Reimagining Your Role
Respect over advice, behavior over words.
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 begins a long diatribe offering criticism and advice on what should have happened. This person loves giving advice, offering commentary on the mistakes of others and seldom is a reliable ear to listen, smile, and affirm your well‐being.
Regardless of the intention of the other person, 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 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. We find it insulting (although many of us never develop the backbone to speak this truth).
Now, let’s tweak the scenario. That same friend or family member is allowed into your home every day. They incessantly remind you to eat your vegetables, pick up your shoes, fix your hair, and notice when you sneak an extra potato chip. You hear a constant, “Do this…Don’t do that… Put that down…Leave her alone…Sit up straight…Why can’t you just listen…What’s wrong with you…Here, let me show you again.” The list could go on and on.
How are you feeling now? If you can step into this imagined scenario, you are probably feeling pretty yucky! You are probably deeply uncomfortable. I hope this scenario and ensuing discomfort help you understand why the Renegade Parent doesn’t have to worry about self‐esteem, confidence and self‐respect with their children!
The renegade parent abandons advice in favor of respect.
When we are constantly advising, 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 how we destroy esteem and confidence.
The renegade parent understands this and chooses respect over advice and 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 in life. By protecting children from the consequences of their poor choices, we are teaching a lie about life. The renegade parent refuses to teach their children lies.
The renegade parent abandons excessive words for a better behavior plan.
The renegade model of parenting abandons all words focusing on the negative. They give up reminders, suggestions, complaints and coaching in favor of a better behavior plan. This is an essential part of teaching their children that they respect them, and how reality works.
A better behavior plan is needed to provide the feedback, as certainly children will need correction from time to time. When correction is done with few words and consistency, and when choices are connected to consequences in a clear manner, children learn quickly and automatically how to stay on track. This behavioral portion is critical to the renegade parent, as we cannot just assume kids will ‘figure it out.’
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.
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 sense of internal certainty and confidence happens naturally. Renegade children’s confidence and self‐worth is not dependent on their parents, rather it arises organically from within. The renegade parent understands this process and nourishes its growth. I encourage you to join the Renegade Revolution and watch your children blossom.
Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit terrificparenting.com.