Ep #67: Bridging the Gap Between Parenting Styles: Real World Coaching with Tricia

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | Bridging the Gap Between Parenting Styles: Real World Coaching with Tricia

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | Bridging the Gap Between Parenting Styles: Real World Coaching with TriciaWe have all been brought up with different parenting styles. Maybe your parents were permissive, maybe they were dominant, or maybe they were peaceful. But what happens when you and your co-parent come from different parenting backgrounds and it results in you both having different opinions on how to parent your children?

Tricia is a mom of 3 boys and is a member of my group coaching program The Hive. She is a keen implementer of peaceful parenting but her partner tends towards a more dominant parenting style. She reached out to me for support and guidance around getting on the same page as her co-parent, and what she can do to manage her thoughts around it.

In this episode, hear how Tricia is struggling to find a middle ground with her husband when it comes to the messaging they’re giving to their children. I coach Tricia through some tools to help her and her co-parent bridge the gap between their differing parenting styles, and we walk through some examples of how to peacefully set limits with your children.


It’s not too late to join! Sign up now for the Keep Calm and Co-Parent On challenge we started this week and you’ll learn some new tools and ideas to calm the chaos in your home and walk away with an action plan on how to move forward as a peaceful co-parent. You can participate from anywhere in the world and all it will require for you to make a massive change in your parenting is one hour a day. Are you ready to move your family from chaos to cooperation? Click here to register for the challenge now.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Tricia was able to suspend her belief that dominant parenting worked.
  • The difference between dominant, permissive, and peaceful parenting.
  • How to buy into the system of discipline rather than punishing.
  • What discipline looks like and the difference between discipline and punishment.
  • How to find a middle ground and get on the same page as your co-parent.
  • Where your parenting beliefs may have come from.


Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:

  • Click here to sign up for my free Peaceful Parenting mini-course! You’ll find everything you need to continue on the path to peaceful parenting over there just waiting for you. 
  • If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us or message us on Instagram


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome to today’s episode. Before I jump in, let me ask you are you joining me and thousands of parents this week in our Keep Calm and Co-parent On three day challenge? Well, if you’re not yet, you should jump on over to thepeacefulparent.com/challenge and sign up for my free three day challenge. In this three day challenge, which is completely F-R-E-E, I’m going to show you how to keep calm so you can find peace in your co-parenting. It’s possible, I promise. I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

The three day Keep Calm and Co-parent On challenge is all about understanding why the two of you are not on the same page when it comes to parenting. Understanding how to fix the problem, getting a handle on your frustration, and create an action plan to move forward, and learning tips, tools, and ideas to move from chaos to cooperation. We’re about halfway through the challenge. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to join in, participate, and learn how to calm the chaos in your family. So jump on over to thepeacefuLparent.com/challenge and join us.

Now if you’ve been listening for a while, you know I try to bring tips, ideas, and support that helps you create deep connection and cooperation with your kids. Today I have a special treat for you. Tricia is a mom of a three year old boy and twin boys that are a year old. She’s a Hive member, which is my membership community. She reached out for support around getting on the same page with her co-parent who tends towards a more dominant parenting style.

I love bringing you the coaching calls so you can hear the work, how it unfolds, the tools and the support offered. Listen in as I coach Trish through the tools to use with her family to help her and her co-parent get on the same page, peacefully set limits, and create connection.

Lisa: So today I’m doing a coaching call with Tricia. Tricia has come a long way in co-parenting with her husband. Tricia and her husband have three kids, a three year old and two babies, twin babies, and life is busy for them. They both work full time. They have intense jobs. They’re raising these three kids three and under. They come from different parenting styles.

As a Hive member Tricia has been working really, I want to say hard, but I’m gonna say diligently on spanning the gap between her and her husband in their parenting styles. I think Tricia would agree that they’ve made a lot of progress. A lot. They’ve come a long way since our very first conversation. Today we’re going to talk about something that’s getting in their way of peacefully co-parenting and have a coaching call around this. I thought it would be a beautiful opportunity for the podcast listeners to listen in, learn, get tips and ideas. So Tricia, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what’s going on for you guys?

