Within the framework of the project “Respect Works Out”, the original German booklet on non-violent child-raising, “Mit Respekt geht’s besser!”, has been translated and adapted for parents in the UK and in Poland. Following the adaptation process, 50,000 copies of the booklet have been disseminated in each of the three project partner countries, and parents’ response evaluated through a questionnaire survey.
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It takes a whole village to raise a child (African Proverb)
All three versions of the booklet start from the premise that the great majority of fathers and mothers want to do a good job at raising their child! But bringing up a child is, no doubt, a big challenge. The fact that parents sometimes do not act in the best interest of their child often results from insecurity or lack of knowledge about their child’s needs, how to positively support the child’s development and, last but not least, how to set limits.
The booklet is targeted at ALL parents. It wants to support parents by providing them with useful tools and skills to manage day-to-day family life in a way that satisfies both parents and children. Basic “Rules of Respect” contain suggestions on how to prevent conflict or how to deal with conflict in a constructive and positive way. An “Emergency Guide” gives advice on what to do in those moments when conflict threatens to escalate.
Smacks Do Not Work! - Dismantling a persistent myth
Many parents believe that without a smack children do not learn what’s right and wrong and would only do what they want to do- not what their parents want them to do. The myth that smacking is an effective way of disciplining children still remains widespread, despite much scientific research clearly showing otherwise. A central concern of the booklet is to dismantle this myth: the fact is, physical punishment poses a serious threat to a child’s healthy mental and physical development. Smacks don’t work, smacks cause fear and fear make us stupid.
A Win-Win Situation
Refraining from smacking does not mean giving in to a child’s whims and losing the child’s respect. Children are cooperative beings who want to get on with their parents. Children do listen to their parents if parents listen as well. Respecting each other and each other’s interests does not necessarily diminish conflict. But it certainly will make day-to-day life more enjoyable. Hence the message of the booklet and of the project: Respect works Out!