Patience as a Verb

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

Patience is not something that comes natural to me. I was not blessed with the ability to listen to a child screaming pretty much for any reason, nor the ability to suffer just about anything when I am either tired or hungry. Anyone else hear me on that? I know I’m not the only one. There are so many things that aggravate me endlessly if I let them and for some reason my children are capable of doing any number of these things. Sometime simultaneously. Anyone else been there? Yup, I know it. You don’t have to tell me. So what do I do? I cannot just lose my cool all the time so I had to learn some patience if I was going to survive parenthood. So I’m going to talk about patience as a verb. What exactly is patience, where does it come from and how do I accumulate this stuff, and most importantly how do I keep from losing my cool once my patience has hit its limit?

What is Patience?

Lets all be honest here, we could probably all be a bit more patient, but to really possess it we need to know what it is. In its essence. Perhaps it is different for everybody but patience to me is knowledge, critical thinking, and understanding. I have said to a friend recently that I have endless patience for toddler shenanigans but very little for the teenage variety. While this is very true for me the reason for this is because I find it harder to have empathy towards teens because I have lost a bit more of the connection to my teenage self than I have retained. I know this, but still find myself getting tired of the same conversations and the same reactions to the conversations from my teen. The thing is that when I understand what is going on in his head a bit better I can allow for more flexible reactions to different circumstances of which there are too many to give example of all, but I can think of one off the top of my head. My son’s science teacher emails me to say he is missing some assignments (he chose to stay in public school) and that he needs to stay after to complete them or he will get negative marks. I am irked. For one I am irked that the teacher is bringing this to my attention and not his, and annoyed at him for putting me in this situation. To me it seems it would be easier to just do the work, so I am quick to ask him why he is intentionally not doing his work; telling him that we could be doing something else but now he has to stay extra to complete his missing assignments. But it turns out he had the directions confused and although he did the assignment it was done improperly so it was counted as not turned in. Okay I get it, whatever, just make sure you do it the right way the next time. It is annoying to a parent to hear from a teacher for negative reasons, especially in my opinion, a teen who is plenty capable and intelligent enough to do the work, but understanding goes a long way to not losing it all over the place instead of remaining calm and talking about it.

Lost Patience from Lost Connection

I lose patience when I have told the teen to do a household chore only to find him still playing video games instead. But even if I don’t understand them, there are reasons for these behaviors and if I connect to my teen I may see those reasons. And if I’m really lucky and they don’t add up to good reasons I have the opportunity to develop a conversation about why the other tasks are more important. But I do lose my patience sometimes and react negatively myself and lose the chance to connect and communicate and that is something I work against every day.

Where Does Patience Come From?

Where does this stuff come from? Personally it comes from understanding. As I mentioned before I have very little innate patience so it is something I have to create in myself. To do this I research stuff. Seriously. Tantrums? No problem; I understand tantrums most of the time. These come from unmet needs. This can be the toddler kind in my house to the adult kind and isn’t pretty in any form. My toddler loses patience with me plenty and I am inevitably comforting him using my patience as a buffer for his impatience with me. In many of these circumstances it is pretty comical, but I’ve been guilty of throwing my own adult size fits as has my 14 year old. These all stem from unmet needs. So anytime this happens (as long as I still have my cool) I am able to step back and analyze a situation, understand it and try a resolution that will satisfy all parties. The more I understand the more I am able to keep composure and control the situation. Although I have to say in the middle of the store the other day I came very close to the bottom of my cup as I knelt next to my sobbing toddler and told him as calmly as I could that I really understood that it was late in the day and he was probably hungry but that if he would just sit in the cart we could really make the trip a lot quicker and get us all home sooner. I was pretty close to tears myself. The yogurt didn’t seem to notice. A mantra helps too in these situations. “Its okay darling. Everything is a-okay” Over and over again.

The Bottom of My Cup

I have been here more times than I care to relate here, but every time I learn a little bit more about myself and about self-control. It sounds counter-intuitive to learn how to be more patient by losing my cool, but I do. In some cases I learn my limits, which are good to know, and in other situations after I have calmed I realize something that I could have done to help in that situation. Mostly those things are something like: I could have left the situation or approached it differently.

