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Friday, January 23, 2015

FREE Chapter of The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition


The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition is now available on Createspace, Amazon, Kindle, and Nook.


I'm reading a free chapter of The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition by Rebecca Eanes! [tweet this].

Introduction

Allow me to begin my writings to you by telling you a short tale. This particular tale is my own, but I suspect that it may feel quite familiar to the eyes reading this page. It is a tale of excitement, love, heartache, trials, and adventure. I can't tell you how the story ends because, well, I'm still in the middle of the book. I'm making it up as I go along - filling in a fresh blank page every day. Then, I turn the page and wait to see what tomorrow brings. These pages will one day be my legacy. This is how it began...

It was the day after Christmas in the year 2006. Standing in my little bathroom, in a home tucked away by the mountainside, I stood with my hands shaking. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The tile floor was ice cold beneath my bare feet, my reflection showed hope and anticipation in tired-looking eyes, and never had two minutes lasted longer. My mind was swirling with a dozen thoughts as I watched the hourglass turn over and over and over again. It stopped.

PREGNANT.

I picked up the test with my shaky hands just to make sure I had read it right. I had seen so many not pregnants before that I thought perhaps I just wasn't seeing the not in that particular light. I held it up right in front of my eyes. They had not deceived me. It did, indeed, say pregnant.

Nine months (or so) later, I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful child ever in the history of ever. (What, you too?) A baby boy. A baby boy whose very existence changed the entire world for me in one breath, one cry, one single moment. Oh, how I loved this boy with a fierce and wild love like I'd never felt before in my life. I wanted to hold him in my arms forever and ever, and I never wanted that moment to end.

But all moments end. And new moments begin.

I scribbled magnificent stories of first roll-overs, milestones, baby food mishaps, and peek-a-boo as the pages of time turned ever so quickly. First smiles, crawling, first words, standing, first steps, songs, giggles, and delightful squeals told the captivating tale of the happiest mother in the world and the smallest love of her life.


Eighteen months later, I stood once more on a cold tile floor with shaking hands, though in a different house tucked away by a different mountain. My heart doubled in size that day. My tummy quadrupled in size over the next several months, and once again, I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful child ever in the history of ever. A baby boy. A baby boy whose very existence changed the entire world for me in one breath, one cry, one single moment. Oh, how I loved this little boy with a fierce, wild, but familiar love. I wanted to hold him in my arms forever and ever, and I never wanted that moment to end.

But as I said...

I quickly scrawled more exquisite stories on my blank pages - a story of brothers meeting for the first time, two souls orchestrated by God to share childhoods together, and it was breathtaking to watch the story unfold. A story of a mother falling head over heels for a second smiling, giggling, rolling little love whose dark brown eyes made her melt into a puddle of ridiculous adoration was written in those pages.

Then, the stories began to change. My love stories were sprinkled with stories of frustration and desperation, and little by little, those stories became more and more until one sad day, when I looked back through the book, most of the pages I saw were marked up with disappointment and regret.

What happened to my wonderful story? This story was filled with tears and time-outs. This story was filled with disappointment and disconnection. I didn't like it. This was not my story. I refused to continue to fill the pages of our lives with weeping and woe.

Brokenhearted and desperately wanting back the bond I once shared with my little loves, I set out on a journey to reclaim what was lost. And that is how I discovered positive parenting.



1
What is Positive Parenting?


Positive parenting isn't a method, a set of rules, or a style. Positive parenting is a philosophy, a way of relating to children and to ourselves. Positive parenting – sometimes referred to as positive discipline, gentle guidance, or love-based parenting – is guidance offered in a positive way, keeping in mind the dignity of the parent and child and preserving the parent-child relationship.


Positive parenting is about believing in the altruism of our children, believing that they want to do what is good. It is about believing that behavior is a form of communication and clues us in to what is going on inside the child. Positive parenting is also about being firm and kind, consistent and empathetic, and viewing disagreements between parents and children as opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and learn how to navigate relationships.

There are 5 principles from which positive parenting actions derive:

    1. Attachment. According to English psychiatrist, John Bowlby, and American psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, who pioneered the attachment theory, the mother-child bond is the primary force in infant development. Scientific evidence has proven that children are hardwired to connect, and if that connection isn't there, then the brain may not develop properly.

    The attachment bond theory states that the bond between infants and primary caregivers is responsible for:

  • shaping all of our future relationships
  • strengthening or damaging our abilities to focus, be conscious of our feelings, and calm ourselves
  • the ability to bounce back from misfortune”1

    When a secure attachment is made, the child feels safe and understood. Insecure attachment occurs when the infant does not have consistent, nurturing care. Having a trusted caregiver who consistently provides care, affection, and support to the child in infancy and early childhood is important for a child to reach his or her full potential.

