Peaceful parenting. It is a philosophy many have heard about but not many know what it actually is. We are going to try and lay it out for you and see if it fits within your parenting philosophy.
My first encounter with peaceful parenting was within the liberty movement. Many parents were taking the defining principle of libertarianism, the non-aggression principle, and extending it past the political and into the parental realm as well. To some it was a natural extention, to others it was a distortion of libertarianism. I am not the one to determine the proper scope of libertarianism but we will discuss peaceful parenting in this article and what that entails.
The philosophy of peaceful parenting is an interesting one and one that varies depending on who one talks to. The main tenant is that you do not initiate force against the child. This includes smacking, spanking, and even yelling. The majority of the peaceful parent blog pieces I have read, and even psychologist websites I have read about it state that the point is not to punish the child but to help the child develope and learn. Punishment is not conducive to the childs ability to learn but in fact, negates it.
Another tenent of peaceful parenting is the emphasis on communication with the child and helping them through their emotions rather than punishing them for wrong doings. This is something that is much easier said than done. There is an entire group on facebook where parents are struggling to impliment this philosophy in their house. This is common with any change but these parents are working at it. Active listening to the child, expressing of emotions in a open and non-judgmental manner for both children and parents alike are encouraged. This is to create not only a strong communication base but a trust and mutual respect between parent and child along with creating a strong, heart felt bond between child and parent as well.
As far as punishment goes, they don’t punish but seek to guide the child through tantrums, mistakes, and misdeeds. To model the behavior you want to see in the child rather than trying to correct the issue with physical force like spanking. They also don’t believe in bribing, disapproval, or rewards. The belief being that modeling the behaviors you want as well as the creation of mutual respect allows for self-discipline, self-responsibility, and itegrity of the child.
Along with the above mentioned communication, the setting of clearly defined limits is key as well. I found this quote that I thought nailed what peaceful parents mean:
limits are set by the parent with confidence, giving the child a very clear understanding of what the limit is, while maintaining a warm connected and supportive relationship with the child. It is an approach that constantly models a much more mature form of communication that fosters connection, confidence, trust, lateral thinking, problem-solving skills, and conflict-resolution skills. Peaceful parenting is a model that aims to meet the needs of both the parent and the child, while teaching and modeling flexibility and adaptability.
This is not permissive parenting. This is not letting the child do what he or she pleases without limits or guidance. Nor is it overprotective parenting, this is letting the child workout for themselves as much as they can while still providing a place of learning and guidance from the parent.
Peaceful parenting has a lot to offer parents who are interested in taking a much more radical approach to parenting. It even has something to offer those who don’t fully buy into the peaceful parenting approach. You can take what you are comfortable with and leave what you are not. That is the beauty of being a parent, you customize your parenting style towards each individual child.
As for my wife and I we don’t subscribe 100% to the peaceful parenting. We do follow the priciples in a general sense but have made mistakes and will continue to make them. Those parent’s that say they don’t are lying as they all have made a mistake here or there. That doesn’t make any of us a bad parent, that makes us human parents.
Here is a good write up from Ryan Burgett in regards to Corporal punishment and peaceful parenting.
Do you practice peaceful parenting? Is it something that you are interested in? If so here is a facebook group for it. You can get support and ask questions and realize many parents make mistakes.