Today, I am honored to feature Josh K. of The Peaceful Papa. I noticed him early on on Facebook after a friend of mine shared one of his popular posts. Since then, his following has grown by leaps and bounds as people resonate with his peaceful parenting approach and his honesty. You can follow him through his Facebook and his blog.
Here is more about Josh:
“My name is Josh K., or as most people might recognize me, The Peaceful Papa. I live in the Midwest in the U.S. I have 2 kids – DinoBoy who is 3 years old and SwirlyGirl who is 5 months old.
I began my blog as a means to give more men a voice in the gentle parenting community, a community that is largely dominated by mothers. I hope that by blogging, it’s getting the word out that fathers are capable, and to show other fathers that it’s okay to shed the ‘”tough and manly” facade and be gentle, loving and respectful to your children.”
Joanna Steven: If you had to define peaceful parenting in a sentence or two, what would you say?
The Peaceful Papa: Peaceful parenting is more about self control, building connections with your child, and responding with understanding and empathy. It’s about consciously responding, not reacting with punishment. Peaceful parenting is much more than just how to handle “discipline”. It extends to each daily interaction we have.
Joanna Steven: You meet a parent interested in peaceful parenting. List 2-3 baby steps to help them move away from mainstream patterning.
The Peaceful Papa: This is a toughy. There’s really no “steps”. But…
(a) Put space between your reaction and your response. Pause and ask yourself if this is helping or hurting the situation. Most times there’s an underlying reason for the behavior besides the trigger that set them off.
(b) Shift your perspective from controlling your child through power struggles, to seeing them as an individual that needs guidance and respect. I’ve found that if they are treated with respect and dignity, they in turn become more open, cooperative and have considerably less meltdowns.
(c) Give them options and choices. Empower them with the ability to choose (when applicable) and most times they’ll be more willing to cooperate. Ask them before you pour the drink what cup they want, or what shirt they want to wear or if they want to help you pick up toys or wipe off the table.
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.
The Peaceful Papa: A biggie for me was temper and patience. I grew up in a house with a lot of yelling so I became temperamental and quick to get defensive and yell. It’s been very difficult for me to stay calm and respond. I’m still working on patience. When I feel myself giving into old habits I always stop, close my eyes and relax before continuing. It sounds silly and oversimplified, but it really is effective.
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.
The Peaceful Papa: Hmmm. Let’s see. I honestly haven’t read a lot of parenting books. Out of the handful I have read, I always recommend How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book phenomenally lays out “how to’s”, has practice pages for reflecting, and throws a lot of possible scenarios at you with a different ways of working through them.
Joanna Steven: Name 1 or 2 people who inspire you to be a peaceful parent. Famous or not!
The Peaceful Papa: As corny of an answer as this may be, my son. The few times I have slipped up and yelled with intent to intimidate… The hurt in his eyes I’ll never forget. That’s probably the single most inspirational factor in how I approach him. The other inspiration wouldn’t be a single individual, but rather an entity; a community. I draw upon the success stories and how others handle situations. I really do learn from the community that has followed my page.
Joanna Steven: Parenting is easier when you’re happy! List 2-3 things that bring joy to your parenting journey.
The Peaceful Papa: Oh boy, where do I begin? When I interact with my son. I see the pure joy in his eyes. A complacency in just being. It’s something we lose as adults. How he interacts with his world. His inquisitiveness. Everything. Picking him up from daycare, the way he runs to me screaming “Daddy! Daddy!”. Watching my little girl smile and giggle as she becomes more aware and interactive with her environment. As she begins to utilize new skills to grasp and manipulate her toys. Watching her peacefully fall asleep on my chest. The list is endless. 🙂
You will find a list of all the interviews in the Peaceful Parenting series here.