Tag Archives: Gentle Parenting

I Shouldn’t Have Yelled Over Spilt Milk

I Shouldn't Have Yelled Over Spilt Milk ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident KidsThis morning I was tidying up the kitchen area, getting ready to leave the house when my three year old, came in and grabbed a box of crackers from the pantry exclaiming that she was hungry. It was right after breakfast so I explained that the crackers were not breakfast food but I would be happy to make her another piece of toast or get her some fruit, both of which she declined.

She then started banging the box loudly on the bench which was her way of expressing her disgust at the situation. I chose to let it go and simply sportscast “You’re banging the box on the bench and it’s making a loud noise”. She then started banging it harder and louder and consequently lost her grip of the box causing it to fly across the bench, taking with it a full cup of milk which had yet to be cleared.

With milk now covering the walls, floor and furniture, I wanted to say “Now look what’s happened” but I did my best to stay unruffled by taking a deep breath and saying “That was an accident. I will go and get a towel and we can clean it up together.” I came back with the towels and Miss 3 picked the cup off the floor which surprisingly had a little more left in it. She proceeded to tip it all over the only kitchen chair that was not already covered in milk.

That was the tipping point for me and I snapped “What are you doing? Why would you do that?” The annoyance was clear in my voice and my daughter started crying. Still angry myself, I continued wiping up the milk whilst she sat nearby switching emotions between sad and angry. As I wiped, I reflected on the circumstances and realised much of the blame needed to be cast on myself. I had allowed, almost encouraged the box banging. She did not mean to spill the milk, it was nowhere near where the box was and she would not have thought tipping the last bit of milk on the already milky area would be a major problem.

When most of the milk had been wiped up I looked over at my little girl who was standing near me and said “I know that was an accident. I’m sorry for losing my temper and yelling. Would you like a cuddle?” She came straight to me and nestled in my lap for quite sometime. After a while she said “It’s okay Mum. You didn’t mean to yell, sometimes you just do”, which funnily enough is a line out of a book we read regularly together. 

Harriet, You''ll Drive Me Wild ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids




It was a nice moment to come out of a bad situation.

For more information about repairing relationships and connecting with children you may find this post helpful:

Repairing the Relationship Following a Parental Meltdown ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)

My parenting is inspired by Magda Gerber’s RIE approach which I learned of through Janet Lansbury’s blog. If you are interested in learning more you can find some good information here or I highly recommend these books (affiliate links)

Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect (2nd Edition)  ~ Magda Gerber

Your Self-Confident Baby: How to Encourage Your Child’s Natural Abilities — From the Very Start
~ Magda Gerber

Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting  ~ Janet Lansbury

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame ~ Janet Lansbury

Sure, it Hurts, but I Mustn’t Project My Fears onto My Kids

This is oh so hard. We hold onto so much baggage from our past and if we had a wish it would be that our children would not have to feel the same hurts we have felt. Many of us have a strong Mama Bear instinct that would have us move mountains for our kids. But we cannot always protect them from the pain of reality and sometimes, it actually hurts our wounded souls more than it hurts them.

There are times when our children would actually be better off without us projecting our fears onto them. Sometimes, what we perceive as an injustice is nothing more than part of a child’s play, especially when they are young,

Project my fears Continue reading

A Comprehensive Guide to RIE Parenting

I have been learning about and implementing RIE (pronounced Rye and short for Resources for Infant Educarers) parenting since 2012. Over that time, I have experimented with different parenting techniques, including some that have not been so respectful, but I have always found my footing and the way forward when I have come back to RIE.

A Comprehensive Guide to RIE Continue reading

7 Things I Should Know About Helping my Children to Share (From my Toddler Coach)

7 Things I Should Know About Helping My Children to Share ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

With two strong-willed children close in age, learning to share in our house has been a long and winding road. Following the wisdom of RIE founder, Magda Gerber, I have been lucky enough to be able to trust in the capabilities and strength of our children and allow them to work through their struggles fairly independently. There have been times, however, that I have struggled with the relentlessness of the battles and am grateful to have had my children patiently coaching me through this stage for as long as I needed.
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Separating Our Children is Bringing Them Closer

Separating our Children is Bringing them Closer

When sibling rivalry brings you to your wits end, you know something has to change. But what do you do when you are committed to raising your children with respectful parenting practices? When you believe that punishing children for their poor choices is not the way forward for your family and yet nothing else you have done works, it can make you feel a little desperate. Continue reading

Respectful Parenting: Have I Made a Mistake?

