Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Christian Transgender Acceptance and Equality

Lately I've been watching argument and confusion arise from Olympian Decathlete Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner's transgender change (who is famously associated with the Kardashian's). To help towards a positive construction of this discussion I'd like to make the following observations:

First, to understand "transgender identity" let's start with a medical diagnosis of what "gender dysphoria" may mean... is it governed by a miswiring of the brain or by genetic encoding? Or, does it stem from the pressure to fit inside society's boxes?

Since it may be a struggle with personal identity should we omit from our street vocabulary the discriminatory label of queer which too easily reflects popular ignorance and discriminatory labeling based on personal feelings of fear or of religious/cultural standards of what should be norming according to the "book of us?"

From dictionary.com comes the following observations:

gender dysphoria

"A psychological condition marked by significant emotional distress and impairment in life functioning, caused by a lack of congruence between gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth."

Also called gender identity disorder.
—Usage note

"Some transgender individuals and their advocates object to the use of the word "disorder" to describe this condition and therefore reject use of the variant term gender identity disorder. However, others feel that classifying it as a disorder may facilitate access to medical care related to the condition."

Secondly, very few of us understand the confusion a child or young teenager may have who struggles with this crisis. I would like to suggest we put away labels and finger-pointing and consider how to help in ways that are constructive to the well-being of these individuals.

All the worse is the child who now becomes an adult having not resolved his or her's gender identity crisis. For the church, as for society, we must always remember our shortcomings and grave ignorance of individuals who harbor deep feelings of non-acceptance along with the fears of being personally harmed or shunned should they speak of their personal crisis to others. Obviously this is not helpful and the greater harm has been committed by ourselves who are short on empathy and prone to castigate others different from ourselves rather than to redeem those who would normally become outcasts from society.

Thirdly, let's make this personal. Rather than attempting any diagnosis at all (including anything medical) let's simply try to see a transgender individual as a person. As an individual. One who has the same needs as you and I to be loved and accepted, befriended and ushered into a cocoon of people who will protect them for who they are. This goes way beyond any labels and psychologies and simply let's someone be who they wish to be. Who must be what they are regardless of whether it is norming to society or not. Jesus did the same in the New Testament to the outcasts of society and I believe the church should also be on the frontlines of love and acceptance to those who are condemned and unloved.

Finally, I have linked a related article of a young girl's experiences who has gone through her own transgender identity crisis. The link provided will take you to her story. Just like a gay or lesbian individual who must deal with societal exclusion so too does the transgender person find similar discomfort by friends and neighbors. Perhaps, by reading of their personal struggles, we might better appreciate what many of us fail to understand.


R.E. Slater
June 18, 2015

Rebirth of a Transgender Teenager:
Katherine Boone's story

Kat Boone, "Before, I was unable to look in a mirror"

For further reference -
Wikipedia - Transgender

Pope Francis - 'Revolution' Needed to Combat Climate Change

Pope Says Climate Change Is Largely Man Made

Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change

By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor
June 18, 2015

(CNN)Pope Francis warned Thursday that a variety of human activities -- from a blind worship of technology to a reliance on fossil fuels -- risks irreparably ruining the planet and stealing its stunning beauty and rich diversity from future generations.

"Doomsday predictions," the Pope said in a sweeping and sharply worded manifesto, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."

Citing scientific consensus that we are witnessing a "disturbing warming" of the Earth's climate, Francis called for a "bold cultural revolution" to halt humanity's spiral into self-destruction.

"There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself" the Pope said.

Francis' statement came Thursday in the form of an encyclical, a letter traditionally addressed from St. Peter's Square to the more than 1 billion Catholics across the globe. Derived from the Greek word for "circle," an encyclical is among the church's most authoritative teaching documents.

But Francis has set his sights beyond the circle of his church. With an eye toward several key climate change summits scheduled for later this year, the Pope said his letter is addressed to "every person living on this planet."

"I would like to enter a dialogue with all people about our common home," Francis said.

Critique of modern life

The humble invitation belies the damning analysis of modern life contained in the 184-page encyclical, entitled "Laudato Si." The archaic Italian phrase, which means "Praised Be To You," appears in the "Canticle of the Sun," a song penned by St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology.

