Peaceful Parenting: One Day At a Time

Peaceful Parenting:


Remember how I confessed that I’m a Yeller and I decided to do something about it by joining a challenge to not yell for a whole year?  While I have always strived to use peaceful parenting strategies, I found that I struggled with actually following through. I am sad to admit, my home had lost its peace. I wanted a more peaceful home and that needed to start with a change in me.

Maybe its because they felt the disconnect, maybe its just because they saw how excited I was about the challenge, whatever the case is, my children wanted to join.

My children wanted a peaceful home.

So we got to work. We had our first family meeting in some time. We started brainstorming everything we would need to figure out before we could “officially” start this year long challenge.

No Yelling Family Challenge

And there it was. A new beginning. A step in the right direction. But it was going to take more than a list to build our peaceful home. We needed actions, we needed to fine tune this machine.

As expected, I didn’t have to wait long for my first opportunity to use positive parenting strategies to help my children through a situation.

The scene was all too familiar: 

The boys were playing with the cloud dough in the kitchen and things were starting to get out of control. {Picture a food fight but with cloud dough}

I asked them to clean up, causing both boys to get upset.

During clean up, Legoman (8) wanted Bones (6) out of his space.
Bones wanted the box open. Legoman wanted the box closed.
Fighting began over the box. Pulling back and forth. Volume escalating.

{I don’t think they could even hear me and my “peaceful parenting” trying to help.}
I asked them to remove themselves until both were calm.
This only made matters worse.

Legoman broke lid to the box. Ran to the other room. Hid in pillows and grunted.
Bones followed him and instigated him.

It was not pretty. It took a full 30 minutes for everyone to calm down and be able to talk about what happened. That wait time is precious. I have found trying to talk to my kids when they are escalated is going to get us nowhere.

In the past, we would all rehash what happened. They would force out some apologies and we would go about our day. This time, we dug a little deeper. This time, we thought globally about how we could build a peaceful home using this as our first building block.

We dissected the events that took place and realized that there are underlying levels of irritation we all experience. Left ignored or left untreated these levels could boil up and lead to an explosion.

Since Legoman struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder , we were able to compare our levels of irritation to that of wearing socks that don’t make his feet happy (this happens more than you would think).

Level One: Outside source of frustration

{hungry, tired, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or just a plain ole’ bad mood}

Visual: We talked about that sock. Itchy, Scratchy… Bothering you some. Not enough to take the sock off. Not enough to upset you. Not enough to make you cry… but it’s there. It’s underlying.

Level Two: We set ideas of what we want/need. We encounter a problem.

Visual: Now imagine that sock is poking you, but not constantly…just when you rub up against someone or something else.

Level Three: The problem escalates to a point of arguing, and no solution.

{Unable to talk it through. Unable to fix the problem immediately. Any reaction will be loud, irrational}

Visual: That darn sock! Now, it is really bothering you! But now, now, you can’t take it off. Everywhere you go, everything you do…. its just painful. You can’t think about anything else. You can’t even think about how to get the sock to stop hurting you.

There’s nowhere else to go from here. There is no pretty picture beyond this level. Any more stimulus or input…Boom!

 You blow a gasket, pop a top, go through the roof, explode, etc…

Having this visual and this language was the first building block of our peaceful home. It was a step in the right direction. By the time Papa Bear came home, he was hearing language used he had never heard in our house. We had not even shared our levels with him, but through the boys’ actions he already knew them.

That night we had our first “official” family meeting. I used to do community meetings regularly in the classroom, and had been doing them only when problems would arise at home. As part of our commitment to building a peaceful home, we all agreed that we would start them up again as a nightly routine at dinner.

Part of family meeting is coming up with 3 possible solutions to a problem. That night we came up with very basic solutions for how to de-escalate our irritation levels.

If we are at…

level one, we might need to do quiet activities, eat something, do some heavy work
level two, we need to express feelings or walk away, take deep breaths, use problem solving tools
level three, we need to be completely alone until our heart is peaceful and open to talking about what is bothering us

I would love to say that day 2 was beautiful. That on Day 2 there was no screaming or fits. Unfortunately, both boys went to Mr. X. I don’t know what happened there. What I do know is that I got a call from him the next day describing what sounded like a war zone. Something about a fight over clothes. There was yelling. There was biting. There was pinching. And they were headed back to their home with mom.

