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#9: Parenting Rituals that Bring Joy

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SUMMARY

Suri does a mom check-in with her listeners, and shares three joyful parenting rituals that she feels are worth keeping in mind as we guide, lead and connect with our children. 

  • 🎧 Music: “Stars” by Emily Stahel
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SHOW NOTES

I like buying books bundled in one to save money and space. Books mentioned:

This episode was made using:

TRANSCRIPT – edited for clarity

INTRO: Hi, welcome back to Doing Things On Purpose, the podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. 

I’m your host Suri and as you can tell, unfortunately I’m sick this week. My voice is terrible. I might re-record this at a later date if I find the time… we’ll see.

Anyway, this week I’ve been thinking about some recurring habits or rituals that parents can try, if they’re looking for ways to support their children in a more fun and connected way. Because parenting can seem like a drag if we all only focus on the hard and serious stuff. Only on our struggles and the things that don’t work.

So let’s talk more about the things that can bring joy, while also moving the needle when it comes to good parenting.

CHECK-IN: But first things first – I thought I’d start something new, since we’re talking about rituals. I’d love to try starting all of my future episodes with a quick mom check-in with you. Because that’s why I created this podcast, to help support you women and moms. 

  • So how are you doing today parents? 
  • If you’re listening to this in the morning, have you taken care of yourself first today? 
  • Have you had your morning coffee, tea or breakfast? 
  • Did you find time this morning to support your mental and physical health by committing to your daily morning walk, or yoga, or meditation or journaling practice? 
  • And if you’re listening in the afternoon or evening, have you had time to go through your Emails and invitations and spend maybe 20 to 30 minutes, keying in any new events or to-do lists into your phone’s calendar this week? Maybe it’s an anniversary, or a get together with friends, a work deadline, a school event, or an after school activity that needs to be blocked into your calendar and taken care of in the next days, weeks or months?

If you’ve done one or all of these things, well done to you for doing your best to take care of things in your life. And if not, don’t worry. It’s a muscle that gets stronger the more you practice it. Keep trying and I’ll check in with you again next week.

SURI: So let’s get on to today’s topic: Parenting Rituals that Bring Joy. Of course these are just some things that have worked for me, and I hope that it sparks some ideas of your own – if you’re trying to get out of the authoritarian and disciplinarian role as a parent, towards a more gentle, mentoring and guiding approach, which I think children respond better to as well. 

Rock Paper Scissors

The first one is something simple – about how to resolve the small but constant arguments that tend to brew up ever so often among siblings. For example when your kids can’t decide whether the family should spend Saturday in the science center or at the water park, or if they should play with Legos or play house with the pretend kitchen. These kinds of small decisions that we don’t really need to control as parents, but that we often find ourselves being asked to play referee to.

Instead of using logic to solve the problem like asking kids to take turns or to show empathy to each other, how about trying a game-type solution that speaks to the playful nature of our children. One that they can happily store away in their problem-solving toolkit for later use. Something like rock paper scissors.

You can say something along the lines of, “You know guys, I really don’t need to know who’s right or wrong here, but what about doing rock paper scissors until somebody wins three points, and then gets to decide on what we do next?” I’m telling you, it works like a charm especially on small children. Something quick and easy to have in your back pocket, when your kids start to argue, especially in public places like the airplane or at a friend’s wedding party. When you just want to resolve a small disagreement quickly and without too much ill will between the kids. And it looks so cute when they do it.

Bedtime Stories

My second tip is about cultivating a reading habit with your kids. So many benefits here. I started reading to my kids every night since they were babies. We usually take turns, my husband and I. Of course you begin with short picture books when they’re small, then 5 minute bedtime stories or classic fairy tales, then books with chapters in them. 

My kids LOVED the One Hundred Illustrated Stories from Usborne. We still reach for it once in a while to this day. My kids are now 9 and 11 now and we’ve graduated to reading thicker books with chapters in them. I’ll put a link in the podcast summary at suristahel.com/9 for some books that we personally love, if you’re interested.

