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orbiting a more peaceful planet

October 18, 2012

The children are seeming, lately, what it is…{whispering, here}…um, easy and delightful. (Rose just walked in from a hike with Dan and when I smiled at her she pointed at my teeth and said “what’s that? Have you been eating cookies?” See, delightful).

Col trolls around the house looking for ingredients for his latest espeerment. Currently, he’s observing a dead box elder bug float peacefully in a vial of cherry tomato juice. He’s like a proud Papa because the bacteria and mold he swiped from the toilet seat and placed on a sterile medium of agar is growing like an orange galaxy of er…grossness (growing outside, that is. Dan finally said, “I get paid to find and eradicate mold in people’s house because it’s a TOXIN. Put it outside!).

Rose is doing a lot of spontaneous skipping lately, sometimes followed by an ecstatic cheerleader’s routine to life itself. Yesterday I was telling the kids how my dad’s parents came to America by sailing across the Atlantic ocean, and Rose said with the shiniest sincerity, “it’s cool that Baba and Nana are your mom, and even Baba and Nana have moms. It’s cool that everyone has a mom.”

Rose with my mom. For the record, Baba and Nana aren’t *both* my mom, but I get what you’re trying to say, Rosie.

Parenting without threats, bribes or punishments

My friend Kati and I were talking about how we used to read blogs about parenting with empathy, and we loved them, but the descriptions of parenting entirely without rewards and punishments seemed like a planet at which we could only squint (and sometimes shake fists at) from afar. I remember hearing about a book called “How to Parent without Bribes, Threats and Punishments,” and I laughed because those were all my discipline tools, and I believed in them.

But, 2 years later, I’m orbiting a more peaceful planet and making an occasional smooth landing. It takes strong intentions, support, practice, and the willingness to learn from mistakes, again and again. Oh, and um, again. Right.

Gang signs with winter squash.

And it’s not that following this parenting philosophy makes you a superior person, or immune to challenges with your children, but it feels like the shortest distant to cooperation and unity. There were times that I would have downloaded an app into my brainstem and given a pint of flesh for a roadmap called “child compliance” to lead me through the thick trees of parenting, no matter the method.

I still value compliance, but not the kind that comes from threats or promise of a reward, because in the long run, I want my children to be motivated to make choices from their intrinsic desire to add to the peace and harmony of our family (and the planet).

I love this quote from Dr. Laura Markham, “Your child can’t simultaneously feel like a bad person and act like a good person.”

When kids are punished, put in time-out, yelled at, forced to give up a special toy or outing, they might feel shame and anger (I would), which aren’t very conducive to learning to act with respect and compassion. And though it feels counter-intuitive at first, a misbehaving child is not a “bad” child who needs a lesson taught, but often a child who’s needs haven’t been met.

A personal story

We had just pulled up to a friend’s house for dinner and Col, simmering with enthusiasm to get out of the car and not wanting to hear the mini-speech Dan and I were delivering about making good decisions (we were going to a friend’s house where trouble is often stirred up amongst the kids), picked up a rubber band and shot it. It landed in his sister’s eye. IN HER EYE.

My scared animal self wanted to yell at Col and threaten to drive him straight home (so many offenses: ignoring his parents, shooting a rubber band at close range, hitting his sister’s eye). But I took a deep breath and checked in with Rosie. She was a little teary but okay. Rose and I went inside (straight for a beer, no doubt) and Dan and Col sat under a tree together for awhile, discussing what happened and how scared Rose might have felt, all while Col was cradled in Dan’s arms.

Col does not want to harm his sister (mess with her a little, sure). He was being reckless but wasn’t intentionally aiming at her. He made a mistake. One of my biggest hopes for my children is that they care for people they mistakenly (or intentionally) hurt instead of running away or turning blame inward. If we adults model compassion, forgiveness, and accountability, children will follow our lead.

We haven’t traded punishment for permissiveness (which is an equal minefield). We did a role playing exercise at the recent Positive Discipline workshop where we simply practiced saying “no,” kindly, to our children. No explanation, no negotiation, no conditions, no exceptions, just “no.” This is reserved for when the child already understands why you’re giving this answer. Like, when Rose asks if she can have a snack right before dinner. There is nothing to discuss, the answer is simply, with a kind smile, “no.” This is actually liberating for the child. They can retire their incessant negotiator and move on to something fun.

