About

IMG_4453Hi, thank you for coming to visit me at Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids. My name is Kate Russell and I am the mother of two beautiful girls born 13 months apart. My parenting story began nearly three years ago as I welcomed my first daughter into the world, blissfully unaware of the enormous challenge I was about to undertake.

It is a fact of life that when we become a parent we are going to worry, over think things, re-evaluate things over and over and often conclude that we are just not good enough. But this is ok. These feelings are normal and are a sure sign that we are indeed good parents. The mere fact that here we are, trawling the internet for that elusive answer to being the worlds greatest parent must mean that we are doing the best we can for our children.

I believe that from the moment of conception, a little switch is turned on in a parent’s brain. In fact, it is actually more akin to a powerboard of switches. There is the guilt switch, the unconditional-love switch, the anxiety switch, the ambitious switch and the I- really-hope-I-don’t-stuff-this-up switch. If a person already had these switches on, then they go from being on the dim setting to the extremely brightly lit setting.

I don’t believe that there will ever be one answer that will suit all families. I strongly believe that, in parenting, finding the ‘answer’ that resonates most with you is a big step in the right direction. For me, that answer came in the form of RIE parenting.  After discovering the philosophies of this parenting style I was and still am amazed at the transformations seen in our household. We went from one of shouting, chaos and turmoil to one of respect, empathy and gentleness in a very short amount of time. RIE or Resources for Infant Educarers truly embodies everything I believe my children need to become physically and emotionally aware and has been responsible for repairing and strengthening the relationship I have with my two dear children.

This blog was set up for me to be able to share some of my stories. Many of these I tell with an open and honest heart in the hope to inspire even just one other person to reflect on their parenting practises and become a more mindful parent. I learned through trial and error and at the expense of my children that it was not good enough to simply ‘wing it’ and go with my instincts. The whole idea that my small children are actually capable, whole beings with their own thoughts, desires and understandings was quite foreign to me and it was clear I was not respecting them as such. Since making this significant shift in my basic view of the children I have been able to work with them through many challenging moments and be the support and guide they have needed me to be at those times.

I strongly believe that it is never too late to change how we parent and have learned that being a conscious and reflective parent will empower my children to grow with confidence and trust in themselves. I look forward to hearing from you all as you also make your own parenting journey. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to ask me anything or just to share a little story of your own. I do love hearing from you!

Kate  xx

16 Responses to About

  1. Sheila du Plessis says:

    Great to see so much on little ones. Are there parents out there who need to talk about children from 7 years – 18 years? If you would like to contact me, I am willing to do some blogging on this age group. I have written Book 1 on parenting, building confidence in older children/teenagers and empowering them to cope with life and their peers. The future of our youth, lies with the individual family. Life has no reverse gear!

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    • I have no doubt, Shelia, that there are parents out there who would love to see a blog on that age group. As my two are only young, I am focussing on the trials and tribulations they face during these toddler years, but I am sure, when the time comes, I will certainly be looking for information relevant to the tween and teen years. Good luck with it all. Kate

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      • Sheila du Plessis says:

        Thanks, one needs to take one step at a time. If you know of other people with this age group, please ask them to contact me. I must still get an actual blog online. Enjoy the Journey, it is a remarkable road to travel ……

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    • Elaine Mcenroy says:

      yes i would be very interested in reading your blog. my son is just turned 7and i have not followed an rie parenting approach- i always wonder if if it is too late too allow him to benefit from it. thanks – Elaine

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      • Sheila du Plessis says:

        I Elaine, where do you live? I am in Pretoria, South Africa. There are so many foundations you can lay with your son’s age. I work on acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, bringing the child into the picture, so they have boundaries. Parents need to know, it is never too late to start working with children/teenagers. Book 1 covers, Boundaries, Negotiation and Decision Making. At times one needs to allow them to make a basic choice, even if the parent knows it is wrong. This does not include what I call BIG ISSUES. Please get back to me, I have so much experience and knowledge gained over 20 years.

