Parenthood is emotional, exhausting, delightful, fulfilling, never ending and constantly evolving as children grow and experience new thoughts, feelings and perceptions. As my sons grow, I too grow to keep up with their evolution. Searching for parenting topics , I stumbled upon Janet Lansbury's podcast, Unruffled Parenting. It was a game changer. More like a cheat sheet. Her RIE based fifteen-minute podcasts were digestible and easy to implement. She talked about specific scenarios and gave solid solutions. Gold! Enter the RIE method - an acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers (pronounced WRY). The method was conceived in the 1940s by Magda Gerber, an intelligent Hungarian industrialist who resettled in Los Angeles. I'll be sharing some highlights that I learn along the way. I find the foundations to be easy, direct and helpful.
The RIE message is simple - respect the baby's true nature. It's a dignified parenting practice. It's all about basics and blue prints. RIE territory is vast, but one of the offerings I find helpful is the specific language and the non-attached emotional style. It is very much staying present and connected to your child. It provides options to scenarios I may have otherwise overreacted to or have uncertainties about, such as allowing my son to have HIS emotions and not take them on personally or try to 'fix' him. It's hard to not want to help or soothe your child when they are melting down over a NO, but I've learned through the RIE lens to not shush him or distract him. Hushing or distracting only teaches him that his feelings, no matter what they are, are not valid. Instead I verbalize what I see and hear, "I hear that you are upset. You wanted to keep playing with your wagon. I stopped you. You didn't like that I stopped you. You really want to play with your wagon." More than most of the time the validation eases his tensions and tears. He feels heard! Doesn't everyone want to have their feelings validated and truly feel heard?