I love this photo…
This is NOT saying Obedience is bad..just not the focus. Think about your own childhood, what memories stand out to you? When we focus on competence in an activity, as in each person has a role, can make mistakes as part of the learning experience, and it’s not about the END but about the great stuff in the middle, then we get relationship. Process not END project is relationship. Sometimes we need obedience especially for safety, like “ don’t run in the street.” Sure, we think we always want obedience. But when we are with our kids doing chores, playing games, or cooking, we want to make it about the experience of doing it as a team. We want to interconnect so if one person does not live up to their *role* then everyone can’t move forward. Use these moments as opportunities for thinking and sharing, not compliance demands. This is what will have a lasting impact on what our kids “take away” from us!!
Think about how you feel when someone is always telling you what to do…compared to when someone is beside you guiding you to help make decisions. It’s not easy. We, as parents, know what the *right* answer is but we want our kids to make their own discoveries. That way we, as parents, are not feeling like you are doing all the work or repeating ourselves 4 times before anyone gets up! I can’t be the only one this has happened too!!! How we guide our children with connection and trust is huge not only in the external relationship, but also in the internal wiring of their neurology. Demands are much less thought producing than making a comment. Start with experience sharing language instead of commands. What are YOU thinking? You want to pour your thoughts into your child, to process, take your guidance, deliberate and make a decision how your own thinking makes sense to them in their life!
We all want this as parents, but I have found, especially when any special needs entered the picture, that I was caught up in “getting” from my child. What I loved about RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) as a mom was being able to write down goals for my child. The kind of goals that were meaningful in building trust, competence, and engagement. By having specific goals both short term and long term, I was able to get off the hamster wheel of going nowhere with trying to obtain obedience without foundations in place. By having them written down, I was able to be more consistent in my own families goals. I was able to build upon the foundations of earlier goals to help my child achieve bigger and better goals. Once my child felt competent in the interaction and could see the purpose of obedience, he was once much more willing to do it on his own without any expectation from me.
Looking beyond obedience to what the crucial goals truly are helped me to go as far as I can see. Each time I have arrived, I was able to continue to look further. When I looked past obedience , I was able to see so many better parenting goals . Goals that would not only help my child live the best life possible but also that enhanced our relationship together. Parenting can truly be an exciting adventure when trust and competence is the main denominator!