Cooperation or Compliance

Frequently, I hear parents complain about how their child refuses to cooperate. One can almost see the anger and frustration wafting off of these parents in regard to their children, children whom they love, whom they currently view as defiant and disrespectful. I understand. Really, I do. There are times when I am really frustrated with my children, or at least our current situation. I am not a parenting guru. This is the point where I say that if anyone ever refers to themself as a parenting guru, you should walk away…slowly, avoiding eye contact, until you feel you are at a safe enough distance to turn and run. Certainly, there are people dedicated to researching child pysychology, realtionships, communication, and so on, who may very well be experts in their field. That is different than a guru, but I digress.

The fact is that I have never met a child, one who was healthily connected and had all needs met, who wasn’t willing to cooperate with a loved one. Yes, I actually said never. “But Mandy,” you say. “You have never met my child.” That may be true. “But Mandy,” you say. “You have met my child.” That may also be true, depending on who you are and who your child is. I stand by my statement, though. As much as we may like to think of our children as unique little snowflakes, there are some things which are just human nature. Working together is a fundamental survival skill.

So that brings us to two points. If your child is, in fact, not cooperating, I challenge you to ask yourself why. People, children included, don’t do anything without reason. We may not always examine our reasons, or perhaps we don’t recognize the reasons, but they exist none-the-less. Is your child feeling connected with you? If not, maybe they need to spend more, or more mindful, time with you. Are all of their needs being fully met? If not, rectify that. Make certain your child’s needs are met. If there is a want mingling in there, explore a little more and see what underlying need is behind the want. You can’t help fix a problem if you don’t know what the true problem is.

Secondly, and one that frequently casts a shadow to the forefront, is that the parent is confusing a lack of compliance with cooperation. When many parents say their child is not cooperating, what they really mean is that their child is being non-compliant, i.e. the child is not doing what the parent wants.  Again, I challenge you to ask yourself why. Except, this time, I challenge you to look at yourself. Are you feeling connected with your child? Are all of your needs being met? As a parent, if is often easy to overlook our own needs, but that can actually be detrimental to our families. We aren’t functioning at our best when we have needs being left unmet.

Of course, the other scenario is a compilation of the two. Perhaps neither the parent nor the child is feeling connected. Perhaps everyone has needs which aren’t being met. If one person has unmet needs, it isn’t so far-fetched to think that an underlying cause may be preventing other family members from having their needs met, too. Regardless of what is going on, let go of the negative thoughts and instead, take a second to mentally explore options, connect or meet needs, andcommunicate with your child. They may just have some ideas to help everyone out.

photo credit: mcdlee via photopin cc

Authentic Parenting Blog Hop: Parenting in the Light of Your Own Childhood

APBC - Authentic ParentingKeeping with this month’s theme of switching things up, the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, co-hosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting, is hosting a blog hop this month on a very important topic: parenting in the light of your own childhood. Our experiences, good and bad, shape who we are. We can choose to continue something or to make changes. We want everyone to speak up about how you have chosen to parent based on how you were parented. Tell us about how you are consciously and authentically parenting in relation to your own childhood experiences. We know this can be a touchy subject, so if you have a new post you would like hosted on another site, please e-mail us and we would be happy to find a blog to host you, anonymously or otherwise. By addressing issues of the past, we can choose to make a bright future. Simply add your post, new or old, to the convenient linky tool below before October 25, 2013.

We understand that many of these posts may touch on emotionally difficult subjects as we explore our own upbringing. However, as advocates of gentle and respectful parenting, we do ask that your posts not advocate in favor of violence toward others or non-gentle parenting practices.

 

Blog hops are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Authentic Parenting! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways to bring authenticity into our lives and our parenting.

Want to help host this blog hop on your own blog? Grab the code and share everyone’s posts with your readers!

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc



Raising Attached Siblings

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings — their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My husband and I are huge family people. We crave that feel of love and support. Perhaps part of that reason is that we both come from dysfunctional families.

My family consisted of much older siblings, an abusive father, and a mother who was depressed. As each of my siblings came of age, they left with hardly a glance back. I watched as the people I idealized seemed to leave me to continue coping and holding everyone together on my own.