When I start to feel frustrated I think about when was the last time I ate and if I slept well the night before. I have specific triggers just like everybody else. Learn those triggers and you will find patience. Communication is a good tool to develop patience too, but only if the other party involved can coherently explain him or herself.

Patience for All

I didn’t have a good role model for patience as a child if you have not guessed by now. This has been a detriment to my development and I know this. It is the main reason I have dedicated myself to a more positive mindset and more education. It is amazing how much a good role model really does do. My partner of 12 years is seemingly endlessly patient. He is the Yin to my Yang. He balances me so well by providing me that role model I desperately need. I only have my own experiences to draw on alone, but with him as my guide I have grown exponentially as a person. He had the most loving, caring and patient mother to learn form and I hope my children learn that from him as I am learning every day.

How do you cultivate patience in your life? Do you find it helps to create peace in your home?


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Doing it While I Can

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

I have been a peaceful parent for about 3 years, but a parent for 14 and some change. These days I talk a lot about peaceful parenting and all the good I believe it does my children and myself. Self-ownership and the NAP are the two parts that I have discovered and discussed, and all the implications of those two mindsets and why I practice those principles in my home. But what led me down this path? Was it my distaste for my own upbringing? No. To be honest if I were older with my first son things may have been different, but when the cards were down I used the same parenting skills I had learned as a kid, but from a kids perspective. Because of this perspective I may not have “used spanking properly” as some people tell me every now and again, but I never felt comfortable doing it. It was just all I had in that tool box we call parenting skills. Was it my desire to be more natural? In some cases yes, but mostly not so much. What really opened my eyes to this way of thinking was the love I saw expressed by my dear friend and her first baby girl.

Remembering Those Days

This precious child was not a very social baby and some may even have labeled her difficult, but her Momma took her all the places she went with her, when finding a sitter may have been easier; she also breastfed her baby (which I had attempted with my first but failed miserably) into toddlerhood before I knew anyone that had, she co-slept and met her child’s every need. It was something I had never been really exposed to before in raising children. I remember those first few months when the hair on the back of my neck bristled when she would say her partner didn’t want the baby to cry so she was up all the time and exhausted because she wanted him to be able to rest since he worked for the family. I felt bad for her and I would say things like you should tell him that he needs to care for her too. Of course I would say this. I was totally unaware that in his way he was helping. He would help bathe, feed and change, but the baby just needed her Momma all the time. So Momma met her needs all the time. I once watched the baby for about thirty minutes while her parents presented at a convention and the poor dear cried the whole time. I was as loving as I could be but she was just attached to her Momma and was not going to be satisfied with me.

Her Gentle Parenting

My friend would tell me about her life with her baby and then toddler and I would delight in hearing co-sleeping stories and seeing them all together. They were so loving and attached. During one of my visits the Dad explained to me that when he had been married before and had two children he took the first five years of their lives off because he found it so important to be connected because, as he told me, he believed it would make them better in all areas of life if he nurtured them early.

He Was Right

This baby girl that so needed her Momma developed into a social, loving toddler that just felt safe everywhere her parents were. She was confident and intelligent. She had social skills and problem solving skills down. She was amazing. This friend of mine then got pregnant again and not too many months after I got pregnant with my first in many years and I was delighted for both of us. I loved her first daughter like a niece and I was going to love her second just as much. We had our babies and during that time I learned a lot about gentle parenting. I did the research and came to the same conclusions that my two friends did. It’s simply what’s best for baby. Guide babies into toddlerhood and they will reflect that guidance. That’s what I learned and as I use the same practices on my second son I see with my own eyes that world of difference it makes.

Now My Heart is Breaking

This same dear friend is now pregnant with her fourth dear daughter and the baby most likely will not make it. She has some serious illnesses and her Momma is beginning to develop symptoms as well. She is 24 weeks pregnant and although she has three other girls this baby is still theirs and is loved by them and by her family. My friend may never get to bring that baby home. May never get to breastfeed her, or co-sleep with her. May never get to meet her alive. So I would never be able to justify raising a hand to my son, or keeping him out of my bed at night when he needs me or not meeting any of the hundreds of needs that toddlers have knowing that there is a parent out there right now that would give the world to just have their baby to love, or any baby at all in some cases, in their arms at night.