Tricia: So ultimately, being a peaceful parent and learning to parent differently and having a different set of tools, if you will, thinking differently than I was brought up. I mean I think I was raised in a pretty peaceful environment but not knowing the language. My husband was definitely raised in a dominant. His dad was dominant and his mom was permissive. So seeing sort of both aspects.

When our three year old gets into little storming moments, my husband’s first instinct is to timeout or threaten taking stuff away. We’re really struggling to find sort of the middle ground when it comes to what the message we’re sending him is.

My thoughts are telling me that I want to be on the same page, that I want to say the same thing, that I want to send the same message even if it’s using different words. I don’t want our kids to be confused about why, “Well, daddy always sends me in the corner, and mommy sits me on the couch and tries to talk to me.” I just want a little bit of clarity for like how I can best deal with, you know, if we do things differently, and how I can manage my thoughts around that.

Lisa: Okay. So let me ask you a question about your husband as someone who’s grown up with a dominant father and a permissive mother. It sounds like the dominance probably outweighed the permissiveness. So when your son does something wrong, your husband holds the belief that punishing—and I say this with no judgment—that punishing is the method with which we teach our children.

Tricia: Yeah, power over for sure.

Lisa: Power over. Yeah. So for those that are new listeners, we define dominant parenting as using your power to come over and control your child. Permissive parenting is allowing your child to use their power to come over and control you. Peaceful parenting is defined as using your power as the peaceful leader of the house with the fully developed brain, using your power to come alongside your child to teach and guide and support and eventually turn on the internal compass within them.

So sometimes, even when we don’t mean to be a dominant parent, that’s our paradigm because we grew up in that home, and our neural pathways are stuck in that dominant thought process. When something goes wrong. the way to teach is to come over our child and use some form of punishment to try and teach the lesson.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Sometimes people believe this is the only way for kids to learn. What happens is we become incredibly convicted to the idea, incredibly convicted to the idea, the belief. We become attached to the belief. In order to evolve, we have to suspend our belief, right? Because what happens is when your three year old does something wrong that triggers your husband, his brain freaks out, and it thinks he’s gonna die. He feels threatened. His safety feels threatened. This is happening very quickly and on an incredibly subconscious level.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: As human beings, when we feel our safety is in jeopardy, we hold on even harder to our original beliefs.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: So when your son does something wrong, and your husband becomes afraid of he’s going to hurt himself. He’s going to hurt someone else. He’s going to, you know, grow up and be an axe murderer because he keeps spilling his milk at the dinner table, your husband gets triggered, and he gets dysregulated. Then he attaches to his beliefs even stronger.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Can you see this?

Tricia: I am a former dominant parent myself. Recovering. Recovering dominant parent. So I can understand sort of where he’s coming from. I used to do those things or a lot of those things too. But at the end of the day when like I didn’t feel good about it, and there was a lot of emotion attached to those reactions. I was like there’s gotta be a better way. So that’s when I found peaceful parenting and have totally changed my life. Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa: Well, so let me jump in here and say, Tricia. So what’s happened is you were able to suspend your belief that dominant parenting worked.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: You now have a new belief.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Which is I can use my power to come alongside my child. My guess is that your new belief is that punishing doesn’t actually work. Discipline, teaching, repetition, staying calm, scuba diving down to the feelings and needs is what works. So you have a new belief, right? It’s great that you can relate to his belief because you used to be there.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: But now you are attached to a new belief, which is peaceful parenting is effective and works and creates connection. Punishing commands compliance.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: So what does all this mean? Why is she going on and on and on about this? Well, the real solution to this is to get your husband to suspend his belief for a period of time that punishing is the only way to go, and work with him to understand yes, that is one option. However, the outcome is lack of connection, low self-esteem, internal compass is typically not turned on. As kids get older, they want to avoid getting caught rather than doing the right thing. Right?

By acknowledging that, yes, that is one way you could go. Yes, people parent that way. Yes. You’re not bad for doing it that way, but could you open your mind, husband, could you suspend that belief and open your mind that there might possibly be another way to do it that has short term benefits and long term benefits that exceed the benefits of dominant parenting?

