“ ‘Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile’ mostly describes the behavior of people who have hitherto been given only inches.” — Alfie Kohn, “Beyond Discipline”
I am on a journey of gentle parenting where there are not rewards or punishments, no time-outs, name calling or labeling. This is a slow journey and at times I may forget my own intentions because I am human, but it is there are every day progress is made. I firmly believe that by showing my children that I respect them and treat them as valuable members of our family they will in turn show me respect for themselves and the world around them. Gentle parenting, mindful parenting, whatever name you call it, I simply choose to treat my children as I would treat a best friend, a neighbor, any other family member- how I want to be treated.
I say “yes” lot more than I say “no”. I always respond to my children’s frustrations and cries- especially a baby who is trying to sleep. I give out hugs freely and often when tempers flare. I don’t view my children as adversaries who are out to ruin my day/life. I try to guide them and always explain my actions and allow them to question my decisions. (Yes, my 4 yr old has argued with me and won on sheer logic!) We absolutely do not spank, have time outs, punish by taking away possessions or activities, or humiliate in any way.
Most importantly I am realistic in my expectations. I do not expect silent little robots to appear when I have company or we go into an expensive store, they are children and will act as such because they are supposed to! I look to their needs, not mine first, and always keep in mind that they look to me as an example.