Doing it While I Can, and Will Continue

There is so much uncertainty in life. Even more so in the life of a child who does not understand all of life’s little concepts. Children are not little adults, but they are deserving of respect. Respect for their personhood, respect for their comfort, respect for their desires, respect for their evolution that said we were meant to be attached, and respect for their unconditional love that they give. They trust us so much. If we do not do what we feel is best for them and nurture them lovingly they may not have very much certainty in their future, and every child deserves that right.


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Non-Aggression and Parenting

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

This week we are going to discuss the NAP. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, the NAP is the Non-Aggression Principle. This principle goes hand-in-hand with teaching self-ownership in parenting. Very much like the self-ownership principle there are theories and applications and of course that has changed my view of what it is to be a parent and how to parent.

Is Violence Necessary?

After all, growing up I knew nothing of gentle parenting and only knew that there was an arbitrary “good” that we strove to meet, but always ended up ruining it by just being a kid. My parents were extreme too, but everyone I knew got spanked to varying degrees. Then I had a son. I was 18. I knew that spanking was awful and that it never worked on me, but I didn’t have any other tools in my parenting tool box and so didn’t know how to not use spanking. But I was still determined not to use it to the extreme my parents did. But I was young and got bullied into believing that it was the only way to make my son “behave” and I did use it. And of course it never worked on him either. Maybe there is a proper way to spank but I do not believe it exists. I have not ever seen a situation where the spanking did not have to escalate to keep kids “in line.” I even spanked my son with a belt. A belt. Because I was brow beaten enough to believe it was the thing that was going to change my son’s life and make him start acting with respect and accountability. But how is a kid that has never been respected going to learn respect and how is that same kid going to learn accountability if he fears retribution? I ruined my first son and it breaks my heart. I wish I had known about the NAP before then.

What is the NAP?

Non aggression. Its as simple as that. I own my body and no one is allowed to do anything which I don’t feel comfortable with as an adult, and the NAP gives children the same respect. “I am important. No one is allowed to encroach upon me and because I own me others own themselves and I am not allowed to encroach upon their space.” This principle operates on the theory that we all own ourselves and others are not allowed to do anything which we feel invades that principle. If children are taught that hitting others or acting with violence upon them is not okay and adults enforce this idea by not using violence against them, then we’ll have people that feel entitled to safety and security and will not invade others’ safety and security.

The applications of the NAP are simple on the surface. Just don’t hit your kids, but for some people this is a very ingrained mindset. It takes effort to not use the same parenting techniques that were used on them, but it can be done. There are many violent people in this world and the NAP operates on the thought that if children are taught non-aggression, they will pass that along. This can be seen in the playground, at home with siblings and friends and with future foes. We will all find people that do not get along with us and vice versa, but there is no reason for aggression if other tools are taught. The NAP is comprehensive in theory. If parents use problem solving skills and coping techniques, children will learn them too and all possibly future physical altercations can be avoided.

So Remember, Just Don’t Hit

I have grown immensely as a person since raising my first son. After 11 and a half years I had another and knew that I was going to be devoted to finding other parenting tools to use in place of spanking, thus coming across the NAP and finding there are so many more parents out there that are not using disrespectful corporal punishment, but instead choosing love and respect. The only way to really learn respect is to be given it as a child. Learning that we do not have to resort to violence but that it is okay to defend yourself is the root of the NAP. Be your own advocate. Be your children’s advocate. Violence is not necessary to raise respectful, responsible adults. In fact I may even go further and say the reason there are so many insecure adults is because they were not respected and treated fairly as the person they are. We all own ourselves. No one owns us or owes us and our children deserve to be taught no less.


