How is it that people justify hitting a child? They work backwards.
They take their desired outcome; say to stop a child running on the road and then they try to determine the most effective and efficient choice they can make to ensure that outcome; say a physical deterrent like hitting and then they link that back to a circular ideal; say keeping a child safe.
The choice is justified by the outcome matching the ideal; I want to keep my child safe, they are safest when not on the road therefore whatever choice I make in the middle is valid as long as it speaks to fulfilling that aim.
The problem is that they never run their equation from the start. They couldn’t because the logic would fall apart.
You’d start with the ideal of keeping a child safe and you’d get stuck at the choice of hitting because it would not align. Violence isn’t safe, a child being hit isn’t safe so even if that child never ran on the road, they would still be in danger just from a different source (their parent).
If you begin your thought processes with an expectation in mind and build your choices from there, your ideal merely follows as whatever helps to justifies your conditions rather than a genuine reflection of your priorities. And most likely you find yourself constantly stuck, triggered, conflicted and confused, especially when challenged because your equation doesn’t actually make sense. It is really difficult to apply in practise.
And when the outcome doesn’t end up matching what you had envisioned, then you adjust your choices and ideals until it does; you’ve got the equation backwards so the expectation becomes your ideal, your goal. The results become a higher priority than the human standing in front of you.
When a person is transitioning away from their mainstream conditioning in regards to children, they can still be working through this reverse engineered logic and getting stuck.
They will say that they are making respectful choices but they’re not getting results. It’s not working.
What has happened is they have come to respectful parenting through the backdoor. They are here because they hope that this will be the most efficient and effective path to their desired outcome.
But what if you began from your ideals?
If you start from the understanding that children deserve respect and autonomy as standard and began filling your equations out from there it would start becoming very clear which choices fit and which don’t and what outcomes organically develop and which are arbitrary and unnecessary.
When you focus on your ideals then everything else has a foundation to fall into place. In contrast, when you focus on your expectations? Everything falls apart.
Respectful parenting isn’t a method of behaviour modification, it is what begins to unfold when you stop trying to manufacture results in your child and start trying to act from the position of what they deserve; respect, autonomy, humanity.