My husband’s family had other issues. While he and his brothers are close in age, parental enforced competition between the brothers did not create strong bonds or love. Attempts to control him and make him appear whatever made his parents look good left my husband on his own.

And then we found each other. We fell in love. We got married, and later had kids. We vowed to do things differently. Consensual living plays a large role in both how we interact with our children and how they interact with each other.

Don’t get me wrong. Life isn’t always roses, and there are times when our children disagree and argue. It never lasts long though, and they use their communication skills to work out issues. Having our children curl up together, or even be piled on top of each other, as they read or watch a movie is a common sight. Age differences don’t seem to matter. We have four children, ages 10 1/2 down to age 3. They all work together, help one another, and interact beautifully (for the most part). It is everything my husband and I could have ever wanted for our children or for ourselves.

We may not have that big family feel from our own families of origin, but we are watching it grow with our children. The love they share and the way they treat one another will serve them well for life. As parents of multiple children, it isn’t enough just to foster close connections between parent and child. We need to make certain we are parenting in such a fashion as to allow our children to make those connections between one another.

photo credit: katerha via photopin cc

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister’s new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it’s definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It’s Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life’s twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband’s have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that’s maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins’ sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children’s relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen‘s children didn’t start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don’t Seek What Isn’t There – On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.
  • Sibling Love / Sibling Hate?Momma Jorje speculates whether her children will have a different sibling experience than her own. Did she make the right choices based on her own history?

The Inauthenticity of Anger

Welcome to the July 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Anger

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about anger. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about breastfeeding.

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Feelings…..nothing more than feelings….Anger. It’s a very real emotion and one that many parents have experienced. Anger, even when expressed in healthy ways, is not healthy tough.

How can a real emotion be unhealthy? It is unhealthy because it is a manifestation of our inauthenticity. You heard me correctly. While anger can be very real, it isn’t authentic.

Anger is actually a secondary emotion. It always follows after other emotions. While emotions point us toward our met and unmet needs, as a secondary emotion, anger doesn’t let us know what is going on.

When we find ourselves angry, we have ignored the primary emotions, the ones that were there to tell us about our met and unmet needs. We haven’t been honest with ourselves or with the people we love.

It is important to take the time to discover the primary emotion we are experiencing in order to address what is really going on. When we are being authentic, including with our parenting, we address issues before we reach that point of anger. Sure, there are times that we may be frustrated, sad, upset, or just feel unappreciated. The time to address those issues is when they occur. Bottling up our feelings until they explode into anger isn’t helpful to anyone.

Be kind to yourself and kind to your family. Acknowledge the primary emotions and work together to meet everyone’s needs. Be authentic.

photo credit: Mysi(new stream: www.flickr.com/photos/mysianne) via photopin cc

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APBC - Authentic Parenting

Visit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss breastfeeding!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 27 with all the carnival links.)

Hitting Out of Fear

 Today is National Spank Out Day, I’m sad to say. In a society where we speak out against the hitting of women, against the hitting of racial minorities, against the hitting of animals, against the hitting and bullying of anyone, there are still a large number of people who think hitting children is perfectly acceptable or even necessary. It boggles my mind.

The thing is, parenting can be scary. We go through pregnancy with the child secure inside its mother’s womb, and then suddenly this little person is on the outside, completely dependent upon….us. Children depend on us for food, shelter, warmth, guidance, and love. It’s a lot to take on. The fact is that while some people who hit their kids really don’t care, most of the parents hitting their children actually love them and do so because they are afraid.

They are afraid….

