The Key to Well-Behaved Children Who Listen to You, While Fully Respecting Them
Do you ever feel you have to make a choice between parenting peacefully and having well-behaved children who listen to you?
Or having a sense of order in your home?
Click PLAY to listen to the audio version of this article.
Or even though you don’t believe in coercive and authoritarian parenting, do you sometimes just wish you did so your children would do what you say? Even obey you?
Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to choose.
It IS possible to have well-behaved children who listen to you while fully honoring and respecting them.
What I’m talking about here is not obedient children who blindly follow any directions but children who trust you and know in their bones that you’re on their team, and therefore WANT to listen to you.
One thing I've sadly found through working with many peaceful, attachment, unschooling and Continuum Concept families, is that many of them end up giving up on the idea of effectiveness in their parenting, because they don’t believe it can happen in a way that’s respectful of their beloved children.
They don't want to squash their spirits.
They don’t want to control them.
They don't want to be authoritarian.
They don't want to do to their children what was done to them when they were children.
Sometimes chaos ends up reigning in those families. It's challenging to make anything happen.
And eventually the parents snap and respond to their children in ways they promised themselves they'd never do.
Does this ever happen to you?
I'm here to tell you that you don't have to give up on effectiveness to fully respect your children and to honor their spirits!
On the contrary, grounding yourself in Clean Parenting, which is highly effective because it taps into children's innate desire to cooperate and learn from their elders, is actually doing them a favor and meeting needs which aren't when we're afraid of offering clear, needed and appropriate guidance.
(For an in depth discussion of the four key elements of Clean Parenting, request my report THE ALMOST MAGICAL FORMULA For Surprising Ease and Harmony in Your Family While Fully Honoring Your Children’s Spirits.)
What I’ve found to be the key to this ease, both in my family as well as the families I work with, is to own and embody our role as what I call being a benevolent leader.
Being a clear benevolent leader is one of the four key elements which constitutes the foundation of Clean Parenting, and by far the most misunderstood one, and most challenging to apply.
My favorite way of conveying this principle is to have you imagine moving somewhere with a completely different culture. Or even to a different planet.
Picture yourself being there alone, not knowing the language and not knowing any of the local customs; not knowing what is considered rude or might upset people or possibly even make them want to harm you; not knowing how to operate any of their technology or how to operate in their society, organizations, businesses, etc.
How would that feel?
And now imagine that you have a local guide who is there to help you acclimate. Would you do whatever you want, or would you check with that trusted person to find out what's appropriate?
Would that person be controlling you or helping you adapt to the culture?
As far as that guide goes, would you prefer someone who is afraid to give you information, who is apologetic and who avoids giving you directions as much as possible? Or would you want someone who knows you well, knows what you already know and what you haven’t encountered yet, and matter-of-factly presents you with the information you need when you need it?
I’m hoping you got a clear sense of what I mean by being a benevolent leader by doing this reflection.
Being a leader as a parent is tapping into the natural order of things, from an evolutionary perspective, in which children look to their elders to learn about the world and for guidance on how to conduct themselves.
In our society parents tend to either be:
1) AUTHORITARIAN, in a way that doesn’t really respect children and meet their needs, and damages their sense of self
2) PERMISSIVE, because they really want to honor and trust their children and not do to them what their own parents did. Yet those permissive parents often find themselves wavering between the two approaches because they can’t find something that works and is in alignment with their values.
The thing is that young children don't have the experience nor the big picture in mind to make decisions, in many situations. Therefore it is normal and healthy for us to make those decisions for them, for our family. This organically and quickly shifts as they get older and grow in their ability to make decisions.
At the same time it’s critically important that we guide them in a way that is totally respectful, nurtures their sense of self, and doesn’t in any way damage our relationship with them.
Here’s what it looks like:
Watch this video of my 27 year old daughter demonstrating how she used Clear Benevolent Leadership to a boy in one of her coaches' gymnastics classes (as well as to see what a child parented in the way I teach looks like as an adult - proud mama moment here. ♥)
What I’m describing here may seem utopic, but I guarantee that it’s possible. It is the trickiest things I teach (which I’m eternally grateful to Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept for teaching me!) because it’s not something most of us have had any modeling of. But when it clicks into place with my clients is when I suddenly hear how totally easy their life also gets!
