Practically every parent is familiar with the scenario where they raise their voice or scold their child after a scary situation—they get lost in the grocery store, bolt across the street, or reach for a hot stovetop. While this reaction is natural and derives from the best intentions, it can sometimes cause a child to close up and not be receptive to the instructive and guiding information then given—such as keeping close by when out and about or not touching the stove. So is there an approach that can encourage children to be open to learning shortly after such an event? In a recent article published in U.S. News & World Report, developmental psychologist Nancy Buck, Ph.D., RN, argues for something she calls "peaceful parenting."
Buck references developmental biologist Bruce Lipton and his understanding of human behavior at a cellular level. "According to Lipton, once you understand how a single cell behaves, you understand how a human being behaves," she says. "He further explains that a cell, or a person, is either closed for protection or open for growth and learning." With a scary scenario like those described above, when a parent communicates alarm and danger as their reaction, "the child closes for protection at the cellular level," Buck notes. "No learning is happening in this moment."
Instead, Buck encourages parents to remain calm and take a thoughtful approach to all parenting moments, being especially mindful during terrifying, frustrating, and challenging times. "It's not always easy, of course," she admits. "But when we parent in this way, our children are more likely to be open to what we're trying so hard to teach them. Now they can really receive our parental guidance."
Now here's a look at parenting styles from around the globe.