Plug me in. I’m a connected parent.

I am really excited about 2011 and I’m fairly certain a lot of it has to do with the fact that I haven’t made any resolutions.

As I think about it, I find that I do certain things differently that I never resolved to; and definitely didn’t share them as conventional wisdom stipulates we ought to in order to see those resolutions, well… resolved.

Take for instance that I ended 2010 with a three-week stream of yelling at my three year old to hurry up, to slow down, to eat more, to put back the cookies, to get into the car already, to get out of the car for once, to put on her clothes, to get into bed, to stop biting her sister, the table, the doll’s head…you get the picture. Compare that to my starting 2011 listening to an audio interview with Pam Leo about connected parenting for 1 hour and only today experienced a minor flare-up of what will go down in my parenting history as three of the worst-job’s I’ve ever done.

I’m no expert. Don’t quote me, don’t learn from me, don’t do anything except shake your head at me in either agreement or judgment…but her words alighted an insight that I always knew. Knowledge that lived in my heart and connected with me.

Here is what I understand: Connected Parenting is about the creating and maintaining a relationship that helps our children feel connected to us,  feel safe, loved, and listened to. It is a mode of parenting that functions from a point of respect for our children over the mode of authority. Which is not to say that we do not have authority over our wee ones, just that how we convey what we need them to learn and understand and do is done so with respect to who they are as people just as we would interact with other people.

In the interview, Pam talks about how the power of coercion, as in “You better be here before I finishing counting to 3 or else!” decreases as children get older. Older, in my experience ought to be defined as: as soon as they are 4.

Instead, she inspires parents to parent through connection. And not in the ‘come here now or you’ll connect with my fist/mean spirit-breaking words/harsh face’ parenting style that I hope most children are not raised by, but in that way that demonstrates that you want your child around – with all their tantrums, quirks, and tiresome antics.

I’d like that. I’d like that for my girls. I’d like that for myself.

Happy 2011, may it be a ridiculously prosperous, healthy, and connected one.

A.

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