Subtitled, "On Care for Our Common Home," the encyclical was published Thursday in at least five languages during a news conference at the Vatican. The document was more than a year in the making, church officials say, and draws on the work of dozens of scientists, theologians, scholars from various fields and previous popes.

"We have a situation here," said Janos Pasztor, the U.N.'s assistant secretary-general for climate change, who was part of a team that convened with Vatican this April, "in which science and religion are totally aligned."

Pope Francis, 2015

The Pope's eagerly awaited encyclical recycles some of the now-familiar themes of Francis' papacy: an abiding concern for the poor, a scorching critique of the idolatry of money and a facility for using evocative and earthy language to describe complex conundrums.

As the first Pope from the developing world, Francis brings a moral vision shaped not in the seminaries of Europe but the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With language ranging from the majestic (lyrical poetry in praise of nature) to the mundane (take the bus!), the Pope put his signature stamp on a controversial topic and moral clout on the line.

"Laudato si" is long on laments and short on specific solutions, though the Pope repeatedly urges deep thinking and dialogue to address the complex symptoms now plaguing the earth. In broad strokes, Francis calls for a drastic change in "lifestyle, production and consumption" from superficial and unsustainable habits to more mature means of caring for "our common home."

"What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?" Francis asks. "The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal."

And while the Pope calls for practical steps like recycling and improving public transportation, he said structural injustices require more political will and sacrifices than most societies seem willing to bear.

In short, our care for the environment is intimately connected to our care for each other, he argues, and we are failing miserably at both.

"We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social," Francis writes, "but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental."

The rich and powerful shut themselves up within self-enclosed enclaves, Francis argues, compulsively consuming the latest goods to feed the emptiness within their hearts, while ignoring the plight of the poor.

The poor, meanwhile, find themselves on the run from natural disasters and degraded habitats, shunted to the bottom of the world's pile of problems with decreasing access to its natural resources.

The Pope denounces big businesses, energy companies, short-sighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Scarcely any area of society escapes his probing pen.

But Francis saves his most challenging questions for modern consumers, arguing that humanity has become enamored of another apple -- and this time no Eve or serpent are around to take the fall. The temptation may have shifted from a forbidden fruit to cutting edge technology, but the sin remains the same: hubris.

"We are not God," the Pope warns, "The Earth was here before us and has been given to us."

'An immense pile of filth'

Though Popes since Paul VI in 1971 have addressed environmental degradation, "Laudato Si" is the first encyclical to focus primarily on creation care, the Christian idea that God gave humans the earth to cultivate, not conquer.

Even months before its publication, the encyclical drew criticism from conservatives and climate change skeptics, who urged the Pope not to put his moral weight behind the controversial issue of global warming.

Many Catholics and environmentalists, meanwhile, eagerly awaited the encyclical. The Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant, for example, plans to send homily hints to the 17,000 Catholic parishes in the United States for priests to use during sermons this summer. The group is also planning media events with bishops in Iowa, California, New Mexico and elsewhere.

In the weeks before the encyclical's release, Protestant pastors and at least 300 rabbis in the United States also said they were willing and eager to embrace Pope's call for environmental justice.

In a sign of the anticipation awaiting the encyclical, the news that an Italian magazine had published a leaked draft online on Monday made the front pages of several American newspapers.

From the first days of his papacy, Francis has preached about the importance of the environment, not only as a scientific concern but also a moral one. In his first homily as pontiff, Francis called six times during the short sermon for humans to protect creation.

The encyclical published on Thursday goes well beyond any sermons, delving into fields familiar to any Catholic, such as Scripture and theology, but also wandering into sociology, politics, urban planning, economics, globalization, biology and other areas of scientific research.

The pope has said he hopes his encyclical on the environment will reach a wide audience.

Broken into six chapters, "Laudato Si" begins by cataloguing a host of ills wracking the planet: dirty air, polluted water, industrial fumes, toxic waste, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis writes. "In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

The problem is "aggravated," the Pope says, "by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels."

If present trends continue, Francis argues, the changing climate will have grave implications for poor communities who lack the resources to adapt or protect themselves from natural disasters.

Many will be forced to leave their homes, while the economically and politically powerful "mask" the problems or respond with indifference, the Pope says.