Tricia: Yeah. He has so many amazing qualities too. So, you know, he’s fun, and he has that fun factor. He has so much grace for accidents and mishaps, and he doesn’t get triggered by a lot of things. But sometimes, and he will recognize it in himself and take a breath and, you know, show growth in that way. But then there’s still these things like whether it be timeout or wanting to spank. He hasn’t, but he’s mentioned wanting to. So that part is the part that I’m just kind of like oh please, no. Like, there’s another way.

Lisa: Yes, yes. So let me address the wanting to spank, and then we’ll discuss the solution to all of this. So I understand the urge to spank.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Especially when we grew up in a household where we were spanked.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: When we are little, we have an underdeveloped brain. So what our brain says is, “Oh, in this family this is how we resolve X. We are spanked.” We sort of grew up believing, you know, that it’s “normal”, and we lay down these neural pathways in our brain.

Sometimes we justify it as we get older with thoughts like, “Well, I turned out okay. So I didn’t like it, but, you know, it was effective because look at me. I’m a successful husband, professional, friend, father.”  You know, so we can even deepen the belief with examples of why we didn’t like it, but we turned out okay.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: So the urge is there a lot of times in the stressful moment because those are our neural pathways, right? It’s possible that when you and your husband are sitting and having a glass of wine and talking about parenting conceptually, theoretically, you might say to him, “Hey, we want to be a family that doesn’t have to spank our kids.” He says, “Yeah, I’m on board with that. Yeah, I agree with that.”

Then in the heat of the moment, things get stressful. He gets trapped in his middle brain. He goes into fight or flight, and the urge is there. A lot of times it’s based on not only current beliefs, but our history, our childhoods.

Tricia: Exactly.

Lisa: This is how when I was the child in the parent/child role, this is how problems are solved. Now I’m the parent in the child/parent role, and I have the urge to go down that pathway.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. So as the co-parent in this situation, it’s really helpful to understand where the other parent is coming from, where husband is coming from, and have lots of empathy.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Right? Because, ironically, if you—which I know you’re not doing, but I’m saying for all of us—if one is trying to dominate the co-parent into peaceful parenting, it’s not going to work. Which makes me laugh every time I think about this, right? You can’t use dominance and violence to, you know, gain compliance from the other parent on peaceful parenting. The irony is just—It makes me laugh.

Tricia: Really funny. There’s times where I’m like You’re doing it wrong. I’m like wait, wait, wait, wait.

Lisa: Yes. Yes. Right? Model. Right? It’s modeling. So what’s the answer then Lisa? The answer is to start to baby step your way with husband to the middle, to the peaceful parenting middle. It’s by acknowledge our son needs some discipline. Which discipline is rooted in the word, or the root of the word is to teach. Right?

So we’re going to agree that we need a system here at home. We’re suggesting we buy into the system of discipline rather than punishing, right? Punishing is on the spot, triggered from our middle brain. It’s usually intended to leave an impression by harming or taking something away or making them work so hard or be without something they really care about in an attempt to teach a lesson. Okay? Let me prove, you know, that punishing isn’t the way to go. Punishing isn’t the way to go because, for the most part, as adults, we don’t go around punishing each other.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Right? If you do something wrong at work, I don’t ground you for a week.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: I don’t spank you. I don’t take away your lunch. Right? I don’t do that because adult to adult what we appreciate is A, it probably doesn’t work, and B, it just leads to shame and humiliation. It’s hard to learn from that position.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Right. If you worked for me and we’re in a meeting and I berate you in a meeting in front of everybody, you’re so embarrassed. Do you really learn anything? Like the really good managers don’t use those tactics. Why? Because they know they don’t work.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: So, you know, we move husband along the continuum by discussing and educating and sharing, what if we were to move away from punishing and move towards discipline? I like these words because for someone who grew up in a dominant parent, dominant household, taking the carpet out from under is way too scary. That’s permissive parenting. You know I’m not a fan of that. Right? So peaceful parenting isn’t without limits and rules and boundaries. That’s called permissive parenting. I’m not a fan of that.

