Gentle Parenting Success Stories and Suggestions #6

October 22nd, 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’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!

5 Responses to:
"Gentle Parenting Success Stories and Suggestions #6"

  1. Since I wrote this post, Moira has gotten much less anxious about being around other kids. We took a big break from having kids come over to our home, and that seems to have helped a lot. We also discovered that the farther in advance we tell her about a play date, the more anxious she gets. If we don’t tell her until someone has parked their car in front of our house, that seems to be enough time for her to grab whatever is most special that day and stick it in her room, where the toys she doesn’t want to share live. It also gives her a minute to have a quick cuddle with me or Dad to regain some of her calm. We’ve actually had friends over twice this week, and yesterday, she took one of the kids back into her room to get more toys, chatting happily all the way.

  2. That’s great that you figured out what was really going on. We as parents need to take a more active role in understanding what is going on behind our child’s actions.

    We need to realize they do not have the full capacity to explain or even understand all that they are feeling. So being gentle and working to find out what is bothering them goes a long way in helping them be happy.

    It sounds like the sharing is going so much better now. However just a note, children must be able to claim ownership of things before they learn to share. We parents often tend to approach sharing from our perspective. Yet a child must learn to poses first. Then when they are comfortable they will share.

    The sharing concept is not just a one toy thing it is a more global approach to sharing that is then dealt with on an individual item level.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Stephanie

    As much as we want kids to share, I agree that it is totally fine for them to have special things that they don’t want to share. When my mom did daycare, she had me keep stuff in my room that I didn’t want the daycare kids to play with.

    I’ve found with my girls (I have two, a 3 year old and a 2 year old – can you imagine the sharing issues we have here?!) that it is OK for them to *not* share if they aren’t ready.

  4. Holly

    Thanks for this post. My daughter is just learning to share but honestly the trouble we are having the most about sharing is my two older nephews (12, 10). They don’t seem to understand that my daughter hasn’t learned the concept of sharing yet and wants what is hers when she sees others playing with the item(s). She does use great manners and says please and thank you without prompting. How do I get my nephews to be patient with my daughter and for now let her have the things that is hers when she asks until she understands better? BTW, she stays with them during the day while I work so they are around each other constantly. I will say also that the other day I told my oldest nephew that he has to help her learn how to share by explaining to her what it means to share in simple terms and to model it as well. TIA!

  5. I’m not sure what I would do with the teenagers. You’ve talked with them, and I assume they’ve seen you model the patience you want them to use. Are they in charge of her during the day, or is there another adult around? If there’s another adult, then I would see what they think might help the situation.
    Good luck!

  • Grab my new badge!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Visit Natural Parents Network
  • Display & participate!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Carnival of Weaning

    Carnival of Weaning