Happiness is contagious

I think it is very important for our children to see that we are passionate about things. I believe that we teach by example, and not by words only. Want your kid to be really interested in something? Are you interested in something yourself so he/she can see how happy it makes you?

There is really no point trying to instill a love for something specific in your child that you, yourself, don’t enjoy doing yourself. So, don’t even waste time. Lead by example, do something you love and let your kids notice and maybe even participate. Show them simple ways to find pleasure in doing things they enjoy. Happiness will follow.

Image credit: Jay Ryness (Flickr)

If only spanking worked

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I am always confused when I hear how some people claim that spanking children works in their family and with their kids. Note, it workS, not it workED. Every time their kid does something, he/she gets a spanking. There, problem solved. Then a child does that something again, and he gets spanked again. Problem solved again, right? Well, actually, if you really, really open up your mind and try to think about it, no, problem isn’t solved, and it doesn’t work. If it worked, you wouldn’t need to spank your kid for the same thing over and over again. You know why? If it really worked, your kid would only do that something once or twice, and THEN the problem would be solved.

You know what works though? Not trying to threaten, intimidate, and physically hurt your kids as a way of trying to get them to listen to you, but actually trying to make sure they understand what you are trying to do here. And how do people understand you and feel like cooperating with you? They do when you are being understanding, respectful, calm, reasonable, setting age-appropriate expectations, and patient. Not easy, I know, but oh so effective. Much more effective than your regular spanking method. Don’t believe me? Try it. 🙂

My peaceful parenting rant

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Just saw some FOX News host repeatedly shake his belt in the faces of three experts sitting in his studio and trying to argue that spanking and hitting children is outdated, and modern parents should use more peaceful methods based on recent studies. And he just kept laughing and shaking his belt, and saying that he was spanked, beaten, punched in the face, etc., yet he is fine, not mentally scarred, and definitely has no problem with any parent doing what had been done to him. I was speechless. And shocked. Yes, shocked and speechless.

Just because something questionable had been done to you doesn’t mean it is right, and/or should be done to others. Is it clear? Continue reading

Me, my kids, and our cat.

So, we are having a picnic in our backyard, and then I notice that my 3 year old son is very articulately reprimanding our cat, shaking his finger in front of her nose and telling her to get her act together or she will get punished. No idea what happened between them, but I feel my heart starting to sink. You know how they say kids are always watching and listening, and then they repeat the pattern? So, here I am frantically rewinding my actions for the last couple of years trying to remember when I went wrong and promised to punish my kids. And…I can’t remember anything. I then turn to my son and ask if I ever promised to punish him, and if that is why he is talking that way to the cat now. His answer made me smile. Turns out he remembered that time last week when the cat was being very mean to a new kitten in the neighborhood, and I was not too happy and tried to explain it to our bully. I guess I might have used the words “punish”, not actually meaning it, of course. But hey, what do you know? Few days later and my son is talking to the cat in the same manner I did that one time, ONE time. I am not sure he even knows what “punish” means, but he uses it correctly now.

And here is the moral of today’s story:
Never forget that you are being watched by your children at ALL times and, with time, they will mirror what you say and do. Be mindful of the way you treat not only your kids, but others as well. So, yeah, be more careful next time you talk to that damn cat, ok?

I cry happy tears

I think I cried for the first time today while watching my positively-parented kids interact with each other. And those were happy tears, believe me.

My 5 y/o daughter is sick today and is having a mild fever. She is in bed, and my 3 y/o son decides she is cold and starts looking for a blanket. Once she is safely tucked in, he decides to keep her even warmer by hugging her feet and promising that she wouldn’t get cold now that he is here to take care of her. At which point I feel I could actually cry. But then my daughter takes his hand and kisses it, just like that, without saying a word. I guess it was her way of thanking him.
And…tears alert, yep, I cried. I just couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

Moral of the story: Never believe people who say we, positive parents, are raising spoiled selfish brats who will have no respect for anyone, will be unable to love anyone but themselves, and will probably end up in jail. If anything, we are raising the generation that will change the world for the better, and will bring more kindness and peace to those around them. Because this world could use a bit more love, don’t you think?

