Mommy Mondays: Respectful Parenting

(photo by Aneste Photography

There are many words
 of wisdom out there
 for how to speak to your children.
Never yell,
try to say yes as often as possible, 
kneel down and talk to them
These, along with many others,
are great ideas.
I try to do these things
as often as possible.

Here are a couple of other ideas 
to add to the list.

1. Avoid saying, "Because I'm the parent, that's why." This doesn't even make sense. The child isn't given an explanation at all, let alone a logical one. Take the time to explain the reason why you have to say no, even if they may not understand it. Try using simple words and phrases to help them understand. It's easy to brush off little people when they don't understand the demands of adult life, time restraints or how difficult something may be to actually execute. Respect the fact that they have ideas too, and help them understand why it may not be possible at that time. It helps to validate their feelings and they know you are listening to them.

2. This is really more of a 1 a. Reply with "That is a great idea!" Then go on to explain why you think their idea is awesome, even if it is totally bizarre and random and you don't actually get it at all. Little people have amazing imaginations. Unfortunately, its something we as adults seemed to have left behind in our childhood. By replying with how awesome of an idea they have, you aren't stunting their creativity but encouraging it. You could then use point #1 to explain why it may, or may not, work out they way they envision it.

3. Use creative ways to say "great job", "I love you" and "way to go." Think outside the box when speaking to your child. It is so important to tell them I love you. Please, tell them a thousand and one times a day! Also use other ways to speak to them. "I love watching you sing." "When you play the piano like that, it makes my heart so happy!" "Your hugs make Mommy's heart grow two sizes!" "I love watching how nicely you play with your sister." Get the idea?

4. When your child wants to tell you something and you are in the middle of a conversation, have them come up to you and place their hand on your arm. This is their way of telling you they would like to speak to you, without interrupting. In response, gently place your hand on top of theirs to acknowledge that you know they are there and will let them know when its their turn to speak. When you are finished (in a reasonable time of course), turn to them and ask them what they would like to say. 

You may want to specify that this doesn't count in an emergency. As a child my younger brother took a swan dive off our top bunk and landed head first on the floor. Instead of yelling for my parents, I calmly waited until my dad was done speaking to inform him of what had happened. Interrupting is totally okay in an emergency! 

5. Have them be involved in decisions that involves the whole family and take their opinions to heart. We often dismiss our kids' opinions in important matters that involve the whole family. I am not saying to disregard your own opinions and do only what they say. For instance, when naming your other children, consulting your three year old on the matter will result in a child named Doc McStuffins or Jake the Neverland Pirate. 

Involve your kids, weight out the options and make a decision together. Again, this helps them feel like they matter, their feelings matter and that you genuinely care about what they think and want. It is so easy to do what we want, because it is our life. But remember, they are little people living their own life too. Allow them to have options, choices and a voice in your family. 

Any other ideas you want to add?

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