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Home » Green parenting

What my daughter taught me about being a parent

Submitted by on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 Loading Add to favourites  19 Comments

little miss green and mrs green

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:

Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.

***

I love the theme of this month’s Carnival of Natural parenting, because we’re discussing a topic that is close to my heart.

And one of the biggest learnings in my entire life!

It’s also helped me become a better person – less judgmental in a “don’t judge a person until you’ve walked two moons in their moccasins” kinda style.

I was a fantastic parent; the best parent ever in fact…

But then I had a child of my own.

I would see children screaming in the supermarket, hear parents shouting in public and see children half unclothed, completely unwashed and eating junk food.

If only they knew, right?

Wrong!

If only *I* knew!

When I was pregnant I knew exactly what I needed to do and how to be the best mother. It involved being gentle and respectful, and allowing my child to take responsibility for their own life and to be part of the decision-making process; amongst other things.

Some things fell readily into place like co-sleeping and breastfeeding.

But the part about being gentle and part of the decision-making process?

Well my daughter came with a different agenda!

When my daughter was exploring her Will, around the age of 18 months she started to show me that what she actually wanted was boundaries.

Firm ones.

Unshakable ones.

Immovable ones.

She demanded routine, structure and rules.

I was giving her rhythm, spontaneity and more of a democratic upbringing.

So she pushed, shook boundaries and anything that wasn’t 100% secure was torn down; both literally and metaphorically.

Although I practice gentle and attachment parenting, I am someone who needs her own space. I feel part of gentle parenting is about parenting yourself and getting your own needs met.

So bedtimes were a challenge.

In order to be a good mother I need some time in the evening to myself.

I truly admire families who have a family bedtime and spend 24/7 together but it’s not for me.

One day, after my daughter had come down for the tenth time and I was feeling angry and resentful she told me exactly what she needed:

“I need you to lock my bedroom door”. she said.

Can you imagine!?

As a gentle parenting, attachment parent how could I EVER lock my child in a room?

My child’s soul implored me to explore the importance of perception.

I was PERCEIVING locking a child in their room to be inhumane, cruel and abusive.

But my daughter perceived it as a secure boundary.

We talked about it, I checked, she was sure.

So I did.

With my heart in my mouth I locked my baby’s bedroom door.

I cried.

She giggled on the other side of the door.

I heard her get up to check the door.

Then she went back to bed and for the next half hour or so she talked to herself animatedly until she fell asleep.

I had a peaceful evening.

She had a great night’s sleep.

The following day she asked me to do it again – and again and again – for a year or so.

It never felt good, but it taught me an awful lot about perception and about myself.

Most of all it taught me to trust my daughter to know how to get her needs met.

If anyone had told me 12 years ago I would lock my child in her room every night for a year I would say they were insane – what sort of a mother do you take me for!?

But I did and my daughter has taught me many things about the importance of perception since.

I’m guessing I’ll get judged and slated for writing this post.

But I used to judge and slate parents; until I was one…

What about you; what has your child taught you about parenting?

mrs green and little miss green

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19 Comments »

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • Lisa Nelson says:

    Hahahahaha! I laughed all the way through this post! Excellent post! I so love it!

    This is what parenting is! Right here. I was shocked to hear that your daughter would ask you to do such a thing. I would be shocked to hear it myself. I would be taken aback. Why would she ask me to lock her into her room?

    But after talking to her, I would do it, just like you.

    You got peace. Hey! I need my peace at night too. Like you, I become angered by the repeated coming out of the bedroom. It’s like,I have made it to this point, please don’t push me one step more or else my head will erupt. Same thing every single night.

    Haha!

    I totally feel you.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. For me, this post is a comfort.

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • Thank you for sharing this! I find that push-pull of freedom vs. boundaries so interesting!

    I loved hearing your experience. The other night, I let my daughter fall asleep in her cushy rocking chair. I was flexible on the how and where but not on the fact that she was go to sleep without my holding her hand or sitting with her. She’s a much different child than her brother, and I’m trying to figure out what works for her and for the rest of us. I imagine that will be my lot for the next many years!

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • Becky says:

    Great post! It sounds like that was hard for you to do, but you respected her wishes. And that’s amazing how in-tune your daughter is about her own needs. I do think that my daughter (like most preschoolers) thrives on structure, but routines don’t come easy for me (unless forced by school or work schedules.) Thanks for making me think about what is easy for me vs. what my child needs.

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • Mercedes says:

    I’m with you, I think this month’s topic is so great because it allows us to see how universal it is. Congratulations for figuring out about perception, allowing you to do what was necessary and best for you and your daughter! Thank you for sharing this and so honestly, as I’m sure others have wrestled (or will!) with similar issues.

  • Wow! That’s not something I would have expected to read from you ;) But knowing how responsive you are to your daughter, and how in tune with yourself, I trust you would not have taken any such step lightly.

  • Rachael says:

    How very surprising our children are — especially in that responding to their needs can put us in a place of so much discomfort. And really looking at that discomfort, as it seems you certainly did in this situation, can show us so much about ourselves.

  • […] What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?” […]

  • That’s really incredible that she asked for it, wanted it — and that you felt confident enough as a parent to give her what she needed. I agree that I’d have felt really uncomfortable with doing it, but we parent the child we have, not the one we theorize! I learn that daily.

  • Claire says:

    Oh man I wish my four year old would ask me to lock her in her room. :-P

    I totally get what you’re saying about needing the time to yourself in the evening to be a good parent. I’ve figured out that I need a break in the daytime too, which is why we’ve started a quiet time. She doesn’t always want to go along with it, but she tells me afterwards that she feels better. And I feel better too having that little break. It’s okay if we can’t be with our kids 24/7 just like you said.

  • Oh how much we have to compromise when we become parents!! This is such an eye opening read… we can think we have their best intentions at heart, but sometimes they’re able to tell us much more clearly exactly what they need. I bet you weren’t expecting that what she needed was to be locked in!

  • Your daughter is so pretty and sounds like she has known what she wants from an early age!! It is amazing sometimes what we can learn drom our children.