  • that by not hitting their kids, society will deem them unfit parents.
  • that their children won’t respect them.
  • that their children will be hurt even worse.
  • of losing control.
  • of the pressures of life.
  • of not knowing what to do.
It’s a scary world out there, full of unknowns, but when it comes to parenting, you don’t have to be afraid! Your children come into this world knowing only you. You are everything to them. They look up to you. They love you. They just want to spend time with you and learn with and from you.
Forget about what other people might think. The only people who matter are your kids. Besides, haven’t you heard that you shouldn’t jump off a bridge just because your friends did?
You won’t gain respect by hitting someone. In fact, you will lose it. Hitting a person, especially a smaller person, in order to control them is called bullying.
Hurting your child will not protect them in the future. Helping them navigate life and giving them tools and techniques to deal with life’s situations will.
There are a lot of things in life you can’t control, and that includes other people. Accept it. Deal with it if you need to, and then help your children to learn to control themselves.
Life can be rough, but that idea that your kids are born loving you? Still there. Come home to your kids and remember that no matter how bad life gets, they love you.
If you don’t know what to do, don’t resort to violence. Learn a new way. Learn how to help your children navigate that allowing your hurt to rule your actions.
In the end, no matter why some parents hit, they still make that choice. With every day and every situation, you have the opportunity to choose not  to hit. Your children love you. Live up to that love. Be deserving of the respect they want to show you. Be deserving of the love they freely give.

 photo credit: dhammza via photopin cc

Dealing with Whining Compassionately

Welcome to the April 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Peaceful Parenting Applied

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children.  We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Peaceful Parenting Applied.

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Chances are, at some point or another, that tone has come out of your childrens’ mouths. You know the one. It’s the whine that grates on your nerves, making you want to pull your head inside your shirt, cover your ears with your hands, or leave. If you don’t deal with the whine, it just gets longer and louder and more, well, whiney. While you may find yourself wanting to walk outside and scream yourself, there are a few easy tips to keep gentle parents gentle at these times.

Don’t take it personally. This may be easier said than done, especially if the whine continues to include your name. Personally, when I begin to hear the “Moooooooom,” it takes on an entirely new level for me. As much as we may feel disrespected or underappreciated during these times, our children’s behaviors are not about us.

Define the cause. If the whining isn’t about us, what exactly is it about? That is the question of your day. You can’t begin to solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Observe the situation. Think about what may be causing this seemingly annoying behavior, and set about making some changes. I know for my kids, whining signals that they are tired. We need to slow down, cut out some things, go for some quiet, easy going activities.

Connect with your kids. Yes, your child is whining and the last thing you may feel like is being around them, but when your children are exhibiting behaviors such as this, it’s a cry for help. They need you. Take a deep breath. Remember how much you love your children, and be there for them. Perhaps doing something with your child will be enough to break them out of their whining ways.

Actively listen. Everyone has bad days sometimes, and often we just need to have someone listen to us on those days. This is a great time to practice active listening so that your children understand that you ar ethere for them and that you really are listening.

Set personal limits for yourself. It’s okay to say that you are reaching your limit and that you would prefer to be spoken to in a normal voice. If you are having difficulty understanding because of the whining, explain that you can’t understand what your child is saying and that you need to know what they are saying in order to help.

Use play and humor. Try bringing a little levity to the situation by playing or using humor. When our children’s voices begin to take on that whining tinge, my husband has a difficult time understanding them. His go to phrase is “Hmmm. I couldn’t really understand what you said, but it kind of sounded like, ‘Daddy, you are the greatest!’” It hasn’t failed him yet. They will either laugh or take a deep breath to speak clearly.

Take control of your actions and words. As much as the whining may be driving us a little batty, we are still in control of our own actions. We get to choose how we act or react.

Remeber compassion. At the end of the day, think about the relationship you have with your kids. Every parent/child relationship is just taht – a relationship. remember to have compassion, both for your children and for yourself.

photo credit: polywen via photopin cc

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss self-love!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

Do you have blog posts about peaceful parenting or are you looking for some tips? This month, Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children are hosting an Authentic Parenting: Peaceful Parenting Applied link up! Check it out and help build a resource for parents striving to parent more peacefully.

Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival April Call for Submissions: Peaceful Parenting Applied

APBC - Authentic Parenting
Welcome to the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope that you will join us on the last Friday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the Friday before last.

Peaceful Parenting Applied

This month, we would like to focus on practical solutions for maintaining the peace. Many parents struggle with implementing positive parenting theories in real life, so we want to hear from you about tactics, tips & tricks and solutions. Gentle parenting is not just a theory, and we want to prove that to our readers.

Submission date: April 20th

Carnival date: April 27nd

How to join in?

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com and mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com, and fill out the webform by April 20. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on April 27.