A friend’s story

Recently I was driving my friend Kati and her 4 year old son home. The 4 year old did not want to leave my house and was kicking and protesting getting in the car. When Remi shouted “I hate you!” and lunged to hit his Mama, Kati said, with a continent of patience in her voice, “I hear that you’re mad about leaving. You wish we could stay. I do too. But I will not let you hurt my body. When we get home I will hold you and hug you if you want.”

Remi kept raging at her the whole car ride home and Kati kept repeating some version of the above words, calmly and without diving into the cauldron of her son’s emotions. It’s so easy and tempting when your child is raging/whining/tantruming at you to say to yourself: I don’t deserve this; I give so much to this child; this behavior is unacceptable; I’m embarrassed to deal with this in public; or, this again?. We often want to hush them up the quickest way, with rewards (a cookie at home if you stop hitting me) or punishments (I’ll take the legos away if you don’t stop shouting). We forget to investigate why our children are tantruming.

Kati says that after months of similar scenarios she discovered that her son needs to know that she will not abandon him even if he is “vewy vewy mean.” Now, Kati can say, as the tantrum is bubbling up, “Darling, you do not need to hit me to get a hug from me. And you know what else? I would love nothing more than to wrap you tight tight tight in my arms and squeeeeeeeze all of my love into your body. Would you like a hug, Rem? Because you seem like you’re struggling and I would love to hug you, I would love to hug you So Much, because I love you So Much and it would feel so good to me to wrap you in my arms.”

Kati says if she is truly present and not harboring resentment, Remi skips the aggression and goes straight to tears and hugs 100% of the time.

Wow.

I am writing about this today, not because I’m an expert, but because I’m passionate about raising my children on a peaceful planet, which starts right here in our home.

{From my first Durango Herald column photo shoot. 2008!}

Those faces! Lets create a more peaceful planet, for all the children.

Resources, internet

Aha! Parenting with Dr. Laura Markham

Talk Feeleez blog

Resources, books

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

Kids are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk – Faber and Mazlish 

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Thanks for bearing with me for my longest ever post and if you have any resources to recommend, please do.

With love,

Rachel

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57 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2012 12:22 pm

    I wish I had learned this about 30 years ago. So I passed it on to my daughter with an apology for not knowing until now… no doubt she will forgive me and use it now for her own son. Thank you, Rachel. Wish I could have a handful of those gorgeous aspen leaves!

    • Patience permalink
      November 5, 2012 2:01 pm

      Your daughter and grandchildren are very lucky Anonymous! Not many people would admit there are better ways than how they parented, much less apologize and share the information! My daughter didn’t really get to spend a lot of time with her grandparents because they were more interested in undermining our parenting style than spending time with her for so many years.

  2. Kathleen Hennessy permalink
    October 18, 2012 12:29 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful entry. It brings tears to my eyes to hear these stories of parents who are really getting it and changing the very landscape of relationships. You are a brave pioneer.

  3. October 18, 2012 12:56 pm

    two cheers for a more peaceful planet (not to mention a closer relationship w/our children)! huzzah huzzah! you are brave to write this, indeed, but even braver to parent like it – so glad to be yer mama co-conspirator in arms…(hugging, holding, comforting arms, that is). xo

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2012 12:58 pm

    Your courage to write and post it payed off. Thanks for blessing my lunch time!

  5. October 18, 2012 12:59 pm

    Hey – that’s me up there. I don’t want to be anonymous :)

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2012 1:01 pm

    Thanks. I am no where near your level of peace. I can control my interactions with my kids and the ways I use dicipline, but my subtle expectataions of who they should be and what they should do…they impact them. My approval, my disapproval, my subtle irritation with their noncompliance. I am competitive, secretly wanting them to make the most goals, get the best grades, have the most friends, be the kindest child…you see?

    I am thankful I can be honest with them about this, absolve them from worry over my wants of them and apologize for the ways I fall off the path.

