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Should You Be the Meanest Mommy on the Block?

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I’ve been hearing about “peaceful parenting” a lot lately and it sounds wonderful. Images of sipping coffee while my kids play quietly at my feet come to mind.

Then reality hits and I realize that my five-year-old is jumping off the couch (how many times have I told him not to climb on the furniture?). Meanwhile, my toddler stomps around the kitchen in my husband’s muddy farm boots, splashing water from a glass pitcher that she “found” in the childproof cupboard.

Clearly this “peaceful parenting” won’t work in our household. Or will it?

Which Parenting Style is Better:

Authoritarian, Permissive, or Authoritative Parenting

Maybe you were raised in an authoritarian household, where your parents spanked, yelled, and strictly imposed their rules and so you find yourself reverting to those parenting methods. Or, maybe you were raised in a permissive (or even an uninvolved) household where your parents took a hands-off, lenient approach.

Which parenting style is better? Which style would you (and your children) flourish under?

Chances are, you and your children won’t benefit from either of those styles of parenting.

What is peaceful parenting?

Peaceful parenting, also known as positive parenting or authoritative parenting, isn’t based on authoritarian or permissive parenting. Instead, it focuses on establishing rules, but it also allows for occasional exceptions. Children are involved in the discipline process, including setting and following through with the consequences.

The main benefit of peaceful parenting is that children learn about natural consequences. For example, if a twelve-year-old forgets to bring his lunch to school, a permissive parent would immediately drive the lunch to the school (and probably apologize for forgetting to pack it in the child’s backpack). An authoritarian would pay for the child to eat the school lunch and punish the child at the end of the day. A “peaceful parent” would tell the child to pay for the school lunch out of his piggy bank, thus teaching the child to take ownership of his own mistakes.

Why would you want to change your discipline style?

If you’re tired of arguing with your child or feeling like your toddler has more authority than you do, it’s time for a change!

According to Amy Morrin, LCSW, “Children raised with authoritative discipline [peaceful parenting] tend to be happy and successful. They are often good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own. They often grow up to be responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.”

Morrin also notes that, “Although children who grow up with authoritarian parents tend to follow rules much of the time, they may develop self-esteem problems. Sometimes children become hostile or aggressive as they may focus more on being angry at their parents for the punishment rather than learning how to make decisions and solve problems…. Kids who grow up with permissive parents tend to struggle academically. They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they will likely not appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness.”

Peaceful parents are more in control of situations than permissive and authoritarian parents. They’re able to regulate their own emotions, prompting their children to think logically about problems, and they’re also able to create a more peaceful home where children feel comfortable seeking advice.

When can you use peaceful parenting?

Peaceful parenting can be used in almost every parenting situation. I consistently refer to my copies of the Parenting With Love and Logic books (read my review for more information on the books) for advice on different situations, like when my toddler won’t stay in her bed and when my five-year-old doesn’t follow directions.

While I have made mistakes, when I follow the positive parenting principles, our home is a much happier place.

What happens when your child throws a tantrum?

Even if you’ve been practicing positive parenting for a significant period of time, meltdowns may still crop up. The best part about peaceful parenting is that you’re better equipped to deal with things like tantrums. advises you to “welcome the meltdown.” While that’s much easier said than done (I’ve had to carry my kicking and screaming toddler to the car after she repeatedly screamed “no shoes” when I gave her the choice between her kitty cat shoes and her soft shoes), I wholeheartedly believe that empathy goes a long way.

Showing your child that you understand and are listening to their concerns will alleviate a lot of their stress. In the case of toddlers, I also recommend having a comfort object, like a favorite blanket, handy to help soothe your child during meltdowns.

I love the advice that positive parenting is about showing leadership, not dictatorship. “Good leaders lead by example. They listen, try to balance everyone’s needs, and protect. Being in charge means you take responsibility to provide a wholesome, nurturing environment. It doesn’t mean you need to be controlling or punitive.”

Learning to be a positive parent isn’t always easy, but you may find that you (and your children) will be much happier with this parenting style. Since it can be used in so many different situations, you may even have fun with it like the Love and Logic books suggest! Although tantrums won’t completely go away, you’ll find that they occur much less frequently (and you’ll be armed to handle them).

Have you tried peaceful parenting? How did it change your family?


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Stephanie Robinson

Tuesday 17th of May 2016

Interesting post - and I'm struck by the meme that's done the rounds which goes something like " we want to raise strong daughters, it's just we don't want to live with them" ! which sort of sums up my childhood (and that wasn't bad just challenging at times when I tried to assert myself!!) Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo and sorry it's taken me a while to get here x

Alison Lange

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Thanks, Stephanie!

Deanna @ Play Dough & Popsicles

Saturday 14th of May 2016

I think it is incredible important for parents to do what is best for their kids at the time. I love the idea of how you explained positive parenting. Especially it if helps be better equip for tantrums, because those can be brutal!

Thank you for sharing with Everything Kids!

Alison Lange

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Yes, tantrums are the worst, especially in public. Most of the time they're predictable, but they're still not fun!

Rachel @ Smart Mom Smart Ideas

Tuesday 10th of May 2016

Hi Alison, parenting and parenting style takes a learning curve. I find my parenting style changes and adjusts as I am trying to find the right way to work with each of my children and their personality. Of course, it largely requires me to change me too. As I look back at my own childhood and my how I handle my children, I work to fix things "I thought" should be different. Parenting seems like a day-by-day learning experience. But, it's always great to get insights from others to help us along the way. Have you read anything by Scott Turnasky and Joanne Miller? They are great. I also like Ted Tripp's books. Thanks for sharing at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.

Alison Lange

Wednesday 11th of May 2016

Thank you so much for the book recommendations! Parenting really is a learning experience. I'll have to check out their books. Is there one that you'd recommend starting with?

Hannah @Sunshine and Spoons

Monday 9th of May 2016

I think my parenting style changes from day to day. Somedays, I get it right and other days, I ask God for forgiveness and to help me do better.

Alison Lange

Monday 9th of May 2016

Yes. I'm really working on peaceful parenting, but it's definitely a work in progress. I've had to ask for forgiveness many times, too!

Gina Caro

Monday 9th of May 2016

If I had to put a label on our personal parenting style I would call it 'Organic Parenting' in that we adapt and change our parenting style to the different times, milestones and experiences that our children are having at that particular time. I find this works really well as sometimes we find they need slightly more discipline that normal and other times they need more reassurance. Adults and children change constantly throughout their lives so we personally don't feel that one particular style will suit them throughout their younger years. You've just inspired me to write a blog post on it lol I do like the sound of this peaceful parenting though, it's a lot nicer than some of the other styles.

Alison Lange

Monday 9th of May 2016

I love that concept! Thanks for sharing! Please share once you've written the blog post. I'd love to read it!