One of the things that helped me in my journey
to parent in a different way was to always focus on
the long term life skills that I was teaching
rather than trying to get immediate obedience.
This is quite a radical shift in focus
Letting go of obedience changes how I dealt with everything.
Even regular, day to day events took on a whole new meaning.
Nothing was ordinary.
Yes letting go of obedience is letting go of the ordinary
And our family life has been anything but ordinary.
It certainly takes an extra level of attention to parent this way.
I found I had to always be looking for the lessons that were present.
What can I do in this moment that will help her develop
into the most whole, happy and powerful person possible?
It’s amazing how much richness there is in even the simplest of life’s moments.
The Profound Opportunities of Mealtime
For example at meal times we often want kids to finish their food
and to behave in an orderly fashion.
Stay at the table till you finish and don’t play with your food.
These goals are short term and not very useful as life skills.
And yet they are deeply programmed into us.
They seem so important, until we think deeper.
I prefer to think of meal times as an opportunity to teach profound lessons.
A healthy relationship with food,
with the body,
with the joy of eating.
To emphasize the joyous social occasion that eating together is.
The Body Is a Wonderful Thing
I will explain to my kid about how wonderful our bodies are
How we use them for play and fun and learning.
Taking care of them is so important
and what we put into them affects how well they work.
I also will talk about how we must balance nutrition and the joy of eating.
I encourage my child to listen deeply to her body and trust its messages.
(Wow, now that’s a radical thing to teach to a child!)
I think these are much more important things to focus on during a meal
than manners and an empty plate.
By enforcing a certain type of behaviour at the table
I’m not actually teaching these lessons.
It may be that on the surface kids will behave well
if we find ways to force them into it.
But teaching lessons that will last a lifetime is another thing altogether.
This Also Increases The Parent Child Bond
You will find that the bond between you and your child gets deeper
when your habitual interactions are focused on improving their lives.
Teaching skills and creating a love of learning
instead of controlling their behaviour
opens the mind and touches the heart.
Not only are you teaching, but you are also growing closer.
This is truly a win-win.
Look For Teaching and Bonding Opportunities In Every Moment
It is possible to take this same idea and apply it to any circumstance.
There are deeper lessons available in almost every moment.
If this type of education becomes your focus
your parenting decisions will change dramatically.
You will find that all your interactions with your child change
and the general level of peace and harmony in your home increases.