No more crying over spilled milk

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You have no idea how this brought back so many memories. Not very pleasant memories, too.

Here is the thing. My mom had short temper. She always lost it when I dropped or broke things by total accident. I was terrified of what would happen once something goes wrong and I am somehow involved. And this milk example? True story in my case, except with sour cream. I still remember it like it happened yesterday. I got a glass jar with sour cream out of the fridge, put it on the counter, and it fell. There was shattered glass and dairy all over the floor, and all I could think about was, “Oh my gosh, she’ll kill me now”. Not thinking of being careful trying not to get hurt on the glass, but actually terrified of my mom’s reaction. And of course she got furious and I was punished.
There were many other similar cases that I still remember quite clearly to this day, and they always involved me being scared, and I mean really scared, and then punished. I wish I’d remembered those accidents differently, or maybe hadn’t even remembered them at all.

Continue reading

No more spanking memes, please

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Didn’t plan to revise any pro-spanking memes today, but was sent this new “gem” by a concerned peaceful parent, asking if anything could be done with it. I think that yes, something could and should be done with it. There are too many similar memes being shared with lots of laughter about “wonderful” childhood memories brought back in relation to these objects. Well, you know what? It is one thing to remember these often misused household items, and it is another thing to see them as something amusing and worth repeating with your own children in this day and age.

I know, I know, I said it a million times before, but I will say it again: TIMES CHANGED. Continue reading

Non-threatening 1-2-3 count

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There is one thing I don’t like hearing parents do to their kids. I hated it when I was a kid myself, I hate it now when I see it happen in public. You must know the routine. Little Johnny is asked to wrap it up an leave the playground, but he wants to play more. After a few unsuccessful attempts to convince Johnny to pay attention, the whole “I am going to count to 3 now” starts with an obligatory volume adjustment by going louder as numbers climb up. My mom used to do that, and it was terrifying. Intimidation and humiliation (if you’re in public) at its best.

When I had kids of my own I knew I was going to parent peacefully, and threatening kids with 1-2-3 wasn’t going to cut it because, honestly, what was I supposed to do when the counting was done and nothing changed? Spank them? Nope. Yell at them? Unlikely. Time-out? I don’t do that either. So, really, this wasn’t going to work for me for too many reasons. Continue reading

One more revised meme

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Time for another revised meme. This time something that has been around for a while, and is normally shared by well-meaning parents who truly believe that in order to be a good parent you need to be mean to your kids, and have them acknowledge their hate for you at least once in their lifetime, according to this meme anyway. Otherwise you failed them.

I have a problem with this approach to parenting. In fact, I have a HUGE problem with it. Times changed and we have lots of scientific proof stating that being a negative parent does more harm to children than good. Yes, our parents probably believed the things we now know are not necessarily true, but it doesn’t mean we have to keep believing them.

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Quote (Kristen Crockett)

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These are my thoughts every time I see parents being disrespectful and violent with their kids. I understand where they are coming from. They have been treated the exact same way when they, themselves, were kids. Most of them don’t even see anything wrong with their negative parenting style, they never stop and think that, maybe, this is not right. And some of them become very aggressive towards anyone suggesting that there are other ways of raising kids, more peaceful and humane ways. They have become their own childhood, and they feel comfortable this way. Sadly.

But then there are those who still remember the pain of being parented in this abusive manner, those who are scarred emotionally, and those who don’t want to put their children through the same nightmare they had to go through. These are the parents who break the cycle, make a conscious decision not to be slaves to their childhood memories anymore, and do everything they can not to repeat the same mistakes with their own children.

You can decide if you are becoming your childhood, or breaking this cycle of violence.

Photo: Matt Batchelor (Flickr)