Tricia: No.

Lisa: But a lot of times dominant parents think the opposite side of the coin is permissive parenting. So they say things in the heat of the moment like, well, Tricia, what do you expect? We’re just going to do nothing. We’re just going to let him do whatever he wants. He’s just going to spill milk all over the house. He’s never going to take a bath. He’s never going to go to bed. Right? Fear comes up right away. The brain freaks out. They feel unsafe.  The co-parent feels unsafe. Because what are the rules to this thing? I don’t know what they are. Tell me.

Tricia: I don’t have all the answers immediately. That’s hard too. It’s like hard for me to stick up for myself sometimes. Then I’m like, I gotta talk to Lisa about that. I don’t know.

Lisa: Yeah. So I think it’s conversations when we’re both in our higher brain where I want us together to have a system in the home where we are setting limits, where we’re teaching discipline, where we’re turning on the internal compass, where we’re facilitating boundaries and rules. I just want us to do it upfront from our higher brains, age appropriate, situationally appropriate, right? Where we’re not cancelling Christmas, or, you know, if you don’t pick up all your toys right now, I’m going to take all your toys and put them in a garbage bag and give them to Goodwill, right? That’s punishing. That is threatening and punishing. If you don’t do exactly what I say right now, I am going to collect all of your choice and give them away.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Now, as the kid, you’ve activated my fear. I’m so scared that I’m going to lose all my toys that I can’t even understand what you’re really asking me to do.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Right. Okay. So discipline looks like this. Setting limits and discipline looks like when we’re done playing with something, we put it away before we move on to the next thing. Or three times a day, we stop and clean up the playroom. Or before we leave the playroom, we work together to get everything put back and cleaned up.

Now that may also require, as the parent, you have bins that are labeled, and that cleaning up is understandable. I can successfully do it. You’re giving me clear direction. If I choose not to clean up the room, maybe I have to sit down on the floor until the room gets cleaned up, or I have to go take a little walk and come back and try again. Or we can’t go outside until the toy room gets cleaned up. Right? That would be a limit.

Tricia, you want to go outside? Me too. I can’t wait to go out and play. We can’t go outside until we get the toy room cleaned up. Let’s work together to clean it up. That is discipline rather than the punishment of if you don’t pick up these toys right now, I’m going to put them all in a garbage bag and give them away.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: What do I learn from that? I learn to fear you.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: I learn to fear that my things can be taken away. All my safety and trust that you’re trying to build gets ripped out from under me because you get mad and you threaten me, and you threaten from a voice that is scary to me.

Tricia: Right. Then sometimes they’ll say, “Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t talk to me that way.”

Lisa: Your three year old says that?

Tricia: Uh-huh.

Lisa: Yeah, good for him.

Tricia: Don’t talk to me like that mom or dad.

Lisa: Yeah, I’m dysregulated. I can’t hear you. It scares me.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: As much as we need to teach our kids to pick up their toys—We’ll stay with this example because it’s a good one. You know, first of all, a three year old isn’t hardwired to clean up. They don’t have any executive function. They can’t see a couple steps ahead. They didn’t work hard to make the money to buy the Legos, to bring them in the toy room, to buy the house that the Legos are stored in. So they have to learn how to clean up.

As a side note to everyone listening, if you have a three year old, and you really want them to clean up, you have to make it fun. Because they don’t understand responsibility and hard work and caring for your things. That is completely lost on a three year old.

But just as important it is over the lifetime to learn things like cleaning up and taking care of your things and responsibility, I would argue that it’s equally as important that our children learn that we’re safe, and they can trust us. That they don’t have to live in a state of constantly being worried about things like all my things being taken away. I’m being harmed because I made a mistake.

I’m not sure which parent is showing up today, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Are you the sweet loving, playful parent? Or are you the parent that’s going to turn on a dime when I don’t understand cleaning up the playroom and suddenly threaten that if I don’t do it right now, you’re going to take all my toys and give them away?

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: And that also would be something to present to your husband is that when we move away from discipline, and I’m sorry away from punishment, and move towards discipline, in addition to teaching our kids things like cleaning up and how to be nice and not to hit, we’re also teaching them that we’re safe and we can be trusted.

