The best couple relationships are based on principles of equality. When spouses come together and have a unified sense of their roles, there is a marital satisfaction that transpires. They enjoy each other's company, and their relationship consistently progresses and deepens. Of course, they’re not perfect. They will make mistakes, but they seek out solutions to solve their differences. The same goes for friendships. When friends see each other on an equal level, they look for the best in each other, spend time together, and support one another in times of need.
Children need equal respect
Just as couple relationships and friendships need levels of equality, so do all other relationships, including parent and child relationships. Jane Nelson, a parenting expert, and author of "Positive Discipline," explained what was meant by equality.
She said, in her book, “It is important to note that equality does not mean the same. Four quarters and a dollar bill are very different, but equal.” Nelson was conveying that relationships, specifically parent-child relationships in this instance, need to be built upon respect, and equality and respect go hand in hand.
One cannot be an equal if he is not respected, and one cannot be respected if she isn't seen as an equal. The truth is, equality will go deeper than just respect. Respect will lead to other parenting traits, such as love, empathy, listening, understanding, etc. Other parenting experts have also expounded upon the importance of equality on different regards.
Children need validation
John Gottman, author of "Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child," teaches certain qualities that an emotion-coaching parent will have. Some of these include, patience, sensitivity, validating and valuing a child’s negative emotions as an opportunity to build the relationship. All of these traits stem from the principle of equality.
Another parenting expert, Alfie Kohn, and author of "Unconditional Parenting," teaches the principle of equality through love. He said, “Loving our children isn’t enough. We have to love them unconditionally — for who they are, not for what they do.”
Seeing children on a level of equality is a vital principle to having success in parenting. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the parent should be permissive and allow children to do as they please. Children need guidance and correction to learn what is right and wrong. As equality is conceived in the parent-child relationship, a connection of trust and confidence will evolve.
Alicia is a senior at BYU-Idaho studying Child Development. She is currently applying to graduate school for Social Work. She loves spending time with her family, trying new foods, hanging out with friends, and running.