It has been fifteen glorious days with no kids in the house…can I say that so happily out loud? Not sure I should admit so freely, how two weeks at home with no kids, has been heaven. My two children, and my two step-children, have gone off to spend the rest of the summer with their other parents. It has left the house peaceful, quiet, and CLEAN! It is not that I don’t miss them, I do. Except, all is so calm and serene around here. The tranquility has allowed me much time to reflect on what it means to be a parent. I’ve asked myself how I am doing so far, and what does it need to look like going forward? A bit of time apart has helped me recognize some of the pitfalls and patterns. I can see where I need to pull up my socks, and be the instigator of change.
Peaceful parenting began in our family only a short time ago. We jumped right in and began it full-hearted. We’ve been learning as we go. Yet, the last two weeks has been “no parenting”, with the children off enjoying summer holidays with their Disney parents. You know, the parents that get to take them places, spoil them, and have fun with them. Not the parents that have to do the day-to-day responsibilities, the routines, and necessary chores. They are the “play” parents that enjoy, “time off” visits, while we stay home, and work on strategies to make our full-time parenting better.
But I digress, and Disney parents is a topic for another time.
What is looming in front of me is, my kids are due to return soon. My days of sleeping-in, long lunches, late dinners, reading countless chapters, and actually meditating uninterrupted is about to end. Soon the scampering of feet at the crack of dawn, the fighting over Google Home, and who’s dish is left in the sink will return. All the hubbabaloo that comes with multiple children underfoot will recommence instantly…and the question is, will my peaceful parenting hold up?
I have used these two weeks of reprieve to sit down and take the time to define what peaceful parenting means to me. I feel the success of this lifestyle requires the deep examination of one’s unique family. What works for us, our house, our lifestyle, values, opinions, needs, wants, and desires all play a pivotal role in a peaceful parenting model. By looking at all the factors in our unique family, I had to find the attributes of parenting that would lead us to actual success. Not like the fairy-tale version they have with their part-time parents.
I wanted to share my thought process with you, to support you in your journey towards peaceful parenting. If this is a lifestyle you may be interested in taking, let’s work on it together. We can support one another, because it may not be smooth sailing every day. These are the things I felt most needed to be addressed, to support my parenting style in staying peaceful. Look them over. Answer them honestly. Take the time to evaluate your family dynamics, so your actions towards peaceful parenting is tailored to you, and no one else.
1) What qualities do I love about each of my children? List each child and their many qualities.
2) What behaviours do I least enjoy about each of my children. List each child and each behaviour.
3) What trips me up every time, and I get upset about?
4) What are my children doing that I struggle to accept?
5) How do I want to react when things are difficult?
6) Which situation has me reeling the most often?
7) What do I most want to improve?
8) What do I know in my heart must change?
9) If I choose to peaceful parent, what is the worst thing that could happen? The very worst… can I live with that.
10) What are my non-negotiable rules? The ones that I will not compromise on.
11) What rules am I willing to compromise to get a win/win with the kids.
12) What rules can I let go of to make room for peace.
13) What rules no longer need to be enforced if I made today a clean slate.
14) What does peaceful parenting mean to me.
15) How important is it I succeed at this immediately? Or can I give myself permission to grow into it and take the time to get it right.
16) How important is it that I always be right? Parent perfectly? Make no mistakes?
17) When are the children most happy?
18) When am I most happy?
19) What kinds of things brings us closer as a family?
20) What are the children's favourite things to do? How can I implement that more often?
21) What makes each of my children feel loved? What are their unique love languages?
22) What are five things I can do right now to create peace in the family and stick to it consistently?
23) What strategy will I implement in myself to keep me peaceful and not returning to old habits.
24) Describe myself if I was a peacefully parenting successful.
25) Describe what the family would look like if peaceful parenting was working.
Take the time right now to answer these profound questions about yourself and your children. This will be a clear baseline for you to begin parenting in a new way. You don’t have to go all in, like I did. You only need to make slight changes and adjustments to get massive results. I love the reference that if you improve just 1% each day, in one month you will have improved 30%. In two months 60%, in three months, 90%. In just three months 90% of your relationship with your child could be better if you just make a 1% effort each day. Anyone can improve 1%. By answering these questions honestly, it will help you see how easily, and effectively you can make that change.
It is worth it.