When I was first introduced to RIE parenting a little over four years ago, I was grateful to have specific advice for raising my then 18mo and 5mo with respect. I read as much as I could, copied out scripts to use in speaking with my children in certain situations and followed what I saw as “the rules” in order to give my children the wonderful, supportive childhood that most of us could only dream of.
It recently occurred to me that with the number of posts I write about the rivalry between my children, it might be easy to conclude that the respectful parenting methods I have adopted to help manage their rivalry over the years have been completely ineffective, otherwise, why would they still rival?
I wasn’t entirely sure how to make this announcement. I have been thinking, does anyone really care the third time around? But with a fairly serious scare on the eve of being on the right side of ‘safe’ this week, I realised that I care!!
I am not just adding a third child to our family. I view this child with the same reverence as I viewed my first and then my second just 13 months later. My excitement and anticipation is equal to what I felt when I discovered I was pregnant with my first. I wonder what gifts he (yes, I have boy vibes for this baby, but of course, will be happy either way) will bring to the world and I can’t wait to watch him grow from birth, confident in his amazing capabilities.
Rage is something many of us have experienced on more than one occasion. It is more than just anger, it normally comes from a feeling of gross injustice; a feeling that boils our blood and we literally feeling like inflicting pain on someone or something in order to satisfy that raw emotion that threatens to undermine our normally level-headed composure.
Children experience the same sense of rage that adults do. In fact, their emotional and social immaturity makes them even more susceptible to experiencing this strong emotion as they lose reasoning and logic in their interactions with others. They come from a self-centred view point and therefore genuinely feel great injustices on an almost daily basis.
When a child is being defiant, it does not indicate that they are bad nor is it a sign of poor parenting. It is a completely normal and natural urge for a child to want to assert their autonomy. Doing the opposite of what they have been asked to do is the perfect way for them to take control of their independence. Resisting our requests is a part of a child’s development, the same way that learning to walk and talk is. Punishing them for wanting to do this, therefore, is like punishing them for existing. Instead, it is important for us to show acceptance; not of the behaviour, but of the child.
Chores – it’s a bit of a dirty word, isn’t it? There are not too many people in my circle of friends who get excited at the prospect of completing chores around the house so it’s not surprising the children aren’t entirely thrilled when they are handed a list they must complete. So what is it about chores that makes it such a dirty word and how can we get kids to do chores without resorting to bribes and threats?
We have been officially schooling for two weeks now and yesterday I let my daughter have the day off. No, I’m not trying to be rebellious nor do I think school is not a good place for her to be. I love her school and have placed tremendous trust in them to keep my daughter’s love of learning alive. But, I also think that it is important for kids to be allowed a break once in a while.
Over the past three years I have made an extraordinary effort to become a respectful parent for the sake of my children. This style of parenting does not come naturally to me and I have certainly had my fair share of slip ups and regressions as I tried and failed to get it right. But I recently figured out where I was going wrong.