Monday, November 29, 2010

Christian parenting books--how our bookshelf grew

I didn't realize how polarized the views on parenting were among Christians until my daughter was born. Within days of her birth, we were given materials by Ezzo, reminding me that my newborn had a sinful nature and that any crying was just an example of her evil, tiny, selfish heart. Ironically, the way to counter this was apparently to indulge my own self-centeredness at every possible occasion to show that I was hardened to any attempt at manipulation on her part. Not only was it absurd from a developmental standpoint, it didn't seem to fit at all with Jesus' teachings about being a servant or with the way God responds to me when I cry out to Him.

I disregarded the Babywise stuff and nursed my baby whenever she seemed interested, even at night. Our pediatrician had regularly asked questions about this and on her six month check up, the disapproval boiled over. She was "strong-willed" (as if that were a bad thing). As parents we weren't doing our job and "winning every battle". My husband and I had no idea that we were supposed to be at war with her--we had naively assumed that we were on the same team. He gave us a copy of To Train Up a Child.

At that point, I had never met a family that didn't spank, and I fully planned to spank my children. Yet as I read through the horrific descriptions of physical and emotional abuse in that book (and later the counsel to remain a submitted wife when your husband sexually abuses your children :gag:) I felt physically and spiritually nauseated. I could only read a few pages at a time, and the thought of hitting my baby with glue sticks (which break down the underlying tissue and can even cause death) or throwing her into a cold pond and letting her sink (at 7 months!) to teach her to stay away from water hazards was repugnant and ludicrous. I wasn't shocked to learn of deaths related to precisely following the instructions in the book, which insist on not leaving the child with breath to whimper afterward, but I was shocked that we had been given that book by a pediatrician. No wonder our state has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the nation! We never went back to that ped.

The good thing is that caused me to re-examine our views on discipline, punishment and spanking. Our journey is told in this post. As I prayed and studied and sought Godly wisdom on this topic, we were led to some wonderful grace-filled sources.

So, in a sea of punitive parenting books, where are these Christian islands? I wrote about our finds here.

Of course, the best source for Christian parenting is the Bible. We have a really mixed up mindset in the church, where a few verses from Proverbs (completely misinterpreted) are applied to children. Yet clear and consistent passages describing how we are to treat others, how we are to behave as believers, how to follow the example of Jesus, and how we are to instruct others are completely disregarded when it comes to children. Why? I haven't been able to find any answer. I suspect that in the minds of many, children aren't really full-fledged people, much the way that in the past, people of other color or women weren't considered on the same level of personhood as male white landowners.

Anyway, I suggest reading through the Gospels and noting how Jesus treated children and everyone else. How did He disciple the disciples? What character does He want us to demonstrate? Read through I John. How can that be applied to family relationships? Read through the Epistles. How do they relate to our own behavior and how we teach others? The Bible is full of examples of love and grace.

And as always, take comfort and encouragement from Isaiah 40:11, "He shall lead his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs in his arms and carry them close to his heart and shall gently lead the sheep who have nursing lambs."

My Parenting Bookshelf--The Christian Books (just in time for Christmas shopping!)

This turned into a really long post, so I am breaking it up. How we started looking for books and my recommendations for the best Christian parenting book of all are here.

The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care by the Sears. Not only do they have all the credentials--MDs, IBCLCs, parents of eight children, dedicated Christians--they have the fruit to go with it. Some of their children are now working with their parents as MDs. Contrast that to the Ezzos who are not even on speaking terms with their grown kids!

Biblical Parenting by Crystal Lutton.  This combines the theological background for a deep study of Scripture (including the rod verses and others) with very practical, real life ways to live a life of grace and discipline.  There is nothing permissive here, just loving ways to help you parent as a disciple of Christ.  You can also check out some of Crystal's material at

The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood, both by Sally Clarkson.  I would love to give these to every Christian mom I know.  They aren't about spanking; there isn't a soapbox to mount.  They are simply full of wisdom and grace.  Every time I read them again, I feel as if I had just had a delicious cup of Earl Grey and fabulous scones with plenty of cream with a close friend who has been there and will encourage me.  Her blog (I Take Joy) is in my favorites list. 