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  2. Sheila du Plessis says:

    I have not started a blog yet, but would be happy to answer questions via this site or my email. My books are simple to read and if parents get into action from about 7 – 10 years, they should find working with their children will become easier. Some young people in their 20’s have also found Book 1 helpful. You can buy directly from me. Email: sheiladup@telkomsa.net

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  3. Cathi Carol says:

    The problems I read about here really have nothing to do with “differences in families”, but the age-old incorrect belief that children are not worthy of the same love and respect that we give to human beings of other ages (despite the lip service given to these here) and are better off being subjected to guilting, the withdrawal of love, and even abuse.

    For instance, would you force another adult to “share” with someone else, or would you respect their autonomy and assume that the choices that they make individually have a lot to do with their loves, fears, and experience? Sharing is natural and inborn; if it doesn’t happen, there’s a reason for it. Ask. Perhaps fears that need to be dispelled. Then model sharing, don’t force it – that teaches children only to believe in scarcity, not in loving behavior.

    If an adult you loved, cared about, and respected ripped something you were working on together would you stick up your nose, express your disapproval and disappointment, and then walk away until they came to you with a guilty supplication to appease you, or presume they had some reason for their strange behavior and gently ask why they did what they did, and listen to them nonjudgmentally? Listen first, then share, then teach if necessary. Don’t ever, ever guilt.

    Immature, selfish behavior toward children (this is a problem of the world) draws out of them responsive behavior related to the seeking of withheld, needed parental love – not feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that show that they are loved, are learning responsible behavior, and are growing up happy and healthy.

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  4. BritMum says:

    I’m glad I came across this blog and look forward to reading more posts.

    I have two girls 19 months apart, the eldest being a very spirited almost-3-year-old. I am so tired of being the police every day in our house, shouting and physically pulling my kids apart because I don’t know what else to do and they’ve pressed all my buttons. It’s draining and depressing.

    What you say about the shouting and chaos really resonates with me. I wanted to say thank you for being honest about your journey and the things you’re doing. A lot of people don’t talk about that aspect and instead just paint a picture of perfect parenting all the time. They tell us we should be calm and in control and respectful and they wouldn’t dream of losing their patience or their temper because that’s a sign of weakness and it makes for terrible parenting. Those other sanctimonious parenting pieces do a better job of making people feel like inadequate parents (and at the polar opposite, reinforcing other people’s sanctimony) than they do to inspire and enable change.

    Thank you for recognising what it’s like for lots of us, for not hiding away from that or demonising it, and for the refreshingly different approach.

    I look forward to reading more and will definitely be following up by finding out more about RIE to see if it’s for us.

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    • Hi BritMum! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am pleased you can take something from what I write. It certainly is a hard slog at times and I don’t think there would be much benefit to anyone if I pretended everything was fantastic all the time. As long as we have goals for where we would like to be, every chaotic day just provides a learning opportunity for stepping closer to that goal. Good luck with your spirited children. Please don’t hesitate to message or email me to ask me anything 🙂 Kate

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  5. Laurie says:

    Do you have any issues with toddler sleeping and an RIE approach to dealing with a 2-3 year old who wakes frequently? He’s never been a good sleeper and I’ve only recently started using the RIE approach but I’m really lost as to what to do about his fight against going to sleep, as he’s waking so much more since we took the side off his crib.