    2. Respect. Respect isn't a privilege, it's an emotional need. Children need to be treated in a thoughtful, attentive, civil, and courteous manner. As individuals and as human beings, they deserve the same consideration as others. The best way children learn about respect is to feel what it's like to be treated respectfully by those around them.

    3. Proactive parenting. Proactive parents respond instead of react. Responding quite simply means there is a planned action, a forethought into how you will respond to your child and to certain behaviors. Reactive parents act impulsively. Being proactive also means addressing a potential problem behavior at the first sign, before it snowballs into a real problem.

    4. Empathetic leadership. Empathy is the oil that keeps relationships running smoothly. Not to be confused with permissive parents, positive parents are still in a leadership role. Being empathetic means we understand the needs of our children, and that helps us to develop a closer relationship with them.

    5. Positive discipline. Punishment is distinct from discipline. The goal of punishment is to make someone suffer enough to cause them to want to avoid that particular behavior (and therefore punishment) again in the future. The goal of discipline is to teach someone to control impulses and behavior, to learn new skills, and to fix mistakes and find solutions. Positive discipline isn't about making a child pay for his mistake but rather learn from it.

Why Choose Positive Parenting?

There are many benefits of positive parenting. Most important is the secure attachment between parent and child, which encourages healthy development. Secure attachment builds resilience2, paves the way for how well your child will function as an adult in a relationship, and has a positive impact on brain development.

Positive parenting encourages children to develop self-discipline and offers more benefits compared to punishments, time-outs, and scolding. Some of these benefits include:

    1. A stronger parent-child relationship in which the child wants to behave because of the strong bond formed with the parent. This involves setting the child up for success and recognizing good behaviors. While punishments can damage the relationship and make the child focus on getting even or on his anger with the parent rather than on the behavior, loving guidance allows the relationship to remain intact so the child can focus on improving behavior.

    2. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is recognizing, validating, and teaching children about their emotions and how to navigate them. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Laura Markham of Ahaparenting.com says that the core components of a high EQ3 are emotional self-knowledge and self-acceptance, sensitivity to the cues of others, empathy (which can be defined as the ability to see and feel something from the other’s point of view), and the ability to regulate one’s own anxiety in order to talk about emotionally charged issues in a constructive way.

    3. Reduction in power struggles and misbehavior. Limits set and enforced with empathy help the child to better accept these limits. As our children feel more connected to us, cooperation naturally follows.

Understanding basic brain development is a big factor in why I chose positive parenting. This is a very simplistic model of a very complex organ, but think of the brain in terms of two parts – an upper brain and a lower brain. The lower brain is fully developed at birth and regulates functions like breathing, digestion, reflexes, and heart rate. The upper brain is developing in infancy and continues to develop throughout childhood, not reaching maturation until the mid 20's! The upstairs brain is responsible for emotions control, empathy, and complex thinking.

This information is key to understanding behaviors such as tantrums and aggression, because when you realize that a toddler simply does not have the cognitive capability to pause and reflect (a function of the underdeveloped upstairs brain), suddenly you understand that this isn't poor behavior but purely an issue of brain development. This knowledge helps us provide empathy and understanding in situations which would otherwise cause us a lot of frustration.

Right about now, you may have one eyebrow raised in skepticism. Believe me, I understand. I, too, was quite skeptical when I first began exploring this philosophy. To me, it sounded positively marvelous but not at all practical – much like riding my unicorn through a field of rainbow tulips.

I wish I could tell you that my journey from fear-based to love-based parenting was an easy straight shot, but that wouldn't be the truth. The truth is that my road to positive parenting was more of a long, winding road with lots of zigzags, roadblocks, and crazy loops on which I got lost more than a few times. It takes no small leap of faith to push aside everything you've been told about raising children and about what it means to be a child.

I suppose, like many of you, I had the hardest time understanding what I was supposed to do in lieu of punishment. What was the point of having rules if there were no punishments for breaking them? What was I supposed to do when my child misbehaved or stepped out of the boundaries I had established? (I will help you solve this mystery in the later chapters of this book.)

I wanted easy answers to these questions. I wanted step-by-step instructions on what to do when my child did X, Y, and Z, but you see, I was missing the point of positive parenting entirely. Positive parenting isn't about telling you what you should and shouldn't do but rather about helping you and me tune out the clamor of the world and tune in to the whispers of our hearts. Everything you need to know about loving, correcting, and guiding your child is already within you, but it often gets buried underneath all the rubble of shoulds and should nots that culture has infiltrated our minds with.

Therefore, the ideas for problem-solving and alternatives to punishment I offer to you within these pages are simply to help you understand what it may look like to implement this philosophy in your home. These are the tools that I have used in my own family that helped us. However, you are the expert on your child, and your unique relationship will determine how you parent. There is no rule book. Let your heart be your guide.

It took me about a year to wrap my head around this and embrace it wholeheartedly, and I am forever glad that I stayed the course because my own family has been transformed.


