Day One: Share a Time When Gentle Parenting Helped You and Your Child Get Through a Difficult Situation

My share:
He was four and a half and having a rough week. He asked for a specific lunch and I agreed we could go to the grocery store together to get the lunch that we both wanted. When we got there it was cold and raining and I rushed in without listening to something that he was saying. He wanted to ride in the car cart and I had grabbed the regular cart that was closest to the door.

He melted down in frustration.

I wanted to turn around and just go home. Instead I walked with him over to the side of the store. I got down to his level. I listened to what he was trying to tell me. I waited for him to be done talking. I apologized for not listening, and I asked him if he could forgive me. He said he forgave me. I explained that it was super-cold and rainy outside and that the car carts were parked where all the rain was coming down so they were all wet.

He listened. And he understood. We went around the store getting the rest of the things that we had come for instead of immediately leaving the way I thought we might have to. He just needed me to slow down, listen, and explain.

Your turn to share!
In celebration of the Nurshable Facebook page hitting 10K likes, we’re doing five days of sharing stories about gentle parenting, and a give-away at the end of each day.

I’ve shared my story above, you can share your story in the comments below and I’ll use to pick a random comment and the commenter will receive one of each of the things that I sell in the Nurshable store. (One copy of Keenie + Zeebie, One copy of Mac & Cheese Please, and two Wait It Out bracelets.) You can visit the Nurshable store by clicking here.


15 thoughts on “Day One: Share a Time When Gentle Parenting Helped You and Your Child Get Through a Difficult Situation

  1. My story is both failure and success: I started the morning on a not-so-gentle path, hurried, frustrated, and angry at my daughter (she’s 19 months). After fighting her over something for longer than I liked, I swatted her hand away. I hit her. I felt terrible.
    Later in the day, I apologized, held her close and said “Mama is so, so sorry. I’m sorry, sweet girl.” I said it over and over, thinking there was no way she really understood me but needing to apologize because I felt so awful. The next day, she became the sweetest, snuggliest, kissy-est girl in the world. I used to have to beg for hugs and kisses; now she smothers me with them. I have continued to apologize when I speak sharply, accidentally scare her, etc., and each time she hugs me, kisses me, and gives me the biggest smile. We are, I’ve realized, learning to be gentle TOGETHER.
    I think gentle parenting is as much about acknowledging your not-so-gentle moments as anything else. We are not perfect as parents, especially those that grew up in a spanking, yelling household. We are only trying to be BETTER for them than our parents (even good parents) were, and better than our nature would have us be; apologizing when we are wrong will help them, one day, be even better than we are now.

  2. One of the biggest turning points for me as a parent came during one of my son’s meltdowns. While meltdowns, or tantrums, are bad enough during the toddler phase, my son also has a verbal and speech delay which made communication even more difficult between a yearning-for-independence two year old and myself.

    I had read all kinds of info about how to “deal” with tantrums. Timeouts, ignoring them, whatever. I tried various things and it just never worked. During my son’s toddler years, I was finally beginning to realize that what we were seeing not just “toddler tantrums,” but my son’s actual personality emerging; he is a boy with intense emotions and a frustrating inability to tell me about them. So, one day when my son was on the floor, flailing and screaming, I considered that we may be seeing something more than a tantrum at play. Ignoring these intense emotions never helped and just made him sad, so that certainly wasn’t an option.
    Instead, I knelt down, and asked one simple question: “Buddy, would you like a hug?” He immediately stopped screaming, looked up at me with very sad, but much calmer eyes, and ran in for a bear hug. His emotions are so much, and he’s at an age where it is so hard to understand them, much less try to articulate them.

    Offering something as simple as a hug seems to be the physical reminder he needs that he is not alone, even during those big emotions.
    Since that day, there have been more hugs, more understanding and a much more content little boy (and mom).

