Finding Community and Support for Peacemaker Parenting™

Having support as a parent is so valuable–whether that’s from involved grandparents, daycare and school settings, reliable babysitters, and of course, co-parents. But there is just something so special and encouraging about walking through the parenting journey with other parents who are on the same path at the same time. Bouncing ideas off each other, receiving solidarity in tough moments, and sometimes even physical support during tough seasons like postpartum or during a health crisis. 

Sometimes, parents may have friends or siblings who have kids the same age, but their parenting approaches might be different. This can be challenging, and make it even more meaningful when you find families who you align well with. 

Making peace with your past as a Peacemaker Parent

If you’re new to Peacemaker Parenting, you might be surprised by a ripple effect of change it can lead to in your relationships, not just with kids, but with other adults…and even with yourself. 

Peacemaker Parenting offers a profound opportunity for parents to delve into their own childhood experiences, unraveling layers of conditioning, and understanding how these experiences shape our parenting instincts. When you shift your perspective of parenting to a trust-based relationship with your child, rather than something you do to your child, you'll have the opportunity to reflect on your own upbringing with a compassionate lens.

Redeeming Parenting Regret

guest contributor: Natasha Metzler |

A while back our family had some things come to light, where one child had lied so convincingly about the other that we, as parents, believed the wrong child. It was a serious issue, that had huge repercussions in all of our lives. 

When the truth came out, I was devastated. Horrified. Angry at myself (the most) for not knowing, and angry with God that He hadn't done SOMETHING to show us the truth earlier. Because I had believed a lie, I perpetrated a lie, and maybe worst of all, I failed to protect one of my children from harm, when I would literally have done anything to keep them safe. 

I was a mess. Not sleeping. Barely eating. I felt so stupid. Once I knew the truth, I could look back and see a million little moments when the truth had been *right there* and I had missed it. 

"You should have known," was the constant refrain in my head.

Thankfully, I have some close friends who knew what was happening and surrounded me and helped me. I met with a therapist & one thing she told me over and over was, "You can't know what you don't know."

The shame I felt for not knowing, wasn't mine to carry. It was not my fault I didn't know. That didn't mean that I didn't have responsibility! I had to apologize, I had to humble myself as we worked to right wrongs. I needed to learn from our experiences. And at the same time, I could also walk in freedom from shame and condemnation.

Scripture tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This means we are FREE from the lie that we need to get everything right to be acceptable, or even to be successful! 

In raising our kids, we're going to get things wrong. Maybe those things will have mild consequences on one child and life-altering ones on the next. We're human beings with complex nervous systems and outrageously complex brains. How things affect each person is impossible to predict or completely prevent. 

If we believe that we are solely responsible to know everything and prevent everything, we're going to fail because that's impossible. Nobody can know everything.

So what can we do? Well, to be blunt, when we know better, we do better. We shift. We change. We stay humble and teachable. 

And as we change, we show grace to others. Because people can't know what they don't know.  (And just throwing information at someone won't fix that, hearing isn't the same as knowing.) 

We can't fix these things for anyone else, but we CAN live out changes and make it easier for others to learn and grow without shame. 

It's all a process though. It takes time and because life doesn't pause for us to figure stuff out, it's easy to get wrapped up in condemning ourselves or others. But what if, instead, we offered up hope? 

This is the truth about Jesus that fills me when I'm devastated by my choices and others' choices. What following Jesus offers, is the knowledge that there is hope in every situation. Nothing is beyond being redeemed. 

I can sit in condemnation because my parenting decisions opened the door for harm, or I can grieve and release those choices, trusting that God WILL step in and fill all the places where I fail. Then I'll do my best to follow His lead, repenting and seeking reparations where needed. 

We are limited in our humanness, unable to know what we don't know. But we are also deeply capable, made in the image of a holy God, and when we know better, we can do better. 

I'm trading New Years Resolutions for One Daily Habit

It is good to have visions and goals For many people, myself included, the start of the new year symbolizes a fresh start and new beginnings. I'm not trying to discourage you from setting goals. I've created many a vision board and set many intentions over the years. In fact, for the past three years I've shared the following parenting goals:

Unfortunately for many of us, New Year's isn't actually the best time to be setting new goals. Research indicates that only about 9% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually complete or accomplish them. So what if we switched it up a bit? And gave ourselves just the new habit of asking one question each day?