Can I be honest and say that I was skeptical of how effective our positive parenting efforts were going to be if they would be challenged each week in another home. Papa Bear was skeptical we could go one day without yelling, let alone a whole year. If I have learned one thing from this challenge… its not about not yelling, its about changing the mood in your home. Its about creating a peaceful home. Its about modeling love.

I wasn’t ready to give up. Not yet.

We continued each day building our toolbox. We talked about our levels of frustration. We talked about communicating our frustrations and our needs. I used the Facebook No Yelling Support Group as a sounding board for both successes and frustrations.

Here are just a few of my posts…

Just heard from the kitchen (as an argument was starting up)….
Legoman (8): You know what, I’m just gonna forget about it. I don’t want to yell.
Bones (6): That works for me.

Now in their room: Starting to get ramped up… 
Me: “Can you come”
Legoman: “It’s okay. Mom, I am going to bend. I am trying to talk it out. We won’t yell.”

Am I really hearing these things?

And my favorite…

Three days as a yell free home! Mama, papa and kiddos! Thank you Amanda Rueter for encouraging this change!

We made it 4 days! 4 days with no yelling! It was beautiful. The mood in our house was turning around. The attitude and respect for each other was at a whole new level. It seemed too good to be true.

I could end my story here… I could let you believe that we all lived happily ever after. Just take the challenge and bring it to your family and you, too, can have a peaceful home.

However, that would not be the truth. That would not be real. So here is my last post in the Facebook Support Group

4 days no yelling, no meltdowns, no big arguments between the kids…
Then today. Time for chores…
Boys start to argue over who is doing trash. I’m nursing and can’t get up.
Argument escalates.
I try to get both boys to walk away.
They keep at it.
Youngest yells “I’M AT A LEVEL 3”
Oldest is upset now, because we don’t get a heart for today.
(He is the one with SPD and gets Highly Explosive)
He grunts.. walks to his brother, Hits him in the face…
Screams and stomps upstairs and starts throwing things.

He is settling down now… could take an hour or more 
Once he does, we can talk about alternatives and how we all have to start over sometimes. Its okay.

This just reminds me, it can happen at any time and it changes the whole mood of the house.

Well, it took about an hour for him to emerge from his room. Once he did, he was remorseful. He was apologetic. He was ready and open to talk about it.

With tears in his eyes…

“I just, I just… worked so hard to not yell. I got so upset when Bones yelled that I couldn’t control myself.”

We hugged. We talked. We erased our chalkboard and started over. And you know what?

Tomorrow's A New Day

It is a new day. A clean slate. We get to start over. And that is OKAY!

Stop Yelling Support Group

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20 thoughts on “Peaceful Parenting: One Day At a Time”

  1. This is really fabulous and having a do over is great! I think this is a wonderful way to teach communication and looking at something through the other persons point of view. And yes it’d more time consuming then just yelling but this is something they can use throughout their entire life.

    1. Thank you so much!We are seeing a lot of growth in our family even if it did end on a rough note this week. We look forward to tomorrow.

  2. Great post. We have been readjusting out approach to discipline, working through feelings, etc. as well, as each kid encounters new developmental challenges. Always something new, and things go so much better with the precious input from the kids. Keep up the good work!


  3. Wow this is such good advice. I’m a “Yeller” too, unfortunately. I’m not heard with peaceful parenting either. Maybe I should give your suggestion a go:) Pinning for later when I can read again without the “crazies” bothering me. 😉

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I find our home has a very different feel. On Sunday I will post our Family Meetings we have been doing. I would love to know if you think the tips might help. Thank you for pinning. 🙂

  4. wow I am so impressed that you are taking this on as a family. Good luck to you all. I’m featuring your post on the Sunday Parenting Party this weekend.

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  6. This is an amazing post, informative, organized and i enjoyed very much the visualization. It just puts everything related to getting triggered into perspective somehow. thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your post and being around your blog.
    Marwa @

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It really has changed the way our family works. We don’t have great days every day, but we are working towards growth.

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  12. This is such a great post , really appreciate your honesty, I know many parents can relate to this – sharing it on the positive parenting connection community page! Wishing you peace and strength as you continue your peaceful parenting journey.

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