Acceptance is a big ask when it comes to parenting.
Like many topics in parenting, acceptance can be helpful, as well as confusing. I call things like this, a multi-layered concept.
Acceptance and correcting behavior can feel like they’re at cross-purposes most of the time.
However, when you use a mindful parenting authority, acceptance becomes part of your parenting script. Let me explain.
When a child rails against something, says NO, refuses to cooperate, most parents try to negotiate.
• Some parents negotiate to hopefully prevent a full-on tantrum.
• Some negotiate to stop any big emotions from showing up and sucking all the energy out of the family.
• And some parents negotiate, because they want their child to express their feelings, and learn to logically see the situation from a more adult point of view.
When you use a Mindful Parenting Authority your awareness shifts to include the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, clues your child is trying to share by their refusal.
Becoming aware of the emotional clues your child is sending, helps you define the moment when acceptance needs to come into play.
Today’s PopSugar article gives you an example of what I’m talking about. It’s called, I”m Bribing My Picky Eater, and I’m Ok With it.
Full Disclosure: I don’t agree with bribing. Bribing creates a situation where a child learns to hold out until (s)he gets what (s)he wants. But I do like the boundaries the mom in this article created.
When the mom in the PopSugar article accepted that her child was not willing to negotiate about food, she realized that what she did next would determine many things now, and in the future. She applied a “Big Picture” perspective which informed her of what to do next.
She realized if she didn’t accept her child’s stand, “I am not eating healthy food,” she would remain stuck in the reaction cycle each time the topic of food came up.
Mom decided to accept her son’s choice not to eat “green” things, but with conditions and boundaries. Her acceptance changed the dynamic that occurred each time the topic of food came up, and opened the door to teaching instead of negotiating, arguing, and punishing.
Mom’s use of mindfulness created the space her child needed so he could learn about choices, and the natural consequences that usually accompany a choice.
This experience taught mom that when you remain calm and present, in each moment, you really do know what to do, and say. It’s when you become angry, and emotional, that you quite literally lose your mind, and end up punishing to enforce your rules, instead of teaching.
Acceptance is one of the keys that unlocks teaching. Acceptance can, and should be part of parenting, because everyone, both parent and child, have the right to make a choice and learn from the results of that choice.
Just thought this might help. Have a great weekend.
Now, go hug your kids.