Monday, September 13, 2010

Alternative to Mainstream Parenting

Most of the people that read this know that I'm not the normal parent. I want my children to have a real childhood and to grow up in a stable and complete home. When I was a child, the environment was not ideal. My mother did the best she could for being basically a single parent my entire life. She had no choice but to work so there wasn't always someone home when school let out. I was told I could talk to her about anything, but I was always afraid of her anger so I didn't use her as a confidant. Instead I hid things and snuck around to do what I wanted. I want to be able to have open lines of communication with my children. I want to be home when my kids are, take them places, cook for them and teach them as much as I can about the world.

Back to the main point of this... I do things with my children that some people think is crazy or weird. But it works for us, and I have two very smart happy children. I breastfeed, I don't let them "cry it out", I read to them every day, I don't force bedtime or naptime, I try to feed the boys as much organic and local food as possible, I'm now rear facing, I refuse to put Carter in a booster seat for another couple years, I'd like to homeschool both boys and I spank when warranted. I recently joined a group for alternative parenting and they had compiled this list of 101 things to do instead of yelling or spanking your kids. I'm gonna share it here, some of them seem a little silly but I'm going to be trying things from this list and gentle discipline.

1.Take a parental time-out.
2.Call for help from a friend or family member (ask them to give you an immediate break if possible).
3.Pile everyone in the car and drive to the park (or anywhere – just go for a change of scenery).
4.Sing a silly song about how angry you are.
5.Do jumping jacks.
6.Draw your feelings out.
7.Make yourself your favorite snack.
8.Write down 3 instances when you felt intense love for your child.
9.Clean out your clothes closet and set aside a bag for Goodwill (now would probably not be a good time to do this with the kids’ toys).
10.Change the subject – come back to it when you and your child are calmer.
11.Whisper.
12.Practice progressive relaxation.
13.Act like animals: stomp like an elephant, growl like a lion, etc.
14.Run around the house (or around the block if your children have alternate childcare).
15.Do a load of laundry.
16.Set out clothes for the kids for the next week (or do some other task that will pay off later).
17.Release tension: shake your shoulders, roll your neck, etc.
18.Count to 100. Out loud. In a robot voice.
19.Immerse yourself in an easy craft project.
20.Dust off the hedge clippers and trim your trees or other landscaping.
21.If your child allows it, give him a huge hug and tell him you love him.
22.Scream into a pillow.
23.Bake cookies (with help from your child), bring some to a neighbor or your local fire department.
24.Dance to your favorite song.
25.Instead of yelling at your kids to do something, act out your request in a game of charades or pictionary.
26.Pluck your eyebrows.
27.Clean out the refrigerator.
28.Bang your head – to some loud music.
29.Write down the angry words you could have said, then rip the paper up and throw it away.
30.Do some yoga.
31.Rearrange the furniture.
32.Make a list of the many reasons you love your child.
33.Wash the car by hand.
34.Laugh in as many different ways as you can think of (think Mary Poppins).
35.Take everyone and go sit in a car wash. Choose the option for colored soap.
36.Chocolate.
37.Call a friend who supports gentle discipline (think about finding a “gentle discipline partner” who you can talk to anytime you feel the urge to yell or spank).
38.Fall down theatrically on the floor. Lie there long enough to collect yourself.
39.Pay bills.
40.Keep a roll of tape handy – use it on your mouth.
41.Squeeze a stress ball.
42.Recite multiplication tables.
43.Stand as silent and still as possible.
44.Paint your nails.
45.Do 25 sit-ups.
46.Finish a task you’ve been putting off.
47.Listen to an audio book.
48.Take a bubble bath.
49.Ask a silly question. Ask another.
50.Take a walk around your neighborhood or a park and clean up the trash.
51.Run up and down the stairs.
52.Paint on different mediums (paper, rocks, your windows, etc.).
53.Write a story using only 100 words.
54.Cook a meal for the freezer.
55.Look at pictures of your child when she was a baby.
56.Play Solitaire (or whatever game strikes your fancy).
57.Brew some of your favorite tea or coffee. Have a tea party.
58.Sweep, vacuum, or mop.
59.Learn something new online.
60.Play with Playdough or clay.
61.Put a movie on for the kids; have sex with your partner.
62.Take a shower.
63.Organize meal plans for the next week. Or month. Or year
64.Set up an obstacle course for you and your kids to do (inside or out).
65.Instead of shouting something angrily, shout “I love you!!”
66.Make up a rhyme about how much you love your child. Recite it while standing on your head.
67.Play ball (basketball, throw a tennis ball against a wall, play catch with someone, etc.).
68.Take artsy pictures.
69.Make a PostSecret postcard.
70.Pull weeds.
71.Decoupage something.
72.Blow bubbles.
73.Make a list of “things I would rather do than engage in power struggles with my child.”
74.Trade roles with your child: pretend you are the little, and she is the adult.
75.Reorganize a closet or cabinet.
76.Roll around on an exercise ball.
77.Make bread or pizza dough (the kind you have to knead).
78.Form a drum circle: everyone grab a drum or a pot, and start playing.
79.Build a tower out of books (or anything handy). Knock it down.
80.Gather the kids for a nature walk around the block.
81.Have a few funny videos saved on YouTube to watch when you need a break.
82.Take silly pictures of yourself. Invite your child to help.
83.Ask your Facebook or Twitter friends to tell you a joke.
84.Scrub the shower.
85.Write a poem (it doesn’t have to be a good one).
86.Send postcards to random people.
87.Make a silly (and unrelated) announcement. (“For the rest of the day, everyone must hop on one foot when moving about the house!”)
88.Make funny faces. Tell your child that no matter what, they must not laugh.
89.Turn on a videocamera. Turn the opportunity into one of love and connection that you can be proud of later.
90.Play an instrument.
91.Take the family to a park with sidewalk chalk: write/draw inspirational messages/pictures.
92.Learn how to say a few words in another language (ASL, Spanish, etc.).
93.Floss.
94.Jump rope.
95.Do something nice for someone else. (Involve your child if he wants to help.)
96.Write your feelings down on paper.
97.Meditate or pray.
98.Hug your child’s teddy bear or doll and talk about how much you love your child (while your child is watching, if you’d like).
99.Look into a mirror and realize what your child is seeing when you are angry.
100.Remember your child is young, and innocent, and loves you, and needs to trust you.
101.Take a minute to calm down and breastfeed your child. (It’s hard to be angry at a child who is nursing, plus the act of breastfeeding releases hormones that will help calm both of you down.)


Everyone should educate themselves on their parenting choices, and make the best choice for their family...and that is exactly what I'm doing.

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