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“One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”
—Charles Raison

A parent’s goal is to help their child feel good and act better. If you're wondering whether practicing peaceful parenting instead of punishment at your house is a good idea, the short answer is that punishment undermines your relationship with your child, makes kids feel worse about themselves (which makes them act worse) and sabotages your child's development of self-discipline.

When a parent loves the child unconditionally, rather than using love withdrawal or other techniques to control and manipulate the child with punishment or rewards, they see themselves as a coach, offering the child loving guidance so the child learns to manage emotion, and therefore behavior.

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These are the 10 peaceful parenting habits to practice in your own family—

1. Peaceful parenting starts with regulating your own emotions...

...So that you can be the patient, emotionally generous parent you aspire to be—and that every child deserves.

2. Evaluate all teaching based on whether it strengthens or weakens your relationship with your child.

The parent prioritizes maintaining and strengthening the parent-child connection, which is the only reason children cooperate.

The most effective discipline strategy is having a close bond with your child. Kids who feel connected to their parents naturally want to please them. Think loving guidance, not punishment.

Punishment is destructive to your relationship with your child and ultimately creates more misbehavior. Loving guidance is setting limits and reinforcing expectations as necessary, but in an empathic way that helps the child focus on improving their behavior rather than on being angry at you.

3. Start all correction by reaffirming the connection.

Remember that children misbehave when they feel bad about themselves and disconnected from us.

  • Stoop down to their level and look them in the eye, "You want your brother to move, so you pushed him. No pushing; pushing hurts! Tell your brother, 'Move please.'"
  • Pick them up, "You wish you could play longer but it's time for bed."
  • Make loving eye contact, "You are so upset right now."
  • Put your hand on her shoulder, "You're scared to tell me about the cookie."

4. Don't hesitate to set limits as necessary, but set them with empathy.

Of course, you need to enforce your rules. But you can also acknowledge their perspective. When kids feel understood, they're more able to accept our limits. You can use phrases like:

"You’re very very mad and hurt, but we don’t bite. Let’s use your words to tell your brother how you feel."


"You wish you could play longer, but it's bedtime. I know that makes you sad."


"You don't want Mommy to say no, but the answer is no. We don't say 'shut up' to each other, but it's ok to be sad and mad."


"You are scared, but we always tell the truth to each other."

5. In any situation posing physical danger, intervene immediately to set limits, but simultaneously connect by empathizing.

You can say something like, "The rule is no hitting. You can tell your sister what you want and how you feel without attacking her."

6. Defiance is always a relationship problem.

If your child does not accept your direction ("I don't care what you say, you can't make me!"), it's always an indication that the relationship is not strong enough to support the teaching.

This happens to all of us from time to time.

At that point, stop and think about how to strengthen the relationship, not how to make the child mind. Turning the situation into a power struggle will just deepen the rift between you.

7. Avoid Timeouts. They create more misbehavior.

Timeouts, while infinitely better than hitting your child, are just another version of punishment by banishment and humiliation.

They leave kids alone to manage their tangled emotions, so they undermine emotional intelligence.

They erode, rather than strengthen, your relationship with your child.

They set up a power struggle.

They only work while you're bigger.

They're a more humane form of bullying than physical discipline.

8. Consequences teach the wrong lesson if you're involved in creating them.

On the face of it, consequences make sense: The child does—or doesn't do—something, and learns from the consequences. Which, when it happens naturally, can be a terrific learning experience. But most of the time parents engineer the consequences, so that any child can explain to you that consequences are actually punishment.

If the parent is not involved in the consequences—for instance, if they don't study and flunk their test, or they don't brush and get a cavity—and if you can handle the bad result, kids can learn a lot from suffering the consequences of their actions.

Of course, you don't want it to happen more than once, or their self-image becomes that of a person who flunks the test and gets cavities, and they have learned an unintended lesson.

My own view is that it works better, if possible, for them to skip such lessons, but as a last-ditch strategy, we all certainly learn from letting things go wrong.

