The Power of Respect: The Foundation of Fail-Safe Parenting

I was not intending to write here again today, but as I was doing other things, I realized that my
commitment to sharing insisted that I come back and continue today in response to the comment.
I am in the process of creating a 5-module training course. This is now done and called “Raise
Happy Kids Intensive.” Today I will share enough for you to get started.

When I started to use the term the Power of Respect, I just meant that being respectful to kids is
a powerful thing to do with them, as I explained in the previous post.

However, when I was preparing for a workshop last year, I learned a deeper, fuller meaning for
the Power of Respect. I looked up the meaning in a dictionary put out by Microsoft. It taught me
that traditionally when you are respectful to someone, you think only of them and what you can
do to please them. It said you defer to them.

That was a flash of light in my brain! With the Power of Respect, you not only want to please
them, but you want to please yourself at the same time. That is what makes the Power of
Respect so powerful! It is a means to harmony for all involved.

Who wants to be respectful to someone if it means that you have to defer to them and you might
be suffering in the process? Well, you might still want to do that if your feelings are so great for
the other person, but..... using the Power of Respect is so, so, so overwhelmingly much better....
Once you do it, why would you want to do anything else?!?

I have been teaching a strategy, a Power of Respect strategy to help people get going. I have
taught it for many years. It is very powerful. Even if you learn nothing more from me, if you
dedicate yourself to using this strategy you and your kids will be doing very well.

There is  a mini-course on the Happy Kids Member Site. Just go to and
join. It’s only $1/month. Then the mini-course is free. You get 12 video mini-lessons based on
this strategy. I am including the script for the first lesson, An Overview, here.

                                        Seven Simple Steps to end conflict!!

         Power of Respect Tools and Skills and a Power of Respect Strategy to
                                 take the “scary” out of trusting your kids:

Conflict is the basis of all the troubles between parents and children. Conflicts develop because
everyone has differences: differences in interests, in beliefs, in values, in likes and dislikes. In
just about anything you can think of there can be differences between two people. Picture this:
no one has the same point of view, no one physically looks out of your eyes except you.

That’s not to say that we don’t have many things in common, but conflict comes when we have
differences and do not know how to resolve them in a humane and peaceful manner.

Following is a list of seven steps toward successful, respectful, and peaceful ending of conflict.
When you are starting out, you must complete every step to achieve success.

Step One

Set Up the Meeting: Be sure that the time and place chosen and decided on is agreeable with
everyone involved. Anyone affected by decisions made at the meeting needs to be at the
meeting, or needs to realize that decisions that are made that are binding to them, too. Of
course, if you do make a decision that they don’t like, another meeting can be set up to change

Be sure that you have paper and pen and a surface to write on.

Step Two

Ground Rules:

1) Define the problem and write it down. Come to agreement on exactly what the problem is.
Make sure everyone has the same understanding of the problem before you write the final
version of the problem.

Who “owns” the problem? Whose problem is it? Just because something is a problem for one
person, it does not mean that it is a problem for everyone. Write down who owns the problem.

2) The solution must be a win-win solution. Everyone needs to understand that no solution will be
used if one person does not like it for whatever reason. That idea will be crossed off the list of
possible solutions. If only one part of an idea is not liked, only that part needs to be crossed off.

3) Everyone needs to understand that during the brainstorming, which happens next, no one
criticizes any idea. This helps keep the ideas flowing. All ideas are written down. If anyone has
trouble with this, they need to be reminded that the idea will not be used if someone does not like
it, but for now please don’t say anything against it, no moans or groans or negative gestures.

Step Three

Brainstorm for solutions: Write down every idea, no matter how strange, no matter how silly, no
matter who likes it or not.

Step Four

Discuss and eliminate any solutions or parts of solutions that are not acceptable to any of the
participants. Cross off the idea or part of an idea. It is not usable. Using it would be disrespectful
to the person who does not like it. If all ideas are crossed off, you must brainstorm again. You
can do it right then, if everyone agrees to do so. However, it is more likely that you will have
several ideas or parts of ideas to work with.

