A fellow new dad I met recently recommended to me the book The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Sandahl. I just finished it and enjoyed it a lot. It was a quick read and built on a lot of the same lessons of respectful parenting from the RIE approach (see books by Janet Lansbury like Elevating Child Care). My notes are below.
Play: free play
No ultimatums or power struggles
Togetherness and huga/coziness
American mom and danish psychotherapy
Introduction: secret to danish happiness
Happiest people yearly since 1973
Secret may be in their upbringing which repeats itself
1 recognizing our default settings
Too much pressure and stress and competition in America
Examine your default settings and beliefs
Stooping down to level of the child and asking do you want to get ow ow from car in street and why need to stop and look in eye and speak calmly
P is for play
Unstructured play without planned classes or activities
Overprogramming their lives
Too much anxiety they feel to perform
Free play teaches resilience and coping with stress
Need space and trust to master things themselves
Want internal locus of control
Proximal development: needs space to grow on own instead of intervening
They are in charge of own development
Play teaches how to cope with stress
Turn off tv and electronics
Create a rich environment with different materials
Use art. Just put out materials and don't show how to do it.
Play outside as much as possible, anywhere u can.
Mix children of different ages
Let them be free and forget the guilt
Be real and get down on their level
Let them play alone
Create an obstacle course
Get other parents involved
Avoid intervening too quickly
Let go and let them do it themselves
3 A is for authenticity
Andersen fairy tales actually are tragedies. More authentic to real life.
Accept authentic feelings.
Recognize own limits and respect them.
Danish value of humility
Don't over praise. Focus on the task and work involved. Ask questions about work and what was thinking.
Fixed vs growth mindset. Don't praise inner ability. Focus on effort and work. Process praise.
Root out self deception.
Answer kid questions with honesty
Use examples from own childhood
Read stories encompassing all emotions
Use process praise
Don't use praise as default response
Focus on effort and keep it genuine
Teach kids not to compare with others
Highlight your and your child's unique perspectives by adding “for me” or “for you”
R is for reframing
Putting new frame around reality
Another side always exists
Filter out unnecessary negative info
Limiting language is ineffective. Be less black and white.
Shift focus from what child can't do to what can do
Separate self from label
Place importance on aspects you like in yourself or child
Don't use word “never”
Separate behavior from child
Remember how u felt in good times. Use humor to show how much worse situation can be.
Pay attention to your negativity
Use less limiting black and white language
Separate issues from the person
Rewrite children's narrative or identityto focus on positive side
Use supporting language. Ask questions of kids
E is for empathy
Feeling with another
Too much narcissism and competition
Fear of vulnerability
Brains wired for empathy in limbic system
Show empathy through your language and behavior
Overprotective parenting hampers empathy development
Allow expressing full range of emotions
Step by step program teaching what emotions look like in other kids
Nonjudgmental of emotions
Discussion of bullying and caring for each other
Mixing kids with strengths and weaknesses
Pushing kids to teach others
Power of words and stories we tell about others
Pointing out good character qualities in other kids
Seeing good in others as default setting
Giving reasons for negative behaviors and focus on context
Imagining why someone may be having a hard time
Lots of examples from parents
Don't force carrying out adult commands. Ask kids to consider other kid perspective.
Ask if want to share later
Point out emotions of others. Do you see victor is angry? Why do you think he is angry?
Acknowledge emotion first
Bring tolerant of self
Understand own empathic style
Understand others instead of judging or shaming
Identify others emotions
Read to kids books about uncomfortable emotions
Improve meaningful relationships
Seek out empathy in others
N is for no ultimatums
4 parenting styles
No spanking or yelling
Expect misbehavior and boundary pushing
Parenting with respect
Creating rules together with teacher
Each kid as individual
Avoiding power struggle
Action not child bad
Stop worrying about what others think
Chill out and don't stress about little issues
Offer a way out instead of ultimatum. Show consequences of actions.
Let kids eat as they wish. Don't make it a big deal. Give them a way out.
Explain the rules and ask for understanding. Explain in way they can understand.
Don't blame the child
Children are inherently good
Accept all kinds of feelings
Put bad behavior in context
Know what triggers u
Show child that u listen to her. I can hear that you want x but y
T is for togetherness
Cozy time together
Huga: coziness, think and feel satisfied
Games for everyone together
Teamwork and group projects
Social association groups
Singing homemade songs and national song book
More social ties lowers stress levels and higher immune systems
Pact with family for huga
Leave stressors at door
Preframing: leave personal preferences aside and don't discuss others or complain
No electronics in gatherings
Example written huga oath