Shake that Bear Cub

There is such a focus these days on gentle and aware parenting that there seems to be no room for practical parenting. As mothers we’re supposed to be gentle, kind, never raise our voices, always keep our cool. We even are expected to talk to our children as if they’re mini-adults and have the capacity to understand reasoning on an adult level.

Where did practical parenting go? I sometimes have to remind myself that these are children we’re dealing with, not adults. And that it’s o.k. to treat them as such. Right about now you’re probably wondering what that translates to.

This came up when discussing a particular problem that is happening with one of my friend’s children. We were talking about how she felt ineffective with her “calm, reasoned” voice. We discovered that perhaps she should try out her Mama Bear voice. Think Roseanne Barr right here. As in, “DJ, stop bugging your sister and go straight to your room.” Now keep your Roseanne Barr voice and add in the aware parenting piece . . . “DJ, I’m so sorry you’re feeling so angry today that you have to take it out on your sister. But go straight to your room and don’t come out until you feel like you can handle yourself.”

What does this do? It helps the child contain himself, because they’re incapable of doing that themselves. They’re children and we’re their parents and that’s part of our job – setting limits with them when they can’t. It helps them feel better about themselves in the long run because then they don’t have the guilt of beating up on their sister.

My friend laughed and said “that’s like picking them up by the scruff of the neck and giving them a shake.” Yes, it is. And mamas all over the animal world do that without a second thought. Go Mama Bear.

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