  3. My baby does not want to put is pants or socks on at ALL so Somedays it can take up to five minutes to get them on and in mommy’s world five minutes can sometimes feels like an hour when you have things to do and places to go…so one night has I was getting him dress for bed I decided that rather than fight (trying to turn him over every second, holding his feet between my legs etc.) with him like I normally do I will sing to him (by no stretch of the imagination am I a singer…goodness I am terrible…lol) but I song my heart out and my little Prince Charming lay still smiling up at mommy and wahlaaaal the pants were on….it’s now mommy’s favorite trick….it doesn’t always work but that evening it did….victory for mommy.

  4. My little one is just now 8month old, but stopping and trying to understand things on his level with only cries as a mode of communication, has prevented many raised voices or crib crying sessions (something my husband unfortunately hasn’t mastered). Knowing that sometimes the only thing that is wrong is that I’m not holding him and as his mom, its perfectly ok to hold him all day long…(cause soon he wont want that)

  5. I was trying to get my 2 1/2 to take some elderberry syrup (side note: everyone says their kids love the stuff, but my kid fights it?) and I wanted him to be careful. I did not speak very nicely to him for fear of stains (sounds so silly when you write it out!). I then apologized to him for how I spoke and hugged him tight, and we worked together to take the syrup carefully.

    Kind of a little example but that’s what popped into my head!

  6. My daughter is 2.5, and she’s been having a hard time not being able to go outside lately, as it’s very cold here. We had to go to the store one morning and I asked her to find her jacket so we could get ready, which she thought meant we were going outside to play! Of course I was in a hurry and didn’t realize that she didn’t understand, so I bundled us out the door and into the car. Cue meltdown! I could have just strapped her in and told her to stop crying, but I didn’t. I stopped and I held her, and I waited until her sobbing had stopped enough to understand her words. Once I understood, I apologized for not explaining better, and I reminded her how cold it was outside. How the cold makes our eyes feel dry and our nose hurt and our fingers too cold. And I promised her that as soon as the weather warmed up, we could play outside again, but right now we were just going to the store. After she understood, we had a great, happy outing. It could have been horrible with never ending tantrums and hurt feelings on her side if I hadn’t stopped to listen to her feelings and unravel her confusion and disappointment. I’m so glad I found your blog, it’s helping me become the parent I really want to be. Thank you so much!

  7. I’m not sure if this qualifies, but it’s at least a sweet story.

    My daughter is 3. This past Halloween was the first where she was really aware of the decorations, so she became somewhat afraid of witches and monsters. She would tell me at bedtime that she was scared the witch was going to get her, and I would tell her that all the witches and monsters wouldn’t dare come in our home because they were way too scared of Mama.
    Yesterday, I found a book that matched really well with what I had been telling her. We read it last night, she enjoyed the book. She asked me if the monsters and witches were going to come. I reminded her about what I previously told her, and said they even wrote a book about it. Then I told her that now, all the monsters and witches knew she had the book, and that THEY knew that SHE knew they were all afraid of her Mama and would most definitely never come to our home.
    She popped up in bed, threw her arms around me, and said, “Thank You, Mama, So Much!!”

  8. When my son was about 18 months we lived across town from my mother. It was two buses to visit her, and they didn’t always join up very well. On this occasion, we arrived at the second bus stop to find it was 10 minutes before the bus. It was a hot, sunny day and my son was soon fussing. He pulled at my arm, tried to run off down the street, and was building to a tantrum. I felt my own stress rising. Why wouldn’t he stand quietly, as I had been trained to do from a young age?
    Then I paused. I put aside a lifetime of conditioning and listened to what he was trying to tell me. He couldn’t see a reason why we should stand at a hot bus stop, and there wasn’t one. So I let him lead me down the street. We saw two men digging a hold and they greeted my son cheerfully. We jumped a trickle of water caused by someone washing a shop window. We watched a waitress setting out chairs and tables for the lunchtime rush. We arrived back at the bus stop with a few minutes to spare, having completely forgotten the heat.
    Sometimes our children see things in a way we never would, if we only stop to listen.

