What is respectful parenting?

Respectful parenting is focused on the relationship between parent and child. It is a relationship grounded in trust, understanding and mutual respect. When we learn to see and treat our children as capable, we can foster a connection based on collaboration and empathy. It is also based on developmental science, which allows the parent to have reasonable expectations and therefore a more conscious response to behaviour.

What does respectful parenting look like?

Our respect and love for our children can show itself, and be felt, in so many ways. That might be as simple as not interrupting a toddler when they are playing, or giving an infant time to process what we’ve said when about to wipe their face, or modelling self-respect by honouring our needs as parents.

What is RIE ®?

RIE ® (pronounced rye) stands for Resouces for Infant Educarers ® and was founded by Magda Gerber, who had worked with the famous paediatrician Emmi Pickler (where pickler triangles come from!). Their focus is on babies from 0-2, although it’s a way of respecting children that continues throughout life. Their site describes it best: “the Educaring Approach allows them [parents] to focus on what matters most: the connection between themselves and the baby in their care. In attuning to their baby, they learn to trust their baby and themselves.” See here for their site.

What does Non-Violent Communication (NVC) have to do with respectful parenting?

Respectful parenting is being honest about what is alive in us, while seeing what is alive in our children. This enables us to connect to them with compassion and respond effectively to their needs. Practising NVC in our homes opens us up to a more collaborative relationship – if we can feel our own needs and express them peacefully, we can make a request of our children in a more effective and respectful way. If the singing in the kitchen is too loud, for example, we can say “I’m feeling tired, and that is too loud for me at the moment … and I see you really want to sing loudly. Can we find a way for us both to feel good?” And they might decide to go sing in the living room with the wooden spoon as a microphone.

Why do we believe respectful parenting is important?

We believe that a truly respectful relationship between parent and child creates an environment in which children can grow into emotionally intelligent, resilient and self-confident adults. Adults who will be compassionate human beings and unafraid to think for themselves with kindness and integrity. And, at the same time, the focus on connection brings joy to the relationship, and freedom to the parent.

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