Today, I have the great pleasure of showcasing Edgar Ontiveros of The Dad Effect. I love his message that being a gentle parent goes beyond treating our children well, we also need to treat others well, like our spouse! I don’t see this often on other blogs and pages. After all, our kids learn from us, and although they’re not in a relationship now, they’ll be some day… And they’re learning to be adults by watching our behavior!
Edgar is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist providing therapy services to students with special needs. He is also a proud father of 3 homeschooled children, plus one on the way. He has a passion in working with parents and families from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, and enjoys spending his free time outdoors with his wife and children.
Joanna Steven: If you had to define peaceful parenting in a sentence or two, what would you say?
Edgar Ontiveros: In my opinion, Peaceful Parenting is all about the parent. Peaceful parenting is about learning different techniques and strategies to keep my actions and behaviors on check so that my words and actions may reflect grace and love towards my children.
Joanna Steven: You meet a parent interested in peaceful parenting. List 2-3 baby steps to help them move away from mainstream patterning.
Edgar Ontiveros: Step 1: It’s not too late. Do not fall in the trap of, “I messed up my children already and have caused significant pain and can’t take it back.” Peaceful parenting is about forgiving yourself first. It starts with you. Reflect on your upbringing, your childhood and ask yourself if you want better for your children. And offer yourself grace. This will help you offer grace to your children on a daily basis.
Step 2: Stay focused. During the difficult challenging moments (e.g. toddler screaming their head off, baby wanting to be fed and pre-schooler running around the house) remind yourself that this too shall pass. Every struggle, every challenge and every single moment that may feel as a failure is just a phase. Remind yourself: “It’s just a phase, I will keep myself grounded even though I feel like jumping off the edge. This too shall pass.”
Step 3: You are all they need. It is easy to compare yourself to other parents. Easy to compare your children to other children. And easy to compare your parenting style to others. At the end of the day, your children need you, want you and love you. You are all they need. You don’t have to have it all together. No one does.
Joanna Steven: Peaceful parenting isn’t always easy. List 1 or 2 challenges you faced as a new parent while trying to parent peacefully, and how you overcame them.
Edgar Ontiveros: I realized that the biggest challenge for me was not my children, but me. I realized that parenting is about putting my priorities together and focusing on what matters: my children. I realized that in order to put my children’s needs first, I need to evaluate my own insecurities, frustrations and struggles as a parent. I realized that parenting is a challenge in and of itself and that I am a father who is a work-in progress. I realized that in order to parent peacefully, I have to reflect on my own emotions, feelings and triggers that affect what I say and do to my children. I realized that the biggest challenge is being willing to accept my mistakes, struggles and imperfections as a father. These realizations continue to be a challenge, yet, they serve as a platform to help me through this journey, to grow, learn and become a better father.
Joanna Steven: Often, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! List one parenting book that influenced you and that you’d recommend to others.
Edgar Ontiveros: There are so many books and authors that support peaceful parenting. The first book I came across was The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline by L.R. Knost. Her words were genuine, heartfelt, non-judgmental and encouraging.
Joanna Steven: Name 1 or 2 people who inspire you to be a peaceful parent. Famous or not!
Edgar Ontiveros: This may sound cheesy, but my children inspire me to be a peaceful parent. They remind me, day in and day out, that I have a choice to parent with grace and love. Even through their cries, tantrums and screams, I am honored to be a part of their little worlds that constantly remind me that they are little humans with big emotions. I have but one legacy to pass down to my children, and that is how I choose to treat them. I choose love.
Joanna Steven: Parenting is easier when you’re happy! List 2-3 things that bring joy to your parenting journey.
Edgar Ontiveros: Having support/accountability is extremely important in my parenting journey. My wife and I work as a team, encourage and keep each other accountable. My faith allows me to find peace and joy, especially during the struggles. Laughing, dancing, tickling and doing things as family brings joy every single time. And reminding myself that it’s the little things that matter to my children (e.g. playing monster) that bring unsurmountable joy.
You will find a list of all the interviews in the Peaceful Parenting series here.