How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell.  Excellent.  I was excited to hear that some pastor friends in Norway were using this with their church.  Beautiful, balanced and helpful.

Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and Max Lucado.  I heard great things about this one, and it was good, but I wasn't a huge fan.  It has really blessed a lot of my friends, though.  YMMV.  *Note: there is one reference to spanking in the book, but the overall book doesn't emphasize spanking.

Families Where Grace is In Place by Jeff Van Vonderen.  Absolutely amazing!  This book beautifully challenges old paradigms on gender roles, marriage issues, parenting and gives practical and powerful portrayals of what a family of grace looks like.  A must read.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Smalley.  Another one that I strongly recommend.  Beautiful, real-life ways to help your children experience love.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me by Samuel Martin.  Excellent.  Sam is a scholar whose love and reverence for God's Word clearly shines through.  I have a couple of posts reviewing it here.

Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson. Another examination of discipline, the rod passages and what Christ-like parenting should be.  I honestly prefer Sally's books, but her husband does well, too.

Depending on where you fall on the gentle discipline spectrum, some books may be more helpful than others.  For example, the Sears book and Grace Based Parenting seem mildly punitive to me, and some of the wording in Clay Clarkson's book did, as well.  However, for someone transitioning into GD, particularly with a Babywise background, I think it would be extremely helpful.  I think that Heartfelt Discipline would make a wonderful church library donation, especially for a group that has been influenced by Tripp. 

Even if you strongly disagree with my views on discipline, I would encourage you to check out some of these books. You see, when I read books by Dobson, Tripp, and others, I come away feeling as if my children are my adversaries. Discipline becomes a matter of constant suspicion (was that question actually defiance?) and defense against any possible lack of respect through retaliation.

In contrast, after reading the authors here, I find myself feeling more joyful, more loving, and more confident in my authority. My patience is strengthened and I have practical tools to help discipline in the truest sense of the word. We can all use more of that, can't we?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gifts my father gave me

Photo by stevendepolo on Flickr
I've never been good at looking at babies and pronouncing who they resemble with specific features. "Oh, she's got Grandma's nose and Uncle Herbert's ears!" type of thing. But I can look at all sorts of little things in my daily life and mindset and trace them back to my parents (and occasionally grandparents). I was chatting on the phone with my dad on Sunday and we laughed together over some traits that we have in common. Here are a few specific legacies from my dad:

1. Worship music. Possibly my earliest memory is standing in my crib listening to the old 1970s Maranatha! Praise series in Spanish. The first time I visited my dad after the divorce I noticed that there was beautiful worship music playing softly as we went to sleep. For the first time in quite awhile I feel asleep easily and had no nightmares. He gave me a cassette player and a copy of the tape that I nearly wore out. When they remarried, even in times when we were living off ramen noodles and hotdogs, there was always money available for a new worship tape, and our souls feasted.

2. Praying in the moment. Something dad had learned from his dad and grandpastor (his dad's pastor) was that you never just promise someone you'll pray. You do it right then. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but I've seen special things happen when you pray together right then.

3. An ear for languages. One of my dad's noteworthy abilities (shared with his sister) is quick and thorough linguistic adaptation. He perfectly imitates the accent of the people around him. Not only does his pronunciation change, but also his diction in general, including grammar and vocabulary. He is one of those people who will always sound like the people where he lives. While not as good as he is, I think that part of my ability in languages comes from him.  Also, while I am not nationalistic, believing that my citizenship is in Heaven, he and I share a love for my birth country.  There is a little part in both of us that isn't quite at home unless we are in Mexico.

4. Taking children seriously. One of the greatest things my dad did was take my opinions and input seriously as a child. I can never recall being dismissed because of my age. He listened to whatever I had to say and responded as if I were an adult. That is another trait that I saw in *his* father, too. It is an amazing gift to feel that your thoughts count.

5. Communion and optimistic eschatology. There are some areas where my theological beliefs may have rolled all the way into another orchard, but much of my basic apple remains close to his tree. In particular, I share his views on communion. I feel that something is lacking in any service where it is not a part. I still am a little dismayed by Protestant churches who have it as a rare event.

