HOW IS PEACEFUL PARENTING® DIFFERENT? By now you probably realize that Peaceful Parenting® ideas are very different from other kinds of parenting practices that you have learned or read about. Certainly it is harder to practice Peaceful Parenting® than to simply threaten or bribe your child into following your directions or making what you consider to be the “right” choices. But what is the heart of the difference between Peaceful Parenting® and other programs? Simply put, Peaceful Parenting® follows the idea that human beings are internally motivated. Children (and parents) do what they do because of what is going on inside of them. The world outside of the child (and the parents) gives the child information. But the child decides what to do with this information based on what is going on inside the child at the time.
So when you ask your 7-year old to come inside for supper, your child hears your request as information. Based on what is going on for this child, he will behave accordingly. One child might decide to run inside as you have asked because he is very hungry. Or another child might decide to play one more inning of kick ball with her friends. Yes, she has heard your request. Yes, she wants to eat supper. But she also wants to play one more inning because it is her turn to kick and she knows she will kick the winning run! Contrary to what you may have learned in other parenting programs., children cannot be manipulated into behaving just as we want them to. Unfortunately there is a lot of information in our culture that would lead parents to believe that they can, should and must control their children.
The reality is that people are not easily controlled. In fact the very urge to control others may result in those others resisting harder because they do not want to feel controlled. If people were as easily manipulated and controlled as our culture represents, you too would be easily controlled and manipulated. For instance, do you have the ability to resist buying everything that is advertised to you in the media? Of course you do! Even the “bribes,” positive reinforcements or carrots the advertisers offer with rebates and sale prices does not mean that you must purchase everything, willy nilly. You decide to purchase a product because you need or want a specific item, not because of the enticement of advertising. Do you have the ability to resist your child’s unhealthy or inappropriate request? Even when your child punishes you by telling you she “hates you” or “won’t love you anymore if you don’t give in to her way,” you still have the ability to stick by your decision to answer your child’s request with a firm “no” response. No matter how hard your child tries to externally control you, you can make a reasonable decision. So why do we think it is otherwise with children? Simply because our children are smaller, less experienced and younger does not mean they are any more easily controlled or manipulated using external rewards and punishments.
Practicing Peaceful Parenting® means you understand your children are internally motivated by their genetic instructions for safety, love, power, fun and freedom.Practicing Peaceful Parenting® means you understand that you are also internally motivated by your genetic instructions for safety, love, power, fun and freedom. Both parents and children experience the urge to control one another because parents and children are both born with the urge for power. Luckily we are also both born with an urge for love. Our desire to stay connected with one another hopefully ameliorates our desire to win and control each other. Understanding this means the desire to follow Peaceful Parenting® ideas. It is harder, more challenging and more rewarding than trying to control our children using external control ideas. Peaceful Parenting also is more respectful of your child’s capacities to learn and become a responsible adult.