A few times each year peaceful parenting hosts a Great Chalk Event. Beginning with the Summer 2012 Event, we invited everyone around the world to participate from your local area in a global effort to raise awareness of baby/child-friendly mothering and fathering.
It is a fun-in-the-sun way to get the kids involved in something creative and leave a message of advocacy in the process. Plant some seeds of info, raise awareness, and touch lives, one parent, one child, one baby at a time.
Chalk is cheap ($1 for 16-24 large pieces at most Walgreens, Walmart, etc., stores) and can also be homemade (see: http://wondertime.go.com/create-and-play/article/chalk-recipe.html). Chalk displays colorful messages on any public street/sidewalk/walkway where children and their parents are otherwise free to be, and washes naturally away with the first rainfall.
Pick your passion (intact awareness? breastfeeding? milksharing? night time parenting/no-CIO? gentle discipline? agency in birth?), select your message, choose your location, gather a few friends and the kids, get your chalk ready... and we'll see you (or at least your message!) at the next Great Chalk Event!
The 1st participant in each state (including international locations) will receive a set of info cards and a magnet to keep the seed planting going long after the chalk has washed away.
Prize packs will also be awarded to:
'Most Catchy Phrase'
You are welcome to upload photos to the peaceful parenting FB page (www.Facebook.com/peacefulparenting) and intact related photos to the Saving Our Sons FB page (www.Facebook.com/SavingOurSons). However, to be included in the running for prizes or receive a set of info cards and magnet for being first in your state, you must email your chalk photo(s) to DrMomma.firstname.lastname@example.org or SavingSons@gmail.com with a note about which state you are in. Doing so will ensure we have your contact information to notify you in the event that you win.
We look forward to YOUR creations this Great Chalk Week!
Timeline banners made with your Summer 2012 chalkings!
First Entries by State
(if you are first to submit in your state, drop us an email with the info cards of your choice and your mailing address: DrMomma.email@example.com)
Arkansas - Ashleigh G.
Florida - Rachel Y.
Indiana - Sarah T.
Maryland -- Kristine T.
Minnesota - Stacey K.
North Carolina - Amber C.
Rhode Island - Erin W.
Vermont - Amanda F. and Erin L.
Parenting is filled with moments of extreme happiness interspersed with moments of sheer frustration, and sometimes blinding anger. It is these moments of anger that parents can really struggle with in their quest to parent their children in a loving and respectful way.
I hear a lot of guilt coming from parents who tell me they 'couldn't help but shout,' 'got so angry they used time out,' 'felt a surge of vindictive spite' and 'wanted to use punishment in teaching their child a lesson.' So what sparked these feelings - these extreme and overwhelming reactions?
The majority of the time it is something very simple. A spilt drink, or perhaps a purposely poured one. A refusal to get dressed or go to bed. A meltdown at the end of bath time. A stand off over leaving the park.
In our calmest moments, when our angels are sleeping soundly and we are relaxing with a hot drink, we can look back at these moments and see them for what they really are. Nothing but minor hiccups in an otherwise smooth day, that had they been dealt with in a calm manner, would have likely fizzled out into nothing. Instead, these small incidents were turned into day-destroying catastrophes that made everyone miserable. But why is this so easy to see now, yet so hard to reason with in the heat of the moment?
Our reactions are programmed in to us from our own parents and the way we were treated as children. If our own parents were likely to fly off the handle at the smallest thing, it will take more than just deciding not to do the same things to avoid repeating the same cycles. It takes practice and mindfulness to overcome these patterns of behavior.
Anger is a valid emotion, and shoving it deep down, ignoring it, is not healthy for anyone. However, we should be wary of letting it rule us and control our behavior. Recognizing our anger triggers, and responsibly trying to avoid them, is a great first step. By pulling in support, eating regularly, keeping hydrated, resting whenever we can, and prioritizing our to do lists, we can take responsibility for keeping ourselves on an even keel.
But what if the trigger is external, like a whining child or an aggressive teenager? How can we keep calm when things happen that we have no control of?
