zen habits : breathe

The Way of the Peaceful Parent

‘… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.’ ~Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

Post written by Leo Babauta.

There is no such thing as stress-free parenting.

A reader requested that I share my thoughts on stress-free parenting, as the father of six kids. And while I have learned a lot about being a dad, and finding joy in parenthood, I also know that stress-free parenting is a myth.

Parents will always have stress: we not only have to deal with tantrums and scraped knees and refusing to eat anything you cook, but we worry about potential accidents, whether we are ruining our kids, whether our children will find happiness as adults and be able to provide for themselves and find love.

That said, I’ve learned that we can find peace.

Peace isn’t a place with no stress, but a place where you take the stress as it comes, in stride, and don’t let it rule you. You let it flow through you, and then smile, and breathe, and give your child a hug.

There is a Way of the Peaceful Parent, but it isn’t one that I’ve learned completely. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, with the caveat that I don’t always follow the Way, that I still make mistakes daily, that I still have a lot to learn, that I don’t claim to have all the answers as a parent.

The Way

The Way is only learned by walking it. Here are the steps I recommend:

‘You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.’ ~Bill Cosby



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