It’s a common saying that having a baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual. A follow-up joke could be that there are thousands and thousands of instruction manuals in the form of books, blogs, podcasts, gurus, experts, and courses. But what if there was one guide out there for new parents? I’m on a quest to make that happen. I’m sharing what I’ve learned: the philosophies, methods, and research that have worked well for me and my family. Yes, I understand this seems very personal, but the philosophies I’ve adopted for my family come from evidence-based research and results. I call this collection “Parent Perfect.” To me, Parent Perfect is not about perfection- that’s more of an oxymoron, an impossible pursuit if you will. It’s more about curiosity, seeking knowledge, being open to new ideas, and unlearning what we think we know about raising kids or what we experienced as a kid ourselves.
This edition is all about Parenting, Behavior, and Discipline. The target audience is parents of children ages 1-6, but the foundation and principles go beyond age 6.
Background: When our toddler was around 3.5 years old, we noticed a spike in tantrums. It was almost a daily thing. When it came to bedtime it did become a daily thing: “one more hug,” “one more drink of water,” and the only end to it was everyone losing their temper. Every night bedtime was a battle and what we were doing clearly wasn’t working.
Recommendation: Big Little Feelings course, $99
Philosophy: gentle parenting, conscious parenting
Research: Understanding the toddler brain can help demystify what we think we know about how kids behave and understand why they act out. The Big Little Feelings course is research-based, and one of the ladies (Deena) is a child therapist who studied under Dr. Dan Seigel, a neurophysicist and author of The Whole Brain Child. Other related materials include the book How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber), and Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey, who started Conscious Discipline taught to many teachers.
Methods: Being a calm, confident leader of your home makes your child feel safe. Setting expectations and preparing your child when possible can help children deal with changes in the routine or avoid a tantrum when having to leave the park, etc.
Commitment: Kristen and Deena walk you through the steps to change how you’ve been communicating with your child. They are a bit stiff at first on camera but stick with it and you will be enlightened. Believe it or not it’s much easier than traditional punishment. I will never be the same, for the better. Gentle parenting takes a lot of practice and when you’re tired and burned out it’s hard to hold it together, but it’s so worth it.
The Crux: Being a calm, confident leader of your home, welcoming ALL feelings, setting expectations for your children, holding boundaries, and being consistent all lead to your child feeling safe, having fewer tantrums and being well-adjusted kids and adults. I’ve read some of the books cited above, but nothing was as effective as purchasing the Big Little Feelings course.
Conclusion: I immediately put these techniques into practice and the bedtime battles faded. I highly recommend this course to every parent of young children. Instead of parenting by the seat of your pants, why not have a concrete game plan that will make a happier, calmer home for you and your kids? Your family deserves it.