    Bottom line, I want them to grow without Shame and Guilt…I want them to not armor themselves emotionally. I want them to feel we are a soft place to land, accpetance no matter where life takes them.

    I so admire you and your friend Kati.

  7. October 18, 2012 1:10 pm

    i love everything about this and if i lived in your neck of the woods i’d walk right through your door and hug you. tight.

  8. Britta permalink
    October 18, 2012 1:14 pm

    Wow. Thank you. I’m struggling with this right now and appreciate your words, honesty and links. I am going to delve in a little deeper and see if we can change how we approach “compliance”.

  9. Melissa via Facebook permalink
    October 18, 2012 1:30 pm

    For little ones, I also like The emotional Life of the toddler, by Alicia Lieberman. Glad you shared this piece!

  10. Molly via Facebook permalink
    October 18, 2012 1:30 pm

    I can see the 3 days to write it…so beautifully written, flowing seamlessly from sentence to sentence. But 3 days to post? This needs to go viral on the internet, be available to teenagers and anyone thinking of having kids…and of course, those of us who already do :) I strive to be peaceful, but I find myself having tantrums too…and “losing it” here and there. I pride myself knowing that we don’t spank our kids–but sometimes the anger behind the consequence they receive is just as bad (or worse) than spanking! Thank you, Rachel for this post…I will refer to it often.

  11. October 18, 2012 1:32 pm

    Great stories. Great insight. Like you I kind of lucked into finding a more peaceful way to parent – for me it was Barbara Coloroso and also Stephen Glenn (Jane Nelsen’s mentor). Also the “How to talk so Kids will listen…” books. It was really liberating to learn that parenting is not about obedience. A big relief, since time outs didn’t work at all for me – I hung onto the doorknob with a preschooler pounding on the other side shrieking. In what way was that giving me a break or her a lesson? No way of course. There were a couple more time outs in our lives after that – but they were for me. The time I stopped the car, got out and sat on the hood for a while, cooling off. The kids were stuck in their car seats, and had been informed by me as I exited (with gritted teeth) – “I’ll start driving again when things are quiet – let me know”. That spot on that road is still pointed out with glee by my teenagers as the place where Mum had a time out. But it worked, That’s the point. It empowered them, gave me separation from the issue and we got going again with no fuss a few minutes later. Over and over again through the years. They’re 14 and 17 and have never (never say never) yet been grounded. I realize that good kids is part of the mix here. The nature part of nature and nurture. But I’m sure the method of nurture makes a difference too. I’m so glad you’ve found some peaceful parenting too.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 18, 2012 1:40 pm

      Thank you for reminding me of Barbara Coloroso and How to Talk so Kids will Listen (LOVED both those books!) It *is* partly nurture, right? And although I too will never say never, parenting is beginning to feel like this reciprocal wheel of respect and cooperation and good vibes. May the wheel keep turning!

  12. October 18, 2012 2:20 pm

    Wow Rachel. I loved this so much. Thank you.

  13. October 18, 2012 2:47 pm

    I am speechless. I want to parent like you when I grow up. Then again, maybe I want to regress and be a kid in your house so I could grow up experiencing that kind of discipline. Thank you for showing me a kinder, gentler way. I will now strive to be more like you in yet another way. xo

  14. October 18, 2012 2:57 pm

    I wish so much that I had parents like us when I was growing up. But, you know what? I’m glad that I knew something different so that I could parent radically different. I often squeeze love into my kids when they’re acting out because I know that’s what they really need. That unconditional love that only a mom can. I mean other people can give my kids unconditional love but they really, really want to please us.

  15. ellen884 permalink
    October 18, 2012 3:28 pm

    How peaceful the world would be if all children were treated with such calm, loving firmness.

  16. October 18, 2012 5:03 pm

    That quote – love it and read it at the most perfect time. Thanks, Rachel, for taking the time to write this and share it. xo

  17. Diane Petersen permalink
    October 18, 2012 5:16 pm

    BEAUTIFUL!!! Just what I needed…I’m ready for my sweet, little monster to wake up now!