Unfortunately, most kids whose parents use consequences as punishment, don't think of them as the natural result of their own actions (i.e. I forgot my lunch today so I was hungry), but as the threats they hear through their parents' clenched teeth, "If I have to stop this car and come back there, there will be consequences!"

If parents are in charge of consequences, then the consequences aren't the natural result of the child's actions, but simply punishment. To the degree that consequences are seen as punishment by kids—and they almost always are—they are not as effective as positive discipline to encourage good behavior. Using them on your kids should be considered a last result and a signal that you need to come up with another strategy.

9. What you think and feel is more important than what you say in how your child responds.

Kids will do almost anything we request if we make the request with a loving heart. Find a way to say yes instead of no, even while you set your limit. "Yes, it's time to clean up, and yes I will help you, and yes we can leave your tower up, and yes you can growl about it, and yes if we hurry we can read an extra story, and yes we can make this fun, and yes I adore you, and yes how did I get so lucky to be your parent? Yes!"

Your child will respond with the generosity of spirit that matches yours.

10. How you treat your child is how she will learn to treat herself.

If you're harsh with them, they’ll be harsh with themselves. If you're loving with them, while firm about setting appropriate limits, they’ll develop the ability to set firm but loving limits on their own behavior.

Harsh discipline and punishment, ironically, interfere with the child's ability to develop self-discipline. The problem with internalizing harshness isn't just that it makes for unhappy kids and, eventually, unhappy adults, it's that it doesn't work. Kids who are given discipline that is not loving never learn to manage themselves constructively.

To the degree that we're harsh with ourselves because of the way we were parented, we respond to it by rebelling (how many times do we cheat on our diets?), martyring ourselves (trying hard to be good girls and boys but building up resentment and lashing out at those we love), or not giving ourselves a break and ultimately breaking down.

To the degree that we can accept our own loving guidance because we've learned from our parents to treat ourselves that way, we are able to set goals and use our self discipline to attain them.

Ultimately, loving guidance and positive parenting result in the child's developing the holy grail toward which all child raising is aimed: the child's own self-discipline.

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It's finally 2020. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few days into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Ashley Graham is a mama! 🎉

A new chapter is unfolding for model and podcaster Ashley Graham, who just announced she and her husband Justin Ervin have met their baby.

The baby arrived Saturday, according to a post made on Graham's Instagram Stories.

"At 6:00pm on Saturday our lives changed for the better," reads the Story. "Thank you for all your love and support during this incredible time."

Graham previously announced that she and Ervin were expecting a son. They initially announced the pregnancy on their ninth wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden just welcomed a baby girl! 🎉

Surprise! Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are ringing in the New Year as first-time parents!

"Happy New Year from the Maddens!" reads a birth announcement posted to both Diaz and Madden's Instagram accounts. "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family."

Raddix Madden is the first child for Diaz, 47, and Madden, 40.

The couple say they won't be posting any pictures of their daughter on social media as they "feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy."

Congratulations to the Maddens! 🎉

Dylan Dreyer of 'Today' is a mom of 2! 

Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and her husband Brian Fichera, welcomed their second child, Oliver George Fichera, the first week of January 2020. Oliver joins his big brother Calvin to make the family a foursome.

Dreyer is still recovering from birth but her voice was on TV this week when she called into her show with an update on her new family. "I feel good," Dylan told her colleagues. "I just feel so happy and so blessed."

Caterina Scorsone of 'Grey's Anatomy' now has 3 girls!

Caterina Scorsone of Grey's Anatomy has so much to be thankful for in 2020: She's now a mom of three! The actress announced the birth of her daughter via Instagram, noting that her baby's name is Arwen.

Arwen joins big sisters Eliza, 7, and 3-year-old Paloma, who has Down syndrome. Speaking on The Motherly Podcast last year, Scorsone explained how Paloma's diagnosis made her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

It is likely shifting again, as any mama who has gone from two kids to three knows.

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When it comes to taking care of the baby and the house, modern dads say they want to be equal partners.

But when Saturday arrives, research shows men are often relaxing while women are the ones doing unpaid housework with a “leisure time" discrepancy of more than 50 minutes a day on the weekends.

