Creative Child

Beyond Control: Finding Freedom and Peace in Parenting

by Rebecca Eanes

Each baby is afforded one childhood. Only one. And we are afforded only one shot at giving them a good one. There is tremendous pressure on parents to get it right. We don’t get do-overs.

I know that if you are reading this right now, you understand the value of childhood. You understand the impact of your everyday words and actions on little hearts. You know that every interaction is shaping your child’s brain and creating patterns that will probably be with them for a lifetime.

The responsibility of this can feel so huge as to weigh us down and make us feel as though we can never measure up, as though we are doomed to fail despite our best efforts.

Or, it can set us free.

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Free to love them. Free to enjoy them. Free to fully cherish this fleeting time.

Positive parenting, on the surface, looks to be about gentle discipline, about finding alternatives to spanking or punishment, and learning a more positive way to interact with our kids. In fact, I’d bet that most people who search for “positive parenting” have discipline in mind. They are probably searching, just as I was, for a kinder way to control their kids. Their intentions are good, hearts are in the right place, but still, their minds are muddled with the current misconceptions on children and what it takes to raise them well.

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It takes work and time to clear away the muddle, and unfortunately many comfortably stay in that “first phase” of positive parenting. They’ve traded spanking for the time-in, yelling for consistency and firmness, and they begin to notice and praise their kids for doing good, and those are big steps in the right direction, but it’s only the first step to releasing control and finding freedom. When parents get stuck in that first phase, they’re still bound by the notion that they have to train, control, and correct every misbehavior, and on the flip side of the coin, they are bound by the notion that they must be perfect – that they must never yell and never falter.

How can one feel positive and peaceful when there’s so much pressure?

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