Regarding eschatology, I remember some churches with the "just a few more weary days and then" mentality. Did you ever see the old Christian horror movies like "A Thief in the Night"? Even as a kid I would have considered them great fodder for MST3K. My dad never viewed the church as a pitiful, defeated "cowering under the covers till we can get Raptured out of here" body. She is the glorious Bride! He imparted the security that we are reigning with Christ and that there is always hope for our future.

There are lots of other things for future posts. These were just a few of the first that came to mind. And don't worry--I wont neglect my mom's contributions :) My parents would be the first to say that none of us are perfect and they would do many things differently. But I am deeply grateful for the heritage they have given me, the confidence I have in their love, and the spiritual treasure they have imparted. If my kids grow up with the riches that my mom and dad have given me, I will consider myself a good parent.

Breastfeeding Baby Jesus

We saw many of these lovely depictions when we were in Europe, and I have photos of Ariana nursing underneath some of these. :)  Many thanks to Peaceful Parenting for putting this beautiful video together.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm a Pushover Parent

Image by storem on Flickr
Our precious two year old has fully lived up to the words we were given before her birth that she would be a warrior.  I love her intensity and her way of fully expressing herself.  She launches herself wholeheartedly into every endeavor.  Teaching her appropriate ways to work through really big emotions is something we have been working on.  I was delighted today to see her actually catch herself mid-meltdown and come up with a positive way to express herself.

She was so upset.  Tears were streaming and she was shaking with anger and disappointment.  I gently tried to hug her, letting her know that I was with her and would support her.  She instantly turned and grabbed my hands and said, "Pushing game, Mami!"

I sat facing her and we interlocked hands.  Then she tried with all her might to scoot me backwards by pushing on my hands.  I would remain upright while she pushed as hard as she could against my hands. Eventually, I would fall back with her on top of me and we would both laugh.  She immediately asked me to do it again.  We repeated the game several times. 

I've loved this game for years.  Even when pregnant, it isn't hard on me physically.  It takes little space.  It doesn't take too much energy.  But it is perfect for overwhelmed little ones!  It gives all of the benefits of a full-blown tantrum (working out large muscle groups, releasing emotion, etc) but is done in a way that connected us with loving touch (instead of perhaps hitting a pillow).  Each time she did it she was more relaxed.  By the end she was all smiles.

I see advice so often that tells parents to ignore meltdowns, to shun or isolate a child who is overwhelmed by his own emotions, lest he somehow learn that it will be rewarded.  Is it any wonder that so many adults shut down when they have intense negative feelings?  We've been taught to explode when they are too much and then to stuff everything down and "be sweet" and act as if nothing happened.

I am so excited to see children who are learning healthy ways to express themselves, who know that even in those intense moments they can connect with someone close to them, and that they can fully process their feelings without shame or isolation until they are easily manageable. If you are interested in other tools for tantrums, or in our perspective on them, check out  this post. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

All Play and No Work...

If you see my Facebook updates, you probably think we are *that* homeschooling family. You know, the stereotypical one where the kids do nothing but play all day. Today, we spent over five hours at three different parks! Most days when I am not working involve the park, the zoo, the aquarium, or two out of the three. Backyard picnics are common, and we are familiar with well over a dozen different parks in our area. That is a very deliberate decision on my part.

As we began looking into homeschooling, I was most familiar with the traditional school-at-home model. Lots of seat work, plenty of worksheets, etc. When I first began to hear of unschooling, I was extremely skeptical. Like most of us, I had been inoculated early with the drudgery-is-discipline mindset that we must all get used to doing things we don't enjoy, so let's start young.

My life hasn't really borne that out, though. I like my job. I enjoy what I do at work and at home with my family. OK, I loathe housework, but even then, I can see some satisfaction from the results (or at least I would if things would actually stay clean for more than a split second...alright, so housework is not the best example. Still, it is something that I choose to do--on those rare occasions when I do it.) Anyway, my point is that I don't do tedious things that make me miserable just for the sake of doing them.

Reading some of the Charlotte Mason beliefs regarding the importance of outdoor play for children really resonated with me. My own memories of hour after hour spent exploring, climbing trees (there were many days where I spent as much time up in a tree as I did on the ground), playing with my sister and friends, learning new skills and testing my abilities reinforced the value of this time.

