When Kindness Matters for Parents

When I wrote Just Be Kind I was sitting in a hotel room, alone. On a personal retreat in our nation’s capitol, I left my children and husband for only the second time ever — the first that my children can remember, in fact.

When I wrote it, I meant it. I mean it everyday but like other things that are hard I sometimes let this one slide. It took a weekend away for me to remember.

Parenting is hard. We get angry. We yell. We stomp out of rooms or slam pots and pans when we feel we aren’t being effective.

Yes. It’s true.

I am thrilled to know that so many Mamas are finding the mantra to be the inspiration they need to get through a hard day and practice kindness. And aren’t most days hard?

By now, you’ve realized I am not a parenting expert. Parenting experts don’t tell you to be kind.

They tell you to be consistent. Firm.

They tell you all the things you’re doing wrong.

They tell you quick tips that you are sure to get your child behaving better.

And then there I go telling you to Just Be Kind.

When, though? When should I be kind?

When is kindness better than being right?

Always.

When is kindness better than anger?

Always.

When is kindness the answer?

Always.

Does this mean we won’t ever get mad at someone in our family? No way. We’re human beings.

Does this mean we don’t set limits and require our children to do chores? Nope.

Does this mean we don’t have expectations? That’s ridiculous.

Does this mean our children treat us like garbage? Gosh, I hope not!

But if we’re practicing true kindness in our own life then we must be willing to make changes. Things need to shift. We need to mellow out a bit. We need to promote kindness over righteousness.

I am rarely wrong but in this house, with my children, I’m more wrong than ever.

I’m not saying we will always be kind, calm and peaceful.

But this intentional, mindful and thoughtful parenting that we’re doing here at Awesomely Awake — it’s really big stuff. It’s changing the world — one family at a time. It’s breaking cycles. It’s transforming children’s lives. It’s creating happy parents.

So, to the mom leading her crying 6-year-old daughter by the neck to go to some restaurant at 8 p.m. the other night, choose kindness. Take a breather. Hug your child. Explain to her what is making you so darn mad.

Just Be Kind. You can be really angry and still be really kind.

So when should you be a kind parent?

As much as possible.

But why? Why should I be kind when my kid is so dreadful?

I am going to tell you that tomorrow.

16 Responses to When Kindness Matters for Parents

  1. This is so powerful and so inspiring. I celebrate messages like this one. I worked with children with severe behavior disorders for 10 years. I was able to get those students to behave in ways that others thought they never could. How? Kindness. Respect. Compassion. And from there, a bond was made. This bond enabled the children to do the things they needed to do. Once appropriate behaviors developed, those behaviors could be reinforced over and over until it became the practice of their lives.

    I love your philosophy and your realness. I like how you say you are not a parenting expert — I am always skeptical of that term. I really don't think there is any way to be an expert in this area of life. Every child is different and figuring out what makes each child "tick" takes practices and mistakes. You may not be a parenting expert, but you are the kind of parent this world needs more of. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the message you are providing. It takes HARD work and LONG hours to write and publish these beautiful, thoughtful posts. You are doing such a great service to the world. I, for one, appreciate it. THANK YOU!

    http://www.handsfreemama.com

  2. Love this post so much, somehow people feel like kindness and parenting can't go together, they must and it doesn't mean you're a softie, it means you are raising children who will along with all of the other great things you teach have empathy, understanding, and compassion. Thank you!

  3. I say Amen to your quote and thankyou! it’s really big stuff. It’s changing the world — one family at a time. "It’s breaking cycles. It’s transforming children’s lives. It’s creating happy parents.

  4. Thank you for this gentle reminder. It's been a hard week for me and I needed to hear this.

  5. I have been having frustrating days with my kids. I wasn't kind when they were dawdling while getting ready for swim lessons. Then my 2 yo had one of his epic tantrums, the ones people stare at me and probably think awful things about me as a parent. Funnily I am almost eerily calm when dealing with on of those. They are hard but I try to calmly parent him through them.

    Anyway tonight was a doozie and everyone in the change room is staring and eye rolling at me as I am trying to pick up liquid, naked, toddler off the floor and as he tries to run screaming (and naked) back to the pool and while this is going on my gigantic 4 yo (read looks 6 or 7) is running around the change room (he is a boy) stark naked, proclaiming that he cannot find our locker.

    At that point I just started laughing. I couldn't do anything else. Then something that has never ever happened to me before happened. A woman with an older daughter (11 ish) asked if she could help. I accepted and she helped my 4 yo locate our locker and get dressed and then she helped me dress the screaming , naked, liquid child and then asked if she could give him a cookie. The cookie snapped him out of it.

    I am totally blown away by her kindness and calmness. She didn't chide him or try and shame him like a lot of people do when these happen in public she just helped me. I am so grateful to her and the example she set for her daughter is so amazing.

    While my little guy was munching his cookie I could see looks of disapproval on the starer's faces. As in how could I possibly give such a misbehaving child a cookie. Doesn't matter, they don't matter, the lady who helped us and gave us that cookie and the kindness she showed a total stranger is what matters.

  6. I found this post on pintrest and I wish I could tell you how much I needed to read this. Our family just went through a really tough last couple of years. Two years under employment, losing a house, welcoming children 6 and 7 to the bunch, and then finally… finally blessed with an amazing job in Hawaii. As we've settled here and started to heal, I've found myself totally worn thin and so very tired and worn out by the last two years. I've been so very unkind to my children, and it shows. Thank you, thank you for reminding me to be kind, to explain and to love. My children will thank you too.

    • I'm happy the Universe brought you to Awesomely Awake. We are all seekers of balance, kindness and peace. Welcome!!


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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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