Breaking the cycle
Your post opens my heart to read. Good for you mama for moving to a kinder, more loving way of parenting.
I don't have any real advice for you. My son is just (nearly) 3 and he's my only one and I am still in that steep learning curve.
But I wanted to recommend Dr. Laura Markham. Here is her website: http://www.ahaparenting.com/. She often gives advice to parents who are trying to break the cycle and change their way of parenting. She has sections of her website for all ages, and she has a new book out as well. If you haven't already heard of her, I highly recommend browsing around her site and possibly reading her book. She is wonderful and compassionate, with loads of practical tips as well as advice about the emotional/spiritual side of parenting for us.
Best of luck to you. You're on the right path and you're making a grand effort and it isn't easy to change old patterns. One step forward, two steps back still gets you where you're going.