No-Authority Parenting

Most parents wouldn’t let their two-year-old walk alone across a busy street just because the child threw a fit about holding hands. Clearly there are cases where parents have to use their position of power to achieve compliance, even if their children prefer otherwise.

But authority can also be a crutch. Demanding obedience without justification may get immediate results, but at the risk of damaging the parent-child relationship.

I know I can do better with my own kids. I try to remind myself that making them take action against their will should only be a last resort. And I try to be transparent whenever possible, by sharing my reasoning as a parent while acknowledging (what I believe) is their perspective.

There’s no doubt, however, in my mind: parenting through buy-in is much more satisfying than through force.