The study revealed that women were more likely than men to spend their weekends watching kids or performing housework.

So after a long week of watching kids or clocking hours on the job, what does mom do more of than dad? Work.

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ph.D., an associate professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University, and lead author of the new study, says she is hopeful we can all find more balance. It's just going to take some hard discussions—and an understanding that there's more than one way to load a dishwasher or dress a baby.

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The study published in the journal Sex Roles saw Ohio State researchers tracking how 52 dual-income couples spent their time on a minute-by-minute basis as they welcomed their first child. The participating couples kept time diaries for workdays and non-workdays during the third trimester and for about three months after the baby's birth.

The researchers expected to see a lot of entries where mom and dad were doing childcare or housework together, but they didn't.

“Men actually increased their time doing leisure while she was doing work across the transition of parenthood," Kamp Dush shares. “It actually got worse once the baby was there."

According to Kamp Dush, there are a couple of factors behind this disappointing dynamic.

“One thing that's going on is women have a lot of societal pressure put on them to be perfect mothers. So if something is less than perfect with the baby or the house, the consequences are coming back on them," she explains, adding this pressure to have everything done to high standards may lead some moms to micromanage their partners.

If a dad is slacking, Kamp Dush suggests moms ascertain what his motivations are. Often, she says the solution may be as simple as empowering him to do things his own way. (Even if it isn't the outfit you would have picked for the baby...)

“It may also be the case that he just doesn't want to do it and he enjoys his leisure time," says Kamp Dush. If that's the case, she suggests calmly explaining the cost that his rest requires you pay. That may prompt him to do a bit more because, as Kamp Dush says, “He might also enjoy having a happier spouse and co-parent."

The earlier you can have these conversations, the better

Unaddressed resentment in relationships tends to build overtime, which is why it's essential to check in on how you (and your partner) are feeling early and often.

Kamp Dush suggests moms with heavy mental loads write down the tasks and duties they're dealing with. Then rip the list in half and hand it to dad. Couples can certainly negotiate the listed responsibilities, but the important thing is that they're not all on mom.

“Then, you're going to have to let it go," she explains. “Men know how to do these things. As women, we need to just let them do it."

Dads need to do 50 minutes more of unpaid work

The gender disparity in unpaid work hurts our careers, our families and our relationships, but it doesn't have to.

According to the Promundo's State of the World's Fathers' report, if men did 50 minutes of unpaid work a day we could close the gender gap.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, tells Motherly.

When dads are more empowered and moms feel like their household responsibilities are more balanced, the whole family is going to be better off.

[A version of this post was first published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

For new mamas back to sitting behind their desks at work some six weeks (or fewer) after their babies are born, the institutionalized parental leave policy in Denmark is the stuff of daydreams: Over in that Scandinavian paradise, parents are granted 52 weeks of paid leave to divide between them.

There's no denying this is much, much better than the state of parental leave in the United States, but it isn't quite as perfect as it seems from the outside. According to Denmark's Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, women take an average 93% of leave allotted to couples. And when they do return to work, mothers' wages suffer both in comparison to men and women without children.

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The good news is that it seems the solution to this gender income gap is something we—the mothers of today, even here in America—can do something about.

A new paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research that examined Danish administration information from 1980 to 2013 found the motherhood penalty “creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20% in the long run," which is comparable to the gap in the United States.

What's more, the income discrepancy only increases for each child a family in Denmark has: If a woman has four children, her income is only $0.60 to every dollar a man makes—10 years down the road.

While this indicates paid parental leave alone may not be the panacea for the gender income gap, the researchers suggest that changing the way we think about roles in the workplaces and homes could help—at least when it comes to the next generation.

“As a possible explanation for the persistence of child penalties, we show that they are transmitted through generations, from parents to daughters (but not sons)," the researchers note, explaining that the more a daughter's mother worked while the girl was growing up, the less the daughter's income was affected when she became a mother.

“Women tend to adopt a balance of paid work and childcare that is correlated with the one they saw their mother strike when they were growing up," Henrik Kleven, a Princeton economist and the paper's lead author, tells Quartz At Work.

