“The purpose of parenting is to protect and prepare our children to survive and thrive in the society in which we live.”
Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D., founded Active Parenting Publishers in 1983. Soon after, he introduced the first video-based parenting education program, Active Parenting Now. It has helped millions of parents develop cooperation, responsibility and courage in their children. Dr. Popkin’s latest book is Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children without Breaking their Spirits.
Dr. Popkin says that there are three parenting styles:
1. Dictator Parent: “Do it because I said so.”, the parent makes almost all of the child’s choices
2. Doormat Parent: afraid to discipline their children, they don’t say “no” to their children, they don’t set limits
3. Active parent: parents are active leaders, give children freedom within limits
To find out what type of parent you are, take the quiz here
Dr. Popkin created the “flac” system to help parents limit problems and increase mutual respect within the family:
Feelings – acknowledge your child’s feelings; let them know you understand them
Limits – set limits
Alternative – come up with an alternative that stays within the limits that is win/win for both the parent and child
Consequences – give two choices of logical consequences
To get children to respect one another, Dr. Popkin suggests the following:
1. Give children a choice. “Do you want to eat oatmeal or Cheerios for breakfast?”
Giving kids choices can help diffuse power struggles
2. Use logical consequences. Each choice has a consequence attached to it
You can give the child a choice to play without hitting or go to his room
It is important for parents to teach their children how to ask for something respectfully. First, is the Polite request: “Please don’t yell at me”. Secondly, use the “I” message: “I have a problem with your behavior; it makes me feel upset…” Finally, give a firm reminder: “No yelling”.
As parents treat their children with respect, they will get respect in return.