It is Day 8 of RIE Foundations today and as I begin anticipating the end of the course I am left with mixed emotions. I feel complete and utter sadness that I will be leaving this safe RIE bubble that has been created for me by our facilitator, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and her intern Michelle along with the 7 other women who have together made this experience an altogether enriching one. But I also feel excitement at what lies ahead when I return to my homeland with newly acquired understandings and a massive spring in my step.
Today was the 5th day of RIE Foundations and the final day of the first week of this course. It has been an intensive week of learning, clarifying, understanding and internalising how to be a respectful parent.
Over this week I have bonded with a group of 7 other ladies and our wonderful facilitators, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and Michelle who all have the common goal of seeing children treated with respect. It’s been quite a surreal experience with a healthy mix of tears, laughter and debate which has had my head in a whirl. I am grateful for the next two days of quiet, where I can poke my head back out into the real world and contemplate all that has been thrown my way. Continue reading
Being a confident leader is vital for our children if we are wanting to use discipline to guide them to develop their own self-control. When we think of confident leaders in our own lives, someone who flies off the handle at every misdemeanor is not an image we would typically conjure nor is someone who shies away from conflict, lest we hurt someone’s feelings. A confident leader is a balance between these two images and is something that, as an emerging respectful parent, has taken me some time to get my head around.
No parent wants to yell at their children but when kids test limits, it can be hard to hold your patience. Even committing to being a respectful and peaceful parent, doesn’t always protect parents from being triggered by certain behaviours in their children.
It is part of a child’s natural learning and developmental progression to experiment, test limits and assert their independence. You want your children to be able to play and explore freely wherever possible but not at the expense of your sanity. For it’s when a parent’s sanity gets compromised that they usually find themselves on that quick path to Yellsville.
Children create mess, that we can be sure of. But how much mess is too much? Should children take more responsibility and tidy up after themselves? It obviously comes down to the ages of our children and our own tolerance levels but when children upend baskets of toys, take their art work to the wall, pull towels out of the linen cupboard as props for their play and empty the clothes out of their drawers to make jumping castles, there comes a time when it is ok to say ENOUGH!
My child is not afraid to defy authority and I am not afraid to let her.
Ever since she could talk, my daughter has had something to say about the expectations placed upon her. Keen to stamp her independence firmly on every task or undertaking, L (3.5 years) has always ensured that if it involves her, she has a say in it.
Luckily for her, early on in her life we discovered the work of Magda Gerber and chose to adopt the respectful parenting practices that have guided new parents for decades, RIE. This practise has encouraged her freedom of expression and given her the opportunity to voice her opinion on matters big and small, whilst still being guided gently by her parents.
Tonight I realised how lucky I am to a be a part of a great, respectful parenting partnership…
It was dinner time and Lucy (3.5 years) was objecting to eating, which she often does. We have learned to let go of our eating expectations and are happy to offer a range of nutritious food throughout the day and let the children decide what they will eat and how much. We often calmly state to Lucy: “If you are not hungry, you do not have to eat your dinner.”
Tonight, however, she was clearly overtired and ironically I think, over-hungry. The meal was spaghetti bolognese which she has eaten many times before so the flavours were not the problem. She asked for milk, then water, then milk mixed with water, then just water again. This was a clear sign to us that she had some pent up emotion and needed to release it. Continue reading
I have written previously about how fervently my daughter tests limits. She seeks out mischief. She enjoys the challenge and the excitement of finding new ways to keep us on our toes.
Whether she empties out all the tissues from the tissue box and scatters them all over the floor, pulls the petals off the bunch of flowers I have been given as a birthday gift or removes 18 towels from the linen cupboard, and places them in a bath tub full of water, everyday, we are discovering all the ways our so called child-proof house is not actually our-child-proof.
It is sometimes hard to keep our cool when it seems like everything she touches, she finds a way to mess up or destroy. When we come across her pulling every item of clothing hanging in my wardrobe onto the floor or smearing my lip balm all over my bedside table even though she has been frequently reminded she is not to do these things, keeping anger out of our voices can be difficult.
But who is ultimately responsible for these occurances? Is it really reasonable to expect a three year old to refrain from this mischief, to curb her impulses? I don’t believe so. She needs our help.