This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
A question for you...
I am calling on the collective wisdom of my sisters in mothering. Gone are the days when a circle of support literally surrounded a young mother. Our ancient tribes have dissolved into busy disjointed metropolises, our villages are disappearing and even our tightly knit small town communities are all but gone as we retreat further and further into our personal, technologically stimulated lives. The ancient circle of strength protecting and guiding young parents is rarely seen in our busy modern culture. We are left floundering and searching somewhat blindly for answers to the questions that trouble our mothering hearts.
So, I call upon your wisdom dear reader, to help cast light on a shadowed section of my parenting path...
I try to see parenting as a ‘big picture’. I try to worry less about little day to day stumbles and more about the lifelong journey my children are travelling. Specifically, this finds me reminding myself daily that things move in phases. Children are always experiencing a new pattern of sleeping or eating. They move at their own pace when learning language and movement. They even move in and out of different stages of behaviour. I strive to travel through these stages with my children, walking beside them with a gentle voice and, when necessary, an understanding firmness. Resultantly, when my mothering heart truly stumbles, it is usually upon issues that tend to encompass a broad spectrum of subjects and lend themselves ever so slightly to being ‘philosophical’.
When I think of my children as adults, finally grown into fully enriched individuals, ready to jump into life with both feet, I have a vision of the type of character I want as their foundation. I want them to be joyful. I want them to love learning and to always seek out new experiences. I want them to be kind and feel genuine compassion for the world around them and I want them to be patient. Teaching patience is the topic with which I am currently struggling.
When I consider patience as one of the most important things to teach to my children it has quite an expansive meaning. I think patience falls very closely in line with discipline; self discipline that is. Self discipline in the way that is spoken of in Buddhist teachings; a conscious effort to restrain from allowing afflictive emotions to run rampant in our souls, a conscious effort to reject negative thoughts and feelings whilst continually seeking out peace of mind and heart. How do you teach this to a child? How do you encourage this characteristic in a young, growing mind?
My children are healthy, well adjusted and happily bonded to us but they are still children. They are still experiencing all the aches and pains that come from the process of growing up. They have moments when they scream out in anger, lose their tempers and lash out in ugly ways. They will sometimes cry uncontrollably when something frustrates them and shout angrily when they are cross. Sometimes these ‘moments’ seem to run together into a series of many moments, filling an entire day with negativity, frustration and unrest. I find myself, at best, staring flabbergasted, and at worst boiling up in my own swell of afflictive emotion. I believe in teaching through example but sometimes practicing patience is my own biggest challenge and every good intention and all my broad forward thinking evaporates into thin air.
How do you teach a child to be patient?
I am seeking even the most practical, basic and specific answers to this simple question.
So, in an effort to reclaim a sliver of the collective wisdom of a bygone age, I toss my troubled heart into the ether, hopefully to land in the hand of a kindred mother who can step in and brighten a space in my own faded circle of ancient guidance and support.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)
- Replace hitting with…? — Acacia at Be Present Mama is at a loss on how to handle her three year old's hitting.
- Two Questions — Alexandra at Breastfeeding Momma would like some ideas on how to strengthen her bond with her 8-month-old daughter; she's also looking for input on an emotional topic: vaccines.
- Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. (@childbearing )
- The McDilemma — Annie at PhD in Parenting is on the arches of a McDilemma. (@phdinparenting)
- Where is the mutually agreeable solution? When parenting calls for blood draws — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick has a child who needs regular blood tests that are torment for him. How does a parent honor a child when his health is on the line? (@RaisingBoychick)
- When To Wait To Nurse — Cave Mother wonders what age toddlers can be asked to wait to nurse.
