Monday, 20 November 2017

Five Ways To be a Positive Parent (Even With A Short Temper)

The focus in Montessori on respecting children and parenting with non-violence is something which has really resounded with me.
Maria Montessori wrote: "Always must our treatment be as gentle as possible, avoiding violence, for we easily fail to realize how violent and hard we are being.” (131, The Absorbent Mind).

Childhood is a time of growth and creation that needs to be safeguarded as much as possible. 

I wholly believe this and really desire to parent respectfully and peacefully, but it does not come entirely easy to me. I have a bit of a short temper. 

Now, this is not something I feel totally comfortable sharing about.

But I thought it might help others to feel like non-violent parenting, and Montessori, is accessible to them, even if they struggle with something like a short temper.

Because, honestly, controlling my temper and growing in patience are things I have to work hard for. I am not a raving, angry lunatic by any means, but I definitely find myself apologizing to Jerome for losing my temper at least once a day. I know I am not where I would like to be in this area.

Don't Be Afraid of What Can Help you Grow

It's not easy, but I do believe the things we struggle with are ultimately for our good.

I have always found that struggling with something brings self-awareness, which is healthy and necessary.

Realizing I am imperfect leads to grace and effort and forgiveness, and I believe the type of humility required for this personal journey is exactly what I need to be the kind of Montessori parent I want to be.

My temper helps me become a better parent as it causes me to stop, evaluate, and grow, and while I will continue to work towards losing my temper less and less, I know it will have been an important part of my journey.

Some of what I try to remember to help me with my temper, which may be helpful for you, as well:

1. Celebrate the child you have
Parenthood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It is about understanding your child is exactly the person they are supposed to be. -The Water Giver

Jerome is an individual with needs and preferences, so much more than a puzzle I am trying to parent and correct. All his quirks, even the things which can make him difficult, help me to know and understand him as the person he is meant to be,

In Montessori terms, I am not his creator.

I am an important part of his prepared environment, affecting him as an external source, but he is his own creator, following the internal cues of his inner guide.

He is not something broken or empty that I am trying to repair. He is in a phase of immensely important internal growth, which it is my job to safeguard.

2. Don't accept that your short temper is permanent

"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." [Isaiah 1:18]

Basically, I am not destined to be broken; this shortcoming is not built into me permanently.

If I continue to consciously work, and offer up, this struggle with my temper, grace and perseverance will see it eradicated.

I have already come so far in my journey towards becoming a more peaceful and non-violent person, which is something I should not trivialize. There has been growth, and there will continue to be even more.

3. Model healthy self-awareness

In order to model kindness towards my children, I should first be practicing kindness and understanding toward myself.

It is valuable for them to have me exemplify a healthy, non-violent, whole person, and this can only be possible if I work towards taking care of my own needs and feelings. It is best by my example that they will grow to be individuals who are capable of taking care of themselves in these areas, and modeling kind, non-violent behavior towards others as a result.

4. Keep apologizing 

On the days when I do not keep my temper in check, I believe it is important for my children to see me apologizing.

I will never be perfect, just as they will never be perfect.

It is healthy for them to see me owning up to mistakes and growing as a person. Just as it is important for them to learn by my example to take care of themselves and to control their own tempers, it is important for me to model what to do when I inevitably fall short.

As we all do.

5. Develop an attitude of thankfulness

Last of all, it is much harder to be a positive and peaceful person if I allow myself to focus on the negative.

Instead of dwelling on all the ways I may have failed as a parent and homemaker at the end of the day, I have started ending my days with thankfulness.

I will comb through my day, picking out all the moments I am thankful for, and it has greatly changed my outlook as I wake up each new day.

For example, I had started walking through the house at the end of the day, noticing all the things I had not been able to accomplish that day.

When I turned this around to being thankful for the books we had read, the sleepy Benedict I had snuggled, the learning we had done, all of which had taken up the time I might have used for vacuuming, it helped me to see my life through a lens that predisposes me to loving, cherishing, and being grateful for my children and my home.

Little by little, these mindset changes are helping me with my short temper. Do you have any others you would like to share?

Read more about respectful parenting and Montessori with this post on not leaving our toddlers hanging with no | what Montessori says about why toddlers tantrum | and why I don't believe in the terrible twos

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

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