  18. October 18, 2012 6:41 pm

    I am lucky to have a community of families where we do our best to parent this way. It’s an amazing – and difficult – way to do it (but so much easier than endless threats). I would add a book to your list: Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson. It’s sitting open on my lap as I type this because I have “mama book club” tonight. We get together once a month after having read one chapter (about 10 pages, which feels doable for all of us!) and talk about real-life applications.

    Here’s to a more peaceful, inter-dependent, healthy planet.

  19. October 18, 2012 8:05 pm

    Om Ami Dewa Hrii!

  20. Cortney permalink
    October 19, 2012 5:51 am

    Thank you for the resource links and your perfectly timed post. We are struggling with keeping our home peaceful and compliant; three boys, two years apart with wildly different personalities make for an extremely chaotic home and sometimes (not proud) I find myself yelling and threatening, which is not what I had intended to do at the beginning. The books will be helpful. Again, thank you :)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 19, 2012 8:14 am

      You are so welcome. And I think it’s worth saying that the reason I came to this new, more peaceful (and effective) way is that things felt crazy and challenging in my household. It was not because I have naturally easy children. I was in a hole, and threats and punishments were not working and yelling was making me feel awful. And as we wean ourselves off an old way of discipline and try on these new practices, the results are so stunning, it keeps the fires burning. Peace and good luck to you!

  21. October 19, 2012 7:28 am

    I think your friend Kati is following Dave Barry’s advice: “If worst comes to worst, there is no parenting tool more powerful than a good hug. If you sense that your child is getting into trouble, you ust give that child a great big fat hug in a public place with other young people around, while saying in a loud, piercing voice, ‘You are my little baby and I love you no matter what!’ This will embarrass your child so much that he or she may immediately run off and join a strict religious order whose entire diet consistes of gravel. If one hug doesn’t work, threaten to give your child another.”

    But seriously, wow. I have the intentions. I make the effort. And I never get there. This morning I held my son’s bus note, that would let him go to his friend’s birthday party after school, ransom for a promise to be nice to his brothers all weekend. Of course he won’t keep his promise (especially after a birthday party followed by a dance = a late night and a tired boy), and of course I won’t withold any future birthday parties. We roll with the empty threat/empty promise method of family disharmony around here. Thanks for the reminder to try another path, again.

  22. October 19, 2012 4:43 pm

    I was driving in mad traffic around the DC beltway at rushhour on a Friday. My not quite 2 year old in the back seat started having a meltdown. I very calmly but firmly said to her, “I cannot deal with this right now. If you could please hold that meltdown until we get out of this, or better, when we get to your aunt’s, I promise, you can have the mother of all meltdowns to your heart’s content, but right now, I really cannot deal with this and this (pointing to the traffic). So thank you.”
    She just sat there, blinking at me and didn’t say another peep until we got where we were going.
    I don’t always have moments like this, I definitely have my moments where I use a system of rewards, but I often find that speaking to her and explaining things to her in a manner she can understand works wonders.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 19, 2012 8:35 pm

      Wow; your not even 2 year old! That’s so great that she “got it.” Also, you didn’t make it about her, but about you, which is skillful. I think the more respectful and reasonable we are with our kids, the more they extend that to us. The other night I had a lot of tasks to do before we had some friends over for dinner. I explained to the kids (who always want the run down of the foreseeable future), that I had to make dinner, do dishes, bake pies, hang laundry, fold laundry, sweep floor, and clear off the table all before our guests arrived. And they were so great about it, really respecting that I had this whole host of tasks. Which helped me feel relaxed, instead of frantic or feeling like I need to put a movie on to pacify them, which was reflected in the way I interacted with them. “Cool Rose, thanks for showing me Minty the Horse’s new bracelet. She looks festive. Now I need to get back to sweeping.” These transitions in and out of their world were smooth, which is not always the case. Sometimes I feel guilty about all the time I’m not spending with them while I do chores, but I trusted in everyone’s ability to manage their needs while i was managing mine, and I put on Pandora, which made it more festive and it turned out there was lots of sweet “special time” in small increments between tasks.

