Preventing Breakdowns in Our Kids


This post is written as part of the Round Table Discussions with Natural Parent Network volunteers. In an effort to discuss, support, and promote a kinder, more gentle world, we are taking an in depth view of various books. Our current book is Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. We hope you will join us with an open mind and a desire for change and growth.NPN RTD feature

The second chapter of Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings is titled “How Peaceful Discipline Supports the Sibling Relationship” and is chock full of information that can transform your parenting if put into practice. I could probably have underlined and highlighted most of the chapter. I couldn’t possibly cover in one blog post each topic touched on so instead I’ll put the subheadings for the chapter here below so you can see how in depth it is.

  • Why Punishment and Permissiveness Cause More Sibling Fighting
  • Rethinking Discipline
  • Setting Empathic Limits
  • Rethinking Time-Outs
  • Rethinking Rewards
  • The Difference Between Consequences and Limits
  • What if Empathy Doesn’t Work?
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • When Your Child is Acting Out: Time-In
  • Helping Kids with Big Emotions: Scheduled Meltdowns
  • How to Help Each Child with Big Emotions When You Have More Than One Upset Child

Onya Baby CruiserYeah, I can’t cover all that so instead I’m just going to focus on one topic: Preventive Maintenance. This is all about connection which I talked about in my last roundtable post. Dr. Markham describes preventive maintenance as “refilling your children’s love tank and giving them an emotional tune-up on a daily basis, so you don’t end up in the breakdown lane.” With more than one child, the idea of getting one-on-one time with each child sounds a bit daunting, especially the more children you have. I only have 2 and it still seems challenging to me. I homeschool which does mean I get one-on-one time with my daughter and I still nurse my son so that gives us one-on-one times throughout the day and night. But still, is that enough I wonder? Could I/should I be doing more?

Dr. Markham gives these tips for preventive maintenance each day to help each child feel loved and connected to you:

  1. Use routines
  2. Make empathy your go-to way of relating to you child
  3. Daily roughhousing
  4. Special time

I can see after reading this chapter, this is an area I should be striving for more of with my daughter especially. She does enjoy “doing school” together but that isn’t really necessarily something special we are doing for just the two of us. I think I’m going to carve out some time each day and ask her what she wants to do, just the two of us.

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