It does take work to integrate, but I promise that once your leadership is established, your life will be so much easier! It might be even straight up easy, as mine was, so it’s well worth the time and focus to achieve it. And it is well worth doing any inner work you need to do around this to clear what’s in your way of embodying it.
In order for this firm, clear and benevolent leadership to work, the following HAS to be present:
For a thorough discussion of Clean Parenting™, request my FREE report, The Almost Magical Formula For Surprising Ease and Harmony in Your Family While Fully Honoring Your Children’s Spirits. It describes the four principles which when used together, truly lead to astounding ease and harmony in families.
Wanna give back? Please SHARE this article! I'd be incredibly grateful to you.
Do you want SUGGESTIONS to put all this into practice? Check out the following articles and audios!
Program offered at half-price and including 3 times the normal amount of support calls
for the duration of the COVID 19 crisis.
4/6/2015 01:26:59 am
2/4/2016 10:57:47 am
Thank you for this audio. I found the information to be so wonderful and resonates completely with my thoughts on parenting. I would certainly Love to see your magical formula :)
2/4/2016 11:56:08 am
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Danya! And you just need to click one of the links in the article to receive my free report. :-)
4/6/2015 09:20:53 am
Wow, this reminds so much of my thoghts on parenting, it is working. My daughter is soon 2.
4/6/2015 09:25:12 am
I'm so glad to hear it's your experience too, Emmy. It does feel almost magical, doesn't it?
4/7/2015 10:09:39 am
Very silly, wait until they are 13-18. Trust me the magic of this silliness will fade. Raising responsible young men and women isn't a fad or an experiment. It is your job is to guide them , they are not your friends or mysterious creatures. Respect is earned first and foremost. They do very ignorant things and you can't always trust them. Good luck with the look and them adjusting their behavior. hahahaha. Children completely run their parents lives today and its ridiculous and does nothing for their future lives. They are not independent, nor are they autonomos THEY ARE CHILDREN
4/7/2015 12:53:37 pm
Laura, my daughters are passed those ages - they're 17, 19 and 22 - and what I described worked beautifully in my family. They're very successful and responsible, and have a wonderful sense of self which I can only aspire to having been raised very differently.
4/20/2015 08:24:39 pm
Certainly not my experience, even with children on the spectrum. Mutual respect had worked. They work hard at school, they care for each other, they listen to what I ask of them.
4/20/2015 11:39:23 pm
Claire, I would LOVE to chat with you sometime! I have a number of clients who have children on the spectrum and because I don't, I can't give them feedback grounded in experience.
5/15/2015 04:41:14 am
I completely agree...children thrive on love care and structure in their lives..and parents who can guide them..they are not our peers or friends..parents lost in the love for their child misunderstand this and do the children a great disservice. ..over indulgence is a form of neglect and creates unhappy adults..
11/6/2015 06:00:53 am
If you had comprehended the article, it states nothing about allowing your children to be in charge. You can raise respectful and empathetic children who listen to you without yelling or punishing. I know, my daughter is going on 4, and I also work in a high school. Is it always a sheer pleasure? Absolutely not. It takes tons of patience and presence. As the article states, it it not permissiveness.
4/8/2015 02:19:31 am
This is a wonderful article! This is how I article trying to parent my children, but I am really struggling with my son who just turned four. What do you do when they do something that really is bad? Recently, he has started doing things like intentionally dumping his drink on the floor or pushing down his little sister. I tell him again and again that it makes me upset or hurts her, but it isn't getting through. I've started taking away privileges like screen time and dessert, but I'm not sure how effective that is either. I'm from a family of all girls, too, so raising a boy is whole new experience for me. Any advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated!
4/8/2015 11:57:22 pm
Hi Amelia, thank you for writing to me! It's wonderful that you're parenting your son in this way; he's a lucky little boy!
4/29/2015 12:36:05 pm
Hi. I need your guidance to a clear example of what you mention. I feel like im constantly saying no to my child and always informing her of danger and terrible what ifs. Pls. Thank you.