What this looks like in practice is splitting household responsibilities from the get-go and encouraging fathers to take more leave. (In Sweden, where fathers are penalized for not taking advantage of paternity leave, women's earning rose an average 7% for each month of leave that men took.)

According to the State of the World's Fathers' report, produced by Promundo (a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging men and boys in gender equality in partnership with Dove Men+Care) 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands want to take paternity leave, and yet less than 50% of fathers take as much time as their country's policy allows, and social norms, financial pressures and a lack of support from their managers are all factors.

The report also found that if fathers are able to do just under an hour of unpaid work per day, mothers can cut their unpaid labor time by the same amount.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, told Motherly.

This may help shift us toward more income equality today—and, as the research shows, our daughters will really be able to reap the benefits.

[A version of this post was first published January 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

There's no doubt: It's a new parenting era than 20 or 30 years ago.

Now faced with questions about how to limit screen time, when to give children phones and how to protect them from cyber threats, there are simply some issues that today's parents can't get advice on from our own parents.

Does that mean it's harder to be a parent today than when we were growing up? Yes, say 88% of young moms and dads.

According to a BPI Network survey of 2,000 parents in the United States and Canada, the leading reasons parenting feels harder than ever include: social media distractions, challenges with two working parents, emotional or behavioral dysfunction, peer competition or bullying, and violence and safety concerns in schools.

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Of course, most of us weren't fully aware of the challenges our parents faced when we were young—such as the fact they couldn't readily call on their own moms for advice lest they wanted to rack up major long-distance bills and couldn't have anything in the world delivered to their doorsteps within two days.

Regardless of whether it's true, the perception that parenting is harder than ever has contributed to some two-thirds of the respondents saying they've experienced "parental burnout."

"Parental burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion," says Neil D. Brown, LCSW, author of Ending The Parent-Teen Control Battle. "It leaves parents feeling chronically fatigued… and it can lead to depression, chronic anxiety and illness."

With 40% reporting parental burnout has "significantly" affected their qualities of life and another 49% saying it has "somewhat" affected their wellbeing, it's time employers take a vested interest in addressing the issue, says Dave Murray, Chief Strategy and Research Officer at the BPI Network.

"It is staggering to look at the incidence of [parental burnout] symptoms among working parents in America and understand the implications this has for added employee burden, cost, concern and downtime," Murray says, adding that counseling services to promote healthy parenting should "certainly" be among the benefits employers look to offer.

Many working parents are also hopeful that their employers will recognize the importance of practices that support healthy balance between work and life—with 78% of respondents to Motherly's 2018 State of Motherhood survey saying they believe it's possible to combine careers and motherhood. Of those who worked outside the home, the biggest changes they would like to see include subsidies for childcare or on-site childcare, paid maternity leave and more flexible schedules.

In our second annual State of Motherhood Survey in 2019 just over half (51%) of mothers said "I feel discouraged: it's extremely challenging managing trade-offs" associated with combining a career and motherhood.

The consequences of unaddressed parental burnout have an unfortunate way of spilling over to other members of the family. According to a recent study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, a sample of 1,551 parents suggested "parental burnout has a statistically similar effect to job burnout on addictions and sleep problems, a stronger effect on couples' conflicts and partner estrangement mindset and a specific effect on child-related outcomes (neglect and violence) and escape and suicidal ideation."

While employers have a stake in addressing this issue, there's also a lot that individuals can do—like starting by cutting ourselves a break on self-imposed expectations. As research has shown, the more grace we give ourselves and others in the ways we parent, the less prone we ultimately are to burning out.

And while we've heard this all before, it's also worth remembering just how important it is to take time for ourselves. "We must have regular practices to refuel," LMHC Jasmin Terrany previously told Motherly. "We don't need to feel guilty about taking this time for ourselves—our kids will not only learn that self-care is essential, but when we are good, they will be good."

Then don't feel one ounce of guilt about using that time to call someone long-distance or place another Amazon Prime delivery so you can remember that parenting in this day and age does have its perks.

[A version of this post was originally published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

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