More Peaceful Parenting Step 6. Just listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Well hello there. That was a mighty long break from the More Peaceful Parenting series, wasn't it?

Thank you for sticking around while I caught my breath and built my courage to take on this series again. I'm ready if you are.

For those of you who are new or who aren't looking for a new parenting paradigm, let me restate my intention here, just for clarity: This
series is for parents looking for ways to integrate more
connection-based peaceful parenting strategies into their relationships
with their children.

If if isn't resonant to you, then no sweat. Perhaps you have found
your perfect parenting fit. (Parenting, after all, is not a
one-size-fits-all arrangement.)

But if you are in a place of struggle with your child, or if
you are searching for a bit more ease, or if some of the parenting
strategies you are using don't resonate anymore, this series is for you.

This is how we are striving to do things in our home. It is my goal as a mom to reach for deeper connection and to find peaceful ways to guide my children along this journey.

And you know, I'm
learning right along with you. And I don't always find the right fit either.

that's life, isn't it? We aren't perfect. But we're learning and growing

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

We began the Peaceful Parenting series last winter. I encourage you
to take a few days to re-read steps one through five. These will lay the
foundation and remind you of the journey we are on.

        More Peaceful Parenting Step 1. Forgive, Accept, and Love Yourself.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 2. Identify the Need.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 3. Validate.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 4. Creating a Yes Environment.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 5. Your Mission Statement.

And now, finally! More Peaceful Parenting Step 6. Just Listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

I want to restart with something so basic, so simple, that you are
doing it already.

The change I am suggesting today is for you to deepen and shift how you are listening to hear more than you did before. To truly listen. With all of your heart.

And when we start to listen (really listen) our child receives the message that they matter. That their feelings are valid. That they are valid.

How to listen to your child:

1. Focus on your child.

Kneel down so that you are at eye-level.

Make physical contact if that is what your child desires. Sometimes for my kids it's easiest to talk while we cuddle. Some crave eye contact, others withdraw from it.

Listen to their energy and give them what they need. But give them your focus.

2. Ignore external distractions.

Don't answer your phone. Shut off your computer. Create comfortable quiet where you can focus on their words and body language alone.

3. Quiet your inner distractions.

As parents many of us have a stop watch that is constantly ticking in our heads. We have a lot to do and sometimes not enough time to do it. Stop that clock.

The dishes and laundry will wait. Dinner will wait. Nap will wait. Take a deep healing breath and focus on this moment. Your presence means so much more than anything else that might be on your to-do list.

4. Hear the feelings underneath their words.

Let your child talk without interruption. Hear what they are saying, and seek to understand what they are not saying as well.

What is the feeling (or the need) at the heart of their expression?

5. Accept the feelings they are expressing as valid.

Avoid the temptation to soothe them with words that negate how they feel.

Instead of using words like "You're okay," or "It'll be fine," try reflecting back what you are hearing, "It hurts," or "You're very angry."

Remember that your work in this moment is not to fix anything. Just listen. Just really listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Following the steps above will give our children the message that we are really, truly listening and that their words matter. 

We demonstrate that we aren't going to swoop in to try to fix it and we aren't going to tell them that they are wrong.

They will instead hear that it is safe to express all of their feelings to you – even the scary or ugly or overwhelming ones. And this will create connection between you that will serve you always.

From here we can work together to find a solution, empowering our child to step up and participate in that process. 

But before solution there must be understanding.

Let's start by just listening.

Joyful Participation.





I told Pete yesterday that I wasn't sure how I was going to get it all done before bedtime. The kids were outside and I had a little grumble session, rattling off a list of all that I needed to do in the next 24 hours. At the top of the list was peel and seed – and then can – the tomatoes, stem and process the green beans, and make pickles. Somehow I had bushels of produce piling up on my porch and in my kitchen and I needed to put the time in to deal with them. The fruit flies were starting to gather.

And then the kids came in for lunch.

When Sage got to the kitchen he saw the big pot of water simmering away on the stove. "Whatcha doin'? Are you peeling tomatoes? I'll do it. I want to peel tomatoes!" And before I knew what had happened my kids had set up two work stations at the table and peeled, cored, and seeded a half-bushel of our garden tomatoes.

I was both grateful and amazed. You see, a long time ago we stopped forcing chores. When I'm overwhelmed I experiment with it once in a while, but it always leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Forcing participation in the day-to-day workings of the family teaches that everyone must participate for the family to function (a good lesson) but it also teaches that participating in said work really sucks. Helping is not fun when you are forced to help, so I believe the positive lessons are mostly missed. So I stopped doing it.

My kids do help – every day even – but they usually get to choose how. Lupine hates clearing and washing her dishes, but she likes setting the table and wiping it down. She also loves mopping, cleaning the bathroom, and folding laundry. Do I really need to force her to wash her plate? If so, to what end?

And by preserving the notion that helping is fun, they don't hesitate to jump in and participate in our life – simply for the joy of it. And to me that's the best lesson of all.

Oh, and as for that messy work of processing tomatoes? Both my kids are pretty sensitive when it comes to anything tactile. Lupine couldn't seed a tomato with her eyes open. But tomato after tomato she kept at it, simultaneously amused and disgusted. It was awesome.








Peaceful Parenting.

You may have noticed the new link to the right for the "Non-Violent Parenting and Education Blog Ring". We stumbled upon their website and knew we had found an online home.

What is non-violent parenting?


The Non-violent Parenting and Education Blog folks have a great description on their website. In our home it means, quite simply, to strive everyday to treat our children with complete love and respect. To treat them as important members of our family, not as lessers to be dominated or controlled.


This isn't as easy as it may seem.

Most of us were raised in homes that operated under the norms of "Because I said so," or "Do it now." There wasn't room in my childhood home for challenging my parents or for saying "No" to something that was asked of me.To do so insured a punishment of one kind or another be it yelling, spanking, grounding, or coercion.While I truly believe my parents were doing the best that they knew how, I feel blessed to have found a different way of mothering.


Here is the structure of our home: If I say, "Sage, will you please help me set the dinner table?" there are two possible answers: yes or no. I accept either answer as an authentic expression of self. I do not believe that my needs are more important simply because I am an adult.

There are a few non-negotiables (buckling your seat belt for example), and these are communicated lovingly and respectfully and have yet to result in resistance.

We came to Non-Violent Parenting after finding ourselves struggling in the day-to-day battle-of-wills over clashing needs. We (the adults) attempted to force participation. We are all members of this family and we all have to do our share, we reasoned. Forced participation, however, did not carry the energy that we had hoped. Stomping feet, furrowed brows, slamming doors, and big attitude was our daily scene.

So we changed the rules.

We quietly tossed the kid's chore list… and something magical happened. Sage started participating because he wanted to, not because we forced him. He started raking leaves, mowing the lawn, and folding some laundry. He started to do his share because it felt good. Because he was an equal.

Does he set the table? Rarely, but that's fine with me.

Do we slip? Yes. Sometimes there are raised voices. Sometimes we issue demands. Sometimes consequences slip from our tongues in the heat of a stressful day. But then we catch ourselves and notice how very little fun anyone is having, and we all lighten up.


Truly, we started practicing peaceful parenting before Sage was even born. From natural (home)birth to attachment parenting and needs-responsive parenting, we have always striven to be present for our kids, to authentically respond to their needs – day and night. This new journey into Peaceful Parenting is simply an extension of our heart's truth from years ago.


And it is a journey that can begin any day, with the smallest of steps. Me? I'm glad it's the path we are on. In our world non-violent parenting has created a nurturing, peaceful, joy-filled home.