I don't want to falsely paint a picture of perfection. This is by no means an easy path to take. It takes a great deal of dedication and work to gently and lovingly tend to the garden of a child's character. It can take time for the seeds you plant to bear fruit, and in that time, when you can't see what's growing just beneath the surface, you may think this isn't working at all. It takes courage to persist when you do not see immediate change, but I encourage you to have courage, dear parent. You will reap what you sow.

Get the book to keep reading!
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The Second Edition features a new introduction, 5 brand new chapters, 4 brand new appendices, and many of the original chapters were revised and/or expanded. You're getting an extra 70+ pages of content in this second edition!

TOC for Second Edition:

 Introduction....................................................................7

1. What is Positive Parenting?....................................11
2. This is Not Permissive Parenting...........................19
3. Changing Your Mindset.........................................29
4. Embrace the Seasons..............................................36
5. Peace Starts With You............................................42
6. Own Your Feelings and Actions.............................48
7. Quell the Yell..........................................................53
8. The Gentle Leader..................................................58 
9. The Playful Parent..................................................63 
10. Self-Concept Directs Behavior...............................66 
11. The Power of Your Words......................................70 
12. Teaching Tools........................................................77
13. Consequences and Problem-Solving.....................84 
14. Enforcing Limits Versus Punishment....................90
15. Restore and Reconnect..........................................98 
16. Ten Alternatives to Punishment...........................102
17. Twenty-One Days..................................................108 
18. You're Changing the World...................................114
Works Cited.................................................................117
Appendices
A: Popular Blog Posts.............................................120
 A1 Ten Things More Important Than           Discipline....................................................................120
A2 Healthy Responses to Children's Emotions..........125
A3 Ignoring Their Cries.....................................130
A4 How to Respect Your Child Through
                Challenging Behavior........................134
A5 Consequences That Teach............................140
A6 Dangling Love...............................................144     
B: 365 Days of Play.................................................147
C: Recipes for Homemade Fun..............................173 
D: Resources for Positive Parents..........................178 


18 comments:

  1. I have five kids (ranging in age from 1-14 years old) and am working on becoming a more patient, positive parent. This leaves me confused on how to effectively discipline without using punishment. I think this book is a good place to start and am looking forward to reading the rest!

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    1. Hi there! I was pretty confused about that at first, too. It takes time to grasp the whole concept. Yes, I think this book will help you and your sweet family. Best of luck!

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  2. I can't wait to dig into the rest of what your book has to say. My baby is becoming a toddler seemingly overnight,

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    1. It does seem to happen overnight, doesn't it? Enjoy the journey. <3

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  3. I love this! Positive parenting came so natural to me with our baby/young toddler, but now that we are firm at 2 years old (and I am pregnant!) I've been really struggling! This would be so great to have the book!

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  4. I would love to read the book with my husband!

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  5. Great Wisdom, I would love to read the book. Thanks

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  6. Definitely looking forward to a book that enhances my parenting.

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  7. I've struggled with fear based parenting since my baby started walking. Now that he's 3 & his sister is 6 months...I find myself slipping back to that unhealthy fear based place. This is a great chapter. Thanks!

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  8. OMGosh...that first story made me cry. It all goes way too fast. My first daughter will be 20 years old tomorrow and my second daughter is 3. I try to enjoy every moment. I love all your stories and advice!!

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  9. I'd like to think I started out as a positive parent - the attachment component atleast by way of extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing etc. we definitely have a tight bond. But I struggle with fear based parenting too & knowing how to discipline my independent almost 3 yr old son without it being punishment. I'd love to know how to achieve this because I want my children to know that we love them unconditionally, including their misbehaviour. My son has a sister on the way now & I've only just stumbled upon your facebook page via a friend. I have A LOT to learn & hope I have grasped the positive parenting philosophy by the time she is a toddler.

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  10. I am very drawn toward positive parenting, but grew up in a home that practiced fear-based parenting. I would love to read the rest of the book to help develop better skills in parenting my now 2 year old.

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  11. I'm looking forward to reading more. I'm also reading the Languages of Love book and I think both of these will help me develop long lasting relationships with my daughters

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  12. Very motivating reading. I have a 2&5 year old that I am trying to be a positive parent for. I've come far, but still struggle from time to time. Reading this chapter has reminded me why I need to continue on my positive path & motivated me to work harder tomorrow. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Ivy! You're the winner! Can you email me at admin@positive-parents.org please?

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  13. Wow parenting is so hard and has been from the beginning for us. Our son was born 12 weeks early and I was sick for 7 mo recovering from complications from birth. We want so badly to be positive but just don't know where to start. It's like punitive parenting is all you see so it's all you know.

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  14. I shared this (and often share other tidbits and quotes) in hopes that friends and family will gain some insight into what we try to do in our home. So many can't wrap their heads around the no punishment thing. Even my husband questions it at times. We're still very much a work in progress.

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