Respectful Parents Respectful Kids, Part 1 Discussion

February 6th, 2011 by Dionna | Leave a comment
Posted in Book Discussions, Carnival and Special Series, Consensual Living, Gentle Discipline Ideas, Successes, and Suggestions, Gentle/Positive Discipline, natural parenting, Respond with Sensitivity, Reviews and Giveaways

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Welcome to Code Name: Mama’s second online book club! It is so exciting to be surrounded by parents who are motivated to explore ways in which we can grow and offer our children the best of ourselves. Today is our first discussion of Respectful Parents Respectful Kids by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, all you need is a copy of the book (borrowed1 or bought), an hour or so each week to read, and about 20-30 minutes to join in the discussion (see below for details).

Every week the format for the book club will include a brief summary of the section we read as well as discussion questions. This isn’t Parenting 101, so don’t get stressed! No one expects you to write down a bunch of answers and you certainly will not be graded. Just use the information to your benefit and then join in the ongoing conversation surrounding these questions throughout the week. We may not discuss every question, we will see where the conversation takes us. You can discuss the questions in the comments below, but I’d encourage you to head over to the Natural Parents Network forums, where we can have longer, more meaningful (and orderly) conversations. Just look for the “Online Book Discussions” folder under “Books and More.”

If you find something in the book sparks an emotion, or if you discover you could use some book club advice for a specific situation, please email Dionna.

Respectful Parents Respectful Kids Part 1 (Chapters 1-3) Summary

Respect and cooperation are building blocks for healthy relationships. For many of parents, though, our ideas of what respect and cooperation should look like don’t necessarily match the definition of each. Cooperation literally means to “work together,” and it is a two-way street. Parents who cooperate with their children take time to consider problems and solutions from the child’s point of view. It is important to remember that cooperation is not something that we can mandate. To respect someone means to look at the other person’s feelings, experiences, and needs. Respecting children means that parents choose not to focus on misbehavior, but on the needs behind the behavior.

In order for parents to build respectful and cooperative relationships with their children, parents should take time to care for themselves. Not only will this help us maintain the presence and energy we need to parent effectively, but it will also model good skills for our children.

In Chapter 3, the authors cover several strategies for building and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as conflicts that can interfere with respect and cooperation. Parents working on eliminating conflict should consider: 1) creating daily quality connection time with their children; 2) practice making nonjudgmental observations about behavior and its affects rather than labeling children; 3) avoiding rewards and punishment; and 4) use language that does not focus on “but” and “should” statements.

Chapter 1 Questions

1) What are your definitions of cooperation and respect? Did your definitions evolve as you read through Chapter 1?

2) As you read through Part I this week, take time to notice how you are asking your child to do things or to help you. Are you making unilateral decisions that she is expected to follow? Or are you working together? If you can, share an example of how you contributed to cooperation in your house at the NPN forums (look for the “Online Book Discussions” folder under “Books and More”).

3) Share some examples of “power-over” and “power-with” statements that you made with your own children this week.

4) What is the hardest part about working with (and listening to) your child to solve problems?

5) When you look at your child, what do you usually focus on? Do you focus on misbehavior? Do you focus on needs? What is the difference?

6) Can you give an example of how different it can be to focus on misbehavior versus focusing on needs?

Chapter 2 Questions

1) What are you doing to take care of your own needs? If you’re not doing enough, resolve today to take at least 15 minutes for yourself each day for the rest of this discussion group. Share how you are spending that time with us at the NPN forums.

2) When do you find it most difficult to respond to your child with respect, or to cooperate with your children (rather than using power over them)? Is there a correlation between your reactions to your children and whether you are taking care of yourself?

3) List ways that you can take a “time in.”

4) When you make parenting mistakes, do you apologize to your children? Do you model self-forgiveness? How?

Chapter 3 Questions

1) Think of an example of one of your child’s challenging behaviors: instead of labeling, tell us how you could approach your child by sharing a clear observation (without labels and evaluations) about what you see your child doing and how it affects you.

2) Does it make you nervous to think about giving up rewards and punishments with your child? Why or why not?

3) In your interactions with your children this week, notice whether you are using “but” or “should” statements. Share them with us in the forums, and let’s all brainstorm ways we could communicate with our children in a more respectful and cooperative way.

What other thoughts or questions did you have as you read through Part 1? Please share with us here in the comments and at the Natural Parents Network Forums.

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Our next discussion of Respectful Parents Respectful Kids will start on Sunday, February 20. Until then, please feel free to discuss Part 1 – you can jump in at any time.

While you are reading Part 2, please keep these questions in mind – jot down your responses, your own questions, stories, and comments, and email me if you have a story or question you’d like to share.

Discussion Questions for Part 2

1) How do your thoughts about your children color how you see them and their behavior? And how can you focus on changing negative thoughts into more positive ones?

2) Do you find yourself telling your child that he “has to” do something? What would happen if you started telling the truth about choice?

3) Give a few examples from your own experience of the difference between needs and strategies for meeting needs.

4) How have your actions this week affected your child’s emotional safety?

5) Think of a time your child has said “no” to you. How did you get (or how could you have gotten) to the “yes” behind the no?

6) Think about doable requests, non doable requests, and demands. Which do you generally use, and what reactions do you have when your child says “no”?

7) How can you change your mindset to seeing conflict as a problem to solve rather than as something to avoid?

**Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win your own copy of Respectful Parents Respectful Kids, details and entries at this post.

  1. Many public libraries will have a copy.

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