  23. October 19, 2012 7:05 pm

    love love love. this is a wonderful post. a lot of the same stuff i’ve been contemplating just now… like “One of my biggest hopes for my children is that they care for people they mistakenly (or intentionally) hurt instead of running away or turning blame inward.” yeah, like that. i love alfie kohn’s book and it’s top of my list. i have been meditating on “attributing to children the best possible intentions consistent with the circumstances” today. and finding so much gratitude for the fact that i have been aware of that concept for years now. it’s always going to be like mediating- i’m never going to remember consistently every time, but i get better at it, and i just keep coming back to it. to that state of mind of being able to really see my child. i will throw one more book out there, hold on to your kids, by gabor mate and gordon neufeld. lots of good stuff in there and it seems like it is a bridge between the attachment parenting baby focus and oh wtf do i do now that this baby isn’t a baby anymore part of the program…. as is alfie kohn’s unconditional parenting. love it. your post didn’t feel extra long to me, it was just right. xoxo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 19, 2012 8:38 pm

      Thanks for mentioning the book, Hold onto Your Kids. I actually wrote that down on my “to request at library” list, after reading an inspiring interview with Gabor Mate (in The Sun?) and then totally forgot about it. You are rocking it, mb, and I’m sure are a huge inspiration to your community. xo

  24. Rebecca Arnold permalink
    October 20, 2012 12:58 am

    Beautiful article, Rachel! I love the examples that you give of going toward the loving, relational response instead of just the authoritarian, reactionary response. Another resource for parenting that you are totally in resonance with and may find interesting, is my friend, (pediatrician and dad, living in West Marin, CA,) Dr. Chris White, who teaches home courses on parenting: Essential Parenting and Loving Discipline. He has a free series that I am partaking in right now.

    His website is: http://www.essentialparenting.com/ It seems like you two should be in touch! Your words could have come out of his mouth! Thanks for the article. It is another great reminder to (deep breath) and begin again.

  25. October 20, 2012 2:18 pm

    I encourage you to keep going in the direction you’re headed. As you know, my kids have never been punished, never been bribed, and never been threatened. (They’ve also never had to negotiate for food, but that can be a conversation for another day…) Dagny’s about to turn 20, and Rowan is 15. All those things you’re hoping for your children and your family – that “reciprocal wheel of respect and cooperation and good vibes” – that’s our life. I truly believe anyone willing to examine all the little choices made in interacting with their kids to be sure *they* are acting with respect, cooperation, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, and kindness can have the same. ~Rue

  26. October 21, 2012 12:05 am

    Rachel, thank you so much for listing some resources at the bottom of this post. I’ve read “Unconditional Parenting” and I loved it, but have been looking for *concrete* ways to put it into action. It’s hard. I need more resources. Thanks for this. Also–any one resource you’d recommend for *concrete* examples?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 21, 2012 9:38 am

      Good question, because theory is one thing, but concrete examples help practice evolve. For concrete examples I’d recommend Positive Discipline and the archives of Talk Feeleez blog. xo

      • October 21, 2012 1:52 pm

        Also, How to Talk so Kids will Listen…is so user-friendly. It is full of comic strip-style illustrations that are all real life examples.

  27. Emily J. permalink
    October 21, 2012 12:22 pm

    Wow, what great timing you have with this post! I JUST got the “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen…” book and am about halfway through it and already see a difference in how my kids respond to me. I still find myself falling back on my old ways of yelling and threatening just because something they did makes me SO mad (they are six, four, and two). I would love to track down that book you mention “Parenting without bribes, threats, and punishments” I can’t seem to find a book by that name when I google it or look on amazon, etc. Do you happen to know the author? Rachel, thanks so much for such a timely post. I always have this vision of our house being a haven a peace and cooperation where kids listen and respect each other and us as their parents…… I guess it’s always just a work in progress :)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 21, 2012 1:49 pm

      You know, it’s funny. I first heard of that book (Parenting without Bribes, Threats or Punishments) when I was at my most annoyed with the Attachment Parenting movement and I literally laughed it off like, whatevs, that’s ALL my tricks. Two or so years later I tried to Google it and also found nothing. I have no memory of where I heard about it, so it’s more like some spooky Twilight Zone/Zen koan about how everything comes in the right time.

      xo Rachel

      • Emily J. permalink
        October 22, 2012 10:28 am

        Ha ha, okay, thanks for letting me know. I’ll just keep reading my current book, which will probably be more than enough for me to deal with for now anyway with trying to put into practice its methods. It’s hard work breaking my years of bad parenting habits *sigh*

  28. October 21, 2012 12:51 pm

    Dr. Laura Markham has been my saviour since I discovered her after the birth of my first. Her emails arrive in my inbox and bring me a calmness I often lose sight of. Sometimes it just takes a little interruption to bring some fresh air and remind you what you believe in.

