I have yet to really dive in to all of the various parenting strategies and philosophies available to parents in part because I believe that there is no one perfect parenting approach that is a good fit for all families. However, there is one approach that has been truly transformative in how I view young children and the role of the adults in their lives. This approach is R.I.E. Pronounced "Rye", it is the brain-child of Magda Gerber and focuses on seeing even the youngest of children as competent, fully-capable human beings worthy of dignity, respect, and trust.
It is fascinating how taking this view of children can fundamentally shift our interactions with them.
Care-taking activities, like diaper changes, become something we do WITH our child, rather than something we do TO our child. We recognize the value of what they are doing, and trust that if they need our intervention or help, they will ask for it. And because we expect their communication from the start, we listen all the more carefully and really "tune in" to their needs.
And you can imagine what being "seen" and "heard" in this way can do for person. We know as adults what it feels like to be treated with dignity and respect and to be listened to with deep empathy and understanding. We know what it's like to have our struggles heard and witnessed and the confidence that comes with not being told we need to be rescued, but rather being shown that we are fully capable given enough time and support. Children are no different than adults in this respect. When given this kind of nourishment, they bloom.
Magda Gerber has a lot of wonderful quotes that convey her deep understanding of children and child development, but one of my favorites is:
Do Less. Observe More. Enjoy Most.
This is a simple reminder to slow down, to not assume that your intervention is what is needed, to really look at what is happening, and to revel in what you're seeing. What I love so much about this saying is that it is applicable to almost any situation. When watching your children play this can help us remember not to interrupt them or direct them, and instead learn to see the value in what they are doing and approach their play with a sense of wonder and marvel. It is also helpful in harder moments when we so want to scoop our child up to give comfort, or physically remove them from a difficult situation. In these times this saying can help us pause so that we can really "see" the situation and wait a bit to see what is needed of us.
As we move into the weekend, consider giving this a try. I would love to hear how it goes!!
Get the Free Printable here:
This post is one of a series, you can find the other posts in the series here: