Articles about no punishment

How to handle a child’s video game obsession peacefully.

I’m a peace-loving person.

When I first became a parent almost 20 years ago I knew that I wanted to follow a “peaceful parenting” path but I didn’t have much of an idea what that meant in practice. My highest goal for myself was to live in peace, joy and freedom and I wanted to extend this to my relationships with my two children. 

To start with, I wasn’t at all clear how I was going to be the happy, calm mother that I desired to be. I was clear about only two things:  

  • I didn’t want to be an authoritarian parent that relied on punishments, rules and control tactics.
  • I wanted to allow my children to express their emotions freely and to follow their natural curiosity.

What I didn’t know 20 years ago was that I would be blessed with two highly spirited children that would challenge me every step of the way – just by being themselves and wanting to explore their world to the full.

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I wouldn’t use force to teach my children – so I had to find another way.

I’m writing this in case you don’t want to force your child to do things, but you feel pressure all around you. Maybe you feel pressure to force your child to go to school or to sit down and do schoolwork at home or to take away their iPad – and it doesn’t sit well with you. In your heart you know you don’t want to force. You don’t want to nag, lie or manipulate your children either, but you’re not sure what else to do. I want you to know that you’re not alone in this and that I understand. I felt that pressure greatly at times and I didn’t like it at all. I’d like to give you some inspiration and encouragement to stay true to your desire to live peacefully and respectfully with your children. I want you to know that you can find a path forward that doesn’t require force.

Long before I thought about having children I’d developed an aversion to people using force over others. It was probably all those years I spent studying and teaching Law at university that did it; I was sickened by the many ways that people assert power over others and how the use of force is entrenched so deeply in our culture and legal system. While the use of force and punishments might seem less severe now than they did in the days when flogging and other corporal punishments were common, the society we live in is still largely built around the use of force. It shows up in conventional parenting practice all the time. Physical punishment such as smacking is still common and legal and isolation punishment such as “time out” or “grounding” is widely recommended. Punishment is just one way parents try to make their children comply with what they want.

This cultural acceptance of the use of force means that we often don’t see it clearly for what it is, and we don’t notice how our educational institutions are also built on it. I didn’t see the force used against children in the education system clearly until I had children of my own.

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CREATE A BUBBLE OF FREEDOM FOR YOUR FAMILY

If you have sensitive, free-spirited children like I do, then you know that rules and restrictions create problems. 

If you place yourself in the role of the controlling parent whose job it is to make and enforce the rules you create a lot of conflict and emotional pain. You’re also going to be the one inflicting punishments and “consequences” and I bet you know how awful that feels. 

But what happens when you get hemmed in by rules imposed by others? 

We live in a society with law-making processes and enforcement through punishment. It’s stressful to live in fear of punishment, so I aim to follow the law or at least to find a way to live in harmony with it. 

Living in harmony with the law doesn’t have to mean the end of freedom in family life. 

For over 15 years I’ve lived with my husband and two sons in a “family bubble” of freedom, play and learning.

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HOW TO STAY CALM WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS AN ANGRY MELTDOWN.

There are few things more challenging than angry meltdowns.

I’m talking about an explosion of intense emotion that may include hitting, swearing and screaming. If your child has angry meltdowns, you may find yourself reacting and becoming very angry yourself.

I know what its like. I’ve been there. I have two sons and they both went through periods when they experienced explosive anger.

From the start, I was clear that I didn’t want to punish them. I didn’t want to inflict emotional pain to try and “teach them a lesson.”

I also didn’t want to shame them or tell them that they were bad or wrong for getting angry. I knew that would make them feel even worse and it wouldn’t help them become calm.

So what was left to try? I wanted a new, peaceful approach to dealing with angry meltdowns.

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