The poor may get a passing mention at global economic conferences, Francis says, but their problems seem to be merely added to agendas as an afterthought.

"Indeed, when all is said and done," the Pope says of the poor, "they frequently remain on the bottom of the pile."

Technology takes over

Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh called Francis a Marxist after he released a similar doctrine in 2013 that called trickle-down economics "crude" and "naive."

Apparently undeterred, the Pope doubles down on his critique of modern capitalism -- especially aspects of the free market -- in "Laudato Si."

"We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that the problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals," he writes.

What's more, the Pope calls the idea that the "invisible forces of the market" can adequately regulate the economy the "same kind of thinking" that leads to the "exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests."

In one particularly searing section, Francis compares laissez faire economists to mobsters, drug lords, illegal organ harvesters and human traffickers. All are part of a "throwaway culture," the Pope argues, that treats human beings as just another commodity to exploit.

The Pope's attack on the "myth of progress" is more surprising. But he connects his critique to a "worshipping of earthly powers," where humans have usurped the role of God, imposing our own laws and interests on reality with little thought to the long-term consequences.

In particular, he argues that our "cult of human power" and blind adoption of technology has been a Faustian bargain, offering a wealth of benefits, but at the risk of losing our souls.

"Life gradually becomes a surrender to situations conditioned by technology," he says, "itself viewed as the principle key to the meaning of existence."

"It has become countercultural," Francis continues, "to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology."

The omnipresent digital media feeds our "information overload" and "mental pollution," the Pope says. Those, in turn, lead to an excessive self-centeredness that tends to "shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experience."

"Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age," he continues, "but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way."

Despite his bleak view of our present situation, the Pope offered glimmers of hope near the end of his "joyful and troubling" reflection.

"Yet all is not lost," Francis writes. "Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning."

Getting business 'on board'

Opposition to the Pope's encyclical began several months before it was released.

In April, the Heartland Institute, a conservative group skeptical of climate change, mounted a campaign to convince Pope Francis that global warming "is not a crisis."

"The Pope is putting his moral authority behind the radical environmental agenda of the United Nations -- and he's doing it after being told only part of the climate story," Jim Lakely, a Heartland spokesman, said in an email interview on Tuesday.

Lakely said Heartland will contact "hundreds of thousands of Catholics" in the United States through mail and email countering the Pope's message and "giving them the truth about climate change."

That may be a difficult task.

More Americans trust him than almost any other world or U.S. leader as a source of information on global warming, according to a survey conducted by Yale University and George Mason University. Still, the same poll showed that less than 10% of Americans view climate change as a moral issue.

According to a Pew Research Center study released on Tuesday, Catholics are divided along partisan lines over climate change. More than 7 in 10 American Catholics believe the planet is getting warmer, and nearly half attribute global warming to human causes. A similar share (48%) view it as a very serious problem, according to Pew.

But while more than 80% of Catholic Democrats say there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming, just half of Catholic Republicans agree. And less than a quarter of Catholic Republicans believe global warming is a man-made phenomenon and that it poses a very serious problem.

On the 2016 campaign trail, news of the Pope's upcoming encyclical has put several Catholic GOP candidates on the defensive. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, for example, said the Pope should "leave science to the scientists."

At a town hall in New Hampshire this week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who converted to Catholicism, said, "I don't get economic policies from my bishops or my cardinals or my Pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm."

Other Catholics, though, were eagerly awaiting the Pope's encyclical.

In addition to Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the Vatican panel presenting "Laudato Si" included Metropolitan John of Pergamon, an Eastern Orthodox priest; John Schellenuber, founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Carolyn Wo, the Chinese-American director of Catholic Relief Services; and Valeria Martano, an Italian historian and member of the Rome-based lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio.

Woo said her assignment is to connect the encyclical's concerns to the business world.

Over the past 20 years, said Woo, former dean of the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, some corporations have adopted more ethical approaches, and she expects a wave of letters from business leaders this week praising the Pope's initiative.

"The bottom line is that we need business, not just some, but all, to do more," Woo said. "They are the ones on the front lines. We need them on board."

The Pope will also need world leaders to buy into his moral message, which will be key before a U.N.-sponsored climate summit in December, said Pasztor of the U.N.