Respectful parenting is a heavily criticised and somewhat contentious form of parenting. In the absence of the use of punishment, bribes or rewards, it can be take children longer to choose to use appropriate behaviour on a regular basis. For parents, like us, battling in the trenches day in and day out with children who use aggression, create destruction and prefer to defy than cooperate, it can be so easy to waiver from the respectful parenting pathway in search of some quick fixes for these behaviours.

Respectful Parenting: Have I Made a Mistake? ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids
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Acting With The Eyes of Compassion – A Toddler CAN Do This!

To act with the eyes of compassion is an expression I came across in my past work at a Catholic school. Something about these words struck a chord with me and I think about them often as I go about my daily life. Thinking of the true meaning behind ‘eyes of compassion’ helps me to stay calm when I feel hard done by or when I hear something unkind being said. To me this expression means act with true empathy even when you are not sure what it is that is causing the grief or angst against you in the other person. We can never truly know what it is like for another person as they live out their lives, even our own children and therefore it is important that we continue to treat them with respect and act gently even when they are not able to.

It is something I have been able to draw strength from during many of my toddler’s emotional outbursts and I also try to keep these words in mind when I hear criticism of my parenting as I open up the window into my personal life through this blog. I have spoken often of my intentions to ‘teach’ my children through modelling appropriate behaviours in the hopes that my future adult children will adopt these same traits and be confident to use them for their own good in the world. At times, this vision has seemed so far away so I was quite surprised when this week I was delivered a little gift; a glimpse into the future of my children.

The girls and I were painting with watercolours in the rumpus room. Lucy, two and three-quarters years, asks to paint with these everyday, several times a day. Penny also enjoys joining in and making her own creations. I always sit with the girls at their table and help them to keep the paint on the paper, away from the other furniture and each other. I love to listen to Lucy as she proudly describes in detail the components of her paintings and I have enjoyed watching the girls’ artworks evolve in complexity and confidence over time. I was thrilled recently when Lucy invited me to join her in some painting, fetching me a paint brush and some paper and encouraging me to draw whatever I would like to.

Some of you may remember that there was a time when Lucy would not let me draw, paint or colour in with her. I would barely begin my art piece when she would move in aggressively and tear, scrunch or hit away my paper. It seemed at the time that she would see her scribbles and compare them to the neatness and structure of my work and become somewhat jealous or frustrated. When I took a step back and gave her her own space to create without any pressure or preconceived ideas, she was much more content. I think as she has grown in confidence in her own skin, she is now really happy to watch me join in with her and at the same time retains immense pride in all her art work.

But that was not my gift. As happy as it makes me being able to paint alongside my children once again, the gift I received went deeper than that. Lucy and I were painting together. Penny had abandoned her work and was happily playing in the hammock swing nearby. Lucy looked over at my painting and asked me what it was. I had really just been doodling so I said I have made some shapes and lines. I framed my patterns with a rectangle and Lucy said to me “Have you drawn Play School (her term for daycare)?” I replied “Does it look like Play School to you?” She said yes so I added a roof and a chimney which she asked to help me colour in. Once finished she asked me to put some stairs inside, which I did. She then surprised me by grabbing the middle of the painting and scrunching it into her hand, tearing the wet paper.

I was genuinely upset as I had been enjoying this picture we were creating together and was making plans to hang it up on her art board as a collaborative piece. I decided to let Lucy know how I felt so I said “I was enjoying painting with you. I feel sad that the painting is ripped. I am going to let you paint here now whilst I hang the washing out.” I left the table and went to get the washing out of the machine (in the same room as the paint table). Lucy watched me solemnly as I left the table and then ran off to another room. I immediately felt guilty for making her feel bad about ripping the painting. After all, it wasn’t her fault. She is still very young and learning how to be careful. I imagined that she was running to get her security bunny which is her go-to when she is feeling low.