Please do:

  • Use your creativity
  • Write an original, previously unpublished post on the given topic
  • Be respectful
  • Spell check your post

Do Not

Use excessive profanity or promote violence against others

As the co-hosts of the carnival are advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Why Participate?

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Authentic Parenting! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways to live and parent authentically.

Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival March Call for Submissions: Self-Expression and Conformity

APBC - Authentic Parenting
Welcome to the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope that you will join us on the last Friday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the Friday before last.

Self Expression and Conformity

Kids like to test the margins of where they can go, wether with their behavior or their looks, but where do you draws the line. Is there behavior you don’t tolerate or image alteration you would prohibit? How far do we go to conform and do we take our children along with us? Is the image we portray important, or can we just skip the boundaries all together. We would love to hear your input.

Submission date: March 22nd

Carnival date: March 29th

How to join in?

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com and mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com, and fill out the webform by March 22nd. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on March 29th.

Please do:

  • Use your creativity
  • Write an original, previously unpublished post on the given topic
  • Be respectful
  • Spell check your post

Do Not

Use excessive profanity or promote violence against others

As the co-hosts of the carnival are advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Why Participate?

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Authentic Parenting! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways to live and parent authentically.

 

Authenticity through Consensual Living

Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through character, emotions, and establishing authentic communication with their children. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Honesty.

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Father and child

Photo by David Blumenkrantz

I once had a parent tell me that the reason she didn’t like consensual living was because she felt that thinking about your response in a situation rather than saying the first thing that popped into your head was “fake parenting.” In her view, contemplating the situation and one’s words was unnatural. It’s a popular belief in our society. Most anywhere you can go where there are parents and children, you’ll hear parents saying catch phrases to their children, threatening kids, or jumping to conclusions about their children’s motives. While these actions may be automatic for them, these are all examples of reactions rather than authentic interactions.

We’ve all had experiences during our lifetimes, and those experiences shape our lives. It’s an inevitable fact of life. However, the extent to which those events shape our lives is up to us. Reacting relies not on conscious thought but on unconscious scripts. If you have ever heard yourself say a phrase which reminded you of your mother or father, you know exactly of what I am speaking. In order to authentically communicate with our children, we need to be willing to push past those automatic responses.

When we react, we allow outside influences to control ourselves. When we react to others, we shut down further explorations of the situation, open communication, and mutual understanding. It is only when we open ourselves to examining our beliefs, words, and interactions that we find ourselves pushing past the hurt and anger of reactionary living in order to live authentically. It is through thoughtful interactions that we allow ourselves to live fully in the moment, to grow as individuals, and to open ourselves to honest relationships with others.

 

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 25 with all the carnival links.)

Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival January Call for Submissions: Authenticity

APBC - Authentic Parenting After a month off for the holidays, the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival is back with renewed energy!

We hope you enjoyed last year’s carnival topics. We have some new and exciting topics for 2013.

APBC goes live on the Last Friday of every month and submissions are due on the previous Friday. For January 2013, the deadline to submit a piece is January 18 with all posts going live January 25.

If you’ve followed the carnival closely, you’ll notice that Living Peacefully with Children has recently teemed up with Authentic Parenting for the blog carnival. We hope to make the carnival a hit this year!

This month’s topic is “Authenticity”. Even though the name of the carnival is Authentic Parenting, we’ve never explored what authenticity means to our writers. For this carnival, let’s try to define authenticity and find out how it finds a place in our home, our parenting and our way to interact with the world.

Feel inspired? 

Email your submission to mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com and mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com no later than 11PM GMT on the day of the deadline and be certain to fill out the form. We will get back to you with a piece of code to add to the top and bottom of your post prior to the posting date.

 

Why participate?
Carnivals are a fun way to generate traffic to your blog and create community. You’ll be linked to from many sites and get to discover blogs you didn’t know before. For each edition of the carnival, we will create new commenting groups, so you’ll be able to visit and receive visits from lots of different people. Carnivals also give you a chance to think about a predetermined topic, which can smooth off an occasional writer’s block.

Get a sneak preview from the other topics by checking out the Carnival page. We hope you will consider adding the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival to your monthly blogging schedule.