Parenting with Lorraine

30-year veteran Marriage Family and Child Therapist and mother of 5 assists parents in acquiring skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children.


What outcome are we aiming for?

It is almost universally agreed that the most important job in the world is raising a child, and yet, it is often something we undertake without any preparation. Generally, we parent as we were parented and sometimes this leads to a positive outcome. However, we are not always clear about what outcome we are aiming for.

Blind obedience?

Do we want our children to be blindly obedient? In some cases, “yes.” For example when we shout “STOP” when our child is about to step into oncoming traffic without looking. But how about when we call them to come to us when they are in the middle of some task that is important to them? Are we willing to hear “just a minute, I’m playing a video game.” For some, that is a natural and acceptable response. For others it may feel like defiance. What makes for that difference in our reaction? Generally, it is in the tone of the relationship we have developed with that child.

Mutual respect

When we have built a relationship based on mutual respect and trust, we are much less likely to interpret our child’s response as defiance. For many it is a novel idea that “respect” is a quality that goes in both directions. We are likely to believe that our children owe us respect. We are less likely to understand that our children also want respect.

Showing respect while staying in charge

We begin demonstrating respect when our children are infants by meeting their needs in a timely fashion. It gets more complicated as they get older and we must become creative to find ways to show our children respect while “staying in charge.” Parents need to be in charge in order to keep their children safe and happy. Yes, “Happy.” Children whose parents are absent or give them too much freedom are overwhelmed by decisions they are not equipped to make. They are then often faced with the negative consequences of making poor decisions

Giving choices, not commands

One way to demonstrate respect for children is by giving them choices that are acceptable to us, as opposed to commands. Finding those choices is sometimes quite challenging, but certainly worth the effort.

For the very young child, we can offer choices non-verbally, such as showing him two different foods. He might respond by pointing or reaching for the one he prefers. If you have a daughter around 3 or 4 years old, you might start out the day by giving her the choice of 2 or 3 different outfits. This early opportunity to make a choice is a very effective developmental strategy.

If the child has a strong opinion that we haven’t considered, it is important that we consider it carefully and allow them their choice whenever possible. When it is not possible, we must be clear and concise in our refusal. Parents often try to justify their refusal with extended reasons. This weakens their authority.

Our greatest challenge comes as our children become adolescents with their own strong opinions and it is more difficult for us to find choices that they might find acceptable. However, it is crucial that we do just that. There will be times when it is impossible. For instance, when your teenager wants to go to a party at the home of a friend whose parents you don’t know, it is your responsibility to talk to those parents and determine the safety of the situation, even though your teenagers may be embarrassed.

As our children grow into their late teenage years, it is often difficult for us as parents to recognize that our children are, in fact, adults. But we must be able to let go with some grace in order to maintain a positive relationship with our adult children.

Until next time....................... tj


5人の子を育て10 人の孫を持つ、結婚・家族・子供に関するキャリア30 年のベ テランセラピストが、賢く元気な子供を育てる力を高めるお手伝いをします。



この世で最も重要な仕事は子育てであることは衆目の一致 するところです。しかし、現実には何の準備もなく取り組 むことになりがちで、一般的には自分の親との関係がその
まま子供との関係に反映されています。これがいい結果に つながることもありますが、親として何を目指すかを明確 に自覚できていないことが多いのです。


親は子供に、無条件に従うことを求めているのでしょうか。 イエスの場合もあるでしょう。たとえば子供が不注意に車 の前に飛び出そうとした時に「止まりなさい」と叫ぶよう
な場合です。しかし、本人にとっては大事な作業をしてい る子供を、親が呼んだ時ならどうでしょう。「ちょっと待っ て、ゲームをしてるから」という答えを受け入れられるで
しょうか。それが自然で許容できる反応だと考える人もい る一方で、反抗的だと感じる人もいるでしょう。その違い は何に由来するのか。それは一般的に、親と子の間の関係


相互のリスペクトと信頼に基づく関係を築いていれば、子 供の反応を反抗的だと受け止める割合はぐっと低くなりま す。多くの人は、「リスペクト」が双方向であるものだと
は思っていません。子供が親をリスペクトすべきだとは 思っても、子供もリスペクトを求めていることには理解が 及ばない傾向があります。


子供に対するリスペクトの表現は、赤ん坊に対して必要な ことをすぐにしてやることから始まります。子供が成長す るともう少し複雑になり、責任を果たしつつリスペクトを
示す方法を考える必要があります。親は子供の安全と幸せ に責任を負わなければなりません。そうです。「幸せ」に も責任を負うのです。親がいなかったり、あまりに放任主
義だったりすると、子供は分不相応に重い決断を迫られる ことになり、多くの場合、誤った判断から生じた困った結 果に直面することになります。


子供にリスペクトを示す方法の1つに、命令するのではな く、親が受け入れられる選択肢を与えるアプローチがあり ます。こうした選択肢を見つけるのはとても難しい場合も

幼い子供に対しては、2つの食べ物を並べるなど言葉以外 の選択肢を与えることができます。子供は自分が欲しい方 を指さしたり手に取ったりするでしょう。3~4歳の女の
子なら、いくつかの洋服を並べて今日着たいものを選ばせ ることから始めてもいいでしょう。早い時期に選択の機会 を与えることは、非常に高い教育効果があります。

親が思ってもみなかった意見を子供が強く主張した場合、 慎重に考え可能であればそれを認めることが重要です。認 められない場合は、その理由を明瞭かつ簡潔に示さなけれ
ばなりません。親は往々にして理由を捻出して拒否を正当 化しがちですが、それでは子供の信頼を失ってしまいます。

子供が思春期を迎え明確な意思を持つようになると、親は 最大の試練の時を迎えます。受け入れられる選択肢を見つ けるのが難しくなりますが、それを実行するのは重要なこ
とです。不可能な場合もあるでしょう。たとえば思春期の 子が友達の家で行われるパーティに行きたいと言った場 合、あなたがその友達の親を知らなければ、たとえ子供が
嫌がっても、その親と話をしてパーティが安全かどうかを 判断するのがあなたの務めなのです。

子供が10 代も終わりに近づいた時、彼らはもう大人なの だという事実は、親にとってはしばしば受け入れがたいも のです。しかし、大人になった子供と良好な関係を維持す
ならないのです。また次回....................... tj

This story appeared in Issue 270 of the Tokyo Journal.

To order Issue 270, click here.


Written By:

Lorraine Al-Jamie

A United States House of Representatives Congressional Recognition Award Recipient, Lorraine is a retired licensed Marriage Family Therapist that specializes in assisting parents acquire skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children. She, herself, is a mother of 5 and grandmother of 10 and has spent the last 30 years helping young parents, children and adolescents work through their varied and many challenges. Prior to specializing in parenting, Lorraine worked for two decades treating children and adolescents at an out-patient center affiliated with Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, California. She has concentrated on teaching parents methods of interacting in ways that enhance the child's or adolescent's ability to make positive and effective choices. Parenting challenges often fluctuate between feeling helpless and somewhat ineffective, to heavy-handed and authoritarian. Being able to be an effective parent is a skill which needs to be learned and supported, and Lorraine has assisted parents by focusing on positive discipline approaches that assist in maintaining healthy relationships in the family while parents stay in charge of their children. Lorraine has helped parents deal with behavioral problems, impulse control problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity issues, compulsive behavior, dissociative disorders, trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety or fears, loss or grief and school problems.


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