming the people they are meant to be work for you, as well.

Eliminate useless tools.  
Don't mentally save them for a last resort.  I used to justify yelling or shaming my kids since I wasn't actually calling them names or saying terrible words. I tried not to do it often, but it was still in my toolbox for "really big things".  One day, I saw my daughter's eyes and really looked.  Despite my internal justification, she saw it exactly for what it really was, and it hurt her.  Toss out even the possibility of hitting your children. 

Find appropriate ways to express your big feelings. 
Write. Paint. Dance.  Exercise.  (OK, I threw exercise in because I've heard good things about it and it seemed to fit.  Have I personally tried it?  No way!  I've got four kids and a paycheck job--do you honestly think I have energy or motivation to work out???   Just pass me some chocolate, please).

Use your words. 
Well, depends on which ones.  Finding words that are accurate and powerful enough to convey your feelings takes thought and practice and perhaps creativity, particularly if your children are going to be imitating you ;). Nonviolent Communication is a great resource.  Another way to use your words is to talk to another adult who can listen and encourage you.  Particularly if you didn't have a healthy model of parenting as a child, this can be a great way to learn what healthy relationships look like and how to help them grow. 

Expand your toolbox.  
If you have the tools you need to discipline your children, you are less likely to find yourself pushed to the edge.  Some of my favorites are here:  This is another place where your support circle can help you to see things from a fresh perspective and find something that will work for all of you.

Look at the big picture.  
Remind yourself of your long-term goals, both for yourself and your kids.  Look back at your own growth as a parent.  Like a child's growth, it may not be obvious from a single day to another, but look back a few months and you might be happily surprised at how much you have grown.  Also, like a toddler, sometimes we regress a bit in times of stress.  Be patient and repeat what you want to do and how you want to parent over and over to yourself.  These are skills that take practice.  If you screw up, apologize, forgive yourself and try again.

More about Dulce:
My name is Dulce (my parents were optimists ;)) and I've been nursing at least one child (currently three) for nearly seven years, hence Dulce de leche. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and four wonderful kidlets, ages 6, 4, 2 and 4 months.  We are gradually learning to unschool.  I also have taught Spanish for over a decade, love to travel and delight in chocolate and coffee.  Each day brings something new to learn and enjoy, and a fresh lesson in trusting my children, myself and the Love that surrounds and fills us.  Sometimes it feels like we're livin' a vida loca, but overall, life is incredibly sweet.  My blog addy is:



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