After a few moments, however, Lucy came running back into the rumpus room. She bounded quickly over the bridge (which is the entrance to the room) and looked lovingly at me as she climbed back onto the chair in front of the painting. It was then, in that moment that I saw my gift – it was in her eyes! Those same eyes of compassion that I have been trying so hard to see Lucy with everyday over the past few years were staring back at me. Lucy had gone to collect the sticky tape from the office desk to mend my painting. She sat at the painting for a very long time, working through some intense frustrations (without screaming for my help) as she tried so hard to get the sticky tape out of the dispenser. She pulled long pieces of tape out but couldn’t quite get them to break off. Remembering her cause, she came to me quietly, undemanding and said “I can’t get the tape into little pieces.” I showed her how she could do it and she returned to the table and worked hard until she was happy that the painting was fixed.

When she was finished she didn’t come to me for approval, instead she came to me and said “You’re painting is all better, Mummy! Don’t be sad.” and hugged my leg. It had been a hard day up to that point and as I crouched down to her and took her into my arms I let the tears flow as I thanked her for making me feel better.

Now, I would never judge anyone who told me that toddlers were self-centered and demanding. In fact, on many days I would whole-heartedly agree. But not on this day. A small act of kindness has shown me just how capable my children are at acting with the eyes of compassion and this time it was me that was the recipient!

Eyes of Compassion ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

You might also enjoy reading:

Could NOT Forcing Your Toddler to Share Help With Sharing Conflicts – Part Two ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

You’ll Be Sorry – Children And Apologies ~ Janet Lansbury-Elevating Childcare


Learning to be a Respectful Parent

It took 18 months of parenting before I realised I was on a dangerously downward spiralling path with my children, pushing them further away and slowly undermining their sense of confidence in themselves and trust in me. As I read more and more about the RIE philosophy, I made significant changes to my parenting approach to become a more respectful and reflective parent for my children. The changes subsequently seen in our household were instant and considerable. Suddenly parenting made more sense. I began really communicating with the girls and was able to slow down and enjoy so many more moments with them – yep even the hard ones! You can read more about my introduction to RIE here.

I began this blog just over six months ago with the hopes to inspire even just one person to become a more mindful and respectful parent as they take on one of life’s greatest roles. I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that my little stories would be so well received and that people from all over the world would read them. I have learned so much about myself and my family along the way and feel blessed to be a part of such a supportive community both on the blog and through my Facebook page (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids) I still continually find such strength and encouragement in talking to people about their own respectful parenting journey through these mediums.

If you are visiting for the first time, thank you for taking the time to pop by. My name is Kate and I am a mother of two beautiful toddlers 13 months apart in age. These two munchkins feature heavily in my posts as they are my inspiration and my guides as I negotiate the twists and turns of the Lucy and Penny roller coaster.

I have put together some of my favourite posts here if you wanted to read a little more about some of our stories.

Caring for Emotions

Intense Emotions - Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

When Extreme Emotions Take Over a Toddler

I have a Daughter With Intense Emotions

Coping With a Toddler’s Emotional Outbursts

Damage Limitation Following a Parental Meltdown


Emotions ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

Coping With a Limit Tester

Punitive vs Nurturing Discipline

‘That’s Too Loud, Mummy!’

Could NOT Forcing a Toddler to Share Help With Sharing Conflicts?

The Secrets to Successfully Sportscasting my Children’s Struggles

Confidence and Natural Development

Confidence ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

Rebuilding a Child’s Confidence

Can Young Children be Better Served by Not Teaching Them?

Allowing Children to Play For Their Age and Stage

The Joy of Natural Development



Changing The Change Table Relationship

How RIE helped Diagnose a Potentially Serious Condition in Our Baby


Play ~ Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

What’s in a Toy?

Taming the Toys

Our Weekly Play Series (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7)

Increasing Attention Span in Toddlers Through Purposeful Play

Using Provocations to Extend an Interest