Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Respectful Parenting: Co-Operation

"The _co–_ in _co–operate_ means _together_, as in co-creator, co-author, and co-worker. _Oper_ means _to work_, so _co-operate_ means _to work together_. True cooperation is not something you can mandate. When there is no _togetherness_ in the operation of the home – as in mutual agreement about rules that affect a child's life as well as mutual problem-solving and decision making -- then you can expect the following natural consequences: resistance, arguments, hurt feelings, battles of will, and reliance on punishments and rewards. A fundamental law of human relations is: No _co-_ in the household operations leads to resistance, which leads to punishments and rewards to force compliance, which leads to further resistance, and so forth. Parents who leave out the _co–_ in their household operations are destined to reap the consequences of this omission. If you aren't working with your children they aren't going to want to work with you."

"A young woman shared this story with us: her father used to make her clean her room to very strict specifications; he even lifted up the edge of the carpet in an otherwise clean room and punished her if she had failed to sweep up a few crumbs. The more he insisted that things be done his way, the more she was filled with hostility and resistance. She cleaned her room because she was afraid of her father and feared what would happen if she didn't. It was cleaned with spite rather than the desire to co-operate and contribute to the smooth functioning of the home."

"How different might this situation have been if she and her father had agreed upon standards together? If she had been included in deciding whether or not the room was clean?"

_Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids_
by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson

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