Respectful parenting is a parenting philosophy grounded in just that: Respect. Respectful Parenting acknowledges our children need to be heard, seen and accepted just as adults are, and believes that this must begin from the moment our children are born. When children enter the world, they are born with a natural, curious drive to learn more about the world around them. Respectful parenting harbors this drive and extends it to us as parents, encouraging us to get to know our children better in order to identify and respond mindfully to their needs, which can unlock their true full potential and lead to living more meaningful lives.
Respectful Parenting Techniques
Connection, communication, and cooperation are at the center of all respectful parenting principles and reflect throughout the main ideologies:
- Treat children as people – In society, children are often looked down upon and treated unfairly, their opinions and viewpoints are dismissed due to inexperience and youth. Respectful parenting chooses to listen mindfully to what a child is trying to communicate, just as we do with adults in everyday conversations. Of course, children still need our care, guidance, and support, but in a mindful and respectful way.
- Work collaboratively – Respectful parenting honors that children do have viewpoints and that should always be acknowledged and listened to. By actively listening and striving to understand each other, we’re working together, which leads to a happier resolution and nurtures a healthier, more trusting relationship rather than reverting to restrictive and closed punishments.
- Children have a right to consent – We would nor should never force an adult to do something against their will, so why should we force our children? This includes hugging, kissing, or sitting in other adults’ laps. But what about toothbrushing, vaccines, or things children need to do? There are occasions where children need to do things that they don’t want to do for their best interests in mind. In these moments, we need to understand that children have not yet fully developed consequential thinking and, therefore, don’t understand what consequences refusing actions might mean. Here, we do what’s best for our children in the long run while listening to our children’s feelings and thoughts and making them as comfortable as possible.
- Connect – Just like in all parenting philosophies, connecting with our children is imperative to establishing a healthy, cooperative relationship. Respectful parenting teaches us to let go of standards and expectations, and instead accept and honor our children the way they are. When loving them unconditionally indifferent to their wants, needs, fears, desires, and talents, we can create an authentic and loving relationship where both of you feel loved and valued.
- Emphasise empathy – Respect fosters empathy, and respectful parenting encourages us to empathize with our children instead of restricting or controlling them, minimizing their feelings, or offering quick fixes. We establish empathy through listening, acknowledging, and accepting. When we treat them with respect and compassion, this is how they will treat others.
The Benefits Of Respectful Parenting
The benefits of respectful parenting are amongst other the developmental gain we experience when feeling respected, loved, and valued. When someone feels respected, they feel empowered, understood, which encourages self-esteem, confidence, and communication. This is the same for our children. Rather than feeling dismissed and discredited, our children learn to communicate and collaborate.
Allowing our children to express who they are and giving them the freedom to make choices, decisions, and, most importantly, communicate those with us knowing they are loved unconditionally is a gift that will give ripple effects in many areas of life. It will follow them into adulthood, giving our children the best chance of extending that respect to others as they embark on their life’s journeys.
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If you are ready to find out more about respectful parenting or have questions about how it aligns with gentle parenting,book a free call with me where we can discuss any questions, you may have. Alternatively, read my free eBook with ideas for 30 days of how to be a happier parent starting the journey of respecting the most important person in your child’s life, namely you!