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Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


As you might remember, I sold my husband on the merits of cloth-diapers and bed-sharing. Now I want to sell him on gentle discipline. But it’s a lot more complicated and less cut-and-dried and more emotional than either of those.

Gentle discipline is the part of natural parenting I find most difficult but it may be the most important. Gentle or positive discipline is non-violent, solution-focused, respectful and based on child development principles. It’s challenging but can also be joyful.

I want to get better at gentle discipline to improve my relationship with my children and also to model it for my husband, Mark, so he can adopt it and improve his relationship with them. I want us to work as a team to raise children who are able to make good choices and understand why they are making them rather than because someone punished them for doing the opposite. There are many times when he says or does something discipline-wise that I do not agree with. But I don’t say anything because I think contradicting a co-parent in front of a child is even worse than anything he might be saying or doing.

Early this year we had been working on the Time-In method of discipline. It didn’t really stick. We had in the past tried 1-2-3 Magic but also didn’t follow through with it. I was focusing too much on the rules and techniques instead of on the logic and reasons for the rules. Just like when we tell a child, “Stop pouting,” we are focusing on the rule instead of on the reasons behind it. So if I, as an adult, can’t stick with this type of program, how can I expect a 5- or 3-year-old to respond to rules without reason?

I’m not saying I never lose my temper with the kids, and if you follow me on twitter, you probably know I get frustrated with them nearly every day. But I have been trying lately to understand why they are doing or saying what they are. I have been trying to find the root of their misbehavior rather than just yelling “knock it off!”

I want to be able to show my husband how well this method works so he never again needs to say, “I don’t care what you want right now. I am so tired of ‘I want I want I want,'” like he did as I was typing this post and Grace was saying she wanted to sleep in our bed instead of hers.

He’ll never again whine back at Grace so she can “hear what she sounds like.”

He’ll never again say, “Connor! What is the matter with you?”

He’ll never again say, “No, you are not hungry. You just ate.”

I know he won’t take the time to read all the blog posts I’ve read about this subject or read Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason, as I want to. So I need to become a gentle discipline expert so I can model it and make a happier, calmer, more loving household for all of us.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

My best friend spent the night and watched my kids this morning so I could go to a social media event. She even folded some laundry and emptied the dishwasher.

I had a scrumptious chocolate croissant at Urban Bean Coffee in Minneapolis this morning.

It’s not snowing. Yet. *ahem*

I played Pretty Pretty Princess with my little boy yesterday.

No, that title is not a metaphor. I have taken up running. OK, it’s more like a slow jog at this point, alternated with walking.

A bunch of my blog friends and a bunch my “AQ sisters,” who I met online when pregnant with Grace, decided just a week apart to do the Couch to 5K program. It’s a nine-week program in which you gradually run/jog more and walk less.

I completed the first week (three 20-minute workouts) on Saturday.

I am proud not only that I did the whole week but that I was so motivated to do it that I packed running shoes and clothes and went out for the third workout on the morning of my brother-in-law’s wedding.

You can download a file of music with a voiceover telling you when to switch between walking and running. I haven’t figured that part out yet, as I am mp3 illiterate so I have just been carrying my phone and timing it with the clock. It’s not a super accurate way to do it, so this week’s goal is to figure out how to get the file onto my phone or Grace’s mp3 player (if I can find it.)

Wednesday was a rough day. I don’t know why, it just was.

By mid-afternoon, I was sitting surrounded by mess, overwhelmed with where to begin, frustrated with a computer problem and nearly in tears. I was about to send out a distress call on twitter. But before I could hit the enter key, there was a knock on the door.

Crap. It was Judy, the Jehovah’s Witness who keeps showing up at my door because she took my politeness for interest the first time she came.

At that point, though, I was willing to talk to anyone. Yeah, I need to get out more. So I let her in, rather than keeping her standing at the door like I had in the past.

And we talked about prayer (again), and it calmed me down. I realized there was no reason to be overwhelmed. I didn’t needed to seek solace from my tweeps, I just needed to ask the Lord for strength.

The rest of the day passed peacefully.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
— Matthew 7:7-8

(Photo by OliBac)

For a while, I was doing a weekly feature called Thankful Thursday. I let it peter out and I’m not sure why. But it occurred to me today that it would be perfect for twitter. So I’m going to attempt to start a hashtag movement. But I’m going to run it as a blog feature as well for those who don’t use twitter.

So each Thursday, I’ll post what I’m thankful for and you can leave what you are thankful for in the comments, as a link in the comments, in response to this post on facebook or on twitter with the hashtag #thursthanks. I’ll work up a cute little button to put on your blog posts if you participate that way. But that’ll have to wait a bit as I want to get this posted before Thursday fades away. 🙂

I am thankful that:

  • I stepped away from a stressful situation with Grace today and apologized.
  • I took the time to hold Ellie through an entire nap today. It was calming for me, and she got a longer-than-usual nap.
  • I have someone willing to drive Grace to and from school most days.

Here are my past Thankful Thursday posts.

I’m going to share my Twitter thoughts on Food Inc. because this is a topic that has been on my mind lately and I’m having trouble putting together something more coherent and comprehensive. So these soundbites will do for now. (“RT” means I’m restating something said by the person whose name follows.)

Watching Food Inc. on PBS. The sick and dead chickens – wow. just wow.

I didn’t know farmed fish are fed corn.

RT @gammasworld: Sounds like the chicken “farmers” are modern-day share croppers — never owning a damn thing for owing the big companies.

RT @ezweber: Instead of going vegan you should support farmer who farm in a way in line with your values.

RT @Rosemont_Farm: I can’t understand why farmers get their panties in a bunch over #foodinc – it’s going after big processors & unsafe practices not you.

RT @dushom: There is more than one side to an argument, #FoodInc may reveal some issues to fix, but no solutions to feeding the world.

RT @SouthShoreTwit: #foodinc is disheartening. Like banking, the executives become the regulators, and the lobbyists write the legislation. We are the suckers.

Read through an ag response to #foodinc. I feel like the truth lies in the middle.

The organic/small vs conventional/large farming debate has interested me since I worked at an ag newspaper. Still undecided. #agonfoodinc

agreed RT @BeginningFarmer: divisiveness will not help to make the food system or farmers lives better, we need understandin

@mrobin032009 I’m with you on less processed stuff. Wondering if grass-feed beef, cagefree eggs, etc. are truly better or if it’s a myth