Toddler chooses her own bedtime and never gets punished
I don't force her to share with others either.
NEW YORK (Web Desk) - Zoe Ayre, 36, has said she discovered the "respectful" parenting technique after reading The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry explained the book made her re-evaluate the "traditional" upbringing she had originally wanted to give her child.
Now, the mum-of-one, from Yorkshire, lets one-year-old Hattie go to sleep whenever she wants, doesn t force her to share with others, and never punishes her.
And although not everyone agrees with her technique, Zoe insists she almost never has an "overtired, upset child" because she allows Hattie to sleep whenever she wants - which can sometimes mean a bedtime as late as 9:30 pm if she s had a nap in the afternoon.
The mum said: "I rarely have an overtired, upset child because she s been able to sleep whenever she needs to. It s really helped me emotionally because I don t have the added stress of expectations and fitting our lives into a set routine."
Zoe also doesn t make her daughter share with others, and has said that while some might think the process would make Hattie more selfish, it s actually had the opposite effect - as she s learned that it "feels good" to do something nice for others.
She added: "I don t force her to share with others either and I will stand up for her if another child takes away something she s playing with. This tends to elicit reactions from parents who are very pro-sharing and are usually surprised that another parent is going against the norm.
"I do take the same approach if Hattie were to try and take something from another child to ensure that I m giving her a consistent message.
"When talking about these sorts of topics online, I ve had comments from people who think this approach would lead to her becoming a spoilt brat or similar – but they don t understand. The aim is to model for how she can respond as she grows and the types of things she can say to stand up for herself, but in a polite manner.
"Now, she regularly offers others toys or food and I think allowing her to develop naturally takes away the negativity around sharing. Instead, this focus is shifted onto how good it feels when we do something nice for others, which will hopefully become something she intrinsically wants to do."
The mum is teaching her daughter the importance of saying "no" from an early age, and has told her that she s allowed to refuse cuddles and affection from people if she doesn t want it - including family members.
And she also doesn t set any punishments for her toddler, as she believes they often "miss the point" and don t address the reasons why a child might be misbehaving.
"I also don t enforce punishments in our household, as I think they miss the point of why they are behaving like that in the first place," she explained.
"Take the naughty step for example, this teaches them that our love is conditional upon how they behave and that when they are struggling, we exclude them. We often see that children are punished for being children and a good gauge is if you wouldn t treat an adult like this, then you shouldn’t treat your child in this way."
Zoe said she has been questioned for her approach and not everyone understands her methods, but they work for Hattie and hopes that her daughter will have the tools to "stand up for what she believes in" when she s older.
The mum said: "I hope this will mean she is able to advocate for herself and to stand up for what she believes in.
"Of course, there have been times when I ve reacted in a way that I wish I hadn t, for instance shouting and telling her off. It s those times when I ve slipped up, that I question myself and reaffirm my approach is what feels right for me.
"I don t think it s ever my place to say that another parent is wrong for following a parenting style that works for them – as we only do what s best for our children.
"The respectful parenting approach isn t to be a friend rather than a parent, as there isn t a lack of boundaries or teaching right from wrong. It s just the way in which those boundaries are managed and how the child is supported throughout the process.
"The reality is that our children are learning – their brains aren t fully developed and they are still learning how to interact with the world around them."