What is Respectful Parenting?

This philosophy is based on the work of Magda Gerber who founded the RIE® organization and Dr. Emmi Pikler, mentor to Magda and a pediatrician passionate about treating infants and young children with respect. At the highest level, Respectful Parenting is a style of child-rearing that recognizes children as innately competent people. This means that children (even infants) are deserving of the same respect, honesty, trust, independence, and forthright communication that we (ideally) afford to adults. 

This leads children to develop more autonomy, confidence and competence, better communication skills, improved emotional regulation, and — most importantly — it leads to a healthier, more peaceful and enjoyable family life for all members of the family.

As I see it, the ultimate goal as a parent is to develop a healthy relationship with your child built on mutual respect and love. Respectful Parenting helps to make this a reality.

So what does that actually mean in practice?

The ABCE’s of Respectful Parenting:

Autonomy is encouraged

  • Giving a child maximal control within safe limits
  • Independent/uninterrupted play is prioritized
  • Allowing children to be involved in caretaking routines and work towards independence

Boundaries are clear and consistent

  • Setting kids up for success by creating a “Yes Space”
  • Prioritizing self-care and personal needs for the parents and the child
  • All emotions are okay, but all behaviors are not
  • Holding boundaries while also empathizing

Communication is intentional and honest

  • Telling the child what you’re going to do before you do it
  • Giving kids a say – “Do you want the bear shirt or the striped shirt?” 
  • Allowing “wait time” for a child to process and respond to you

Emotions are healthy

  • Helping children regulate emotions by supporting them through the feelings (co-regulation) and teaching skills to self-regulate
  • Being upset, even angry, is allowed
  • Feelings don’t need to be fixed

My favorite RIE®/Respectful Parenting Resources:


elevating childcare
Dear Parent cover 1
respecting babies



Recommended starter episode: 3 RIE Parenting Basics (March 2016)

your parenting mojo

Recommended starter episode: 084 The Science of RIE

securely attached

Recommended starter episode: 05. Using the RIE Method to Create Strong Parent-child Relationships


Natural Motor Development: Learning to roll
A connected caregiving routine with Magda Gerber
A beginning mobile infant at play

Sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive tips, updates, and more:
IMG 20210223 095302787