So, the last several months, whenever possible, we have spent as much time out of doors as possible.  What have we gained?  Plenty of exercise and vitamin D and other health benefits.  Lots of new skills, including monkey bar prowess, backwards somersaults, increased balance and agility and a greater understanding of gravity, momentum and other forces.  Stretched and vibrant imaginations.  Increased cooperativeness and improved social and interpersonal skills.  Confidence.  Better sleep at night and greater peace after afternoons spent getting the wiggles out.  Hundreds of joy-filled memories.  And somehow, with all this, academics haven't suffered.  There are many, many reasons why we homeschool.  The freedom to do all of this is a substantial part of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Parenting Bookshelf--Breastfeeding

As I mentioned in my previous post, my obsession interest in parenting books started with panic over breastfeeding. After my daughter was born, she latched on and nursed well. Ironically, it was the hospital LC who first aroused anxiety by manhandling me and saying that her latch was off. She said I had to have nipple shields because my nipples were too flat, and while she probably meant well, she was pretty discouraging. I ditched the shields the next day, and just followed our instincts, and she nursed like a champ.

At her first check up, she had gained so much weight that the ped and nurses were very impressed. Still, I had plenty of doubts, so I picked up two books on breastfeeding. They were the only ones in stock at the time in the rather meager section on breastfeeding, but they served the purpose. I got The Complete Book of Breastfeeding by Eiger and Olds and The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins. They reassured me that we were doing fine, and that breastfeeding would even get easier. Right about the same time, a friend gave us a copy of an Ezzo book. It was interesting because they contradicted each other so much. I searched the AAP guidelines and other reputable sources and decided that Ezzo was a twisted quack who disliked and distrusted babies and had severe jealousy and maturity issues.

Along with all the books, I read all the magazines, too. Mostly ones like Baby and Parenting. They all suggested breastfeeding for a year, as long as it wasn't too inconvenient. I read one article, though, that blew me away. It was in this weird, hippy magazine called Mothering, and it was about a five year old who loved to hula hoop and was still breastfeeding. It was the most bizarre thing I had ever read. A five year old?! I mean, we all know that once they can ask for it they are too old, right? It stuck with me, though.

The Baby Book and The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears. As I mentioned before, I came across the Sears' book on clearance, and so I got it. As I read it, I was astounded at all of the solid research and information that supported our instincts. Ariana was still exclusively breastfed at that point, and it was going so well. I remembered the article on the five year old, and while that still seemed really strange, as I read the Sears book I began to think that maybe I could keep going beyond a year. By the time she was a year, I had found an online community of breastfeeding moms who had shared plenty of information and encouragement, and I was committed to child-led weaning.

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner was my next find. Nursing is a relationship, and nursing a toddler is quite different from nursing a newborn. I found information, stats, advice for dealing with others, and ideas of what to expect from different ages and stages. It was wonderful!

Once I became pregnant again, I added Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower. I already spoke about that one in the pregnancy bookshelf post. It has been reread as we have nursed through the last three pregnancies.

My most recent addition is Breastfeeding Older Children by Ann Sinnott. I actually participated in the research that she did on this one, so of course I had to buy it! I was not disappointed. There is little material available for moms of older nurslings, but this would be good even if there were an abundance. It covers many aspects of nursing at different ages, including development (both physical and emotional) of the children.

Wanna-reads: I still want to read Ina May Gaskin's book on breastfeeding. I have read, of course, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League, and particularly enjoyed the latest edition. One that I don't own, but have used in the past as an invaluable reference is Hale's Medications and Mothers Milk. If you are ever concerned about a med and breastfeeding, make sure that your physician is using this resource. It is the definitive work on the subject.

So where are we now? Well, he isn't into hula hoops, but in a month or two I will be nursing a five year old. :) Breastfeeding has truly been an adventure. For nearly five years, I have been breastfeeding two or three, all while eliminating foods they are allergic to. Yet the reality is not nearly as difficult or unpleasant as it might sound. I am happy and feel very blessed with how easy it has been, overall. At least some of that is due to the books I've read. :)

One last thought: it isn't a book, but the site has been one of the best resources ever for all things breastfeeding for me!

