Gentle Parenting Successes and Suggestions #1

September 8th, 2010 by Dionna | 5 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Gentle Discipline Ideas, Successes, and Suggestions, Gentle/Positive Discipline, Guest Posts, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Respond with Sensitivity

Today I am honored to present a guest post by Sara. Whenever I wonder whether there is any point in continuing to write Code Name: Mama, I think of Sara and smile. I’ve been blessed to strike up a long distance friendship with her because of this blog, and I’m so pleased that her submission will be the first post in our gentle parenting series.
Sara is a first time mama to a scrumptious one year old named D. He is the love of her life and the inspiration behind all that she does as a mom and as a person. She is currently without a blog but has been kicking around the idea of starting one – in all her spare time! Here is her gentle parenting success story:


toddler in car seatMy First Gentle Parenting Success

I’ve read and thought a lot about gentle parenting. I was really inspired awhile back when I read about compromise on Dionna’s “More Thoughts on Tantrums” post and the “Gentle Parenting Ideas: Getting Into the Car Seat.”

At that point, my thoughts and inspirations were all little notes-to-self because my son, D, was still a tiny guy . . .

Now, at one year old, he’s still a tiny guy, but he’s a tiny guy with some thoughts and opinions and a to-do list that’s both predictable and ever changing!

So we’ve had plenty of opportunity to incorporate compromise into our days as of late.

One area that is ripe for conflict – and compromise – is the transition to D’s car seat. When it’s time to get in his car seat we have to strike a balance.
Now that he’s in his (still rear-facing) convertible seat, he much prefers standing up in it and looking out the back window or pointing to the ceiling light. Sitting down and being buckled in is lower on his agenda.

Every single time we get in the car – that’s what he wants to do.

So we’ve reached a compromise that works – almost – every time.

I put him in his seat – but on his feet.
Then we take a minute or two to soak it in!
We look at the cars, we point to the light.
And then I say “Okay, it’s time to sit on your bottom,” and I sit him down and buckle him in.

Who cares if it takes us an extra few minutes to get on with our day?
We have an arrangement and it works for us.

That’s not to say that some days, despite having his time to stand, D doesn’t protest a bit. Some days he does. But there are almost always other contributing factors to those times: if I have a tired, hungry and/or over-stimulated guy on my hands, things will probably not go as smoothly as they would otherwise.

And if someone’s waiting on my parking space, I try to take them into consideration, too, but without putting their needs in front of ours.
They can see I have a baby and I usually gesture to them that it may take us an extra moment. Then we have an abbreviated compromise and we’re on our way – if they can’t stand to wait an extra 60 seconds then they can go find another space!

Of course some days I really just want to put him in his seat, buckle him in and go.
But it’s just not worth it to me. He trusts that he can have his time before we get down to the task at hand, so I want to honor that and meet his needs. But it’s also not at the cost of my needs. He’d likely be thrilled to play around in his car seat before getting buckled in for much, much longer than we actually do, but that wouldn’t work out for the Mama. So we each give a little and we each get a little.

Groundbreaking? No.
Indulgent? No.
Works for us both? Totally.

It’s been really rewarding to be able to put something that I’ve been inspired by from this blog, even something seemingly so small, into practice and have such a positive result.
I know that our compromise will have to adjust and flex as time marches on but, for now, we’re happy that we have a little system down!


There are two resources that have been the most helpful to me in my own gentle parenting journey. First, reading about others’ experiences: real-life examples of challenges met with respect and compassion can be both educational and inspirational. Second, when I face a challenge of my own, I have always been able to turn to my local AP group for a fresh perspective and creative ideas.

I’d like to provide a resource like that here at Code Name: Mama, so I’ve introduced a series that will feature your stories and questions. In particular, I’d love to feature stories that build on consensual living principles or the techniques and ideas discussed in books like Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids; Playful Parenting; Unconditional Parenting; and Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.

I am not looking for stories about parenting techniques such as time-outs, negative consequences, coercion, or punishment.

If you have a gentle parenting success story or a question on how to gently handle a challenging situation with your toddler or preschooler, please read the contributor guidelines and contact me. Let’s not go through this journey alone!

5 Responses to:
"Gentle Parenting Successes and Suggestions #1"

  1. I have so much respect for moms who are so patienet in dealing with their kids. Dont get me wrong, I love my little rockstar (who is 3years old by the way), however when it gets to the point when he is unruly I just can not handle it! Do you have any tips for me? There are times when I really cant calm my kid down! I feel somehow when he starts yelling and crying and “the tantrums” that it is impossible to actually make him stop! What do I do? Please advise, thanks!

    • do you feel they are age appropriate and reasonable tantrums? i only ask because some kids do have some other needs that cause them to have uncontrollable ‘tantrums’ and if you can pinpoint what causes them and try to remove it as much as possible (bringing snacks, staying close to schedule/naps, etc.) or determine if they’re above and beyond and might need a little assistance in behavior. For instance, kids with sensory integration needs can’t stand tags in clothes or tight shoes, or loud noises or touching certain textures, etc. and that can be evaluated and addressed fairly easily. But, having a 3 yr old myself (along with a 1 yr old) it’s very easy to become overwhelmed when EVERYONE is hungry, crying, hanging on your leg, screeching, writhing around, etc. Breathe! I often chant to myself “he’s only 3, he’s only 3” but sometimes i just need to go in the bathroom and hide for a couple minutes and I will actually tell them “i need a minute for me, you’re making me feel crazy, i will be out in a minute” and usually by the time i come out (a couple minutes at most) they’ve moved onto another activity or at least one of them has calmed down. I tell my 3 yr old that i am trying hard to be patient but he is doing xyz that is making it hard for me (screaming for x, when I am trying to make it, etc.). Good luck!

  2. sara

    thanks so much for the sweet words!
    i’m honored to have our little success story grace the pages of code name: mama!!

    it’s funny, as i said in the post, i knew our compromise would have to flex and adjust as time marched on – and it already has! and we’ve adjusted and found our new way of doing things.
    it’s just a little variation on the theme – now it’s all about books!
    getting in the carseat is still all about our stand, look and point routine but now we choose a picture book to look at for buckle-in and ride time.
    as before, d knows that we have a little ritual. he knows what to expect and what comes next so there are rarely tears or resistance.
    livin’ and learnin’!

  3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I love your attitude about it: respecting everyone’s needs. For me, I think just acknowledging that your kid’s needs are important is the first big step. I like that you don’t take it to extremes, though, and recognize that you and others have needs as well. It really is a fine line to walk, but worth the effort to try. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • this was so easy to do when i only had one child! now with 2, someone is always not ready to get in and there have been times i’ve been back and forth in circles around the van trying to get each of them on their side. so sometimes we do have an upset child who just has to get buckled in right away, but i do bring books, toys, snacks etc to distract them. also before i get in the car i suggest they choose one toy and/or one book to bring with them. usually that distracts them enough to get buckled in!

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