“Treating children with respect teaches them, ‘You are seen and loved in all of your states of being: joyful, angry, chaotic, unsure.’”

-Sarah Rosensweet

As peaceful parents we try to always treat our children with respect. 

We listen to them.

We ask their opinion.

We consider their desires even if we can’t oblige them.

We acknowledge and welcome their feelings.

We treat them as important and valued individuals. 

We speak kindly even when we are upset. 

We don’t use our size to overpower them or use force to get what we want and we don’t use what they love against them (consequences).

We KNOW in our hearts that this is the way we want to raise our children. It can be hard to lose sight of this because it is just so darn hard sometimes.

When we ask for our children’s opinions and listen to them, and treat them as valued individuals whose preferences matter as much as adults (even if we can’t or won’t accommodate them) – it can be messy, y’all. 

This way of parenting in effect says to kids, “You are seen and loved in all of your states of being: joyful, angry, chaotic, unsure.” They sometimes let it all hang out because we make room for them. Children don’t have to make themselves small, quiet and unseen when things are tough in order to be loved and seen by us. 

Children do want to be their best selves and they want to be good. But they are immature, they are still developing impulse control and self-regulation, and sometimes they are hungry, tired or overstimulated. 

I’ll say it again, it can be messy because of the reasons I noted above.

Take heart: This is a long game. You won’t see the results of your hard work overnight. Treating children with respect raises them up into people who treat others with respect. People who are kind because they’ve been treated with kindness. People who are empathetic because they’ve had their feelings acknowledged and empathized with. People who are thoughtful because they were listened to and encouraged to express their opinions. 

That impulse control, maturity, and self-regulation WILL come!

And did you notice how I said it was hard? It IS hard to raise children without putting adult convenience, schedules and agendas first. It takes time, energy, creativity and inner contemplation. 

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