  9. My 4.5 year old was having me and papa turn a jump rope for her to jump over, but she was having a ton of trouble and everyone was getting tired, as it was late. The two year old was asking to start bedtime routine, so we said we’d try the jump for more tomorrow. She broke down in a full tantrum, having a tough time. Papa took the two year old to start bedtime stuff, and I stayed near to listen and validate. When she was a bit calmer, she told me she was trying to complete her challenge that she had set for herself and we quit before she reached her goal. She had not mentioned a goal previous. I listened and told her that this sounded important to her and that I didn’t realize she had a goal that she was so close too. I told her I would help her do her last few jumps. She did. Then we talked briefly about his mommy doesn’t know what’s inside her thoughts, and she had to try to tell me about them.

  10. My little angel is only 13 months and since she was born I always wanted to do gentle parenting which was easy before as a bay their demands are not that hard…. Breastfeed,diaper change,sleep, and play with a rattle etc…. But what hit me hard was when she started trying to communicate with me just pointing out what she wants or when she wanted to have something she can’t….. One day we went to a store to get food she found a new mop and wanted to mop the floor we played while we were looking for the stuffs we were having a great time I was getting everything around the store while she was happy mopping the floor but when was time to leave is when the melt down started I was trying to explain her that we need to leave the mop there as we have one already she was upset but I did understand her vocabulary is not as huge and I might used words she did not get…. So I started speaking baby short words like “house” “mop” “bye bye” and ask her if she wanted to help me to put the mop on his place so we grabbed the mop and she helped to put it where it was supposed to be we told the mop bye bye and I explain her that at home there was one so we could play she was not crying and actually happy….. I can say how frustrate it I was in a point I was going to give up and yell… But I see her face and remember how I did not understand as a child so well and it was so scary when my mom yelled at me…. And see her smile after it was worthy to know that gentle parenting was our way!

  11. I have always responded to upsets and hurts with empathy or at least presence (sometimes my guy doesn’t want to talk, just be). Now, at 2 and half, the moment someone is hurt or screaming, he rushes over “ok? Ok?” and he gets up real close. I love this about our path because, and this is my hope, it means he may grow up willing to help others when they are having a tough time. In other words, getting out of the Man Box of low response thresholds.

  12. I work full time and my 2yo is in daycare everyday. Even though she knows the routine, there are still days that she doesn’t want to go. So on those days, gentle parenting involves extra cuddles and I love you’s, lots of reassurance that she will have fun and mommy/daddy will be back to get her that afternoon, deliberately listening to her when she says she doesn’t want to go to particular carers and accommodating her to the best of our ability on if she wants to go to someone specific.

  13. We are only 18 months in to our parenting journey so it feels extra important to be gentle with her, she is still very much a baby with intense, immediate needs. She has a few words, she is clear when she likes, or does not like something. She is clear when she wants to be carried close and when she wants to run around. Sometimes these wants do not marry happily with what the rest of the world requires. Gentle parenting has helped me get down to her level, to imagine what harsh tones and rude words would sound coming out of her voice, and I don’t want to hear that. So I don’t use them to her, I breathe in, I remember I’m a grown up, that I can choose, that she is mine and I love her. And then we both run along the aisles, we both shout ‘weeeeee!’, we take a little longer to put on our wellies, even if it’s not raining but just because she wants to wear boots today, and it’s ok.

  14. Few nights ago, it was a particularly hard they for the little man – he woke up way to early than he is used to, he couldn’t get his usual nap, and all of his canines are coming through. Well, come the night – it became miserable; he couldn’t fall asleep, he was overtired and going mad from the teeth. I was also feeling quite bad, my body ached, so daddy was doing the most of the calming down (as he refused to breastfeed) and trying to cuddle our son to sleep. It was not working, everything seem to make him more miserable and tired – the bath, the gentle cuddling with his favourite books, even his favourite TV show… We all started to get frustrated. At last, I took my wrap and wraped him (it was uncomfortable for my growing baby belly, and all the muscle and back pain I was having), we went to a dark room, and I just swayed and sang. Soon he seemed to fell asleep, when I stopped – a little hand reached out of the wrap, hugged my neck and planted a kiss on my cheek before returning to his sleep on my chest – it’s like my little boy thanked me for not getting into frustration and not leaving him alone, but just providing him with the cozy nest he loved.

  15. —————-This day of give-aways is closed, comment number 2 won for today. Look for Day Two!——————-

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