Then I had my own, and I realized I’m not always so fantastic. How about you? Did you get the memo about how to parent democratically, powerfully, and happily. I didn’t, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned in an easy way, quick.
Parenting is about being level-headed, calm, being a rational thinker, and sometimes even knowing when to take your own time-outs. Tell your kid you’re going to take a time out and watch what happens. Their mouths drop. Problem averted. Attention diverted. Guess what? You just showed them mom and dad sometimes need to regulate their behaviour, and think quietly for a while, and that we too need to take responsibility and ownership of our feelings and emotions. Getting mad, huffing and pugging, pulling rank and braun, faulting our kids when we’re on edge or tired, reacting, yelling, screaming, getting mad… this isn’t going to work. Kids need a healthy environment to grow up in, and learn from. It’s up to us, as parents and care-givers, to make sure we choose a constructive and effective family culture and parenting style that is going to support empowered thinking and behaviour.—At all costs.
So, how are you parenting? The pitfalls of parenting, as in life, is that we get comfortable. We forget and caught up in the stresses of life, and our go-to style tends to be how we’ve “always done things”, and it makes it challenging to stop, and realize what we’re doing isn’t working, and change things. And change, is scary and difficult to do. It’s just easier to keep doing what we’re doing, and hope for the best, struggle a bit, and fight for the outcomes we want.Wrong. We react, fly off the handle, yell, scream, punish (I hate that word—it’s so counter-productive), get angry, and it happens all to quick, and we think this behaviour is what our kids need, that swift, dictatorship-like rule, with no wiggle room for negotiation, learning, understanding, or a lesson learned. It’s not.
Our children, while still needing consequences and kindly given time-outs for thinking about how to do better and different next time, need empowerment, and coping and reasoning skills. We want our children to have the desire to understand themselves, to be mindful of others, and to understand the influence their words and behaviours have.We also don’t want to be dictators. Parenting is a title generously given to teach, guide, support, and empower. We need to give our children the opportunity to speak and be heard, acknowledged, and validated. This, makes a whole individual. Parenting is also about being calm, rational and reasonable, and teaching them how to express themselves, to listen, be thoughtful, to negotiate, make choices, and to reach informed decisions.
This, is democratic, rational, calm, effective parenting. Your kids are smart. Really smart. They’re products of their environment, and when we parent like hyena’s, yell and scream like tyrants, get mad and punish, what are we teaching them? Nothing, other than that they have no influence in the world around them. This is a most critical value they’ll need as they grow up and live in the world, make friends, get a job, influence people… Our role as parents and care-givers is to guide, teach, lead, and even learn a little from them, from time to time. Our kids are ever-changing, and we have to change with them. If they roll, we roll, and together, we all learn, roll and grow together.
Involve your children in choice and decision-making, empower them, show them they do have influence on the world around them. They want to show you how smart and wonderful and thoughtful they are, and so when parenting, or con sequencing our kids, we need to let them be involved, learn, and grow.
Want to be that amazing parent you were before you had kids? Ditch the dictator in you for a more pleasant, reasonable and understanding democratic parenting style, and a happy family home filled with happy people will follow. You may just find your toddler or teen, and even yourself, listening better, complying more, and maybe even flipping out a little bit less. Now isn’t that worth an change or two?
Good luck, you democratic parent you! And if you need more tips, skills, techniques, or support, connect with me. I’m a phone call away.