What are the origins of your concepts of love and respect? Can you separate the way you desire to parent from unhelpful past models? Much of traditional parenting rests on a hierarchy of power and control. Love is a reward, based on meeting certain conditions. Respect is born of fear. If children fear their parents, they will respect them and obey them, hoping to earn their love by meeting their parent’s conditions.
When we recognize that our children have reasons for those upsets (even if we don’t really get it), it gives us the opportunity to connect and actually help make it better this time, and the next time, too. Learning the skills to regulate and create more connection in the moment helps everyone to feel better, no matter how old we are and no matter what we call it.
Whenever I ask a group of parents what they want for their children, the topic of respect inevitably comes up. Parents want their children to be respected, but parents also want to feel respected by their children. Many parents grew up not feeling respected themselves and most parents, it turns out, grew up having at least one experience (most had many experiences) of not being respected by an adult in their life.
Rebecca Thompson Hitt and Christy Farr talk about “Uncle Bob” and how to stay in relationship with him while still maintaining your own boundaries so it feels good to you and your family in the process.
Our patterns, or how we deal with situations like this unconsciously, are set very early in our childhood. What we saw, felt, and experienced on every level is repeated, especially when we’re stressed. How do we change our patterns?