You may have noticed the new link to the right for the "Non-Violent Parenting and Education Blog Ring". We stumbled upon their website and knew we had found an online home.
What is non-violent parenting?
The Non-violent Parenting and Education Blog folks have a great description on their website. In our home it means, quite simply, to strive everyday to treat our children with complete love and respect. To treat them as important members of our family, not as lessers to be dominated or controlled.
This isn't as easy as it may seem.
Most of us were raised in homes that operated under the norms of "Because I said so," or "Do it now." There wasn't room in my childhood home for challenging my parents or for saying "No" to something that was asked of me.To do so insured a punishment of one kind or another be it yelling, spanking, grounding, or coercion.While I truly believe my parents were doing the best that they knew how, I feel blessed to have found a different way of mothering.
Here is the structure of our home: If I say, "Sage, will you please help me set the dinner table?" there are two possible answers: yes or no. I accept either answer as an authentic expression of self. I do not believe that my needs are more important simply because I am an adult.
There are a few non-negotiables (buckling your seat belt for example), and these are communicated lovingly and respectfully and have yet to result in resistance.
We came to Non-Violent Parenting after finding ourselves struggling in the day-to-day battle-of-wills over clashing needs. We (the adults) attempted to force participation. We are all members of this family and we all have to do our share, we reasoned. Forced participation, however, did not carry the energy that we had hoped. Stomping feet, furrowed brows, slamming doors, and big attitude was our daily scene.
So we changed the rules.
We quietly tossed the kid's chore list... and something magical happened. Sage started participating because he wanted to, not because we forced him. He started raking leaves, mowing the lawn, and folding some laundry. He started to do his share because it felt good. Because he was an equal.
Does he set the table? Rarely, but that's fine with me.
Do we slip? Yes. Sometimes there are raised voices. Sometimes we issue demands. Sometimes consequences slip from our tongues in the heat of a stressful day. But then we catch ourselves and notice how very little fun anyone is having, and we all lighten up.
Truly, we started practicing peaceful parenting before Sage was even born. From natural (home)birth to attachment parenting and needs-responsive parenting, we have always striven to be present for our kids, to authentically respond to their needs - day and night. This new journey into Peaceful Parenting is simply an extension of our heart's truth from years ago.
And it is a journey that can begin any day, with the smallest of steps. Me? I'm glad it's the path we are on. In our world non-violent parenting has created a nurturing, peaceful, joy-filled home.