Our absolute favorite for a while now, are Enid Blyton books. You might know her from tales such as The Faraway Tree series, The Adventures of the Wishing Chair, The Famous Five series or Mallory Towers. Now I admit that some elements in her stories can seem a bit old fashioned, sexist or classist in today’s world, where boys are always expected to take care of the girls (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing in my opinion) and where parents send their children off to boarding school while being busy with their own lives, but there are really so many more jewels and ancient wisdom that rings true there, waiting to be rediscovered. 

For example, in The Faraway Tree and The Famous Five series, Enid Blyton writes about kids that are naturally expected to be helpful, contributing in the household chores such as ironing, gardening or helping out with the farm animals before going out to play and coming up with their own ideas on how to keep themselves busy. 

In Mallory Towers which we’re reading now about life in a girls’ boarding school, she writes about the pettiness of children as they try to find their voice and place in life, but also strong values that we sorely miss these days such as honesty, true friendship, integrity, dependability, responsibility, compassion, resourcefulness, creativity, and the embracing of each persons’ natural talents. A sense of loyalty and looking out for one another is more celebrated than the pursuit of popularity. It feels like a good balance to counteract today’s perception and image-driven world. 

So instead of correcting or lecturing our kids to be kinder and more compassionate, spend time instead going to the library or bookstore to pick up something that you can read together. It’s such a beautiful way to wind down at the end of the day and create deeper connection with our children through the ritual aspect of it, as well as being a continual learning opportunity for us parents to rediscover some values and moral lessons that we might have forgotten or that were never taught, when we were small. 

And just imagine, when they’re old enough to read, you’ll have hopefully instilled that lust for reading and storytelling in them. Imagine weekends where you wake up late and find your kids quietly reading a book in bed. I love those moments. I can’t promise you they happen often, but it’s lovely when they do. You just get a warm feeling, like you did something right.

Correct Compassionately

The last tip I have for you is to always choose compassion when we want to correct our kids. How do we do that? 

Instead of correcting or telling off our kids publicly at the dinner table or in front of their friends, what about finding a quiet moment to talk to them privately about it? I know it’s super tempting to showcase our authority and increase our children’s embarrassment to prove our point. But it often backfires.

We can choose to practice a little self control, to show compassion and maybe even give in for the moment if it’s an issue that we’re willing to be flexible about. Because we know it’s just another opportunity for us to connect deeper with our children later on, and speak to them about an important lesson at a more opportune time.

We’re not letting things slide, but we’re just choosing the right moment. We can even reference back to lessons learned in the stories that we’ve read about together, or share our own past experiences. 

We can choose to ‘connect’ instead of to ‘separate’.

I think even many of our adult relationships can benefit from this form of delayed resolution -gratification. We can talk about difficult things, but with mutual respect and without unnecessarily shaming or embarrassing anyone. It’s a much more intimate and loving way to set boundaries while remaining connected as best as we can in the process.

And who knows, your child, your spouse or your friend might share something with you in these intimate moments, that makes you change your mind. Something you definitely would not be open to, in the heat of the moment. 

So that’s my podcast for you this week. Three rituals to help moms parent with joy:

  1. Resolve small conflicts playfully, like my rock paper scissors method.
  2. Cultivate a bedtime story ritual for the many connective benefits that it brings.
  3. Wait to correct compassionately. You’ll be showing your children that conflicts can be managed lovingly and respectfully. It’s not always easy to do, but when you do catch yourself doing it, it’s such a wonderful feeling.

I hope this resonates with many heart-centered parents out there. If you’re struggling with your children’s triggering behavior, maybe give this a try and let me know how it works. 

👉 You can always contact me if you need to talk at suristahel@gmail.com.

OUTRO: Don’t forget to check out my recommended books and resources on this episode’s show notes when it gets published, at suristahel.com/9.

This is Suri, and you’re listening to the Doing Things on Purpose podcast. Please subscribe, share and rate this podcast if you haven’t already. 

Thank you so much for tuning in. I wish you a lovely weekend ahead, and I’ll catch you next time.

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