Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting - Janet Lansbury - Book Summary
The main idea of this approach is respect and trust the child - even a newborn. “Infants are dependent, but they are not helpless”.
We should trust our children. Trust that they are strong to handle frustration. Trust that they are working on their development and that we do not need to interfere with their explorations in order to teach them anything.
We should respect them - we should honestly communicate what is actually happening, what we are planning to do - no distractions, using our real voice and with our full attention.
Before picking our child up, changing an infant's’ diaper - we should wait until he finishes what he is currently doing (a newborn might stare at the wall) and once he is done (and looking at us) - tell him what we are planning to do and wait for his reply. This is not only respectful but also signaling our child that we are interested in what he has to say and encourages him to learn language to communicate with us.
We should not rush the daily chores of bathing, changing a diaper, etc. We should slow down, include the child, and give him our full attention - this will build intimacy between us and will make those shared moments fun - for both the child and the parent. Allowing the child to help will help build his skill set and his self-esteem.
We should minimize interruptions to a child’s free play - we should trust that he is doing the things that are most contributing to his development. Interrupting his in play is not only rude - but also creates a child that cannot focus and relies on others to amuse him. We should strive to let the children experience frustration, difficulties, and hardship - and as long as it is safe - they should attempt solving their own quarrels and problems. We should create a “yes-space” that will allow the child to explore safely and calmly.
When having multiple kids together - we should guard each child’s project from other kids, and make sure they are safe - but let them work things up together (the real issue is not the toy that both of them want - but the interaction they are after).
When we trust our children - it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy - they are able to be independent.
Children should sit in low chairs when they eat (not high chairs). This will allow them to get up when they are done and signal when they want to eat. A good limit will be to insist that the child sit during his meals.
Boundaries are important. Not only safety issues. Children need to feel that they are not in charge, and they have a loving adult that provides the limits, so they can be free in them. We should state the limit with a clear direction and not be hesitant about it - we should not be afraid making our children feel upset. They can handle it. We should accept the feelings they are experiencing in response to our limits and even let them melt down in our presence. If we made a mistake - we can always apologize. We yell when we are not sure, or when we don’t take care of ourselves.
We should not talk to a child in “Motherese” - we should use our own voice, and not say something like “Mommy loves Johnny” - instead - say “I love you”. This demonstrates respect, and also - it will teach the child how you properly speak and it will also help acknowledge that this is a person standing in front of you. There is no need to narrate everything that the child is doing - he will just block the useless stream of words - instead - talk to him tell him about the things that are interesting to him when he is playing.