Gentle Parenting Success Stories and Suggestions #6
Today’s gentle parenting post is a success story shared by Shannon. Shannon is a former nanny and the happy and tired mama of an energetic and always enthusiastic two year old. She blogs at Pineapples & Artichokes about crafting, parenting, and life.
Please share your own gentle parenting successes or questions – read the italicized text at the end of this post for more information on the series.
The other day, I publicly announced that my toddler was out of control, and we were going to hold a hard line and change her behavior. The next day, I got to eat my words.
For the last few weeks, Moira has been getting more and more agitated whenever she is holding something she likes. Or sees something she likes. Or hears another person mentioned while she’s doing something she enjoys. “No kids/daddy/mommy do it!” she shouts. Over and over with increasing volume.
I had been trying with decreasing patience to talk her through the idea of sharing. That it makes her happy when they share and it makes them happy when she shares. That Daddy is going to eat dinner with us every night. We have enough food for everyone. Every explanation has been met with the same “No share! No touch mine!”
This last week, I stopped the constant explaining. I would explain it twice and then when she got more and more upset, tell her it was okay for her to feel sad, but we had to share. If she couldn’t share, the other kid got the thing, and she wouldn’t. That we could talk about it when she stopped crying.
Unsurprisingly, everything got worse. More anger and crying and yelling on both our parts. Yesterday I actually pulled over the car and threatened to turn it around and go home. To a crying two year old. You can imagine how well that worked. There have been a lot of extra cuddles and clinging and I was completely lost. I was feeling out of control, and I didn’t know what was going on nor how I was going to ‘fix’ it.
Then a couple of days ago, I suddenly realized what’s been happening all along. Moira has a special doll, and occasionally she comes out with us. She doesn’t want to share, and I don’t think she should have to share Mimi. So I have been preparing her that there will be kids there and they may want to touch the doll, but she just has to say “Please don’t touch Mimi.” If the kid doesn’t listen, she can find me and I will help. “No kids touch that!” is just her version of “Please don’t touch that.”
She’s been trying to figure out where it’s appropriate to use, and I’ve been ignoring her. Not only that, I’ve been getting angry at her for doing something I told her to do. No wonder she’s been so sad and frustrated.
I apologized for misunderstanding and talked to her about what it was that I didn’t understand. Already she seems less worried about other people. Hopefully, if I can remember to listen to her, the intense focus on stuff will lessen. Yesterday and today, I have taken a big breath before I answered. I am trying to respond to what she means instead of what and how she’s saying it, instead of reading her actions through the filters I have developed as an adult.
I don’t know if this is the long term solution to the “problem.”
I’m hoping it is, since the problem was me all along.
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!
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"Gentle Parenting Success Stories and Suggestions #6"
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