Press
Blog

5 Ways to Show Respect for Your Child….and develop their sense of capability…and avoid power struggles.

teen boy and teen girl

The list below is adapted from one of my all-time favorite books: How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

I began compiling the list to give parents a quick refresher on ways to demonstrate respect for kids. (Remember, we can’t expect kids to respect us unless we also show respect to them.)

Not only will these strategies demonstrate respect for kids, but each suggestion goes a long way in fostering their autonomy and capability. Instead of jumping in to do things for our kids or answer for them – let them answer, struggle, and think for themselves. You’ll be amazed at how their sense of personal significance will grow.

And, by the way…they’re also great strategies for avoiding power struggles. Each example provides a way to empower your child rather than igniting power struggles between you.

Try these 5 ways to show respect, develop their capability and avoid power struggles:

1. Don’t ask too many questions.
Instead of “How was school today?” “Was the science test hard?” “What did you have for lunch?” Try: “Welcome home. I’m SO glad to see you!”

happy girl

2. Don’t rush to answer questions.
Try: “That’s an interesting question. What do you think?”

3. Let your child own his/her own body.
Refrain from brushing her hair out of her eyes, tucking in his shirt, etc. Kids view this as fussing over them and an invasion of their physical privacy.

4. Let your child answer for herself/himself!
Try: “Jack can tell you. He’s the one who knows.” Or, for an older child, just be silent and don’t answer. The awkward silence will encourage your child to speak up.

5. Show respect for your child’s eventual “readiness.”
Try: “I’m not concerned. When you’re ready, you’ll use the potty.” (This also removes the power struggle. There’s no need to fight you because you are giving the him the power to decide.) Or try: “When you decide to, you’ll get into the water.”

Kids are accustomed to parents communicating with a lot of ordering, correcting and directing. These 5 strategies will show your kids that you respect them, and will lead to greater capability and autonomy with fewer power struggles.

About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.
Press