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Being Firm, Staying Friendly: How to Practice Peaceful Parenting Without Being Mean

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Peaceful parenting…

The bruise covered my entire back for about a week.

You see, my 8-year-old caught a little trick I was doing with our water filter.

In order to get those last few drops out before refilling the filter and waiting for the next 60 minutes for a small cup of water, I would lean the filter towards me.

A few days ago, my child tried this * trick * but this time, something went very wrong.

He didn’t know I had put water in the filter, so all the weight was on top.

“Help!” his voice cried.

black mother holding toddler with the text how to practice peaceful parenting being firm, staying friendly

I gave the fastest man on earth a run for his money when I went around our kitchen island to where he was trying to hold up this heavy filter with his tiny body.

“I’m so sorry!” was all he said.

Then the floods of water rushed forward as the filter fell forward and my feet slipped out from under me.

WHAM – my body slammed to the ground.

He was safe, just a little surprised about the laws of physics.

But I wasn’t prepared for the flood of emotions falling over me.

You see, I grew up in an authoritarian parenting style home.

Although I don’t blame my parents for the upbringing I had because this unfortunate style is often adopted when certain adults haven’t experienced a loving home themselves, the thoughts of “how could you let this happen?!” and other self-blaming opinions were the first places my mind went.

Then the calmness came because peaceful parenting with Jesus literally saves my joy in motherhood.

Tips for Peaceful Parenting

1.  Connect Before Correct

James 1:19 “Be swift to hear, and slow to speak.”

Connecting with your child should always come before correcting or disciplining them.

In this situation, my first thought was to make sure my child was okay and then address the issue of cleaning up the spilled water.

It’s important to validate your child’s feelings and let them know that your love is stronger than any mistake they may make.

By connecting with your child in this way, you’re helping to build a stronger relationship and trust between the two of you.

As a result, your child is more likely to listen and respond positively when being corrected or given guidance.

Pro tip: Using “I feel” statements can also help with connecting before correcting.

2.  Pay Attention To Your Emotions

When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with emotions, it’s important to take a step back and assess your situation.

In this case, I had to remind myself that my child was safe and that the spilled water could easily be cleaned up.

It’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us in parenting, but it’s important to stay calm and rational in order to effectively handle any situation.

Remember, it’s okay to wait until everyone is calm before having a crucial conversation or addressing any issues.

Mother with her baby playing with pet on the floor at the kitchen at home for the post on peaceful parenting

3.  Set Limits with Empathy

1 Corinthians 12:26 “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

After cleaning up the spilled water, the first words out of my mouth were an apology to my child for setting a poor example by tilting the filter forward.

I calmly explained why it’s important to be careful with drinks and set a limit for the future (and how he, nor I, will be tilting anything forward again).

Why was this important?

By acknowledging our own mistakes and setting limits with empathy, we show our children healthy boundaries and rules are in place because we care about their well-being.

It also helps them understand that mistakes happen, but it’s how we handle them that truly matters.

4. Acknowledge and Apologize

There’s one thing all parents have in common with each other.

We’re not perfect and we will all make mistakes.

This is why it’s so important for our children to see us acknowledge and apologize when we do make a mistake.

This shows our children it’s okay to admit fault, take responsibility, and seek forgiveness.

When they see this, they’re learning the value of empathy and humility.

It also shows them that you respect them enough to admit when you’re wrong and apologize for any hurt or inconvenience caused.

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5.  Fill Your Own Cup

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

You don’t need to carry with you the poor traditions of the family you were born into (but, bring the good though).

My son and I hugged, we spoke of forgiveness, and we talked about the importance of telling ourselves (and each other) “I love you” especially after saying sorry.

And I told him the honest truth…this situation could have been much, much worse.

But between you and me, peaceful parenting would not be possible without Jesus Christ.

When you take time to develop a relationship with the son of God studying His word and spending time in prayer, you are better equipped to handle the challenges of parenting.

Remember, peaceful parenting is not about perfection, it’s about progress.

It takes patience, understanding, and continual self-reflection to become a peaceful parent.

But by showing compassion, listening well, acknowledging and apologizing for mistakes, and filling your own cup spiritually, you can create a loving and peaceful home for your children to grow and thrive in.

Finally, never forget to give yourself grace and forgiveness.

Parenting is a journey, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

But as long as you continue to strive for progress and growth, God will bless you in your pursuit of creating a peaceful and loving home for your family

You may enjoy this video by Focus on the Family about peaceful parenting:

Or one of these recommended resources for further study:

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham

Peaceful Parenting by Steven Franssen

Bio: Micah Klug is a writer and homeschool mom based in Kansas City, Missouri. She helps parents fill their home with loving family connections, no matter their circumstances. Sign up for free weekly printables and tips via her website.

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