    Another lovely post.

  29. October 21, 2012 1:37 pm

    What a beautiful family! Eek, I just want to do crafts and play games with you guys!

  30. October 21, 2012 10:24 pm

    So great Rach. I’m taking your shared wisdom to heart as I raise my little puppy Bryn with love. She is perhaps practice for a future family, or if nothing else, an opportunity to hone patience, compassion and consistency in another being and in life in general. I LOVE those pictures of you with the kids. Rosie’s cheeks are killing me! I wanna squeeze em!

  31. October 22, 2012 12:29 pm

    This post reminded me to again pay extra attention to the way I get what I want from my daughter, and think it couldn’t possibly hurt for more of her choices to be internal, rather than imposed by me. I meet with young people for a living, and so many are struggling with choices in the vacuum left by off-site parents. How I would love it if my girl had a smoother time! Thank you for the resources.

  32. Abby Quillen permalink
    October 22, 2012 6:12 pm

    I love this post, Rachel. Just reading it made me a more patient parent. I’ve read some of the books and can’t wait to check out the other resources. Thanks!

  33. October 23, 2012 12:00 am

    Hi Rachel,
    great post!!! no one is perfect and kids are there to push on ALL our secret buttons… you know the ones that make us go crazy and get all the nastiest parts of us out…
    they are truly a blessing to help us get better because we love them so much we can get the energy to change. changing is realy hard coz it,s changing the way often we were ourselves raised.
    but it’s not impossible and it starts little by little. and we have to be as indulgent with ourselves as we want to be with them.
    we are trying realy hard!
    great job on you for taking some time outs and breathing and also the way you handled the elastic incident.
    A sentence i like from “raising our kids raising ourselves” by naomi aldort is: A CHILD WHO ACTS IN THE MOST UNLONVINGLY WAY IS THE CHILD WHO NEEDS LOVE THE MOST.
    This has been my mantra a few times when i was so upset i actually wanted to hit (yes hit!!!) my kid. so i am working on myself, thanks goodnes…
    going to a psychologist helped me a lot too to try to understand where this violence comes from and understanding helps in healing.
    Anyways… thanks for this niece and very personal post.
    i LOVED Simplicity parenting and also how to talk to kids etc.
    as well. especially the cartoons, they say it all!
    take care,
    joanna

  34. October 23, 2012 7:58 am

    This is how I have *wanted* to parent, always. However, if you grew up in a family background that relied heavily on the punishment/reward system, it is so, so, so very hard to parent without it. I remember reading Unconditional Parenting a couple of years ago and feeling so utterly helpless. I remember thinking, over and over again, “OK, this all sounds great, but then how the hell DO I get my kids to cooperate?” I didn’t even finish the book, actually, and I’m a compulsive book-finisher.

    I’ve only recently started to feel a little more like I can process *how* to do this. I think it’s a combination of a continued desire to do so and continued self-education, along with the fact that my kids are getting a little older, the breakup of my marriage is getting further behind me, and some other stresses are just the tiniest bit smaller than they were (and some are bigger…)

    Thank you for writing this today and reminding me of some of these resources. Something tells me this is a journey I’ll be taking for the next fourteen years.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 23, 2012 10:37 am

      Jaimie dear,

      I too was raised in a house that relied on praise/punishment. Lots of praise when I was a well-accomplished elementary school kid, and then lots of punishment as I grew to be rebellious and out of control teenager. I am still motivated highly by praise, and then let down by what feels like the absence of praise. But the difference now is 1) awareness and 2) self-empathy.

