Peaceful Parenting and Empathy

Yesterday, Chloe (my 5-year old daughter) got off to a bad morning because we had ran out of milk and Chloe had an expectation that Kendrawould purchase milk the night before. Chloe’s frustration of feeling powerless to obtain her own physical sustenance manifested itself in numerous behaviors that caused discomfort to the other family members.

One of these manifestations was that Chloe was complaining in a loud enough volume to be scaring the other children in the family. I understood Chloe’s feeling of anger and frustration to come from an inability to manager her anger in non-destructive ways. We all have anger, even as adults, but as adults we’ve hopefully learned how to channel that anger into productive ways (ie. exercise, breathing techniques, etc). Chloe is still developing those skills.

When I got home, I used physical force to contain Chloe to my room and told her the following:

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[My first goal was for Chloe to feel as though she’s being heard and understood through empathy.]

Chloe, it is okay for you to feel angry. Do you feel angry? Then please tell me you’re feeling angry. Please yell at me that you’re feeling angry. I can handle your anger. You’re not going to get in trouble for feeling angry. Let it all out. I can take it.

Sometimes Daddy gets angry too. Remember when I play loud music in the garage and lift weights and I make loud noises like, “Grrrrrrrr.”

You have a lot of anger inside of you, and let’s try and get it out. Here’s my hand. Punch my hand as hard as you can to get it out. Let me help you get that anger out of you.

[My second goal was for Chloe to understand that the physical restrictions I was placing on her was for the safety of others, and not simply artificial punishment imposed by me.]

It’s okay for you to feel angry, but you’re not going to be able to leave this room until you promise me that you won’t be talking so loud that it’s scaring and hurting the ears of Genna, Jack, and Vincent.

Do you like it when Genna or Jack screams in your ears? When Genna screams in your ears, you want Daddy to stop Genna from screaming in your ears, right?

When there are bad guys, Daddy protects you. That’s why I have guns. Sometimes Mommy, Genna, and Jack may do bad things inside the family, and Daddy has to tell them to stop as well. That doesn’t mean they’re bad guys, but sometimes we do bad THINGS to each other.

In the same way that I’m required to protect you, I’m also required to protect everyone else in the family if you’re hurting them with the volume of your voice. So I’m not letting you out of this room until you promise to stop hurting them with the volume of your voice.

[My third goal was to teach tools in how to manage her anger in healthy ways.]

You have a lot of anger inside of you. How about you and me we go to the garage and listen to some loud music with the yelling and screaming, and we can get out your anger and scream as loud as you want?

Or we can go to the garage and you can play the drum set to get that anger out of you.

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After this talk and some drumming in the garage, Chloe had much of her frustrated energy released and was in a more relaxed state that I typically see her in. I had to leave the house immediately due to date night. Upon reflection, I’ll probably have another discussion with Chloe that, if she hasn’t already, that she should be apologizing to the people she’s hurt with the the volume of her voice, if she cares to maintain a good relationship with them.

This will come from a place of explaining natural consequences of destructive behavior on relationships, rather than using artificial consequences to force an inauthentic response from Chloe. A true apology must come from empathy, and not from the threat of force, violence, or emotional manipulation from the outside.

My ability to reason and empathize with Chloe (and for her to listen) has been built on a foundation of trust and love that Chloe knows I have for her. Not because I simply told her with words, but because I also demonstrate it consistently in my actions in the various discussions we have with one another. There’s no additional emotional baggage of confusion or feelings of fear that Daddy will use violence or use emotional manipulation.

Peaceful Parenting and Children Exercising Independent Reason

I was so proud of my 5 year old daughter last night correctly pointing out the moral hypocrisy of some of the “house rules” which are imposed through coercion that don’t apply to the parents.

We are now in process of reconsidering these rules in light of these hypocrisies.

Part of the process of me healing my inner-child is getting the chance to make “right” the wrongs that were done to me by my own parents. For most, being challenged by their children would result in a physical / emotional beating, as often was the case for me growing up. As I’ve gone through an objective awakening questioning many of the established norms imposed by society, I take great pleasure knowing I’ve done my job well when my child feels empowered and respected enough to call Kendra and I out on our own moral bullshit without fear of violent / emotional retribution.

