How to Become a Peaceful Parent: A Conversation with Mimi Pomeranz
Mimi Pomeranz is adamant about the fact that she is a parenting coach, and not a parenting expert. After all, parenting is an endless journey, and there’s always room for growth. But that growth can be peaceful — filled with empathy, mutual respect, and lots of love. A JWRP sister, wife, mother of three daughters, and certified parenting coach, Mimi mentors and guides clients from all over the world to help them bring more peacefulness to their relationships with their children. We spoke to Mimi about setting limits with our children, channeling our anger in healthy ways, and introducing playfulness into our everyday parenting.
What does peaceful parenting look like?
Many of us were raised in the “dominant paradigm of parenting,” which is based on control and exerting power and authority as a parent. Peaceful parenting, on the other hand, emphasizes empathy, connection, and relationships. It enables parents to nurture a connected, loving, and respectful bond with their children that is foundational and long-lasting.
Why is it so important to approach our children with empathy?
Every person shares the basic human need to feel heard and understood. If you have a problem, you’ll choose to speak to the person who understands you, and doesn’t judge, shame, or blame you. When children feel that you hear and understand them, they will automatically and naturally want to seek out your guidance. This opens the door to communication and cooperation.
How can parents let go of the ways they were parented and begin to form new behaviors?
If you don’t want to parent your children the way your parents parented you, the first step is to accept the fact that you don’t have to. You can choose to change. First, pause. Then ask yourself, how do I want to handle this situation? Do I want to do what I’ve always done, or do I want to try something new and different? At any point, you can decide to act differently.
What is emotional intelligence, and how can it improve the parent/child relationship?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to control one’s emotions and approach our interpersonal relationships with empathy. When we model emotional intelligence for our kids, we teach them safe ways to express themselves, as well as how to forge strong, safe, and loving relationships with us and with others.
Why is apologizing and forgiving so important to the parent/child relationship?
Carrying around anger takes up energy, brain space, and heart space, which leaves less space available for our relationships with our children. Repair work starts with apologizing and also involves a lot of empathy. Asking your children how they felt after you hurt their feelings — and really listening to their answers — is crucial to forging stronger connections, and even avoiding similar clashes in the future.
What are some tips for setting limits with our children?
In order to peacefully set limits, it’s important to provide explanations. Make sure that your child knows that there’s always room for conversation. Once they truly understand the reasoning behind your limits, they will feel more connected and loved, instead of controlled and alienated. They will also be more likely to adhere to the limits.
What are healthy ways to deal with anger?
Anger is a natural emotion, and it’s important to acknowledge it and process it in a safe way. If you find yourself heating up, you can choose how to react. You can let your anger spill out and affect those around you, or you can manage it by taking a walk or going to another room. Every feeling dissipates if we give it time and space. Resist the urge to immediately react.
How can we introduce more playfulness into our parenting?
Inserting joy and humor into a stressful moment can improve a dynamic instantly, and give you time to rewind. When your small child spills her cereal yet again, don’t get upset. Instead, shift into play mode, and make a game out of picking up the pieces together. Your ultimate goal is to have a lifelong, loving relationship with your child, so taking the time to pause, listen, and empathize is very important.