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Self-Ownership in Parenting

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

Self-ownership is an easy concept on the surface, but is actually quite complex after one starts to apply it to everyday life. This weeks conversation will cover the self-ownership principle and its applications, some of its long term effects, how it has changed my view on parenting to match my self convictions, some easy steps to begin to use self-ownership in your life, and how to use it in relation to parenting. So what is the self-ownership principle? It is basically the notion that a person is in charge of themselves. They make their own decisions and their own destiny. They can allow others to give them a hug, a kiss or a handshake, or decide not to at all. The self-ownership principle is based on respect. Respect for yourself and respect for others. If a child does not want to give a relative a kiss, that should be just as acceptable as an adult letting another adult know they will not be shaking their hand, say, due to contamination fears.

Applications and Long-term Effects

Self-ownership creates a different relationship with the words and meanings of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Yes you may and no you may not, should both be equal responses in everyday interactions. Applying self-ownership as a child, after learning it from their parents modeling it for them, means putting effort towards a meaningful cause such as education and helping out around the house because they should; because they understand that it is important to fill those roles to work towards a bigger goal. For an adult self-ownership means owning up to both the responsibility of raising a child and teaching them to be self-responsible adults. This can help a child feel more comfortable at family gatherings, a teen resist peer pressure, a would-be victim knowing enough to not allow victimizing behavior and adults that can pass these traits along.

Self-responsibility is a desirable trait in the work world and so is accountability. Both of these traits are in themselves good things and applying self-ownership will help children learn to take credit for both successes and failures in kind as well as build self-confidence. If a child is allowed to trust their own instincts when interacting with strangers will set them up for following their instincts later in life instead of questioning these instincts. Scenario: A small child is always made to kiss its parents’ relatives. This child does not want to do this, but is made to or will be punished. Later in life this same child does not want to see a particular person romantically, but is pressured by friends to “just do it” because “it won’t hurt anything” and “it will be fine”, but then later that same child ends up victim of his/her inability to follow instincts and ends up in trouble or hurt, or worse. On the other hand, a child that is allowed to act upon its own instincts learns to trust that feeling and does not let him/herself to be talked into things by peers or authority figures, but instead learns the ability to reserve him/herself until trust is created. This can serve a person well once adult concepts like drugs, alcohol and sex become important issues.

Self-Ownership in My Home

I have two children, one teen and one toddler, and a dog. I also live with my significant other. Self-ownership has helped me hold myself accountable. If I plan on doing something it is my responsibility to get it done and if my failures in these endeavors affect the others I care about it means I own that too and apologize and act on those feelings till all is set again. My teen uses self-ownership but did not really grow up with the concept, so we are just learning to navigate it together. He has a room and I ask to come in and as long as his door is closed the baby is not allowed to go in there. But because he is a baby he is rascally and may find himself in there. He really likes his brother. I don’t impose on him undue hardship with chores, only enough to help out and I don’t encroach on his home time. He basically uses this to play video games endlessly. This has changed my outlook on life. I have gotten used to saying things like, “May I kiss your cheek?” and, “If its okay with you we are going to get in the car now.” I find I am modeling respect more because I am not just acting on his person, I am letting him understand what is going on and give him choices in the places I can. I believe this will increase his confidence more and more in his years to come and I feel it will be a pleasure to see how he comes out on the other end.

How to Begin the Self-Ownership Mindset

Begin by reading up on the concept and learning about how others have applied it to their lives. Just like this column does. Learning is the first step, but learning how to navigate this mindset is the next step. So your child is acting out. Self-ownership starts here. As a parent if your child is acting out you can probably guess why in many situations. Tired, hungry, and overstimulated are a few reasons children act out. They just don’t understand their emotions or how to handle them. As a self-owned parent you realize it is your responsibility to meet your child’s needs before the undesirable behavior can be addressed. If my child is acting out in a store at 5 PM it is probably my fault because at that time often a child needs to eat and is nearing the end of their day. Gentle parenting is possible. Physical force is unnecessary and using self-ownership is a powerful tool to achieving that goal. So if you ask for a kiss and your child says no, smile and say that it is okay if they want it late. They know you are always there for them and the parent can be confident that later in life that same child will not need others assurances, and that they will be confident to say no to others. After all saying no often is just as important as saying yes.

Now that the concept of self-ownership has been explained here, I encourage anyone that has questions to do some research. Respect is something many parents desire. Respect your children and they will learn respect, be gentle to your children and they will learn to treat others gently, and teach self-ownership and they will be in control of their daily interactions.