Step Five

Negotiation: Decide on acceptable, win-win solutions. Maybe one idea or parts of several ideas
will fit together to make a mutually agreeable plan for a solution. Be sure the decision is written
down and that everyone understands it in the same way. This is very, very important, if it is to

Misunderstandings cause a huge number of problems, huge!

Step Six

Put the solution or solutions into practice. Since each person knows their part of the solution as
negotiated and written down (Step Five), now action can proceed.

Step Seven

Meet again and evaluate the success of the solution or solutions: Decide when you are going to
meet to let each other know how the plan is working. If everything is going well, continue on, if
not, go through the seven steps again to find something that seems like it will work better.

“This process may seem time consuming, but once everyone is practiced at it, you can eliminate
the writing, and finding agreements becomes almost automatic. Then the peace in the family
seems worth all the efforts at changing in the beginning.”
(from Karen Ryce’s Column Book the Power of Respect)

This can bring peace in the classroom, too, or in any childcare situation. I have taught this
process to students as young as 3. I taught this by being a mediator for the kids and they
learned quickly. A few sessions with me and they preferred to do the process themselves rather
than spending time waiting while I write down all of their suggestions.

They quickly understood the essence which is that they need to find a win-win solution to their
conflicts. After a few sessions they were able to find solutions almost instantly, like, “You can
have the swing first if I can hold your bear.”

Through this process everyone’s needs get met, no one feels left out, powerless and uncared
for. Everyone feels important and loved.

The modules for the course I have designed are:

1.        The Power of Respect
2.        End Conflict NOW!
3.        Self-Respect
4.        Model Parent
5.        Transitional Twos: The Age of Willpower

I'll go over these in other blogs.

Best Wishes Always,

Karen Ryce

P.S. Please feel free to share this post as widely as you like.
                                         Understanding The Two-Year-Old

I was just about to go to sleep...I was thinking over something I learned very long ago, but it is
only tonight that I realized it, made it a living real part of me. Then I thought that this is knowledge
that a two-year-old is designed to develop.

I've known that some part of my development stopped at that age, due to many traumas and not
having respect as the foundation in my family. It can be very hard to be respectful to
two-year-olds. Now I feel I can go on, as if some very deep healing has taken place.
I feel peace, light, joy and I had to come write to you about two-year-olds, or at least begin the

The two-year-old has entered a critical stage of development. They are no longer inwardly
compelled to do certain things as a baby or toddler is. Think how many times you try to stop a
baby from putting something in her mouth. She is compelled to experience that object in that way.
But the two-year-old can now be outwardly motivated, as an older child can. Unfortunately, many
parents do not seem understand the developmental role of this period and do many things to
hamper that development.

This is the time for the individual to develop their will power. So they are practicing wanting and
willing and persevering. It is very important for them to do this work, as these abilities are very
important to their role as an adult.

During this time of development the child is not an integrated being. They are working on
developing their intelligence, their will and their movements, separately. After this time they begin
to integrate. But it is the will that gives the parents the most trouble.

Please understand that the two-year-old needs to practice wanting, so, as much as possible do
not interfere with this practice. If you can let them go after what they want, they will learn many
valuable lessons that will serve them well in their life.

Because they are just practicing wanting, they do not necessarily have an intelligent interest in
what they are wanting, and so if it is inappropriate, can be redirected to want something else.
"Ooo, look at this!" with gentle physical redirection is quite sufficient for redirecting.

If they are determined to go after a certain object or experience, perhaps their intelligence is
guiding them to do this, and integration is taking place. In that case, it is good if you can help it
happen safely rather than block it. Most things they want to do are not dangerous. (I say that
because someone always says, "but what if they want to run into the street?")

I would be inclined to show them the danger as safely as possible. At our Montessori school we
had a match activity with very specific safeguards. The children learned how to use matches
safely. Living out in the country, this was a very important skill.

