My husband and I are still very new to this gentle parenting concept. We fall into the yelling & threatening trap sometimes, but the progress we’ve made this year has been great! We can see the difference in how our strong-willed boy reacts in certain situations now. When met with strong, oppressing authority he fights back with everything he’s got. When reasoned with, however, he becomes much more adaptable to any given situation.
So there we were… in a room full of family members we see a handful of times a year. Still wet with the chlorinated water from a cousin’s pool. I reached for my monkey’s rumpled up pile of clothes on the floor and ask him to go to the bathroom to get dressed. “No”. He says, very bluntly. I instantly feel shock and horror. My mind is racing as I can hear comments from the peanut gallery about how their kids were never allowed to say no to them. I gently ask if he would just come to the bathroom with me so we could talk about it. I really did not want anybody interfering in our conversation at that point.
In the bathroom I asked him if he was having fun. Of course he was! I asked him if he didn’t want the fun to stop. Of course not! I told him that we weren’t leaving yet and that we needed to get dressed so we could keep having fun inside. “Oh! Okay!”. His face brightened up with his 1,000 megawatt smile and he immediately starts getting dressed. It was that simple.
It was that simple. tweet
His “No” wasn’t a no to me, it was a no to going home. Somehow his mind just figured that’s what was next. I know the reaction certain family members would have had. The knee jerk reaction of yelling, threatening, possibly even a smack. I ask you, what would that have accomplished? You’d have a crying child who still didn’t want to get dressed and now has been shown his emotions don’t matter. I don’t believe that our strong-willed children are that way because they want what they want, when they want it. I believe they simply want to be affirmed. At least I’m seeing that is the case with my wonderful, strong-willed son.
I was shocked recently when someone said something to the effect that our son was a perfect angel and not everyone can be blessed with kids like that. Oh, if only you had seen him 8 months ago! We’re learning and changing for the better now. The whole family. I hope that on that day I showed not just my son, not just myself, but also many of the important people in my life that there is a better way. A more gentle way of parenting. Gentle parenting, it really works!