How has your day been?

talking to childrenThis month’s theme for the Carnival of Natural Parenting is “Role model” We’ve been asked how our style of natural parenting has inspired someone else.

I found this hard to write because it can sound as if you’re being arrogant. But it is wonderful when you see a friend have a lightbulb moment because of something you mention in passing or something they see you do.

Dealing with anger

One such occasion occurred recently when talking to a friend about her son. Her son is going through a challenging time right now with anger issues, emotional outbursts and things escalated when he tried to run away from school. That must have been very scary for her and him to go through and she was looking for support.

When I asked what he had said about the situation afterwards, I was told he had said nothing. When I probed further I found out it was because they hadn’t discussed it! My friend has 4 other children, works full time and has a hectic lifestyle. She is a single mother, so her time is limited and busy. Her way of coping is to pretend things haven’t happened and not to discuss them, but this was clearly getting her down.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]1853407054[/amazon-product]

Listen to children

I gently pointed out that behaviour like this (hitting, screaming, tantrums at the age of 10) showed that her son had something unresolved going on inside; some kind of issue that was troubling him and needed talking about. The idea of talking scared her. She’s not a talker, not one to share her feelings, not one to go to ‘uncomfortable’ places. I suggested that sometimes all kids need is a good listening to.

This simple statement stopped her in her tracks.

She asked how she might go about talking to him. I mean, how do you do that after 10 years when her son has never been used to being listened to or encouraged to voice his feelings?

How are you?

It was then that I shared something we do at home. Every night before sleep, Mr Green, Little Miss Green and I share the worst part and the best part of our day. It’s important you do them this way around so that you end on a high. The great thing about this is that if we’ve angered one another, frustrated each other or endured something challenging we’re able to finish the day by apologising to one another AND little Miss Green is able to see that even as grown ups we have fears, things that annoy us or troubles we need to find a creative solution to.

[amazon-product small=”1″]1577310799[/amazon-product]My friend loved this idea. It takes away all feeling of confrontation and the whole family can join in so the focus is not on just one person.

Learning to communicate

Three weeks later she called to say that this was working brilliantly. Her son was extremely wary at first and wouldn’t join in, but now he has built up trust, seen that his Mum struggles with things too and really looks forward to this part of the day when he can be heard. It is dissolving his fears and anger and he now feels that someone is listening to him

Such a simple and tiny tool that helped.

Talking stick

If you want to step it up, I recommend a talking stick. This is great when you have a family issue you need to discuss and you need people to listen rather than spend the time you are talking to figure out what they want to say!

A talking stick was used in Native North American  tribes at council meetings. It was used as courtesy not to interrupt a chief  when he was speaking. The talking stick was then passed to the next council member who wished to speak.

As a family you can have fun making your own and decorating it. It doesn’t even have to be a stick – you could use a large feather, a shell or any other object; it’s simply a symbolic gesture and because it’s visual is great for when members of your ‘tribe’ are young. They can visibly see when it is someone’s turn to speak!

What about you – how have you inspired someone to parent?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

  2. Rest. Is it even possible? « Janet Fraser on May 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

  3. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama on May 11, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I love both of your ideas! My husband and I (ok – my husband – ahem) has major problems letting others talk/listening, especially when we are arguing. The talking stick will be implemented post haste in our house.
    And as far as the “worst part/best part” – what a great way to show that adults have problems too & have to work on resolutions! How early do you recommend starting with this? I’m not sure Kieran could do this on his own – would it be so bad if I helped to prompt his answers until he started coming up with his own?

  4. […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

  5. Upstream Parenting : Diary of a First Child on May 11, 2010 at 6:03 am

    […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

  6. Mrs Green on May 11, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Hi Dionna, thanks for stopping by to comment. The talking stick can work really well and it improves communication no end. I’m quite sure we have all been guilty of using the time people are talking to think about what we are going to say next! This really slows things down, gives you time to listen and be heard. We tell me daughter we have TWO ears and ONE mouth for a reason LOL!
    I think your idea of starting with Kieran now and helping him out would be grand – see how it goes 🙂

  7. Lauren @ Hobo Mama on May 11, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I’m still flabbergasted that your friend hadn’t talked to her son about running away from school! Good for you for using the opportunity to talk patiently and empathetically about it with her, instead of — well, I would probably have quietly slunk away and talked about her behind her back. See, you’re a role model to me right now! 🙂

    As far as your solution for her (and/or all of us), brilliant! We used to do the same thing but called it “High/Low,” after a name it was given in a movie we saw that wasn’t very good except for that one thing it gave us. I like your idea of ending on the high, though. We’ll have to start this again, because I feel like my husband and I have less and less time just to talk and connect now that we’re pulled in different directions with caring for the little one and working. Thank you!

  8. Mrs Green on May 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

    @Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Thanks for your comment, Lauren. you’re so funny; I think I may have done the talking behind the back as well if I’m perfectly honest. But I know lots of people who do not talk about anything; they just pretend things have not happened. This is an alien thing to me, but I guess it’s normal for many …
    I hope you enjoy your high / low with your husband; it’s great for ANY relationship and hopefully will reconnect you a little more 🙂

  9. Joni Rae on May 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I love this.

    I love that you were able to help your friend- I LOVE your bedtime idea. I am going to do this with MY kids, starting tonight. See- you just INSPIRED me!