It's a simple question that may not have a simple answer. But I want to invite you to ask it because it centers Jesus as the source of growth and change, not our own grit and grind.  And it reminds us that we are invited to participate in the work Christ is already doing, not merely to "do better, try harder" at being the person we wish we could be. 

That is our hope, this new year. Jesus is at work in and through us. And while we may have good goals and big visions for change this year, we'll find sustainable growth in daily answering His invitation for small, often mundane maturing.

Goals are good. But if they're overwhelming in this season of your life, I hope you know that it is okay not to set any. Jesus is already working in and through you. He is always making all things new. He's making you new today, just like He was on October 25 and will be on April 3. And while it is helpful to embrace the motivation and energy we feel from others, if that motivation and energy leaves you feeling like you have to strive to keep up, to be new, or to be better, it's the wrong kind of energy. Jesus calls us to abide in, and rest in the work He has already done, and trust in and join Him in the work He is still doing.

Lessons My Toddler Taught Me About Meltdowns

My toddler seemed to be having fun. Everything seemed great–but then she saw that her brother had one of the 20 yellow fish toys they’d been happily sharing for an hour. She began to melt. We were outside in our yard, but we were living in a busy neighborhood and the screams and flailing became really intense. My mind immediately went to “What on earth will my neighbors think of us?!” and I became dysregulated myself. The logic I tried to use to help her was not working and things were just ramping up. So I carried my three-year-old upstairs to a quieter place to try to figure out what was going on–also to hide from the public eye, because who wants that kind of pressure?! I was trying to stay calm but to be completely honest, I was in tears too. I did not grow up in a community that “navigated” toddler meltdowns with much grace–they weren’t really allowed and moms who navigated or tolerated them with anything besides punishment were often shamed. I didn’t really know what to do, but I do remember mustering all of the willpower I could and I decided that even if I didn’t know what to do exactly, I wasn’t going to lose it with my kid in this moment. The screaming lasted longer than I’d ever seen–20+ minutes. Nothing I mentioned seemed to help. My child was not interested in breathing, or I spy, or hugs, or connecting with me. She was just loud. But then I got a clue and she said something I won’t ever forget– “Help me, Mommy!” That was something I needed to get me through not only that meltdown but every other toddler meltdown I’d experienced with my children from that day on. I stayed nearby. Reminding her I was there when she was ready and that she was safe. It lasted a long time, but she settled and crawled into my lap. Sobs became less and less until they stopped. We re-connected and after a snack and a juicebox, we went back to playing. 

Surely I’m not the only one who has taken a big ole toddler meltdown personally–right? (pssst, if you’re wondering the difference between a tantrum + a meltdown read here)

The intensity of demonstrated emotions can be a super huge burden to bear–especially if toddler emotions were met with punishment when you were a kid. Your toolbox may feel a bit empty as you find yourself in the middle of these instances. But the thing I took from that experience I shared above is this:

 A meltdown isn’t any more fun for your toddler than it is for you. 

I used to think a toddler who was screaming and yelling was doing something that they really wanted to do and just needed a lesson in self-control to learn how to control what they desired to do. That isn’t the case. I repeat: that is not the case! 

That recognition of the frightening struggle a child is having during a meltdown opened my eyes to some other mindsets that have helped significantly as I’ve navigated more and more of these big feelings with my kids:

  • A meltdown doesn’t feel any better for your toddler than it does for you–they are out of control 
  • When meltdowns happen, your toddler doesn’t know how to immediately get out of it
  • Trying to force an end to a toddler meltdown doesn’t teach or help them with anything–suppression isn’t the answer
  • One of the only things a parent can offer a toddler in the thick of a meltdown is a calm body of quiet support
  • When a toddler is in meltdown mode reasoning is not an effective strategy
  • Don’t set a time limit in your mind– you’re in this for the long haul with them and your love won’t waver. You are both safe
How does this help? Well, when we can get ourselves into such a posture of peace that their behavior doesn’t shake us, it helps everyone. And for as icky as it can feel for everyone during a meltdown moment, they do always end. That is another big one – These big feeling moments are loud and can feel so long, but they do not last forever. Being a calm and safe body in the middle of a feelings storm for your child is one of the few tools they can actually use to pull themselves out–remember that, mama. It’s a tough job–but you’re helping your child way more than you know when you’re able to keep, or reclaim your peace through these intense moments.

Want to hear more about what each of these things look like in practical everyday life? Do you have a particular struggle you’re trying to navigate that you want some coaching in? We have a toddler workshop coming up that will cover these things and more and we’d love to have you join us! 

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