At the meeting, nations are expected to submit their plans for reducing greenhouse gases, and the Pope will likely repeat the encyclical's entreaties when he speaks at the U.N. General Assembly this September.

"Having such an important person as the Pope talking about this issue will reach a lot of people," Pazstor said, "and at a crucial time."

Denuding British Columbia Forests

Parenting Strong Willed Children

Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child

Have a strong-willed child? You're lucky! Strong willed children can be a challenge when they’re young, but if sensitively parented, they become terrific teens and young adults. Self-motivated and inner-directed, they go after what they want and are almost impervious to peer pressure. As long as parents resist the impulse to "break their will," strong-willed kids often become leaders.

What exactly is a strong-willed child? Some parents call them "difficult" or “stubborn,” but we could also see strong-willed kids as people of integrity who aren’t easily swayed from their own viewpoints. Strong-willed kids are spirited and courageous. They want to learn things for themselves rather than accepting what others say, so they test the limits over and over. They want desperately to be "in charge" of themselves, and will sometimes put their desire to "be right" above everything else. When their heart is set on something, their brains seem to have a hard time switching gears. Strong-willed kids have big, passionate feelings and live at full throttle.

Often, strong-willed kids are prone to power-struggles with their parents. However, it takes two to have a power struggle. You don't have to attend every argument to which you're invited! If you can take a deep breath when your buttons get pushed, and remind yourself that you can let your child save face and still get what you want, you can learn to sidestep those power struggles. (Don't let your four year old make you act like a four year old yourself!)

No one likes being told what to do, but strong-willed kids find it unbearable. Parents can avoid power struggles by helping the child feel understood even as the parent sets limits. Try empathizing, giving choices, and understanding that respect goes both ways. Looking for win/win solutions rather than just laying down the law keeps strong-willed children from becoming explosive and teaches them essential skills of negotiation and compromise.

Strong-willed kids aren't just being difficult. They feel their integrity is compromised if they're forced to submit to another person's will. If they're allowed to choose, they love to cooperate. If this bothers you because you think obedience is an important quality, I'd ask you to reconsider. Of course you want to raise a responsible, considerate, cooperative child who does the right thing, even when it's hard. But that doesn't imply obedience. That implies doing the right thing because you want to. Morality is doing what's right, no matter what you're told. Obedience is doing what you're told, no matter what's right.

So of course you want your child to do what you say. But not because he's obedient, meaning that he always does what someone bigger tells him to do. No, you want him to do what you say because he trusts YOU, because he's learned that even though you can't always say yes to what he wants, you have his best interests at heart. You want to raise a child who has self-discipline, takes responsibility, and is considerate -- and most important, has the discernment to figure out who to trust and when to be influenced by someone else.

Breaking a child's will leaves him open to the influence of others who often will not serve his highest interests. What's more, it's a betrayal of the spiritual contract we make as parents.

That said, strong-willed kids can be a handful -- high energy, challenging, persistent. How do we protect those fabulous qualities and encourage their cooperation?

Ten Tips for Positive Parenting
Your Strong-Willed, Spirited Child

1. Avoid power struggles by using routines and rules.

That way, you aren't the bad guy bossing them around, it’s just that:

"The rule is we use the potty after every meal and snack," or "The schedule is that lights-out is
at 8pm. If you hurry, we’ll have time for two books," or "In our house, we finish homework
before screen time."

2. Remember that strong-willed kids are experiential learners.

That means they have to see for themselves if the stove is hot. So unless you're worried about serious injury, it's more effective to let them learn through experience, instead of trying to control them. And you can expect your strong-willed child to test your limits repeatedly--that's how he learns. Once you know that, it's easier to stay calm, which avoids wear and tear on your relationship--and your nerves.

3. Your strong-willed child wants mastery more than anything.

Let her take charge of as many of her own activities as possible. Don’t nag at her to brush her teeth; ask “What else do you need to do before we leave?” If she looks blank, tick off the short list: “Every morning we eat, brush teeth, use the toilet, and pack the backpack. I saw you pack your backpack, that's terrific! Now, what do you still need to do before we leave?” Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves will have less need to be oppositional. Not to mention, they take responsibility early.

