F O R M U M M I E S B Y M U M M Y . C O M 3 STEPS TO RESPECTFUL PARENTING FORMUMMIESBYMUMMY.COM WHAT IS “RESPECTFUL PARENTING”? Respectful parenting is regarding our children in the same respectful manner as we would to other adults. We can love them, guide them, teach them and protect them in ways that are not demeaning to them and in ways which will not make them feel inferior or any less about themselves. WHAT WE CAN DO WHEN THINGS GO WRONG: 1) Regulate Our Emotions – Respond, not React When our child has a meltdown or starts to fuss and throw a tantrum, many of us tend to react by getting angry, or even start to yell. It's important to know that usually when children are "misbehaving" it's not a "personal attack" on us. We need to regulate our emotions by taking a step back and trying to see the situation rationally. Stop and take a breather. When we are calm and cool-headed, we are better able to make wise decisions and not end up doing or saying things which we would regret. We definitely want to avoid hurting our children's feelings even when we are feeling upset ourselves. After all, our children are looking up to us to learn how to manage their emotions, especially big scary ones like anger, frustration and sadness. 2) Connect – Empathize with Your Child Instead of focusing on how we feel about the child's actions and behavior, we should be focusing on how our child is really feeling. Is he sad, angry, tired or hungry? Our child’s brain is not fully developed and when strong emotions kick in, it can be very overwhelming for the young mind to handle, resulting in the child having a meltdown. As much as we want to get to the root of the issue, sometimes we should just allow our child to have time to express his emotions. It could mean letting him cry out or hit a pillow to vent his frustrations. Most importantly, tell him you love him and you are there for him, and that it's okay to feel sad/angry. After the storm passes, and he's ready to listen and talk, reason with him how he could have reacted better in managing his big emotions. Reinforce your unconditional love for him.