Tricia: Right. Right. The bigger message.

Lisa: Yeah, or working in combination, right? You know, it’s like assuring your husband that I’m not suggesting we move all the way over to the other extreme and be permissive. We ask him to clean up and if he says no, we go okay. Right? That’s permissive parenting. That isn’t good either because kids don’t feel safe and loved and they don’t know what the rules are.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Right. So it’s saying to husband I agree we need a system. I’m suggesting it be things like setting limits and focusing on discipline while making it fun and creating a safe environment that is trusting rather than punishing into compliance. I’ve met very, very, very few parents that when they can suspend their beliefs for a moment, when they can suspend their belief that they’re attached to, which is, you know, look at me, I turned out okay.

When they can suspend that belief for a moment and they can hear the definition of peaceful parent—which is setting limits and using discipline while growing trust and safety—versus dominant parenting, which is punishing and harming from a place of control and compliance. Most people are willing to come to the peaceful parenting side.

Tricia: Yeah. When husband sees such a transformation in me, he knows like what the heck are you doing over there? I see a different person standing in front of me. It’s truly amazing.

Lisa: Yes. When you’re connected with your child, sometimes you can use the connection to bring more cooperation, right? Cooperation follows connection, otherwise, you’re just reaching for compliance through control.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: That doesn’t feel good. Particularly if a parent is using compliance and control and they observe their co-parent is using connection to get cooperation, it’s usually like a whoa, what’s happening over there? I want what she’s having. I want that.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Now it’s connection and cooperation.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Right. Because we want our kids cooperate with us. We do.

Tricia: It’s more fun for everybody.

Lisa: It is. It is. It is. I think, Tricia, I want to go back to this. I think validating your husband that you understand the urge is there in the heat of the moment, the urge to dominate. Yes, I imagine it is. You spent a lot of years in that cycle, and it doesn’t make you broken, or a bad parent. What we have to do is set up a system so that when the urge comes, you can fall back on the setting limits and the discipline rather than giving in to the urge to spank.

Tricia: Right. So what would be a good limit? Let’s see.

Lisa: Well, let’s stay with the toy example. At three years old, a couple of good limits would be—depending on how you want to run things and depending on the configuration of your house and all—one would be, we don’t move on to the second thing until we clean up the first.

Tricia: Okay.

Lisa: Right? Over time. You know, that’s just a good general rule to have as humans, right. I finish eating dinner. I do the dishes before I move into the TV room, right, to watch Ted Lasso or whatever. The Great British Bake Off, whatever you’re watching.

Tricia: Right. Okay.

Lisa: So that would be one limit you could set. That doesn’t require a big dramatic thing. It’s just, “Hey, Mr. Three, if we’re done playing with Legos, before we go over here and play with the iPad or the Tonka Trucks, we’re going to clean up the Legos, right.” Some of this requires knowing the temperament of your child, right. Maybe it’s easier for him to clean up in small little doses, and you prefer less mess in the house. So it works for everybody. Right. So that would be one way you could set a limit around toys.

Another one would be before we leave the toy room, right, to go outside or to go watch TV or to go have a snack, we clean everything up. Let’s put on a song and let’s clean everything up. We can’t leave the toy room until we get everything cleaned up. That would be another way to peacefully set a limit with a three year old.

Again, that depends on things like your temperament, his temperament, how much time is involved, you know, how many toys are there? You know, all that kind of stuff.  That’s why I never tell people exactly what the limit is. You get to pick. But that is peacefully setting limits. That is teaching discipline over time. It’s funny. I’ve been doing this since Malcolm was little and I gotta tell you, in all honesty, my 17 year old’s room 95% of the time is spotless.

Tricia: Wow.