4/29/2015 02:17:34 pm
5/8/2015 06:38:00 am
I love this! It is generally how I approach parenting, and it is great to see it actually written out. My parents offered me a lot of respect and independence growing up, as long as I showed the same respect in return. I was allowed to have opinions and make decisions (within reason for my age). I completely intend to do the same with my girls.
5/19/2015 04:16:34 am
That's delightful, Stacey!
11/22/2015 08:34:25 am
I have teenagers and for the most part are great kids out in public. My problem is we ask them to do minimal chores and they all refuse to do them. They each have a turn doing dishes and if they are not responsible for dishes then they have laundry for the house. None of this is happening. They won't pick up after themselves. I have tried not doing anything and they just let it pile up. I don't know what to do.
1/18/2016 08:46:46 am
Yes, we need to respect our children first, if we expect them to respect us. Respect and disrespect are both learned behavior. Personally, I don't even focus on getting good behavior. I focus on the connection and the relationship between us, and "good behavior" is a natural by-product of that. (most of the time!) - Eric
3/30/2016 11:45:19 pm
5/2/2016 01:00:22 am
I want to thank you. You made me realize that this is how I naturally was with my daughter...until her brother was born. I have not been patient with her, or taken the time to find answers to her questions that made sense to her growing mind. So I have lost some of her trust. Now I see that I have a good "one look" relationship with my son but not so much with her. Thank you for a bit of enlightenment.
5/7/2016 05:32:27 pm
You're so welcome, Allison! And just today, I was re-reading an article on siblings that you may enjoy as well:Motherhood’s Best Kept Secret: A Second Child http://respectfulparent.com/motherhoods-best-kept-secret-a-second-child/.
5/17/2016 01:49:03 am
I'd like to hear a lot from you...
6/4/2016 03:08:25 pm
I used to have that "one look" ability with all children (nursery nurse) and with son until he was around 3/4. Thinking back that was when I became depressed which is now on the mend, 4 years, another son and medication later.
6/13/2016 08:04:43 am
How wonderful that you were attuned to your children enough to decide to 'deschool.' It seems like it's what was needed for you children. Well done, mama!
6/12/2016 07:17:58 am
I am interested in this concept many of the parenting coaching therapies I have seen are for older children. Can I start using your techniques for my 20 month old?
6/13/2016 08:03:09 am
Yes, Adrienne, my work applies for all ages. In fact when people ask me the best time to do my parenting programs, i recommend when their first child is 1 1/2 or 2. Nothing that I teach is techniques but it's all a way of being, a way of seeing, an attitude, that lead to be grounded in yourself, really connected to and seeing your child, aware of the overall situation of what's going on, so you know intuitively how to respond.
8/2/2016 02:22:32 pm
10/23/2016 12:55:36 pm
I do appreciate this article, especially for those parents who don't want to "squash their child's spirits," something I have heard a few times as a preschool teacher of many years. Usually mentioned by parents of the most unruly or unkind children in my classes. These are parents who afraid to take charge and hurt their child's feelings by helping them learn self-discipline, something all children need. They makes excuses for their child's behaviors or worse yet, take the blame themselves - It's my fault, I kept him up late last night. He must be tired." We all love our children and want the best for them, but the best is not to ignore the important things children need to learn to go out into the world and be successful, and following basic rules of society is one step, and it starts with kindness and respect for others. This is often lacking in the child who is idolized at home and allowed to let his "spirit" flow in any way he wants. They tend to see the world as revolving around them and only them. It took me a bit to get past the first half of this article, however, as the style was written in such a way as NOT to step on anyone's delicate toes. Although being coined a new name "Clean Parenting" and alluding to a secret formula, the advice is sound, classic, and something parents should be told. Parents are in charge; they are the leaders of this next generation of little ones. It is their job to teach them how to navigate the world and how to treat others respectfully and kindly. Yes, we should provide this positive modeling for our children; if we are respectful to them, they hopefully will be respectful back. Also of importance is to model respect for others and to teach them the same.
9/12/2022 08:36:50 pm
Me gustaria saber como integrar esto a los padres adoptivos. Tengo 2 niñas de 4 años (llegaron de 1 año y 8 meses) en donde ese proceso de su vida faltó mucho amor, hay miedos, inseguridades que estoy tratando de cambiar por confianza amor certezas.
Leave a Reply.