      And some of the gifts of doing it differently than our parents (and blessings to them for their hard, sincere work) is that we get to heal some of those sharp edges and missing pieces in ourselves as we offer something different to our children.

      I also wanted to mention that my friend, Kati, who I write about in this post is a single, working mother who holds very different beliefs than the Daddy of her son.

      xo, Rachel

  35. October 23, 2012 6:59 pm

    Just read this post now – it’s a lovely crowd that hangs out here at 6512. So true, about that wheel. This may seem wildly inappropriate, but I got my best parenting nugget from Buck, yes, the horse whisperer guy. When things get a bit hairy, I just let go of the rope. And the hug thing. Huge, and so strangely liberating from the headbutting for both parties. Though I will say there was a good year when an ill-timed hug offer just made things worse, which I kind of understand. I too want to bat people away when I’m in mid-rant, and strangely, the past six months have been minimal in the kid-meltdown and parent loss of temper departments. And the best part? We didn’t even notice how easy things had gotten, until we had a crappy day again. So, in my recently inarticulate way, I’m in.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 24, 2012 7:54 am

      Let go of the rope? That is intriguing. Wondering how that manifests in kid-life. Sometimes I let my kids deal with their own conflicts. “Okay, you guys sound mad at each other. I need to take a shower, but I’m sure you can work this out. You can let me know how it went when I get out.” Which is interesting, because sometimes I feel like I have to hammer home, again, how “we don’t hit!” But I’m trying out comforting the hurt kid, and leaving them to work it out.

      xo, Rachel

  36. October 23, 2012 9:11 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But oh my goodness it’s so hard. I sometimes fall back on the same nasty scripts from my childhood. And I YELL. Which is why I rely so much on the parenting books — to give me ways actually to live in accord with my beliefs, with the little ones, and so on. Thank you.

    To your list of resources, I would add Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. Absolutely absolutely my favorite parenting book. It gives lots of concrete ways to work with children, though you have to be willing/able to tap into your inner goofball. Lucky for me, I have a super goofy inner goofball.

  37. 1vivigirl permalink
    October 24, 2012 2:26 pm

    Not only do I enjoy reading and re-reading this post, but I appreciate that it’s a great way for me to share this style and philosophy of parenting with our friends and family who might benefit. Thanks, Rachel.

  38. rose permalink
    October 25, 2012 3:53 pm

    a big resounding YES to this! to the list of resources i would add: Enjoy Parenting by Scott Noelle and The Natural Child Project. you’re changing the world, rachel. first by treating your kids with love and respect and again by sharing it with all of us. thank you. and let me add a quote from TNCP: children behave as well as they are treated.

  39. October 25, 2012 8:59 pm

    Rachel, I’ve just found a whole pile of books that will keep me busy right here in your post. I love what you’re doing with Col and Rose, and I have to admit, I am an impatient person so it feels so very hard for me to not react quickly to an obstinate child.

    But you’re right – they don’t mean to hurt or upset us – they’re mostly trying to be heard sometimes and when we have our own agenda for them, it’s hard to listen to them. But that’s when we really should, shouldn’t we?

    Please keep us posted with these personal stories/real examples. It’s good to see how it’s working in practice so I can be more mindful about the decisions I make with my kids too.

  40. October 26, 2012 9:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing the stories you share here. More than that, though, thank you for sharing your resources. After I read this the other day, I put a couple of books on hold at the library.

    (I was having trouble commenting from my finicky laptop, but I really wanted to come back and tell you that this post really means something important to me in my parenting journey. Thank you again.)

  41. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2012 5:55 pm

    I really feel that talking, explaining or negotiating during a tantrum is a waste of time. The child is flooded and can not hear you. The best course of action is to disengage. When the child is calm again, that’s the time to process what happened.

    • November 5, 2012 6:51 pm

      Anon – not sure if you’re referring to the story about my friend, Kati. If so, I don’t see her as explaining or negotiating, but simply offering him a familiar lighthouse of love and safety that he can navigate home to.

  42. November 7, 2012 3:58 pm

    i really need to lose the bribe, shout, punishment.. it’s taking over my life.. thanks for this entry.. i’m going to really really try

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