Welcome aboard this Blog Train – My Parenting Mantra. We have some awesome bloggers who are going to drive it for over a month. We promise to bring you some enriching contents that will add to your own parenting experience. Following the blog train, I will be writing about 1 of the 7 Parenting Mantras that Helped my Sanity – Gentle Parenting. Click on the picture below to see the list of all bloggers participating in this awesome Blog Train.
Thinking of your child as ‘Behaving Badly’ disposes you to think of punishment.
Thinking of your child as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help them through their distress.
This mantra somehow was not a concept that I stumbled upon during pregnancy or during the journey of Parenting, like a lot other choices of mine. This was embedded into my sub-conscious mind ever since I remember. Sometimes the experiences of our childhood, whether they be positive or negative, stay with us forever & we make sure to implement all the good things we have seen our role models doing as well as avoid the negative ones.
I have seen the impact of Gentle & Positive Parenting growing up & I always wished to be a parent who is Gentle as well as Positive. Was it easy till now? Of course not. With the fast running life full of stress & being surrounded by a lot of people who think hitting or yelling at kids is OK sometimes, it was very difficult to keep calm & positive all the time. It definitely needed constant effort & was very tiring. But it’s so rewarding that now when I look back at the efforts vs. the results, I think it was a great win.
What worked in my favor was, when I was doing my Fellowship with Teach for India & got a first hand experience to be with kids, my beliefs & values of being a positive & Gentle parent in future became more stringer. I realized that happiness & positive vibe is infectious & is much more easier than being Grumpy, pessimist & yell all the time. Ultimately when I became a parent, I knew what & how I need to be.
Here are 5 times being a Gentle & Positive Parent Paid up
- Sleep Through the Night – The initial few months of parenting are any which ways tough, & with twins who just dont want to get into a routine of sleeping, it gets tougher. It probably took my girls a longer time than average to get into a sleep schedule. I was never in favor of Sleep Training them & I never did. They started to sleep through the night with 3 feeding breaks by the time they were 5+ months. This was the time that being Gentle & Positive was not a habit yet & was most difficult because of sleep deprivation. But soon I realized that it had a positive impact on them. It was high time it became a habit & a part of my personality.
- Self Feeding – The most revealing phase was when we introduced our daughters to the world of self feeding. I had seen a lot of members in my family & friend circle, neighborhood & around running behind their kids with a plate in their hand trying to feed them. I had no energy & intentions to do that. We just used to sit with a plate of food & served the same to them. Gently encouraging them to eat got them also into habit of self feeding. Of course they too have their preferences & there are days when they just dont want to eat, but not having a Clean Plate policy & not forcing them to eat the food has helped me in long run. Our outings are much more relaxed as they eat on their own.
- Potty Training – This is one thing I have been advised & judged a lot on. But I was always very clear that I will not start potty training my girls till they were totally ready & mentally prepared for it. I always encouraged them by announcing every time I had to use a washroom & telling how grown up people always use washroom instead of diapers. They started to show interest on their own & that’s when I knew they are ready. Once we started, they were trained in no time. It didn’t require any stressful situation, yelling or labeling. All it called for a little positive reinforcement & motivation. Yes of-course we still have occasional accidents, but again handling them calmly & gently helps my girls in developing confidence in themselves & their bodily functions.
- Starting the Playschool – Sometimes internet has a tendency to make you over worried for a situation that might not even need that much worrying. One such fear in my mind developed thanks to the stories on internet was the Anxiety phase when starting with Playschool. Just like Potty Training, I was always clear that I will begin Playschool when my girls are totally ready for is. Till then we used to talk a lot about school, how it’s a happy place full of colorful activities, friends, dance & music etc. This encouragement helped my daughters to settle in the playschool in no time. One of them didn’t cry even once, while one had a bit of anxiety during our good byes. Keeping the good byes positive & fun helped her overcoming that anxiety too in no time.
- Being Independent & Happy – What else can a parent ask for if their children dont have to depend on them for all small needs of them. It makes me so happy to see my daughters so carefree, fearless & independent in their approach. It not only reduces my day to day load as a mother, but is also preparing them to become better individuals as they grow up. Seeing a set of parents who equally & actively get involved in all things, whether it be dad serving food, clearing the table or mom working & going to meetings etc, it definitely has a long lasting impact on them & will make them more equity driven & compassionate in long run.
But again, being a Gentle & Positive parent doesn’t mean you never let your child cry or give in to their unreasonable demands. But it means you are there for the kid when he cries or is unreasonable to talk to them & help them understand that life is not always favorable & not always all demands are met. At the end of the day kids should feel safe & secure in expressing themselves without any fear of being judged, yelled at or getting hurt – physically or emotionally.
Does this mean I am a Gentle & Positive Parent 100% of times. No, there have been moments in parenting when I have also lost my calm. And there are no excises for that. I take full responsibility of not being gentle all the time – I wish to be & I wish I always was!!
This blog is written as a part of a series of 7 blogs on the theme of 7 Parenting Mantras that Helped my Sanity written as a part of BarAThon 2017.
You can also read previous my articles in this chain – Involved Father – # 2 of 7 Parenting Mantras that Helped my Sanity.
Enjoyed reading My Parenting Mantra? Don’t forget to read what our next blogger mom Misha Jain, who apart from being a blogger also happens to be my Best Friend & who blogs HERE says about her Parenting Mantra. Also, do comment and let us know your opinions. We are all ears.