Another reason they might persist is the development of the ability to persevere. This is so critical
to success. I'll discuss this more another time.

By the way, the information I have now integrated is: if I have a goal, my actions either bring me
closer or further away, and it's ok to have a goal and to take actions that move me ever closer to
fulfilling that goal until it is fulfilled. I believe that if I had been allowed and helped to develop as I
was born to develop, I would have integrated this knowledge by the end of my second year.

But maybe I would not have become conscious of the process and determined to share it with the
world, along with other aspects of the Power of Respect. (Have you checked out the Power of
Respect blog?) Also check out

Sweet dreams.
                                                  Giving A Child Choices

I was watching the movie 'Stardust.' At one point one of the witches gives two of the characters a
'choice': "Either you can ride in the carriage, or be dragged behind. Your choice." When the
characters would rather not go with her at all. She uses this again later, "So what's it to be? Frog
or tadpole?" As if that character might like to be turned into either one.

I'm afraid that is my attitude to much of the choice giving that is given to kids. Thinking that
because they are being given choices, it doesn't matter what those choices are. "You can go to
bed right now, or after I read you one story. Your choice." Right. Great choice. What if the child is
not tired and does not want to go to bed at all, or wants 10 stories, or wants to watch a favorite
DVD first, or...

What if both are considered evils to the child...never mind that, they are 'lucky' to be getting to
choose. Right? Sure, that's right in an authoritarian household...but who really wants to live like

I don't know of anyone.

A true 'choice' is when there is more than one desirable, wonderful thing to choose from...think
about it. Isn't that the kind of choice you'd like? Where any choice is a great, joyful choice!
In my next post, I'll let you know how you can make this happen for your family....

You might like to go to and check it out now!
                                                 Creating Joyful Choices

In my last post I wrote that I'd share with you how to create wonderful 'choices' for your children.
Of course, if your kids are already joyful about the choices you offer them, you might not want to
read this. However, if you want your kids to be able to create the life they want to live, the sooner
they begin making their own choices, the better. They need the experience.

Let's use the bedtime example. It's better if this process takes place at a time other than bedtime
or any other stressful time.

Tell your child that you are having a problem and you need her help. Tell her that you want her to
be happy to go to bed. Tell her that you want her to help you think of ideas so that she can be
happy to go to bed. Tell her that you want to come up with choices that you both like, that you
don't want to be the only one to think of choices.

Tell her that you are going to write down all of the ideas you both come up with, but that you are
only going to agree to the ones that both of you like. The other ideas are going to be crossed off.
Ask her what you both can do so that she can be happy to go to bed. Write down any ideas she
comes up with. If you need to start giving ideas, do so.

When neither of you come up with more ideas, then go through the list together and cross off any
idea that one of you doesn't like. It doesn't matter why it is not liked.

What you have left are the ideas for the good choices for your child. You both like them, so...
You and your child can do this for any issue, yours or hers, including bedtime again, if new
choices are needed...

I wish you all the best. You can get more information at
                                                 No Punishment Necessary

No Punishment Necessary...Doesn't that sound great?!? Imagine your cooperative, happy kids
and no need for any time taking away treasured things or
special treats.

Instead of punishment use the Power of Respect...

I could tell you that this would improve your life…and that would be true, but really it does more
than that, so much more that it seems like hype…but it’s not.

The Power of Respect changes the habits of parenting and makes it so much simpler for
everyone and much, much more enjoyable. Think of the most fun you have had with your
children. Now you get to have as much of that as you want. Think of the peaceful, quiet times. You
get those too, as much as you want. Think of the serious, focused, learning, getting things done
times. Those are yours too, as much as you want…

Imagine your child smiling, laughing, moving joyfully through life…looking with wonder at life’s
beauty and mystery, experiencing the thrill of discovery, the challenge of adventure, fulfilling their
gifts, living a life full of blessings.

Go to and this can be theirs and yours to share…
Karen Ryce Presents...