Take a breath and wait. We do not need to rush into a reaction immediately. The situation has happened and there is no undoing it. Take another breath. Acknowledge your feelings – anger, frustration and tiredness. They are real and valid, but they do not need to control you. Breathe again.
Assess the situation
What has actually happened? On first glimpse you might see your child painting the wall, but take a moment. See the situation from an objective point of view. Is your child doing this to make you angry, or are they, in fact, simply exploring the resources at hand? You may see a poured glass of water over the rug, but wait - are they trying to antagonise you, or are they simply going through a phase of fascination when it comes to water? What's the damage? Can you fix it easily or is it going to be costly. Has anyone been hurt? Identify the facts before reacting, and try not to make it worse than it actually is. Often a damp cloth or a towel will be enough to undo the damage.
Identify the need
Why has the situation occurred? Are they bored, curious, copying outside behaviour (often a reason in the case of hitting/biting). Are they overtired, hungry, feeling cooped up, overstimulated? Do they have an overwhelming need to explore and discover a particular resource? Have you made time for them today? Are you feeling connected? If not, consider why not and how you can remedy this.
The initial anger that you felt should have passed by now. It is that immediate and instinctual reaction that robs us of our control and leads to overreactions. By mindfully going through the process and putting the situation in to perspective, it is easier to react gently and reasonably, taking in to consideration the perspectives of the others involved. You can now come to a loving solution without feeling engulfed in anger, though you may still feel wronged in some way. Make the choice to take control of your emotions and the situation at hand, rather than letting the emotion control you.
Your instinctive reactions will evolve over time and with mindful practice. Sometimes we make mistakes and give in to the anger, loosing control and overreacting, but it is important that we are mindful and reflective of these occasions, taking the time to apologise for our mistakes, so that we can avoid repeating the same pattern the next time. When we are able to come at a situation calmly and rationally, we can see the answer to resolve it far more clearly. We can meet our needs and those of our children, and go on to enjoy the rest of our day.
Gentle and peaceful parenting is not about never making mistakes, nor is it about perfectionism. We are all learning and growing throughout our parenting journey, striving to do the best we can for our children. In being more present and mindful, we can truly begin to enjoy our children and reduce the stresses during our days with them. We can really begin to love parenting and all that it involves!
Samantha Vickery is a mother and writer, who is passionate about natural and Continuum parenting. She believes in trusting children, which is the strong message behind her parenting guide, Trust Me, I'm A Toddler. She writes at Love Parenting where she hopes to help others to find more joy within their parenting journey, and create powerful connections with their children.
I have to admit, I have never actually watched an entire Star Wars movie, but my husband is an avid Star Wars fan, so naturally our kids are too. Over the past few years of making Star Wars Halloween costumes and planning Star Wars birthday parties, I've grown familiar with the characters and become a little more into it than I ever would have expected. I find some of the characters cute - (have you seen an ewok? Adorable!) - and I become a little excited when I see a Yoda shirt or R2-D2 lunchbox in the store.
My son was born on Star Wars Weekend (an event I only know because of my husband: "May the 4th be with you!" and "Revenge of the 5th"). So in honor of my son's birthday, I decided to create a fun, pro-intact meme that fit with the Star Wars theme to share on Facebook. My original idea was, "Your little Jedi needs his whole lightsaber" ...and then several other ideas started to surface. Soon, I was cracking myself up with witty slogans - I may not be a true Star Wars fan, but I'm clearly a true nerd!
Once I had a handful of graphics created, I could not choose just one for my son's birthday, so I declared the entire week leading up to May the 4th "Intact Rhode Island's Star Wars WEEK." It has been so much fun seeing the response these graphics (and the accompanying informative links) have received. Over the course of the past week they have reached tens of thousands of individuals on Facebook and Pinterest, and have been shared by hundreds. Clearly, there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there, and many of them support leaving babies intact!
I think it's awesome that so many people, who may not otherwise be interested in learning about the benefits of remaining intact and the detriments of circumcision, will be intrigued by fun Star Wars images popping up in their newsfeed and will discover some important information in the process.