This is the second in a series of interviews with parents who practice Positive Discipline. The first interview with Julie Byers was one of my most popular posts. I hope my readers will enjoy this one just as much. I love hearing the stories parents tell about how their kids internalize Positive Discipline concepts and the idea of mutual respect.
This month’s interview is with
1. Number of Children and ages of children
My daughter Camila is 5.5-years-old and my son Mateo is 4.5-years old. We are expecting our third child, a boy, at the end of May.
2. How did you first learn about Positive Discipline?
I don’t remember exactly but we’ve been using it since my daughter was about 1-year-old.
3. What was your biggest surprise about parenting in general?
My biggest surprise is how much I’ve learned from my children. They teach me how to forgive quickly and live in the moment. They don’t live in the past, they don’t hold grudges or think about yesterday and how I may have failed in some way as a mom. They live in the now and I think that’s why they are so happy.
They teach me to slow down and enjoy the small things, how to linger in a hug instead of letting go and moving on to do the laundry or the dishes.
And they teach me how to parent. The other day my daughter purposely dumped half a bottle of brand new shampoo. Organic, expensive shampoo. I raised my voice and scolded her. She looked down, feeling bad and said “Okay mommy. I won’t do it again… but you don’t have to talk to me in that tone.”
I responded “Yes, I do.”
“Why,” she asked.
“Because you purposely did something inappropriate.” But as that answer left my lips I knew the real reason I used an unpleasant tone with her was because that’s what my parents had done with me. And then she said, “Oh.”
It only took me a few seconds to realize she was graciously trying to teach me a lesson and I was about to lose the opportunity to learn it and to show her how powerful she is. So I said “You know what, you’re right.” She looked up at me surprised and a trembling smile flashed on her face. “Let’s do this over Camila.” So I walked out of the bathroom, walked back in and said “Camila, did you spill the shampoo on purpose?” My tone was serious but respectful. She looked confused but answered truthfully, “Yes.” I remained calm and said, “Love, the shampoo is for your hair and it costs a lot of money. It’s important that it doesn’t get wasted. Okay?” She stared at me and said “Okay mommy.” And we moved on with her shower, without losing respect or love or peace.
4. Favorite Positive Discipline parenting tool
In the seven-week course I took we did an exercise in which I volunteered. I was the child and there were five “adults” standing on chairs saying mean things to me as I moved around them saying “I am a child and I just want to belong.” I love this tool because I can remember this truth every time my children are misbehaving or acting in a way that bothers me. This tool leads me to take a deep breath, to be kinder, gentler, to see my children as children and to remember that they are gifts and blessings.
5. Favorite non-parenting book you’ve read lately . . .
I read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)
I loved it because it made me laugh out loud and laughing is always good for the soul.
6. A Positive Discipline parenting tool that surprised you (because it actually worked in your opinion) is ________.
I love our family meetings! I am amazed every time one of our children writes an item on the agenda so we can talk about it at our weekly meeting. And I really enjoy listening to Camila and Mateo come up with solutions for problems we have going on.
7. Name 3 hobbies, obsessions or interests of yours.
Positive discipline. I will complete my certification in May and will become a positive discipline parent educator at my daughter’s school next year. I’m passionate about this and I work hard to learn it and get it right!
Reading. I love reading books, magazines, and articles about nutrition, health, science, parenting, and anything else that catches my eye.
8. Tell us two ways you work on self-care as a parent.
I am blessed with an amazingly supportive husband who is always willing to watch the kids so I can go get a massage, a facial, a pedicure. He always supports me when I want to go out to dinner, a movie, or karaoke with my friends. There is nothing better than hanging out with my friends to relax, laugh and get a new perspective on life. I also enjoy taking classes and attending seminars.
9. What is one parenting choice you’ve made because you have strong feelings or opinions about it?
My husband and I are from Central and South America. My husband came to the U.S. when he was two-years-old and I came here when I was eight-years-old. We know the best way to stay connected to our culture is through our language, Spanish, and that is why we speak to our children exclusively in Spanish. Our kids’ movies and books are in Spanish and we listen to a lot of music in Spanish as well. It’s not always easy and English is actually the language Carlos (my husband) and I met in and feel more comfortable in, but we’ve made a commitment to give our children an amazing gift — true bilingualism.
10. This month’s focus for Think It Through Parenting is mornings. What is one way you prevent morning madness for your family?
Camila and Mateo set out their clothes each night so there is no choosing or changing their minds about outfits in the morning. I make their lunch the night before and leave everything we’ll need for breakfast out and ready to go.
Thanks go out to Karla for sharing her answers with us.
If you’re a parent who practices Positive Discipline a la Jane Nelsen style and are willing to be interviewed for an upcoming article, e-mail me at KellyPfeiffer@THINKitTHROUGHparenting.com.