Why is it so important to treat our children with respect?
Human beings are born expecting certain things- a newborn baby’s place is near the mother’s breast, a small child sleeps soundly in its parent’s bed, the elder child learns by following its interests; all children are curious and explore their surroundings, counting on finding safety in their parent’s lap whenever they seek it.
There is an instinctive bond between parent and child, a bond the children vehemently call upon to be upheld. Somehow people have come to a point in their evolution where they do not trust their instincts, thinking they need feeding schedules, punishments, praise and day care.
The child’s place in the world is rooted in the trust and respect the parents show it. Children are able to trust and respect themselves and others by displaying the behavior they have been shown. This leads to a healthy, happy family and community.
It is a natural principle that when an infant is crying, something is wrong. It is nature’s way of communicating to us that we must promptly rectify the situation or show empathy, understanding and accompany the child through its pain.
When we neglect to treat our children with the respect they deserve, it has a profound impact on the sacred bond and their psyche.
This means when we shout at them, use physical abuse, judge them, punish them, shame them, talk them into things, negate their wishes and feelings etc. we are seriously screwing them up.
People raised by overpowering methods that cause emotional instability, are accustomed to feeling as victims. This state accompanies them through adult life and is a burden to overthrow.
There is no need to disrespect children by controlling, manipulating or mistreating them. Nobody needs to be shamed into having a conscience. Nobody is born bad, needing to be raised and formed with painful techniques. Nobody needs punishments to realize mistakes.
Children need role models with morals, principles, and guidance.
Children are just like adults, they just don’t know as much as we do, yet. Still, they are entitled to the same rights as adults are.
When we put our will above theirs, children feel frustrated, unheard and wronged, just as we do in such situations. When their actions are punished, they feel mistreated, just as we do. Furthermore, they feel abandoned, because we are denying them their security that is a birthright- it is our place as parents to uphold our bond, come what may. In moments when we act aggressively toward our child, shouting or even physically abusing it, the bond is severed and the child is in an utterly unnatural state of emotional desertion.
All this does not mean we need to bend reality to enable the child’s will to soar- what can’t be done, can’t be done. However, reacting to a child who wants to buy an expensive toy when it is just not possible, telling it “don’t be silly, now stop crying” is not respectful. Children’s minds are somewhat different to adults- for them it’s completely logical to want the toy, and not a lot else is taken into consideration.
Reacting with kind words and understanding “you really want this toy? I know. Are you sad because we aren’t able to buy it right now?” help the child to overcome their frustration without dramatizing their problem.
In this case, it isn’t of importance or necessity to stop the unhappiness your child is feeling. It actually has very little to do with you. It is the child’s process and will be overcome a lot quicker without further intervention from you. It is the role of the parent to accompany the child, showing understanding, empathy and respect.
When a child has accidentally spilled or broken something, it experiences a natural feeling of shame for what has happened and instinctively expects comfort and acceptance from its parents. Responding with judgmental words and shaming the child cause an unhealthy state of self-consciousness and lack of self-confidence.
When we treat our children with respect we do not bark orders at them, we ask them- as we would expect to be asked ourselves, and we give them the freedom to decline- as we would also wish for.
We do not talk them into things: “come on eat just one more carrot…please, only one and then you can have dessert…” “Come on help me, I’ve had a really long day and (etc.)…” or force feelings of guilt: “You’re really not going to clean your teeth? They’ll fall out…” “I can’t believe you didn’t help me, I had to do it all by myself. I won’t bother asking next time, you never help me anyway…” or lure them with a reward, which twists their natural instincts as a social being.
Children, who have the freedom of choice feel so secure, without fearing an adult’s daunting reaction or love withdrawal and have a clear and uncompromised view of themselves and their world, enabling them to make choices that take the wellbeing of the collective into consideration.
I invite you to take your liberty and join the revolution!