Trouble along the way
Raising a child with love and understanding demands a lot of the parents. Intentions are not enough, it’s in action we raise our kids.
So we spend time, attention, laughter and tears, kisses and hugs and a whole lot of care on them. We stay close, trying to help out, to protect or to push gently. We try to educate and advice them as respectfully as we can along the way. Appreciate their efforts rather than tell them off when they go wrong. Patiently allow time and space to practice, try out their skills and make mistakes along the way. Act like human safety nets from time to time.
If we succeed in our intentions, our kids should develop a sense of inner security, self confidence and curiosity, something that brings a free spirit and strong mind with it.
Children with high self esteem and a free mind will be a bit of trouble. They will think for themselves and argue a lot. Basically arguing is a good thing, it shows your kid is thinking critically. Obviously the kid is learning too, by taking an interest and examining the issue.
The problem is obviously that it doesn’t make your parenting all smooth. The fact that your child speaks up, perhaps critizises your ideas, may cause friction. It can be seen as a possibility to practice constructive debate and deal with conflict. It can provide an opportunity to discuss the matter, exchange ideas, increase your mutual understanding of the problem, and each other. You will learn to grow, together. To find better solutions through deliberation.
Only, it’s sometimes seen as disrespectful. I don’t think it necessarily is though. Even if it might be.
A respectful tone in any relationship will help in all conflicts. It keeps tempers under control and solutions in focus. Sometimes, when in relationships, we tend to expect respect without showing it in return. But we are all human, with rights. We are free to speak our minds, and deserve respect – even the kids. I can’t see why respect shouldn’t be mutual at all times.
Of course it’s not easy! Who said anything about easy? Actually, it’s far too easy to let ourselves go when we are in the privacy of our own homes, with our shields down. To yell out, react without consideration. Kids may do so because they are kids, and haven’t been taught the art of self-control yet. Grown ups should be more skilled in this art, and set a good example for the kids. With our own behavior we show our children how they should communicate and solve problems. Being reasonably polite and respectful towards them is a way of setting an example, of teaching, but also of setting a standard.
Treat your child the way you want to be treated yourself! Treat them kindly and respectfully, and you will get a far more considerate, kind and helpful relation, than you would with discipline only.
If the child fails to keep the respectful tone you strive for yourself, you can point this out and demand a nicer way of saying things. We are supposed to show respect for our children and their thoughts, feelings and ideas. You don’t have to give up your own ideas, and you certainly can demand a respectful tone – but you should consider their thoughts as well.