Finding a new fold?

I wrote back in my post about seeking a shepherd that welcomed bleating lambs how much difficulty we were having reconciling our need to be part of a church with our convictions regarding our children. We feel very strongly that their church experience is supposed to be full of peace, love and joy. They don't feel comfortable leaving us yet (at least a couple of them don't) and we don't feel comfortable letting them cry. Our church doesn't have a family area so we wound up spending most services hanging out in the back with them where no one would be disturbed, and were we missed the service. It was frustrating and seemed pointless.

We've tried a few things, including some other churches, and nothing seemed to fit right. I've been recording some Spanish services that I really enjoyed, and we have access to our pastor's sermons online. It isn't the same as participating in worship with my brothers and sisters, though. Carlos attends at least a couple of services every week through his job, but I don't get that.

So, this morning, I attended an early service with the baby and Ariana. I saw several old friends, and was able to enter into the worship service without any distractions. It was heavenly (yeah, I know, I am a sucker for puns). I felt so refreshed when it was over. I was also delighted to see that there were all kinds of people represented, including all races and colors, and a variety of physical and mental disabilities. It felt like real life. They also have a family room with a live feed of the service, and there was no pressure at all for the kids to be separate from me.

We'll see. Obviously, I would like for our whole family to be together. But, as I have reminded myself many times, this is only a short season in our lives, and based on today, I think this might work out very well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Parenting Bookshelf--Pregnancy/Birth

For some women, it's shoes. For me, it's parenting books. I read every one I can get my hands on. Whether I agree with them or not, I find them fascinating. I didn't start out collecting them on purpose. The first couple of weeks after my eldest was born, I started worrying about breastfeeding. Was I making enough? Was I doing it right? I picked up a couple of books.

Then, after a horrendous experience with a child abuse manual (TTUAC), I stumbled across a Sears' Baby Book for 90% off (changing editions). I started getting more books on development and gentle discipline. When Joel had the bad reactions to vaccinations, I found several books on that topic. Once we decided to do a natural birth with Elena, I got several books on that.

By the time our fourth was here, I already had shelves full of books that have helped me tremendously. Like old friends, when I need advice, ideas, or reassurance that things are normal, I go back to many of my favorites.

Since there are too many to share in one post (I read a *lot*) I'm going to break it up by topic and share pregnancy/birth this time, breastfeeding another, gentle discipline, etc. Some will overlap, of course. There are no doubt many goods ones I've missed, but here is a list of some of the best:

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Hands down, my favorite. I grew up with a lot of horror stories surrounding birth, and it was amazing to read so many happy, peaceful birth stories. The section with her advice and techniques was practical and easy to remember.

Orgasmic Birth by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
The title had me both skeptical and intrigued, but the actual book is very good. Again, positive stories and good advice.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding through Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower
When I became pregnant with Joel, Ariana was still nursing at least 8 times in 24 hours. I didn't want to wean her, but was hearing a lot of comments that suggested health risks, etc. This book is exceptionally well researched and gave me all the info I needed to nurse through pregnancy. I also appreciate the real-life stories. Nursing through pregnancy and tandeming can be emotionally and physically challenging, and she handled that with empathy, encouragement and no guilt trips.

There are several others that I read from libraries, etc, but don't actually own, either because I didn't have the money to purchase them at the time, or whatever.

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. The hippy-lingo made me smile, and Ina May is excellent.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Tons of research and info. Not as light as some of the others, but definitely worth the read!

The Pregnancy Book and The Birth Book by the Sears. The Sears books were my first introduction into parenting according to my heart. I was so anxious to do things the "right way" and they were the first voice to give me authoritative, researched-based permission to cosleep, to breastfeed as often and as long as my daughter wanted, to respond to her without suspicion.

There were many others whose specific titles I can't recall. Some fantastic ones were lent to me by my midwife on active birth, and a couple that are mentioned in my previous pregnancy/birth/homebirth posts.

There were also, of course, some not-so-great books. I *loved* The Girlfriend's Guide books by Vicki Iovine during my first pregnancy. It was entertaining and fit perfectly with my preconceptions. After more research, I was in an entirely different mindset, however.