4. Give your strong-willed child choices.

If you give orders, he will almost certainly bristle. If you offer a choice, he feels like the master of his own destiny. Of course, only offer choices you can live with and don’t let yourself get resentful by handing away your power. If going to the store is non-negotiable and he wants to keep playing, an appropriate choice is:

"Do you want to leave now or in ten minutes? Okay, ten minutes with no fuss? Let's shake on it....And since it could be hard to stop playing in ten minutes, how can I help you then?"

5. Give her authority over her own body.

“I hear that you don’t want to wear your jacket today. I think it's cold and I am definitely
wearing a jacket. Of course, you are in charge of your own body, as long as you stay safe
and healthy, so you get to decide whether to wear a jacket. But I’m afraid that you will be
cold once we are outside, and I won’t want to come back to the house. How about I put your
jacket in the backpack, and then we’ll have it if you change your mind?”

She’s not going to get pneumonia, unless you push her into it by acting like you’ve won if she asks for the jacket. And once she won’t lose face by wearing her jacket, she’ll be begging for it once she gets cold. It’s just hard for her to imagine feeling cold when she’s so warm right now in the house, and a jacket seems like such a hassle. She's sure she's right -- her own body is telling her so -- so naturally she resists you. You don't want to undermine that self-confidence, just teach her that there's no shame in letting new information change her mind.

6. Don't push him into opposing you.

Force always creates "push-back" -- with humans of all ages. If you take a hard and fast position, you can easily push your child into defying you, just to prove a point. You'll know when it's a power struggle and you're invested in winning. Just stop, take a breath, and remind yourself that winning a battle with your child always sets you up to lose what’s most important: the relationship. When in doubt say "Ok, you can decide this for yourself." If he can't, then say what part of it he can decide, or find another way for him to meet his need for autonomy without compromising his health or safety.

7. Side-step power struggles by letting your child save face.

You don’t have to prove you’re right. You can, and should, set reasonable expectations and enforce them. But under no circumstances should you try to break your child’s will or force him to acquiesce to your views. He has to do what you want, but he's allowed to have his own opinions and feelings about it.

8. Listen to her.

You, as the adult, might reasonably presume you know best. But your strong-willed child has a strong will partly as a result of her integrity. She has a viewpoint that is making her hold fast to her position, and she is trying to protect something that seems important to her. Only by listening calmly to her and reflecting her words will you come to understand what’s making her oppose you. A non-judgmental “I hear that you don’t want to take a bath. Can you tell me more about why?” might just elicit the information that she’s afraid she’ll go down the drain, like Alice in the song. It may not seem like a good reason to you, but she has a reason. And you won’t find it out if you get into a clash and order her into the tub.

9. See it from his point of view.

For instance, he may be angry because you promised to wash his superman cape and then forgot. To you, he is being stubborn. To him, he is justifiably upset, and you are being hypocritical, because he is not allowed to break his promises to you, but you broke yours to him. How do you clear this up and move on? You apologize profusely for breaking your promise, you reassure him that you try very hard to keep your promises, and you go, together, to wash the cape. You might even teach him how to wash his own clothes so you're not in this position in the future and he's empowered. Just consider how would you want to be treated, and treat him accordingly.

10. Discipline through the relationship, never through punishment.

Kids don’t learn when they’re in the middle of a fight. Like all of us, that’s when adrenaline is pumping and learning shuts off. Kids behave because they want to please us. The more you fight with and punish your child, the more you undermine her desire to please you. If she's upset, help her express her hurt, fear or disappointment, so they evaporate. Then she'll be ready to listen to you when you remind her that in your house, everyone speaks kindly to each other. (Of course, you have to model that. Your child won't always do what you say, but she will always, eventually, do what you do.)

11. Offer him respect and empathy.

Most strong-willed children are fighting for respect. If you offer it to them, they don’t need to fight to protect their position. And, like the rest of us, it helps a lot if they feel understood. If you see his point of view and think he's wrong -- for instance, he wants to wear the superman cape to church and you think that's inappropriate -- you can still offer him empathy and meet him part way while you set the limit.

"You love this cape and wish you could wear it, don't you? But when we go to services we
dress up to sow respect, so we can't wear the cape. I know you'll miss wearing it. How
about we take it with us so you can wear it on our way home?"

Does this sound like Permissive Parenting? It isn't. You set limits. There's just never any reason to be mean about it!

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