Becoming a Peaceful Parent: The 5 Stages of Change

If you want to parent more peacefully, changing your parenting isn't easy. How can we be more self-controlled as moms? How can we become more patient? How do we stop yelling at our kids? In this podcast, we'll discuss the stages of change as it relates to becoming a more peaceful parent. #Christianparenting #PeacefulmomtalkBecoming a Peaceful Parent: The 5 Stages of Change

I have the amazing privilege of talking with many moms. Nearly all of them have different parenting styles, convictions, and goals…but one of the things that most of them have in common is that they desire to parent more peacefully.

The moms I speak with want to stop yelling at their kids. They desperately desire to keep calm under stress, but desire doesn’t actually bring about real change. It’s just one step in the process.

Today, we are going to discuss the five stages of change as it relates to parenting. By the end of this podcast, you’ll be able to see where you fall on this change continuum and you’ll also know what you need to do moving forward to get the results you want.

First, I’d like to give you a little background on the stages of change. The five stages of change were first developed by two researchers named Carlo C. DiClimente and J.O. Prochaska.

They first introduced the five stages of change in order to help professionals working with patients who struggled with addiction. (Stay with me, though! These stages aren’t just for people with addiction struggles, but for people who wish to make any type of behavior modification.)

Precontemplation

The first stage of change is precontemplation, which is basically a fancy word for, “I ain’t doin’ it.”

If you’re in the precontemplation stage, you don’t think there’s a problem with your parenting style.

If you come across an article on “how to stop yelling at your kids,” it might ruffle your feathers. You aren’t thinking about changing your behavior at all.

Contemplation

The second stage of change is contemplation. I believe that many, many moms are in this stage of change. If you’re in the contemplation stage, you may be thinking to yourself, “Hmm, I really need to stop yelling at my kids.” Or, “I really want to be more self-controlled and not lose my temper so much.”

You might also be weighing the pros and cons of shifting your parenting style.

Now in this stage of change, it’s so easy to get stuck here. I personally know several moms who have pitched a tent and camped in the contemplation stage for YEARS. They feel hopeless to make a change, or they may lack the motivation or energy to try it.

If this is you, I want to encourage you that change comes not by our own might, willpower, or patience, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you feel stuck, be sure to spend some time with God in worship and in prayer. Ask Him to give you the ability to change.

Preparation

In the preparation stage, you now believe that you MUST make changes to your parenting style. The realization that you’re losing your child has hit you like a ton of bricks.

You start taking baby steps…perhaps reading articles on peaceful parenting. You might even buy a book on how to parent more peacefully.

But ultimately, you’re at a crossroads. You’ve decided that you’re ready to prepare for a change…but now you’re faced with a decision.

Some people reach this point and they decide, “Nope, I can’t do it. Peaceful parenting isn’t for me after all.” Others make the choice to move on to the next stage, which is:

Action

This is the stage where you make a conscious decision to do whatever it takes to parent peacefully. You decide that you’re going to stop nagging and start nurturing. You’re going to start to build an unbreakable bond with your child and work to repair any damage that has already been done.

You decide that you’re going to connect with your child emotionally and spiritually, treating him or her with respect. You pour your heart and soul into taking action, and you do it.

What exactly are the action steps you’re going to take? This varies from person to person. For some, an action step may be recommitting your life to Christ and recommit your life to Him. It might mean getting back into church regularly. getting yourself into counseling so that you can get your hands dirty and work on the things from the past that are buried deep inside you, holding you back from being the person you want to be.

If you are currently in the action stage of change, I’d like for you to take some time to pray about what specific action God would have you take.

Now, we all have bad days, and no one is perfect at peaceful parenting…but for the most part, you’re able to stick with your commitment and real change begins to happen within the walls of your home…and your heart.

Maintenance

The last stage of change is called maintenance. That’s when you really hit your stride and you’re doing well, parenting peacefully, and you’ve made some really difficult changes (and are sticking with them). At this stage, you’re able to successfully cope with anger and stress, without blowing up on your family.

Of course, everyone has bad days. Let’s be honest, we’re all human. There’s no such thing as the perfect parent. I don’t know of a mom who parents peacefully 100% of the time.

When we do make a mistake, we don’t allow ourselves to be held back.  It’s important not to beat ourselves up to the point where we’re falling back into old habits. Sometimes when we do slip up and make a mistake, it’s easy to just abandon our convictions with thoughts like, “I’m done! I’ve failed at this, there’s no use in trying anymore.”

When those negative thoughts creep in, let’s remind ourselves of Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We can ask for forgiveness and move forward.

Which stage of change are you in?

Before we recap those five stages of change, I want you to be thinking about what stage of change you’re in. For lasting change, we must first identify where we are on the continuum.

Precontemplation – “I ain’t doin’ it.”

Contemplation – “I might try it.”

Preparation – Taking baby steps

Action – Doing whatever it takes

Maintenance – Consistently reaching your goals and not giving up

Now that you’ve identified where you are, the next step is to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what you need in order to move to the next stage.

If you’re in the contemplation phase thinking, “Do I really want to do this or not?” and you’re weighing the pros and cons of changing your parenting style…. begin praying about what God would have you do in order to move to the next stage.

For example, if you are in the contemplation phase (where a lot of moms get stuck), think about what’s holding you back. Do you feel like you have a fear of failure? Or do you feel stuck in your ways where you feel hopeless to make any kind of lasting change? Or maybe in the past you’ve tried this before and you don’t feel up to trying again.

If you’re in the preparation stage and you’re taking baby steps…weighing the pros and cons…now you’re at a crossroads and you have to decide if you’re really going to go all in. You must ask yourself if you’re willing to do some really hard things..to say no to some things…or to invest financially to see a counselor if that’s what you feel is needed. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to parent peacefully? And if so, what is that thing that you need to propel you from preparation to action?

What we know is that change isn’t easy. No matter what it is. But I think making parenting changes is particularly difficult because parenting itself is difficult. Sometimes it feels impossible!

But I’ve got good news for you today. Our God works miracles. Even if you feel that parenting peacefully is hopeless for you, it’s not hopeless for God.

Wherever you are on this parenting journey, on these stages of change, I want to encourage you to grab a pencil and a piece of paper and prayerfully jot down two things that you believe God is laying on your heart that you need in order to move forward.

Maybe you literally need to make a list of pros and cons. Or maybe you need to get on your knees before God and ask Him what it is that we need to do and pray about our parenting and our relationship with our kids. God will reveal to you what He wants you to do.

Or perhaps you need to finally make that phone call to schedule a counseling session to start working through some really difficult things that you’ve been going through. Again, I don’t know what your action step will be. But God is faithful and He will guide you.

Recommended listening: Peaceful Parenting 101


Join Marianna Chambers as she talks about practical ways to become a more peaceful parent. Having children is a wonderful blessing, but it can also be quite stressful. Every day we hear from moms just like you who are struggling to be the gentle parent they want to be. Moms desperately want to raise their children on a firm foundation of love, but those sweet kids sure know how to push our buttons. (And boy, do they push them!)

Marianna Chambers is a counselor, parenting coach, blogger, homeschool mom, and best-selling author. She’s passionate about supporting and encouraging moms. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or read her blog here. You can also join her private Facebook group for Christian moms on a peaceful parenting mission.

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