She’s going to need that discerning mind to wade through the moral hypocrisy in the rest of the world that is only going to get worse.

Peaceful Parenting and Objective Reality

http://schoolsucksproject.com/podcast-382-kids-dont-need-or-want-your-praise-with-kevin-geary/

I wasn’t aware that my Christmas post about my gift-giving policy was going to touch so many nerves. This podcast discusses “peaceful parenting” and helps expand on some of the concepts I discussed to raise independent, rational, and internally-motivated children.

Adults today who have difficulty operating in objective reality are significantly influenced by their own Authoritarian parents and public education system that valued external motivating factors rather than internal. How one views the function of the State is often a reflection of how one views the roles of the parents.

Politics and parenting. Can I possibly cause any further cognitive dissonance? How about this: add legalistic religiosity to the mix and you create an adult paralyzed to effectively function in the real world.

GRAPHIC PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: NOROVIRUS

I am refusing to allow NoroVirus barf-fest become an annual event. We are recovering from a 6/8 infection rate. Last time we had it, it was 4/5, with me being the winner. We were extremely fortunate it wasn’t coming out both ends at the same time.

The memory of three kids in the living room while parents / grand parents are on barf-duty, will not be forgotten.

HYPOTHESIS:
Probiotics helped create a gut environment that can fight off the effects of the norovirus. The probiotics inhabit the same areas the norovirus attempts to infiltrate.

I’ve been taking probiotics through the first time, and this time around. Though I felt sick, I didn’t need to puke. Kendra has recently been taking probiotics, and she didn’t get it this time around. I think the newborn may had avoided it or had symptoms not so severe for reasons unknown.

I felt myself being close to feeling to puke, but never got over the edge. I sensed the acidic feeling in my tummy, but it was never so severe I needed to purge. I credit that to my low-carb diet and the probiotics I’ve been taking to keep the pH in my digestive track at tolerable levels.

TRANSMISSION:
Aerosolization in diarrhea when flushed and vomit. Only about 5 – 20 particles are needed to transmit.

Next time someone exhibits any of the symptoms, I’m sending them off to quarantine. There is no other way.

SHOW NO MERCY! NEVER AGAIN!

Lying to Your Own Children

I remember as a child I would fake believe in Santa Claus in order to receive two sets of presents. I also knew where to look and found where my parents hid the presents. The typical times I received gifts as a child was my birthday and Christmas. My gift giving policy is different with my kids.

I give my children little gifts throughout the year and make it clear it’s because I love them and like to see them excited (thanks slickdeals.net and craigslist). I gave my children the option of having their Christmas gift right away from me, or to wait until today. They decided earlier, so I obliged.

If you were given the option, would you want the gift right away or to wait?

I don’t like “traditions” when the utility value no longer serves its original purposes. I don’t like lying to my kids about nonexistent entities. I don’t like to withhold gifts and impose an arbitrary time restriction without clear utility. I don’t like controlling and manipulating my childrens’ emotions originating from a selfish desire focused on my own gratification.

If Christmas is ultimately about Love, then perhaps we should reconsider the traditions which hinder that goal. Some people prefer to wait because they enjoy the surprise. Some people don’t see the value in waiting.

Do you know what your child prefers and how they will remember your actions as adults?

Co-Sleeping with Your Children

I’ve found some of my most emotionally bonding moments being able to sleep in the same bed with my children. There’s something deeply, emotionally satisfying seeing them safe and within arms reach. Hearing them sleep peacefully and perhaps getting used to their body odor.

I get the sense that the Western tradition of separating kids from parents beds to short circuit one of our most primal, human connectedness potentials.

But then again, not getting kicked in the face has its advantages too.

Potty Training Dance Song – “Poop Goes in the Toilet”

My two year old had problems pooping in the toilet. She could pee just fine, but refused to go poop in the toilet. I think she was ashamed. She’d always go into the corner of her room and poop in her diaper (or on the floor) when we weren’t looking.

So I wrote this fun song to pump her up and get her excited to poop in the toilet like her big sister, daddy and mommy! And it worked.

Now the two little ones always want the “poopy” song to dance to.

HAPPY POTTY TRAINING!!!