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peaceful parenting

Disciplining your child can be one of the most challenging things to handle as a parent. We all want our children to grow up to be respectful, successful members of society.  But, sometimes it’s difficult to determine the best way to go about making that happen without damaging their spirit or personality.

My 3 year old daughter is as spunky as they come. She is highly opinionated and independent and carries a wonderful air of confidence. While this occasionally causes behavioral issues, it’s something that I never want to discipline out of her. Instead, I want to shape those qualities; teach her how to use them appropriately to help her gain an edge in this world.  This is why I’ve always chosen to practice peaceful parenting.

Peaceful parenting is more than just not spanking your child. It’s a lifestyle, and a conscious decision that you will have to make daily as a parent. By practicing peaceful parenting you recognize the needs and maturity level of your child and “discipline” accordingly. Your focus is on resolving the problem at hand instead of focusing on what your child did wrong. You can tell a child that throwing a tantrum in Wal-Mart is wrong. But, they’ll never understand the situation until you’ve explained to them why it’s wrong, and given them an acceptable alternative to the tantrum.

Recent studies have shown how inefficient, and even detrimental, physical punishment can be on a growing child.  The first few years of your kiddo’s life are the most crucial. It’s during this time that they develop vital qualities and skill, such as compassion, kindness, empathy and basic problem solving. So you have to ask yourself, “Is punishing my child with a spanking teaching them the best way to handle a disagreement?” “Will raising my voice at her show her the proper way to communicate?” Once you’ve looked at the situation in this way, the obvious answer is no.

Young children haven’t yet developed communication skills and are still fine tuning their emotions. They don’t know how to tell you that they’re angry or upset because they don’t know what that means. This is when they look to you, as their parent, for an example. By yelling at them, you’ve only instilled in them that yelling is an effective way to communicate. By hitting them, you’ve shown them that hitting is acceptable within a disagreement.

Instead, get down on their level. I mean literally, eye to eye. Let them know that you’re not here to intimidate them. Ask your child what’s wrong. Give them the opportunity to explain to you, in the best way they can, why they’re upset or angry.  Then, take the chance to find an answer to the problem with your child. Include them in the solution; let them know that their opinions and feelings matter.

Peaceful parenting won’t always be easy. You will fail; miserably sometimes. You simply have to forgive yourself and move forward. No one is perfect, but when you work with your child instead of against them, no matter how young or old, you’ll be amazed at how peaceful and happy your home can truly be.

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