Saturday, 21 January 2017

Our First Steps toward Respectful Parenting

Some honest dialogue on my first steps toward respectful parenting, which is one of the biggest ways I continue to be a work in progress.

If you struggle with constantly being frustrated with your toddler, if you are resorting to authoritarian parenting methods even if you do not believe in them, and if you feel like you are at your wits end, like I was, this is where you need to start.

Where We Started With Understanding Tantrums

A few weeks ago I was really struggling with Jerome starting the day with tantrums, always seeming to be on the verge of the next tantrum.

The tantrums were about anything and everything.

He wanted toast and didn't notice it was already on the table for him. He didn't want his diaper changed. He didn't want to go in the bath, go in the car, sit at the table.

At my wit's end, I found myself putting him on time-out too often.

It felt wrong, disrespectful, not Montessori. So one day, as he screamed in his room, I realized there had to be an answer in the Montessori philosophy. There always is.

Now, of course, I had heard about positive parenting, and about how Montessori parents do not discipline in the same way, but I never thought it was something I could do.

However, I read this blog and it seemed like such a no-brainer to me.

From My Experience as An Adult

There have been times in my adult life when I have been spoken to harshly, yelled at, or belittled in other ways, and I can personally say that it was not constructive in any way.

In those moments I am either driven to feelings of injustice or feelings of inadequacy.

Neither of which have helped me to become a better person, and neither of which will be effective with children.

This calls to mind one of my favourite quotes by Montessori: "Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future ... let us treat them with all the kindness which we would hope to help develop in them."

It is my hope to raise kind adults. 

Ultimately, this aspiration for my children starts today, with how I treat them as children, especially when they are at their worst. When they are most vulnerable. When they are showing me they need my help and understanding.

This is, after all, what a tantrum is.

What We Do Now

I try to listen to what he may be telling me through his tantrum, and provide choices, distractions, and conversations depending on the situation.

Often, these behaviours are an indication that we need to address a need, a hurt, a communication barrier, a misconception. Having this type of attitude eliminates a lot of frustration towards the child, and instead drives me to be a problem solver, a calm influence, an example of kindness, and an overall more peaceful person.

And if in the end, he needs help regulating big emotions, we might go to his room for a chance to calm down, but I am trying to avoid time-out as a punishment, now.

For further reading to help you understand tantrims, read this post on what Montessori says about Why Toddlers Tantrum.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

1 comment:

  1. I found this post and everything you talked about in it so interesting and thought provoking.