I read one moronic book on easy labor that was essentially an entire book on getting an early epidural, blindly following any and all suggestions by any medical personnel and being as convenient as possible for the hospital system. There was no research or helpful info other than saying that you are not being a good little girl if you ask questions or do anything without the maximum level of intervention and profit to the hospital.

There were a couple of others that just distilled all the columns from mainstream parenting magazines and said, "Well, you can *try* for an unmedicated birth, buuuuuut, you probably won't make it. Still, it doesn't hurt to learn some techniques to use while you are waiting for the epidural. Eat right and exercise right during pregnancy, etc." Generic stuff. And of course, there are a few that emphasize all the possible birth defects and complications (except complications that result from routine interventions). The "What to Expect" type of book. After my first pregnancy, I just read the weekly development of the fetus stuff and skipped the rest.

All of the books contributed in different ways to each of my birth experiences. Especially in my last two births, I learned a lot from some wonderful authors.

Next post: your baby is here, now what? books. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A slightly twisted GD success story

Back when I only had two, I was a bit intimidated by the thought of taking the sweetlings somewhere by myself. Now I don't even think twice about heading out with all four. This afternoon, the kidlets and I headed to the park to enjoy the gorgeous weather. It was warm and sunny, with a nice breeze. We are always on the lookout for new parks, and this one was right next to the zoo. It had tons of fun things to climb on and spin around on. We were the only ones there, so we played around for well over an hour.

After the kids had their fill of climbing and running and jumping, we went to the zoo. The kidlets are always finding new favorite exhibits. This time, they delighted in the caves and bats. They wandered around through the secret passages, discovered the slide in one of the tunnels and had a marvelous time.

The kids had been very cooperative and we had all had a lot of fun. After an hour or two, it occurred to me that we were probably near the saturation point. I was right. As we headed out, everything began to unravel. They ran toward the open pond with the waterfowl. There is no rail or anything to block them from a very large water area. I told them sternly to come back. They balked. I was scared and angry. I grabbed Elena, but couldn't hang on to her and hold the baby and get the older two. As we headed toward the exit, they kept finding distractions. Then, the two year old wanted to play on all the lovely wagons at the exit and the older ones ran ahead of us while I was wrangling her. It took more physical and emotional effort than usual to get everyone loaded up and safely buckled in to leave.

Some of you are going, "Wait a minute. Is this supposed to be a GD success story? Doesn't sound like it worked too well for you there." Yes, I would have appreciated instant compliance. Although they did eventually follow instructions, we clearly need to work on some things there. The thing is, the last couple of years, I have been increasingly aware of *my* need for discipline.

Although we have never spanked, I have often felt the impulse to hit the kids when I am angry. I've resisted it, but it was frequent and real. One that I haven't resisted as effectively in the past was the temptation to yell, to shame them, to hold their hand a bit too tightly and to fume and lecture until we were all appropriately miserable.

As a follower of Jesus, though, I can't ignore Scriptures such as Galatians 6:1 " who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy," and of course Matthew 7:5, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." How can I demand self-control from my children if I can't control myself? How can I tell them to walk in the fruit of the Spirit if I am not demonstrating patience and kindness in my day to day relationship with them?

I've been working on it a lot. And I still have a long way to go. I am excited to see the difference in my responses, though. Today, I didn't lose my temper, I didn't yell or try to cause them to feel ashamed, or do anything else that would cause *me* to be ashamed later. I told them clearly how upset I was and why, and explained the dangers. I didn't sugar coat anything, but neither did I harp on it or emotionally blackmail them. I got everyone to the van safely but I didn't grab them or become disrespectful to them in any way.

You see, I do believe that gentle discipline "works" for kids, this afternoon not withstanding, but even more, I am learning how it works for adults. I am so happy to see the growth in my own life. I've been working on a post to share some of the tools that are helping me a lot. Authentic Parenting is going to be hosting them as a guest blog post, and will start them on Friday. I know I am not an ideal parent, but I am slowly but surely bridging the gap between the real and my ideals. You are welcome to join me on the journey!