Peaceful Parenting

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

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 shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Almost every time we go out in public, at least one person compliments me on my children. I know the compliments are well-meant, and I offer up a reply which varies based on the day, the mood, the person or the tone. However, with most of these compliments, I inwardly cringe, for I know what most of them mean: my children are being quiet, non-destructive, non-disruptive, or otherwise non-bothersome to the adults around them. While these things are usually true of my children, I’m not raising them to be that way. We treat our children respectfully, and they in turn, generally speaking, treat others similarly. When someone tells me I have good kids, I read into it more than I probably should. Yes, my kids are good kids, but would they still say that if they saw us on a day when my three year old is tired and hungry and whining?

Photo by Aaron

It’s easier for me to accept comments about how respectful my children are, but then my internal dialogue turns to wonder why they are commenting to me instead of my children, as though they are property or as to why one wouldn’t think that children would be respectful, as though they expect less of these smaller beings. I also don’t want my children to take this socially conditional acceptance of them to heart. My children are loved regardless of what they may be going through, how their behavior is, or if they are convenient to those around them.

So, one Sunday morning as we were having a leisurely brunch at Einstein Brothers, I prepared myself when I heard the usual, “Excuse me ma’am?” However, instead of the typical compliment, the woman surprised me. She said to me, “I’ve been watching your family, and you all seem so peaceful. I’ve never seen a family who seemed so at peace. How do you do it?”

That was the compliment that made me want to weep with joy. It is my goal to parent peacefully and for us to live our lives as consensually as possible. I don’t want convenient children. I want to raise them so that they feel peace, love, and respect and so that they might share those qualities with others in their lives. We are living peacefully with our children.


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:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

33 thoughts on “Peaceful Parenting

Add yours

  1. Oh, I love that story! I have a similar one that will always stick in my mind, when my son was about two months old, my in-laws were visiting and my father-in-law commented to my husband and me that we were parenting our son “gently and intuitively.” It was one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever gotten…simply because he noticed.

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  3. I love this!! I love that you point out not wanting “convenient” children. I think it’s easy to live with our kids as though they are fitting into our schedule, but when we treat them as living, breathing human beings with their own needs, we develop a real relationship with them. How sweet that she said that you all seemed peaceful! What a lovely compliment 🙂 Oh, and I LOVE Einstein! 😛

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  5. “I inwardly cringe, for I know what most of them mean: my children are being quiet, non-destructive, non-disruptive, or otherwise non-bothersome to the adults around them”…I hear you on this one! When people say, “oh, she’s so good and quiet” I want to say, “Oh, yes, she is a very good human being.” Nice post, thanks!

  6. Now that is SOME compliment! So… how did you answer? (I want to know your secret, too.)

    I don’t know if we are perceived as peaceful… not that it matters what others think. I know we’re happy…

  7. ‘I don’t want convenient children. I want to raise them so that they feel peace, love, and respect and so that they might share those qualities with others in their lives.’ ~ I think I may print this quote and frame it. So perfectly said.

    I too cringe at the ‘good’ and ‘quiet’ and ‘aren’t they behaving themselves’ I also know a lot of behaviour my kids display now and in the future may be seen as unruly and in need of being tamed…I prefer to let them experience as much as they can with gentle guidance and I know many people think that’s too permissive and that they should just ‘obey’ (that’s a word I really can’t stand!)

    Being a peaceful family – that is a wonderful compliment indeed.

  8. It is really sad that people seem to value children most when they basically can’t tell that they are there. I once got a glare from a woman in a restaurant because my daughter, 6 months old at the time, was laughing.

    But the ladies like your one in the bagel place give us hope that things can be better. 🙂 So glad for the encouragement you received; on my part, I think if I want to comment someone’s child on any type of behavior, I may decide to address it to the child (or through the parent, but to the child) as an indication of respect to the little person who is doing so well. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Beautiful! One reason I love being a parent is seeing continually how naturally respectful and considerate children are, when they are treated the same way. My son is always surprising me with his beautiful nature, although, as you say, I shouldn’t be surprised at all! I definitely don’t take it as something I‘ve done, however, since I know it’s who he is inside.

    That comment about your family being peaceful is one you can take to heart. I love it!

  10. I also hear the compliment a lot, along with some variation of “3 boys? You’re in for it!” I cringe at this and want to say something about the assumptions about boys. But, I don’t. We also treat one another respectfully and they model the behavior as well. I still don’t think they are “good” (ie: not bothering the adults) because I do anything. I am constantly remarking to myself about how lucky I am to have such loving children who are willing to put up with me!

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