15

Been reading a bit about Respectful Parenting and mutual respect as a parenting style and it appeals to us. We have four kids so keeping track of reward charts and various other trackers is complex and time consuming, we'd much rather work toward mutual respect and a willingness to do the right thing "most" of the time.

One thing that I'm not quite clear on is how to discipline within that framework without it looking like punishment, which then blurs the lines into a more controlling and coercive framework.

For example, we have two 11 year olds who are obsessed with their phones, and would happily wander around with them glued to their faces 24*7. Previously we have given them jobs to do to earn credits towards phone use, but we'd much rather they do jobs because it's the right thing to do in a family and then self-regulate their phone use. How do we encourage that, without the threat of taking them away? It's not just phones, that's just an example. How do we "punish" a lack of respect and cooperation without it being a punishment?

  • 1
    Good question, +1. Not to challenge your framework, but I assume you work about 40 hours per week. Do you do it because it's the right thing to do (i.e. would you do it without a paycheck?) How does 'respect' relate to 'morals/ethics' and 'work'? – anongoodnurse Nov 29 '18 at 14:49
  • Yeah I hear what you are saying, but I feel there is a difference between helping run a house and doing some basic jobs (dishes after dinner and keeping things tidy) are just part and parcel of being in a family. I don’t want us to only get help if we are prepared to pay, that’s not fostering a family attitude. – MikeH Nov 29 '18 at 15:05
  • 1
    I agree, there are things that must be done because it helps keep the family unit organized. But Positive/Respectful parenting helps kids to make better choices. The problem is, kids are not naturally inclined to delay gratification. I think this is an important question with a complicated answer. I'm looking forward to reading them. – anongoodnurse Nov 29 '18 at 17:49
12

In helping children learn to contribute to the daily family work (this is something we call "being human") we have found natural consequences to be very effective teaching tools. For example when the house isn't picked up that means we cannot move on to other, more fun, activities. This causes everyone to stop what they are doing and take time to pick things up. We then have a chance to discuss as a family how we can better care for our home and care for each other.

We like the word consequences in our family because consequences can be positive or negative. All actions have consequences and we want our kiddos to learn that they need to evaluate the outcome of their behavior, attitudes, motives, etc. and be willing to accept whatever consequence comes from their actions.

Dealing with phone usage is similar. When we have our phone (or other electronic devices) in front of our face we inhibit the ability to develop relationships with the people in our physical space. Helping our children understand that when they do nothing but sit on their phones they are sending a very clear message to the people around them is important. We often sit down as a family to discuss electronic use in our home. We discuss how much time, where you can have devices, what you can use a device for, and what the expectations are when guests are in our home. This discussion includes agreeing on consequences for success and failure. Everyone gets to contribute to the conversation and we reach a compromise. That means no one goes away perfectly happy, but we can respectfully agree to something that everyone can live with.

We don't sit around monitoring our children trying to "catch" them doing things (right or wrong). If we see them doing the right thing or trying to do the right thing we affirm that behavior and apply the appropriate consequence. If we see they are struggling or failing we ask them how they can do it better next time and apply the appropriate consequence. It takes a lot of patience to work through these issues, but it's worth it. There will be a lot of failures, but that is good because it gives us the chance to talk about hard things with our kids. Good Luck!

  • 1
    "This discussion includes agreeing on consequences for success and failure. Everyone gets to contribute to the conversation and we reach a compromise.That means no one goes away perfectly happy, but we can respectfully agree to something that everyone can live with." This is so very, very important! +1 – anongoodnurse Nov 29 '18 at 17:51
  • Also, welcome to the site! – anongoodnurse Nov 29 '18 at 17:52
  • 2
    Thank you - that's an excellent answer. I like the idea of positives and negatives being rebranded as "consequences", that will take the negativity of it away. Thank you so much! – MikeH Nov 30 '18 at 9:32
-1

but we'd much rather they do jobs because it's the right thing to do in a family and then self-regulate their phone use.

This just sounds that instead of you being the parent you would just like the children to raise themselves. You cannot expect the child to magically know what is best for themselves, it is your job as the parent to teach them that.

One thing that I'm not quite clear on is how to discipline within that framework without it looking like punishment, which then blurs the lines into a more controlling and coercive framework.

Any sort of discipline is going to feel like a punishment to the child. if the punishment is reasonable and in the best will of the child then you do it. you as the parent are the authority in the house, your rule is law. You sacrifice so much in raising them, your opinions do and should matter to the children.

How do we "punish" a lack of respect and cooperation without it being a punishment?

Your children don't need you to be there friend, they need you to be their parent. If you feel they spend to much time on their phones then limit the time they spend. If you think they drink too much soda then you limit the cooldrink they drink.

There may be a host of things your children want to do that you feel is bad or can be done better, by limiting these things you are not being authoritarian, you are just being their parent.

It is not a parents job to be popular. You have to do what is right by your children, not always what your children think is right.

  • 3
    It may be me, but I don't see an answer here, just criticism of Respectful Parenting. Respectful/Positive Parenting is a choice of parenting style, just like authoritative parenting is ("you as the parent are the authority in the house, your rule is law.") If you disagree with every point the OP makes and have no positive contributions to make, just walk away from the question. Thanks. – anongoodnurse Dec 9 '18 at 14:00
  • 2
    No, don't think it's just you, there is no answer, just disagreement. I'm not trying just to be their friend, I'm trying to teach them to be useful and contributing members of society. By limiting things as Neil suggests I'd not be teaching them to make their own correct decisions, I'd just be controlling their behavior, the definition of authoritarian. – MikeH Dec 11 '18 at 7:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.