- I don't love you Mama! — CurlyMonkey wonders what to do with her daughter's intense feelings. (@curlymonkey_)
- Help a Mama Out — Danielle at Born.in.Japan isn't getting much sleep with her cosleeping, night nursing, cranky little guy and hopes you can help with some suggestions for shuteye. (@borninjp)
- Dear Abby: My daughter really misses her Daddy — Darcel at The Mahogany Way needs to know how to help her daddy's girl get the connection with her father she needs — and not feel left out in the process. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- What's Going on at School? — Deb at Science@home is in a quandary: how can she find out what really goes on at school without stepping on the teacher's toes? (@ScienceMum)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Advice — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to find volunteer work that includes her toddler. (@CodeNameMama)
- How do you deal? — Erin at Beatnik Momma does not want to engage in "mommy wars." She'd like your input on how (and how much) to discuss her natural parenting choices with curious friends and family who parent differently. (@babybeatnik)
- Dear Abby — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts gave her son a banana...and no solid food since. What's the next step in baby-led weaning? (@thegrumbles)
- Excuse me, I have a poop question — Jessica at This is Worthwhile has a question for you about toddler tinkling. (@tisworthwhile)
- The Half Empty Nest Syndrome: What to do when Momma gets replaced by a cow? — Joni Rae at Kitchen Witch Momma is suffering from "half-empty nest syndrome": what do you do when your babies start growing up? (@kitchenwitch)
- Peer Pressure — Kate at Momopoly worries what message her daughter's new friend is sending — but how to break up such an infatuation? (@Momopoly)
- When I Fall Down — Katherine at Momioso.com needs your wisdom on how to be more gentle and at peace with herself. (@naturalparent)
- A question of sleep and sanity — KeepingMumSane needs your toddler cosleeping advice in order to, well, keep mum sane! (@keepingmumsane)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice — Lauren at Hobo Mama needs a chiropractor … or help getting her 36 lb toddler to walk up the stairs. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Driver's Ed for Mommies — Maman A Droit is a self-confessed terrible driver and is scared to drive with her baby in the car.
- Solo Parenting — Mammapie at Downside Up and Outside In needs tips for being a single working mother while her partner's away. (@mammapie)
- Itsy Bitsy Biter — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting needs your advice about her daughter, otherwise known as the pitbull.
- How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is at a loss ever since her tomboys turned into wannabe princesses. (@bfmom)
- Seeking Stability in Chaos — Michelle at Seeking Mother is in a heart-wrenching position. She needs your input on how to make a toddler feel secure during a time of transition, the illness of a parent, and multiple (new) caregivers. (@Seekingmother)
- Mama, That's Too, Too Boring! — Michelle at The Parent Vortex started out asking how to encourage her preschooler to get dressed — and four days later, she began to without prompting! (@TheParentVortex)
- Dear Lovey Hart, I am Desperate. — Mommy Soup from Cream of Mommy Soup has several questions for you, from how you play favorites when no one's your favorite to how to tell off strangers curious about the ample size of your family. (@mommysoup)
- Diaper Duty Dilemma — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has a simple request: talk to her about cloth! (@babydust)
- What Do You Need My Son — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start wishes her calm four-month-old hadn't turned into an inquisitive and dramatic six-month-old. How do you handle changes in baby's personality? (@pchanner)
- Dear Natural Parenting Community — Sarah at OneStarryNight wants to know how to respond to criticism from family and friends over breastfeeding. (@starrymom)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Help — Sarah at Consider Eden feels like either her to-do list or her parenting is suffering, because she can't do both! (@considereden)
- To potty learn or not to potty learn - that is the question — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes wants to know whether it's time to start potty training. (@sheryljesin)
- Seeking Patience — Starr at Earth Mama looks to the collective tribal wisdom of this community to learn how to teach patience to children.
- A Dirty Girl Comes Clean — Tashmica at Mother Flippin' is struggling. How do parents deal with their inability to keep their children protected from danger? (@Mother_Flippin)
- Uli and the Pussy Cats — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis has a toddler who likes to put kitties in headlocks and ride them like horsies. How best to separate the little beasties?
- Perceptions of Discipline — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't use conventional discipline with her child — and doesn't know how to respond around people who do. (@zoeyspeak)