Has this ever happened to you? You mention something about your life, perhaps an event that was a bit upsetting, and your friend or family member then begins a long diatribe offering criticism and advice on what others should have done. This person likely does this incessantly, not only to you, but to others. They love giving advice, offering commentary on the mistakes of others and seldom can just listen, smile and affirm your well-being.
Regardless of the apparent intention of the other person to help, if you have been on the receiving side of this input, the conversation feels yucky (yes…a very clinical term for lousy). Over time, if this continues, you begin to get the feeling that not only are they never really listening to you, but that they seemingly have no respect for you.
Why? Because they repeatedly assume you can’t think for yourself or figure things out on your own. And we find that insulting (although many of us never develop the backbone to speak this truth!).
Now, let’s imagine you could add to that this scenario: That same friend or family member is allowed into your home every single day, and they are there to incessantly remind you to eat your vegetables, put down the phone, pick up your shoes, remind you when you hair is out of place and notice when you sneak an extra potato chip. You hear a constant, ‘Do this. Don’t do that. Stop that. Put that down. Leave her alone. Sit up straight. Why can’t you just listen? What’s wrong with you? Here, let me remind you again.’ Notice, this list could go on, and on.
So, how are you feeling about now? I hope, if you can step into this imagined scenario, that you are feeling rather yucky! I even hope that you are deeply uncomfortable. Why would I wish that for you? So, you can begin to understand why the Renegade Parent has no worries about self-esteem, confidence and self-respect with their children!
The Renegade Parent Abandons Advice in Favor of Respect
When we are constantly advice-giving, directing and critiquing our children, we are offering a message BEHIND the words we speak. That hidden message is:
“Sweetheart, you don’t get it. You never seem to get it. You are NOT ENOUGH…yet.”
Many of you have children who have heard words of guidance, direction and criticism dozens of times a day. Over the years, this accumulates to tens of thousands of moments where, in their minds, they are…not enough. This is the manner through which we destroy esteem and confidence.
The renegade parent understands this and chooses respect over advice-giving and incessant direction. Instead of talking (about what their children can do better or correcting them), the renegade chooses to let their children learn from their choices. The underlying belief of the renegade parent is this: “Sweetheart, above all, we have faith in you. You will figure it out…and you can ask if you need help.” Of course, this is expressed and explained to the child, but not repeatedly and incessantly, but on occasion. More importantly, the action of mom and dad prove that this is true.
Not only do they have faith in their children to learn, they realize that this process of learning from choice and consequence, is a critical skill to master if life is to treat them well. To protect children from the consequences of their poor choices is to teach children a lie about how life will work, and the renegade parent refuses to teach their children lies.
The Renegade Parent Abandons Excessive Words for Better Behavior Plan.
As part of the renegade model of parenting, they abandon all the words that focus on the negative. They give up reminders, suggestions, complaints and coaching, and the repeated teaching stories in favor of a better behavior plan. It’s part and parcel of teaching their children that they do respect them and that they want them to learn about how reality works.
This better behavior plan is needed to provide the feedback, as certain children will need correction. However, when to correction is done with few words, and a consistent parenting plan, guess what happens? Children learn quickly and automatically how to stay on track when choices are connected to consequences in a clear manner. This behavioral portion is critical to the renegade parent, as we cannot just assume kids will ‘figure it out.’ Such an approach will not usually work out well.
Self-Esteem and Confidence Grow Automatically in the Renegade Home.
Imagine a mind that grows up learning from every choice, without any parental emotional load attached. No frustration. No anger. No criticism. No repetitions to suggest you don’t get it, kid. None of that.
Now that mind grows to know and understand, through experiential learning, that, “I can figure things out. I do learn. I have what it takes. I CAN do it.”
This ‘knowing’ and ‘sense of internal certainty’ happens automatically, as esteem is not other-based. Their confidence is not dependent on mom or dad. It arises naturally from within, and the renegade parent understands this. They become witnesses to a beautiful evolution of well-being that few parents get to enjoy. I encourage you to join the Renegade Revolution and come to my parenting seminars this fall to learn more, offered free at several of the local school systems.