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Think About It

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

Its funny when the world comes together to teach us things. I find many things in my life are either a foreshadowing of sorts or setting me up for another event. Life can be like this sometimes and I like to embrace it. Parenting is a bit like this. Every event can be linked to another. Where does a behavior come from? Even desirable behaviors have a root. History begets more history and traditions grow, and culture is taught generation to generation. Mindfulness in parenting can lead to stunning results that many may not believe without proof.

Lets use the example of polite culture. Parents everywhere want their children to be thought of as polite. Why is this? So we are not judged negatively by our peers. This is okay, but something we should recognize. When politeness is not needed it may not be taught, much like proper dinner table etiquette. So why do we want our children to say please and thank you, may I and after you? Because we want them to model respect for others. Respect another’s right to property, or space, respect another’s right to freedom and happiness. How do we teach them? We model desirable behavior in everyday interactions and we coach our children along the way. “Now say please, and thank you”, or “No thank you”. But many leave out giving respect to our children who are learning by what we do and not necessarily what we say. Ask them politely when to borrow or have things and they will believe that is how they are supposed to behave.

Hitting is also like this. Hitting in any form teaches children its okay to hit. This influence may come from anywhere. Not necessarily the parents. My son was exposed to another family that used hitting as a form of punishment, but because he was too young to understand this is not okay he began hitting in his interactions. He observed the Mom hitting children, but also the children hitting each other. He witnessed the kids getting hit for hitting one another and was truly confused. I could tell because he began flinching when I would come up to him and ask him not to hit. As if he was trying to see if I would hit him. I try to limit the influences in his life that show hitting is okay, but I cannot be everywhere. Although some things I can control. Like the cartoons that he really likes that are more like Tom and Jerry cartoons than the kind of thing I’d like him watching. Its gonna break his little heart when he finds I have restricted access to those shows.

But that goes back to mindfulness in parenting. Its hard work but its worth it. Now, there are many that believe their kids will develop naturally without mindfulness and that’s okay, but for those of us that want to plan how we raise our kids this is something to really think about. How will you raise your children to act and react to the world in a desirable way? It takes time and effort, but it can happen. There are many examples of this. Think of the people in power around the world. If they were raised without thought they would not likely be there today. Bill Gates, while I believe he is a bit misguided I think he is a really brilliant, devoted to humanity person and he has his upbringing to thank for that.

There is a meme that I have seen circling the internet that has an iconic 50’s father spanking a boy child above a picture of some “thugs” and the caption is “with more of this (the top picture) there would be less of this (the bottom picture).” Now leaving out the face that the “thugs” could be perfectly nice people the meme is absolutely wrong. It doesn’t take spanking, smacking, swatting, beating et al, it takes mindfulness in parenting and teaching children values. Perhaps those unruly looking people are plenty nice but were never taught the value of dressing well. But that is exactly the point. Mindfulness in parenting will give them the tools later on in life to know what is acceptable in different societies.

With all of this mindfulness in mind we must also remember to model to our children empathy and kindness. If we judge others with our parenting we are not modeling desirable behavior. In this effort our parenting should come from within, and not from without in examples of undesirable parenting tools. There are many things i have learned from being a parent and many things I have learned from being a kid. There are ways to honor the childhood in your own children. If you wish your parents would have understood something more you have the chance to understand in your own children, but it should not be at your parents’ expense. They did their job of raising you (hopefully) as well as they could and now its up to you to improve on the model.

Mindfulness will always be rewarded. Teaching through actions as well as words can help accomplish this goal. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself along the way. You may face some opposition. You may hear “wouldn’t it be easier this way?” but you know the answer. Of course it would, but it would not yield the results you are looking for. Good enough, or just fine is okay, but I’m shooting for extraordinary.


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There are No Rules, Just Listen to Your Baby

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“Balancing on My Toes” is an original column appearing every other Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Angel M. Ethell. Angel lives in the Chicagoland area with her family: sons Teen (13) and Lil G (2) along with their little sister Cassie Pie (dog), her partner Daddy G and father-in-law Grandpa G. She loves learning new things along with learning that she might not always be right… 100% of the time. Archived columns can be found here. BMT-only RSS feed available here.

I am quite involved in a couple of attachment (AP) and gentle parenting communities and I have met many people who live many different lifestyles in those communities. Depending on who you ask you may get as many different answers to the question of what AP/gentle parenting is as if you asked what their diet looks like. There are many correct answers to this question, too. There is a mindset among some mothers that goes like this: I’m right, you’re wrong and you should be doing what I’m doing. There are countless arguments about this on many forums if you care to dig for them. Breastfeeding vs. formula, hospital vs. home birth, vaccinations vs. unvaccinated children, disposables vs. cloth diapers, and the list goes on and on.

You Don’t Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right

If everyone would understand this simple fact we could really all get along better. But, as I was once told, “everyone has their own way to parent wrong.” This is true isn’t it? If my way is right then yours must be wrong. Except that, no, that’s not what that means. When I had my first child I was not a gentle parent, and when I found out I was pregnant again 11 and 1/2 years later I was still not a gentle parent, but I was on my way there, I just didn’t know it yet. While I was pregnant I was insistent on a natural birth if it could be had because of all the interventions of my first birth, but I had planned on formula feeding my son from the start. Why? I under-produced breast milk for my first son and didn’t want to feel like a failure again. But then I learned that there was more to feeding babies than I thought and I went ahead and did as much research as I could on the subject. After learning all the things I feel I should have already known (thank you anti-breastfeeding culture) I decided I was going to do it anyway and do the best I could if I could at all. And I did, but not to full term. I felt elated that I could at all and proud instead of feeling like a failure like I had been made to feel the first time around. My body just can’t do it the way most other women can and that’s okay, I did my best and that’s what counts.

Does This Mean I’m Not AP?

No. Because there are no set rules for AP. The only rules are to listen to your baby and listen to your body and respect both. Attachment parents keep their kids near them and strongly attached which helps create a bond of mutual respect and not fear as some more traditional parenting creates, but its not necessary to being an AP because again there are no set rules. But there are some basic principles that AP and gentle parents believe in that sets us apart from traditional parents. We believe in normal term breastfeeding because of the many benefits it provides; this means baby lead weaning. We believe in doing what is best for our children and that includes breastfeeding to give them the best start if its possible. Even up to five or more years! We often promote baby wearing because it helps keep baby close to us and provides a safe, comfortable environment for baby instead of lying alone somewhere learning to “self-soothe.” Another thing AP’s don’t generally believe in doing. We believe practices like crying-it-out and controlled crying is bad for baby and try to prevent it. Many of our children co-sleep or are cuddled to sleep to prevent this, and although there aren’t many teens that co-sleep I’m sure many of us wouldn’t mind that all that much either.

Gentle Parents Also Find Alternative to Punishments

There are many reasons to avoid corporal punishment in toddlers and older children and there are some good research studies that have shed a light on some of the long term effects of physical punishment. The long term effects are insidious. They come in the form of low self-esteem and lower confidence levels. They come in the form of hostility and mistrust for authoritative figures, and we believe it does not actually teach respect. We believe the exact opposite actually. In the view of a gentle parent respect can only be taught by modeling it and not demanding it. Respect grows through mutual trust and appreciation so we use different methods of discipline of which there are many.

So What Does All This Mean?

It means that you can be an AP/gentle parent even if you don’t cloth diaper. Even if you don’t solve every problem your little one has with coconut oil and breast milk you are still AP/gentle as long as you respect yourself and your baby. Respect your children and believe in yourself. There are many mothers that have said they feel put off by the AP community. Sometimes its guilt because others can’t fathom that we can still respect their way of life without being in the wrong ourselves, and sometimes its our confidence. This confidence is something that is part of this community though that I am very fond of. We have strong convictions that children should be given the best their parents can give them and we do lots of research to that end. We are strong. Sometimes its hard to be the person that is different, but its our conviction that we are doing the best for our children that we possibly can that gives us the strength to face the many negative situations that comes from the trailblazer mentality. So don’t worry about following any set rules or producing a cookie cutter replica of anyone else’s child. Just be confident, be respectful and be wise. That is what AP/gentle parenting is all about.

Namaste


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