Peaceful parenting sounded like a dream. More than anything I want peace in our home. After all, the home is the most important place on Earth and a home that isn't peaceful isn't one that can be a safe haven. While peaceful parenting alluded me like a mouse from a hawk…wait, is the analogy of predator and prey a bad one when we're talking about peace…anyway, it alluded me and yet many things I read didn't sit well with me about the whole peaceful parenting movement.
I have joined and left, several “peaceful” Facebook groups and subscribed and unsubscribed from several “peaceful” blogs.
You see, in every group I found was all about peaceful parenting but not necessarily about peaceful adulting, peaceful living, or peaceful interaction.
How can you be okay with berating a mother for choosing not to vaccinate, using essential oils or bring your child up to love the Lord but proclaim peaceful parenting?
Sorry, but that is hypocrisy at it's finest.
One group was very vocal about their intolerance of “woo” and those who live an alternative lifestyle. If, like me, you have no idea what woo is, it's a shorthand phrase used to describe “pseudo-scientific and often anti-scientific ideas.” That would be natural medicine, natural living, delayed or anti-vax proponents, etc. There would even be the occasional natural meme or picture posted with captions like “have fun with this one”.
It seems only adults can be the targets of blame, shame or guilt but not children. We can't blame a child who spilled milk after being told to stop swinging his fork around wildly but we can shame a parent for wanting to live a life less medicated.
If that is the peaceful parenting lifestyle, forget it. I don't want to be a peaceful parent.
Peaceful Parenting's Positive Side
Don't get me wrong. There are things I like about the idea of peaceful parenting:
- Less yelling, more talking
- Offering choices centered around what must be done
- Not allowing your (the adult's) emotions take control
- Teaching consequences, natural and otherwise
- Treating the child like a person, not a project
- Being empathetic of big emotions and teaching how to handle them
- Recognizing needs and root causes
- Utilizing time in
My husband and I have employed several techniques from the peaceful parenting sphere and they have helped our home tremendously. There is merit yet, something is missing.
I felt like peaceful parenting sites often miss key elements to being a parent, a child and an adult. Not only that, but it's one extreme or the other.
On the opposite side of the people I described above were people who couldn't state their own opinions without saying, “I peacefully feel that, xyz isn't right for me, but in no way and I judging you for your choice. I value you as a human being and respect your liking of xyz….was that too harsh??”
Good grief! What is wrong with. “I'm glad you like xyz. We tried it but it wasn't for us.” Are we that thin-skinned that we can't read a comment without feeling judged, shamed or blamed all the time? Heaven forbid we let it roll like water off a duck's back.
The Missing Key(s)
Which brings me to the missing element.
Or should I say, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
Most (not all) peaceful parenting dialog leaves God out of the picture. Why is this so important? Because peace isn't just something we hope for, strive for, or should be attempting in our parenting.
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
~ Galatians 5:22-23 (AMPC, emphasis mine)
Everything peaceful parenting aims to accomplish is found not in methods and theories but in the Holy Spirit.
A Better Alternative to Peaceful Parenting
What if we, instead of peaceful parenting, we practiced some Holy Spirit parenting? What if we parented from the fruits of the spirit and with the intention of modeling the fruit of the spirit.
“But fruit is grown from the vine, it cannot be taught or made up!”
Yes, you are correct. But even before our children are old enough to understand when it means to be a life-follower of Christ (not when they've repeated a canned Sinner's Prayer) we can be teaching them what it looks like to display the fruit of the spirit.
The battle between a fruitful life and one that is dead and destroyed doesn't start at the Sinner's Prayer, it starts at birth.
Our children learn through watching us. Show them what the fruit of the Spirit looks like in your life and in the family dynamic so they learn to recognize it.
Our journey into a better way to parent is just beginning. As the Holy Spirit is leading me through scriptures and showing me how to respond in the moment to our son's actions, behavior, and needs. It's not easy, we're no mark of perfection, but we are learning, and growing closer to Christ and each other.
Parenting with the Holy Spirit requires more from you. You have to daily submit yourself to Him and let Holy Spirit take the lead.