The RESIST Approach
When we think of a common struggle or moment of disagreement in our families, our initial reaction / knee jerk impulse / socially-conditioned instinct tells us to dominate, plead, threaten, isolate, bribe, guilt, shame, reject, and micromanage our children's resistance.
In place of this more unconscious approach, we are trying our darndest to work the RESIST Approach, which counts 6 simple steps in a row (albeit flexibly). When we can Respect, Empathize, Sync up, Innovate, Set limits and Trust, we are ALL growing up together.
We LOOK FORWARD TO SHARING a downloadable Handbook very soon!
Respect is the primary lens we use to view our relationship with kids. It begins with the acknowledgement that we need to meet kids where they are— as separate people with their own unique needs, skills, body, mind and spirit.
We are conscious of the impact of environment, logistics, limitations, etc.
We set up expectations and boundaries ahead of time so kids know the deal
We stay current on their crazy-fast development through self-education
We attempt to approach situations with calm neutrality and an open mind
Skills modeled & learned: leadership, non-binary thinking, self-awareness, respect
Mental Mantras: I do not own my child. Humanity over hierarchy. My voice will become their inner voice. They are not me. All our needs matter. They just need some help. I get to learn who they are! Is _______ appropriate / necessary?
Empathize represents the power of connection. It begins with the acknowledgement that learning can’t take place until everyone is calm and receptive, and that our relationship with our kids is THE most important and powerful thing to nurture.
We get close and make eye contact— or give them some space if they prefer
We briefly reflect and validate what they express without judgement
We project love to the best of our abilities, listening more than speaking
We try to stay calm so we don’t complicate or inflame the situation
Skills modeled & learned: compassion, patience, listening, self-regulation, empathy
Mental Mantras: Engage, don’t enrage. Their brains are still growing. All emotions are valuable. This isn’t personal. Once they’re calm, we’ll figure this out. Their feelings don’t have to make me mad or overwhelmed.
Sync up represents the power of collaboration. It begins with the acknowledgement that we each have a distinct point of view and unique needs that can be addressed when we work side by side using non-judgmental communication.
We ask questions to help identify their needs, thoughts and feelings
We state what we’ve heard to clarify and show we listened and care
We briefly share our concerns - stating a reality, boundary, etc.
We emphasize that we want to find a way that we can all feel good
Skills modeled & learned: non-violent communication, perspective-taking, optimism
Mental Mantras: We can do this side-by-side. There is no one truth. We’re two people coming from different places. This doesn’t have to disconnect us. We both have needs to meet. We can do this!
Innovate represents the power of creativity. It begins with the acknowledgement that approaching challenges optimistically as a team is a critical component to staying connected, building skills and overcoming disagreements.
We request their ideas, helping them feel more invested in the solution
We get goofy and lighten the mood with silly ideas to engage them
We neutrally offer up some ideas or options that could work for everyone
We may compromise by creating a new plan or agreement that works for all
Skills modeled & learned: agency, flexibility, problem-solving, grit, collaboration
Mental Mantras: We need ideas. Everything is figureoutable. We can find a compromise. We all need help sometimes. We’re both building mad skills!
Set limits represents the power of security. It begins with our parental responsibility to keep everyone safe and informed, often resulting in our loving follow-through— a verbal or physical boundary being kindly and firmly reinforced.
We follow through early and lovingly to prevent injury or damage
We warmly state and briefly explain the reality, boundary, rule, etc.
We acknowledge the feelings that may result from our follow-through
We non-judgmentally redirect them to alternatives that are safer
Skills modeled & learned: responsibility, consistency, risk-assessment, honesty
Mental Mantras: Firm and loving. I’m just the messenger. This is not personal. They just need help. We are both learning through this. There is no winner or loser.
Trust represents the power of perspective. It begins with the acknowledgement that everyone is doing the best they can and that moving through challenges is how we all learn, grow and connect.
We circle back to process and plan what could be done next time
We storytell and model to create context and positive influence for the future
We search for humor, grace and gratitude in the chaos
We apologize and look forward to our next opportunity to grow
Skills modeled & learned: resilience, perspective, forgiveness, growth-mindset
Mental Mantras: Trust over fear. It’s going to be ok. This is good because:. Progress over perfection. Baby steps. We’re playing the long game.