Lisa: Yeah. Spotless. We have systems in place. I don’t like clutter. I’ve always been one that, you know, we pick up after ourselves. I’m just constantly picking up after myself. I’ve taught him. We’ve used discipline. You know, and I’m also very practical. Like I have a bin in his bedroom that he literally can throw his clothes in. I make it super convenient and easy to be compliant.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Silly example, but it gets the job done. You know, the hamper, so to speak, isn’t in the isn’t in the hallway five doors down. Right. He has a bin that has no lid on it in his bedroom. So clothes come off, and they go straight in the bin. So his clothes are always in the bin.

Tricia: Yep.

Lisa: So I’m meeting him halfway by making it super simple. I do not make cleaning up complicated. But his room is almost always clean. Even if it gets a little messy over the weekend, he kind of has this automatic like—I’m gonna say trigger. I don’t mean it in a mean. He almost has like this alarm Sunday afternoon that says hey, clean up your room. Right? So like his room is clean.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: I think it’s because I’ve always used discipline, not punishments.

Tricia: Yeah. I think like I’m the messy one coming from the messy. Like my nickname growing up was the white tornado, no joke. So it wasn’t until I was in my 30s before I appreciated cleanliness. I realized that it brought a lot less anxiety to me is having clean spaces. So now I am like a major clean person, but before I wasn’t.

Lisa: Sure.

Tricia: But my husband, you know, is very clean. So.

Lisa: Well, let me add this in because this will be helpful to our listeners. What I know about you is that your husband does a job that is incredibly process oriented.

Tricia: Yes.

Lisa: it’s required in his job to keep him alive and the people that he serves the live.

Tricia: Yes.

Lisa: So I’m sure for him the idea of walking away from Legos and leaving them on the floor, it’s not how his brain is trained. His brain is trained that when you use something, it is cleaned and put away so that the next emergent situation that comes, it can be effectively used to save lives. You have to factor this in too into the system you’re going to put in place.

his is where, you know, you guys can sit down and you can ask him okay—Again, we’ll stay with the toy example. When it comes to toys, how should we set a limit in this family? We have three boys under three. What do we need to do? Do we need to be cleaning up immediately? Do we need to be cleaning up as we go? Do we need to be taking three breaks a day to clean up the toys? Do we need to—Like how do we want to handle this.

Then what you do once you set the limit is you work to stay 100% consistent around the limit. Again, you do have to take into account if I—You know, real world peaceful parenting is taking into account the temperament of both parents, the philosophy of your home, the size of your home, the number of inhabitants in the home, the volume of toys, you know.

Like when Malcolm was little, we just never were big toy people. He just didn’t have…He didn’t have a playroom. All of his toys would sit on a shelf in the living room. He had toys, but he didn’t have copious amounts of them. I always had bins. I’m a bin girl. Give me a label maker and a bin. Like, you know. The home edit, those are my people. I mean, those are my people. So I always had bins. I had them labeled. You know Legos go here, books go here, blocks go here. So cleaning up was super easy for us.

So you have to take all of this into account. Maybe you’re a family that, you know, has a lot of clutter? Well, if you live in a lot of clutter, there’s stuff everywhere. You’ve got to take that into account when you’re setting a limit. How cleanly is my kid really going to be because we model clutter, right? Or if you’re a minimalist, you got to take that into account.

If you’re someone, a mom or dad who’s home with the kids all day. You’re homeschooling or you have three or four kids and you really cannot tolerate chaos and mess, like it brings anxiety on, then clean up as you go. Don’t set the limit of what we’re going to clean up once a day at 6:30 because then you’re going to have anxiety all day looking at the mess.

Tricia: That’s it. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Lisa.

Lisa: Say more about that. What happened there?

Tricia: I think clutter definitely brings on anxiety for both me and my husband. There’s part of me that enjoys free play and a fun zone for the babies where they just kind of unpack. One of them’s a really big unpacker. He’s just like every book off the bookshelf. But then Mr. Three-Year-Old’s job every night is to put the books back. So he knows he turns the light off for them. He puts all their books away. We clean up their room. So we have a really good routine for like one area of our life.

But when it comes to the playroom zone, it is like a bomb went off. So I don’t even like going in there. I just shut the door. But I like coming up with the idea of creating a system, having it be fun. I have some ideas.

Lisa: Okay, the other thing is maybe that bookshelf that one of the babies unpacks. Maybe it only needs to have five books on it.