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  6. Hi Laurie! I firstly wanted to say that I empathise with you about the sleep thing. It is so incredibly difficult to parent effectively, calmly and respectfully when you and your toddler are both sleep deprived. Overall my children are quite good sleepers but we have certainly been through phases lasting upwards of three months where one or both of my children have struggled with sleep. Developmentally there are proven stages of sleep regressions that many toddlers go through at .18 months and 2.5 years. They attribute this to a leap in cognition and huge changes in brain patterns and thinkings.
    I am sure you have been told to ensure your toddler goes to sleep independently without a crutch that won’t be there when he wakes through the night. If a toddler is used to you lying in bed with them when they go to sleep for instance then when they wake through natural sleep cycles through the night, he will be looking for the same conditions to go back to sleep in. We worked this out after a period of bad bedtime tantrums led to us stay with our daughter whilst she went to sleep at night. Every night, several times a night she would come into our room and need us to stay with her until she got back to sleep. Once we realised what was happening we changed how we put her to bed and she is now more settled through the night. This was tough for her though and we had to give her space to express her unhappiness at the change in her routine. We allowed her to cry and acknowledged how hard it was for her. It took a few nights like this (often taking 2-3 hours) before she learned to settle herself to sleep.
    She still comes to us in have night occasionally – 2 – 3 times a week but usually only once and is happy to be put straight back to bed and left to go to sleep on her grown again.
    Other things that help us is earlier bedtimes. Our girls are put to bed at 6:30 lights out at 7:00 after stories etc. if we let it go to long over tiredness kicks in and it takes much longer.
    If things are really bad during the night, my husband or I will sleep in the room with our kids for the night. We ensure we don’t do this often though. Someone once told us it takes 3 nights to form a habit and three nights it break one. Not sure if that’s true but it’s always been a good guide for us.
    I hope that helps. I will see if I can find some good articles for you. I haven’t written any on sleep!

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  7. Hi Cameron,
    My email is peacefulparentsconfidentkids@hotmail.com
    I would be more than happy to answer your questions.
    Kate

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  8. Leif says:

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to
    create your theme? Fantastic work!

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  9. Sarah says:

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you for all your wonderful posts. I have 3 little boys and trying every day to reduce bribes and punishments at home, and I am looking for help making a workable solution to TV watching. We have 2 computers and an iPad, no actual tv, and my eldest at 5 can turn on Netflix and YouTube alone. Because I have to lay down to breast feed my 6 month old during the day they are watching too much tv. I don’t want the change to feel like a punishment but I want to reduce this. Do you have any posts on this?

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    • Hi Sarah, I feel your pain. It can be so hard to break the TV/ Screen time cycle because NOTHING is at effective at keeping our little ones entertained when we can’t give them our full attention.
      What I would do is let the children know up front (in the morning) that you intend to limit/ stop screen time. Acknowledge their presumably negative feelings they will have about this, they are well within their rights to voice their disapproval.
      Have some other activities organised for them to swap with during those feeding times. Be honest about why you will no longer be letting them watch screens eg it is not good for their eyes or their brains to watch too much. Then follow through and stay strong on not letting them watch it. The moment they see you hesitate or give in to their pleas for screen time, you have made your ultimate goal much harder to reach as they will test your conviction over and over.
      We have recently become successful in doing away with pretty much all screen time during the week. A couple of months ago we instigated movie night on a Friday Night. We wanted this to be a special (memory making) event so we make pop corn, snuggle under a doona and Mum, Dad and two kids all watch the movie together (even though it is pretty much the same one every week because that is what the children want). So now when the children ask for TV during the week (which they rarely do now), all we have to say is Movie night is Friday night, tonight is Sunday, so that’s 5 more nights away.
      We found that turning the TV on for even just the promise of one episode of Dora was too stimulating, too easy for us to resort to and generally resulted in the children pestering for it all day and not contentedly playing as we had hoped. It has worked best for us to go cold turkey rather than phase it out, but your kids are older, so I would use your own judgement there. These articles may help you as you embark on this task.
      It doesn’t have to seem like punishment when you have sound rationale which you explain and then acknowledge their feelings etc.

      http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/07/how-to-break-your-toddlers-tv-habit/

      http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/07/a-creative-alternative-to-baby-tv-time/

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  10. Pingback: Anger is a Scary Emotion (Guest Post by Kate Russell) | Janet Lansbury

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