The trick to handling any difficult parenting situation with gentleness
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Today I want to share with you one strategy I use that really helps me to handle any difficult parenting situation.
Imagine Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes
I always strive to discipline with gentleness and respect, but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. I want to be firm and stick to boundaries and expectations, but I also want to be loving.
So if I ever had a hard time knowing what to do, I always try to imagine myself in my child’s shoes. When my child is upset about something, maybe having a tantrum, I ask myself questions like:
- How would I feel if this happened to me?
- Would I feel loved if the adult did ______
- What would make my feel safe right now?
I also try to imagine the situation in an “adult version” to have an even better idea of how I would feel. For example I might think to myself:
- How would I feel if my husband ignored me when I was upset
- How would I feel if someone took something away from me without warning while I was using it?
- How would I feel if while I was putting the dishes away someone grabbed my arm and said, “We’re leaving now,” without giving me a chance to finish what I was doing?
This exercise really helps me to see things from my child’s point of view, and also makes their big emotions way more understandable.
A lot of times we really can relate to how our child feels, but in our adult maturity we just express those emotions differently because we have more skills. Child go straight to crying, tantrums, kicking, etc. because those are the tools they have available to them, and that’s ok.
As the adult, we get the chance to help teach them new skills to use to process those big emotions.
When you’re not sure how to move forward when your child’s behaviour is testing you, just try to see yourself in their position.
If you’re not sure if your discipline method was gentle ask yourself how you would feel if someone was doing that to you. If you think the discipline method could lovingly guide you, while still keeping the firm boundaries, then you have probably found a good method for that specific scenario.
It can be hard to know how to discipline in specific scenarios.
Do you ever feel like as much as you know, there are moments when all our strategies just fly out the window? Do you ever feel frozen when it comes to discipline?
I’ve been there before too, and for myself I know what is best for me is to just keep learning and exploring. I like to read books, talk to other parents and always reflect on my own actions. I feel like when I immerse myself in solid parenting information all the time it helps me to react promptly, and appropriately, in those challenging moments.
If you’d like to do some reading and research of your own, I have some new blog posts you might be interested in:
So remember, in those challenging moments, try putting yourself in your child’s shoes. You might be surprised what you see.
Have a happy day mama,
The Moving Mama
Lizzy Mash is an experienced early childhood educator now living in Africa as a missionary working with children and families.
She teaches Christian moms how to take a more respectful and Christ-like approach to motherhood by using Gentle Parenting strategies.
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