It’s a new year! As I write this, it’s my first day back, full time and as sole caregiver, at my job as mom. It feels right to share what a morning in our house is like. This was a few days ago here at our house. A typical morning in the life of a positive discipline parent:
You wake up like every other parent on the planet: Entirely too early, after your kid comes bouncing into your room. Today however he tells you he is doing laundry. You think “Hmm, laundry?” The night before you had talked to him about washing his blankets and today he took the initiative to do it. Then he tells you, “Yes, but the basket is at the top of the stairs. I couldn’t see over the basket when walking down the stairs so I left it up there.” You remember all of the advice you have read about validating a child’s feelings and how positively this will affect them as they live life. You tell them, “I am so thankful you noticed that. You saw that it would be dangerous to take the basket down the stairs and you respected that. When you are bigger, you will be able to carry the basket down the stairs.” You are thrilled your child wants to do laundry. You are happy to have let them engage in as much responsibility as they have wanted to up until now, despite the annoyance of doing it with a small child.
Your newborn wakes up. They are hungry. You feed them.
Your son then wants to play a board game, and you are willing, so, you do. Then he wants to play a different board game. You tell him you will, if he picks up the first one. You offer to help and he joins in to help clean it up. Then as he is taking it up the stairs, it drops. He announces, “It’s Ok! Sometimes we make mistakes!” And he follows it up with, “We always clean up our messes.” You melt at the growth mindset.
Your newborn’s eyes are drooping. He’s sleepy. You put him to bed.
All sorts of stuff still happens. Fights might break out. Fussy periods happen. Bids for connection are made. After much experience and reading and reflection, you know how to collect yourself and your emotions to handle it all like a pro, from a position of calm and wisdom.
You know you are opposed to punishment as a teacher. Your primary jobs are to surf big emotions; understand needs; and develop life skills, all while putting up with the many bizarre, irritating yet totally normal behaviors children display while completing the monumental task that is becoming a grown human.
Then you log on to social media or come in contact with others and you get comments like:
- “Kid’s today! They have no respect for anyone! If parenting was better today [positive parenting], children would be better not worse!”
- After explaining how you wait a few moments to understand your child’s perspective, you get told, insultingly, “Praying to the Gods also might help!”
- You read a story of a child who hit an adult, then the adult spanked the child, and other adults pile in, “If your parenting was so good, your child wouldn’t have hit!”
- You get told while dealing with a crying child, “There is nothing you can do! Don’t even bother! Let them cry!”
You reflect on how all of these hysterics might just be adults who never had much success with children and are operating on the fear of failure. You wonder if yelling, hitting, punishing, and insulting gives them the false illusion that they are in control.
Then you make a blog post about it in hopes that more people will understand.