  10. BluebirdMama aka @childbearing on May 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Excellent post. I love the practical suggestions and it was cool to hear how your friend’s story turned out. I think I will definitely try that end of the day debrief at our house.

    Also, as I’ve been going through today’s posts I have to say that you make the most encouraging insightful comments. You’re definitely an inspiration to me!

  11. Sarah on May 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    What a great encouragement you must have been to your friend. There is nothing like a supportive person to help you through your problems. Also, I love the idea of sharing the best and worst part of the day. I only have a almost 1 year old, but I’m already nervous about how my husband and I will “talk” to him about things. I wasn’t raised in that type of an environment, but I truly want my son to be able to trust us in that way. I hope that we are able to figure that one out!

    As for the talking stick, I should probably give one of those to my husband. Maybe that would help me shut up. 🙂 Thanks for the great tips!

  12. Maman A Droit on May 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I think it’s a great idea to set aside a special time of day to talk about how everyone’s day went. We always did it around the dinner table growing up, and since everyone had food to eat too, we never had problems of anyone talking too much!

    I’ve talked to my younger sister-in-law about parenting a lot and I know my ideas have influenced her a lot-I guess we’ll see if she does things similarly to me when she’s a parent someday

  13. Melodie on May 11, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    What a wonderful idea! I’d like to try that out myself! I’ve heard of talking sticks for meetings as well and look forward to doing this one when my kids are a little bit older. Thanks!

  14. Amber on May 12, 2010 at 4:44 am

    That’s fabulous that you were able to help and inspire your friend. Way to go!

    I think that most of my inspiration centres around breastfeeding. I volunteer to help mothers who are dealing with breastfeeding difficulties. Helping someone else who is struggling is a fabulous feeling.

  15. Mrs Green on May 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

    @Joni Rae: Very cool! I hope it went well 😀

    @BluebirdMama aka @childbearing: Oh bless you; thank you so much. I feel the women taking part in this carnival are simply amazing. I would love to have the time to comment on ALL the posts, but I can’t do that. Anyway, it’s a blessing to be able to visit just a few to gain insight and share in the profound wisdom and stark honesty that is poured onto the pages…

    @Sarah: Hon, I wasn’t raised in that sort of environment either, but it is SO easy for us to talk because I wanted it so much myself. One of my number 1 criteria for being a good parent is that my DD can come to me about ANYTHING; it’s so important for all relationships; to feel you will be listened to without judgement. You will be ok; I can feel it 🙂

    @Maman A Droit: Your SIL is a lucky woman to have you in her life. We can only plant seeds; what happens to them is none of our business; but I am sure you’ve inspired many, many people. We just don’t always get to see the results of what we have sown 😉

    @Melodie: You’re welcome Melodie; I hope you enjoy making one; it can be a very creative process if you like (or as simple as picking up something and using it – the symbolism is what matters!)

    @Amber: Amber, what a wonderful gift you share through helping women to breastfeed; I sure wish you’d been around 8 years ago as I found it very hard and had no support apart from my husband, who although wonderful and amazing couldn’t even know how it really felt 😉

  16. Sarah @ OneStarryNight on May 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

    LOVE this post. It’s amazing how we can forget to just LISTEN. I am thrilled your friend’s relationship with her son has improved! You rock!

  17. Mrs Green on May 14, 2010 at 6:46 am

    @Sarah @ OneStarryNight: Hi Sarah; thank you for your comment. You’re right; in our fast paced world, we often forget to listen – it’s such a gift to offer to others – an open heart and two open ears 😀

  18. Janet on May 16, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I think all of us can use a reminder to listen to our children more. I’m thinking about it right now, so thanks for the prompt to make it more conscious. I love the idea of some kind of marker to show who’s speaking, and yes sticks are traditional but the shell really appealed to me because it also can encourage us to listen to ourselves when we put it to our ears and that’s just as important in my mind.

  19. Mrs Green on May 17, 2010 at 5:45 am

    @Janet: Hi Janet, thank you for your comment 🙂 I love the shell idea too; I remember listening to the sound of the sea in them when I was a child – it’s magical!

  20. Luschka @ Diary of a First Child on May 27, 2010 at 7:52 am

    These are such fantastic ideas! I love the Low/High idea – my daughter is only 8 months old but I hope to remember it because it seems such a valuable idea. Apart from showing kids that adults have fears etc too, I think it’s a really important way of finding out what’s going on in your childs life. I heard recently of a young girl who was being badly bullied at school and her parents had no idea. I found that so sad! Thanks for such an inspirational post.

  21. Mrs Green on May 31, 2010 at 9:17 am

    @Luschka @ Diary of a First Child: You are so welcome and I hope you find it useful when your daughter gets older. The idea of my child facing some trauma and me knowing nothing about it is just awful. I can’t imagine that happening as I’m pretty intuitive, but still, it’s a terrible thought for all the children who go through such fearful situations without anyone to turn to…

  22. […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

  23. […] How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste) […]

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