Tricia: Yeah, right.

Lisa: You know, maybe the 27 other books needs to go on the bookshelf on the other side of the room or in another room. He doesn’t know that there’s 27 books, and his life isn’t going to be better with 27 books on the shelf. So to your point, if you know that that level of chaos is a trigger for you, then let’s minimize the amount of stuff in there and bring it down a little bit so that there aren’t 27 books on the floor. There’s five.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: You and Mr. Three could clean five books up in 10 seconds.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Right? You put on some music, you make a game of it, and you clean it up. Sometimes, you know, this is the beauty of doing regular coaching and community is like brainstorming these ideas and going wow, I never thought about it that way, but that solves all the problems.

Tricia: Right?

Lisa: Or it solves many of the problems.

Tricia: I don’t have the babies bookshelf filled to capacity, probably on purpose, but you know, I just like hadn’t gotten to it yet. Sometimes Mr. Three will just haphazardly put them on there. I don’t say anything, and I don’t correct him on that yet because I’m just grateful that like he’s picked them up off the flooring and he put them on the bookshelf. Whether they’re upright or on their side. I’m like great job, buddy. We’re moving on.

Lisa: Yes. And let me point this out for anyone else that has three year olds. He’s picking those up and putting them on the shelf right now. Not because he loves his brothers, not because he’s high in response, he’s doing it because he thinks it’s F-U-N. You’re doing a great job of not ruining the fun by overcorrecting, by criticizing, by wanting him to do it perfect. He’s enjoying it, and you’re letting him enjoy it. So well done.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Because the moment you try to make it perfect, it’s going to squeeze the fun out of it. Then you guys are going to power struggle. Why are you doing this? You used to pick up the books all the time. Come on, you got to help mommy out. You’re the big brother. None of that lands on him. He’s hardwired for F-U-N, and you’re letting it be fun. It’s a challenge. I pick up the books, I put them on the shelf. You know, you’re not asking him to color code them by author and have them all lined by size. So keep doing that. Keep making it fun.

Tricia: Okay.

Lisa: Yeah. So I think that, you know, the secret sauce here is—So, let’s recap here. So the secret sauce is acknowledging the you understand the urge to spank in the heat of the moment. It doesn’t make him dominant or bad or broken. It’s there because of the parent/child role. He can, when he’s ready, suspend his belief that that is the only way and hear about setting limits and peaceful parenting, which is rooted in to teach discipline, repetition, turning on the internal compass rather than control and compliance and punishing and harming.

Then just invite him to begin moving to setting limits by the two of you sitting down and setting limits. Where are we having the most struggle? What are our priorities? What do we want this to look like? Okay, let’s set a rule. We’re not going to let the toy room go an entire day and turn into a big chaos. We’re going to clean it up as we go. You know, after we’re done with the books, instead of just letting all three kids run over to the next thing, we’re going to take a minute to put all the books back on the shelf.

Tricia: Yeah.

Lisa: Then you guys get disciplined about following through on the setting limits.

Tricia: Right.

Lisa: Good. Let’s plan to do a follow up call in a couple of weeks and hear how it’s going here because I think—I know there are so many listeners that can relate to this Tricia, and that are going to want to know, “Well what happened because I wanted to try this too?” So we can come back together and have a follow up call.

Tricia: Sounds great.

Lisa: Great. Thank you so much. This was so helpful. I know so many people are benefiting from this. We just appreciate you sharing, and you know, coaching and being open minded. So thank you.

Tricia: Yes, you’re welcome.

Lisa: Okay, everybody. I hope you found that amazing and insightful. I hope you got some ideas, and your brain is spinning. If you’re in a similar situation to Tricia, take the tips and tools and try them. Have the conversation from a place of empathy and understanding. Explain the difference between punishing and discipline. It’s an absolute game changer.

When you and your co-parent move away from punishing and move towards discipline, deep connection will happen and cooperation will follow. Yeah? Awesome. Okay. Until next time, I’m wishing you peaceful parenting.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit thepeacefulparent.com. See you soon.


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Lisa Smith

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