evolution of a parenting style: part 2
We had a great day today visiting the zoo with our friends, the ones we met on the playground. It wasn’t just great because the zoo is fun, and having a mom friend who gets it and you and even likes my kid makes things awesome. It was also great because M listened well, showed empathy to her friend, and stayed about as calm and happy and polite as you can expect a two-year-old to stay.
I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for another day as good as this one, because we all have on days and off days, both moms and kids, and just by writing this I’m guaranteeing a bad day in our near future. It did, however, lead me to think that I’m on the right track for myself as a mom, and for my daughter as a person, when it comes to my new attitude about parenting and disciplining.
Here’s the takeaways I’ve gotten so far from all of my reading and researching (and intuiting):
-We’re a team and we’re on the same side, rather than it being her vs. me.
-I am trying to coach my child on how to manage emotions and help her build brain connections, rather than just trying to control behavior.
-Keep the focus on building empathy and trying to understand the viewpoint of others when it comes to aggression, as well as other ways to express big feelings
-Make sure to convey that my love is not conditional, or dependent on her good behavior or doing what I want when I want her to. Give the most love when she needs it most (when she’s acting out)
-Model the behavior we wish to see: how to control and express anger appropriately, how to manage frustration, how to let little things go, how to plan ahead, how to learn from mistakes, how to sincerely apologize, how to show empathy and consideration for others (including children and those with less power!)
-Keep our mother-child connection the priority, through one-on-one time, silliness, play, respect, and all of the above
I know that none of this will stop bad behavior. Children are learning still, but hell, adults act badly at times, too! There is no quick fix to parenting, no way to turn our kids into little robot angels when we need their cooperation most, but the things I’m learning are giving me a sense of peace and confidence. I wake up more excited to spend time with my daughter, with less dread about how she might behave.
I blog about the hard times a lot, so I’m going to be referring to this post very often to remind myself that it’s not always as hard as it sometimes feels!