Long time no see....
Hello Virtues Parents! I have been gone for a long time... I am so glad to see that folks are still here, checking out Virtues Parenting.
My own Steadfastness in Virtues Parenting was tested last winter, and I needed to take a break from my online communications.
My husband and I have divorced, and the circumstances were very unfortunate.
But through the storm of emotions, I stayed Steadfast with my gentle parenting, and worked very hard to cultivate a loving and supportive atmosphere for Prenna as we transition through these hard times.
The divorce was finalized March 23, exactly 2.5 years from our wedding date.
Some of the things that stick out as valuable and notable from this whole experience:
- A child's concept of their own ability to navigate through change and trauma is very malleable, and the slightest mis-step can undermine the very core of the foundation of Virtue... I have had to strive extra carefully to maintain a level of honesty, patience, understanding, and support with her in the face of the "good-time dad", as well as remain supportive of HIS parenting, in ways that enable HIM to remember what parenting is, what it looks like, and what we have set out to provide for our child.
- As she transitions into her new life, and observes other children (many of whom have older siblings and main-stream families whose lives are extremely different from hers), she "tries on" phrases and behaviors, some of which I really have had to work around. I use the most challenging moments as opportunities to accept her experimentation first, and then follow up with a process of inquiry as to what Virtues are involved, aren't involved, or ought to be involved.
- When things go really south, and they do... I am firm with her about using the Virtues inside of her... I might remind her "I suspect there is a Virtue here that is not being used... Would you consider taking a minute to reflect on how you want things to go and what Virtues are involved in that?" She sometimes gets pretty frustrated, but will invariably walk away, reflect, and sometimes comes to me with a hug, an I love you, and even sometimes what Virtue she has decided to use. I usually respond that even just coming up and being loving after a conflict shows that she has HUGE Virtues, and is very grown-up, using her Virtues without being prompted.
- The no-prompt acknowledgement has been epic. I find myself saying things like "I didn't know you were already using that Virtue, that Virtue is _______." And "You were really using your _______ and I didn't have to ask you or remind you. Wow, hon! That's really thinking!"
- Lastly, when I am having my own hard time, being patient or kind or peaceful, etc, I OWN it. I usually let her know, "I am running out of my patience" or something, ask her to give me some space, and then take a moment to calm down. Then I speak to her about it. I TELL her outright, "Mama has had a hard time today. Thank you so much for using your understanding, and giving me some space... I love you too much to yell at you and I really don't like feeling impatient with you, so when you give me space, it gives me time to build up my patience (etc) again... I am so sorry to have hurt your feelings (if feelings were hurt by a frustrated mama) and I want to know what you think we can do to work on that?" One break thru conversation involved Prenna telling me outright that if I seemed to be losing my temper, she would hold up her hand like a stop, and say "Mama, remember we talked about being steadfast in our Virtues? Do you need a minute?" She is a genius! It has happened... it works. Giving her a voice and a say in how we handle our conflicts has really had an impact on our relationship... it's amazing.
I hope you are all well and that you continue to find inspiration in the Virtues... I look forward to more communication... and the Facebook group WILL be up and running in the next few days.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in joining a Facebook Virtues Parenting group, please click on the Facebook link in my signature and add me as a friend, with a note re; Mothering or Virtues.
See you soon!