I was recently in a discussion with a mother who wanted to help her husband understand and adopt a respectful approach to parenting as she had done. His parenting style and hers were in conflict and it was causing some tension in their relationship and confusion for the children. It’s not the first time I’ve had this conversation with a parent and from reading through respectful parenting forums, I have seen that struggling with different parenting styles is an extremely common issue.
It got me thinking about how my husband and I work through our parenting differences whilst still ensuring our children are raised with respect. The move towards respectful parenting following Magda Gerber’s Educaring approach wasn’t an easy or smooth transition for either of us but we have definitely come a long way since bumbling through our early days of parenting.
We have been officially schooling for two weeks now and yesterday I let my daughter have the day off. No, I’m not trying to be rebellious nor do I think school is not a good place for her to be. I love her school and have placed tremendous trust in them to keep my daughter’s love of learning alive. But, I also think that it is important for kids to be allowed a break once in a while.
We hit day 5 of Prep (school) today, the 4th consecutive day this week. I have been astounded at how calmly my nearly 5 year old, L, has been accepting this significant change in her life. I mentioned in last week’s post, my nervousness for her starting her schooling year and she blew me away by the confidence she showed me on her first school drop off.
Each day since has been much like the first, with L walking (no, skipping) me to the school gate to wave me goodbye before running off with her new friends. That is, until today. Today was different. Today was the first sign of emotion she has shown (unless you count the time her Dad packed celery with peanut butter in her lunchbox when it is a nut free school, and the offending item had to be removed – that did not go down too well but that’s another story).
Do you wonder in despair whether your children will ever get along? Is it possible for children to shift from sibling rivals to sibling best friends? I believe it is. When we have trust and patience and then look very carefully, we will soon start to see evidence of the emerging bonds between our children as it ever so slowly blossoms and shines through between the storms.
Today, I choked back tears as I picked my youngest daughter up from her Family Day Care Mum for the last time. These emotions caught me by surprise as I was sometimes critical of this Mother’s care-giving methods, knowing they did not always align with my peaceful and respectful parenting philosophies.
What I realised today as I embraced this wonderful carer in what seemed like an empty gesture of gratitude, was just how thankful I am that she came into Penny’s life. I understand now that when the care of my children is coming from a place of true kindness and love, the methods adopted do not always have to align with mine. This is an honest letter to her… Continue reading →
When do children develop empathy – I mean true empathy? I have always considered empathy quite a complex emotion. According to Psych Central, to empathise with someone is to understand what another is feeling or, more properly, to understand what you would feel like if you were in their situation.
Considering the feelings of others and showing them support through words or actions is a concept that even adults sometimes struggle with. Often our life experiences help to strengthen our empathetic nature, particularly experiences of hardship. Empathy in children is therefore not something I have really paid too much mind to, confident that this, like many of my children’s blossoming traits, will develop over time. Continue reading →
Attention-seeking behaviour in toddlers is extremely common. We have experienced our fair share of it with our eldest daughter, Lucy but her recent actions have forced us to analyse the behaviour a little more than usual to help us decide our best course of action.
Over the past several months Lucy (3.5years) has had a strong compulsion to revert to her baby self and by baby self I mean a newborn baby. Characterised by actions that look, sound and feel like we have just brought home a brand new baby, this attention-seeking behaviour had us scratching our heads for quite sometime.
Accepting a child’s emotions is not something that comes easily to most people. As humans we are conditioned to be comfortable with emotions such as joy, excitement and serenity. Feelings like anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment are more difficult to deal with and as such we do what we can to turn these emotions back towards the happiness end of the emotional spectrum.