Parenting our children can be one of the most difficult tasks we take on in the course of our lifetimes. It is all too easy simply to fall back on and use child-rearing techniques our own parents used with us, even if what they did was shaming, hurtful, and destructive. The following are some ideas about nonviolent and respectful parenting. Think about and begin to use some of these positive and growth-producing ideas to help your children learn different attitudes and behaviors from the ones with which you have had to struggle.

Convey an attitude of love and respect, even, and especially, when children are being disrespectful themselves (i.e., do not sink to their level). You are the parent, not their peer, and you need to learn to detach in a healthy way from the intense emotional reactions you may experience as a father. Also, seek to use your reactions to give you some information about the goals of your child's misbehavior (adapted from Children: The Challenge, by Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz, 1964).

The child seeking attention will trigger feelings of irritation and annoyance in you and a desire to remind and "nag."

The child seeking power will trigger feelings of anger and of being provoked in you and a desire to fight (e.g., to become aggressive and get into a power struggle) or to give in (e.g., to become passive and avoid the issue).

The child seeking revenge will trigger intense feelings of hurt and disappointment in you and a desire to get even or retaliate.

The child seeking to show inadequacy will trigger feelings of despair, hopelessness, and powerlessness in you and a desire to agree with the child that nothing can be done.