Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Book Review

I'm a yeller.
God, I hate that. 
I hate typing it, and I hate that it's true.

So I have set about changing it. I started by purchasing this book:
by Dr. Laura Markham

I will admit, I am only 64 pages in, but I am in love with the advice & the parenting philosophy presented.  There has been page after page of amazing, easily implemented advice.  I thought I would share my top ten with you.

1. Slow down
Cut back on how busy you are.  As you slow down, your sense of urgency, rushing the kids and losing your temper will go down.  Take a good look at your day, and implement change where you need to so you aren't hurrying.

2. Quality Time
Spend time each day holding, rocking, singing, reading, hugging, laughing, playing, listening & snuggling.  Even ten minutes can be the difference.

3. Be in the moment
This means getting out of your own head.  Examine your feelings: What outside feelings are influencing your thoughts & emotions?  When you know where the feelings originate, you are better able to deal with them appropriately, and get back to the present.

4. Do something FUN!
In the Cunningham household, we have implemented One Fun Thing, where we do something that excites the boys everyday.  Some days it is really exciting, like going berry picking.  Other days, like today, it's as simple as playing Chutes & Ladders with the twins.

5. Be in control of yourself
As the parent, you have to control your emotions so they can learn to control theirs.  You are their teacher.

How to control yourself:
Shut your mouth - Do not react when you feel yourself getting upset.
Take Five - Give yourself a timeout.
Breathe to ten counts - Wait until you are calm to deal with your child.
{Follow the rest of the advice in this list!}

6. Set them up for success
Arrange your house, your schedule, your day, so that the children can be successful.

7. Set clear expectations
Along with setting them up for success, it's also important to set clear expectations.  Make sure that your expectations are reasonable for their age.  Take time to remind them gently of those expectations.

8. No more discipline
The point is the lesson, not the consequence.  The timeout makes you feel better. It doesn't actually teach the lesson, which is what the child needs.  (This has been the biggest change in our house, but I find it's working!)

9. Choose not to be annoyed
Kids playing loud? But are they getting along? Then let it go.  Sort of a "choose your battles" idea.

10.  Apologize//Learn from your mistakes
It's not a mistake, if you learn from it.  Take the time to apologize to your child and move on.

And above all,
Keep Trying!!!
I have to make the change.
It will be difficult, but it is possible.
One sentence that really struck me was this one. "You want your child to follow your guidance because he loves you and doesn't want to disappoint you, not because you scare him."  Talk about a game changer.  If I'm being honest, I used fear a lot to get my kids to obey. Threats of consequences, spankings & lost privileges flew out of my mouth hourly.  And I followed through, which is good for consistency, but not great for a peaceful home brimming with love.

The book says I should be able to transition from being a yeller to being a non-yeller in about three months.  I am firmly committed to that timeline, in the hopes that by Christmas I won't be resorting to yelling anymore.

I gave myself a Sticker Chart, per the books' instructions, and so far I have two stickers.  That sounds small, but when I made it the whole day without yelling on Saturday, and then Sunday, I was elated. It took such determination and patience, they were hard-won wins!

 One important thing for me to have a successful No Yelling day is to wake up early, before the kids. Something about that quiet time with no one else's demands allows me to start the day feeling centered.  In order to get up before my kids, who are early risers themselves, I have to go to bed on time.  Each day is a struggle to balance getting everything done with getting enough sleep, but it's worth the fight.

I am anxious to finish the book and get more No Yelling days under my belt. I promise to keep you updated, and to write more as I read more.  I'll share my tips & tricks and maybe we can all become more peaceful parents.
"Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust Him to help you do it and He will."
-Psalm 37:5

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1 comment:

Lynnette said...

I really like Dr Markham and have been following her blog for awhile. I'm not much of a yeller but I find her advice to be super helpful with ways to stay connected to my kids. I'm glad you found her book! You can also follow her on FB at AhaParenting.com