From controlling behaviour to learning to respect: how the work of Janet Lansbury has affected my parenting shares Emily Hanson

I recall my former self, aged about 23, sitting around the dinner table at my friends’ house. At the time they had one child. He was refusing his dinner and they were gently offering other alternatives, or saying he could simply eat later if he wanted to. At the time, I was baffled. Why are they just ‘letting him get away with it’? Where is the discipline? The sanctions? I was a very inexperienced trained teacher, believing myself fully skilled in the realm of behaviour management.

Adults should be superior and all knowing, surely? How will children ever learn to ‘behave’ if we don’t take charge? I scoff at my earlier self! With my one year old on my hip and a stack of parenting books on my bookshelf I now understand what I was seeing at the time. Whether my friends were familiar with her work or not, they were following the tenets of respectful parenting, as heralded by renowned parenting and childcare expert, Janet Lanbsury. Now, after seeing how it worked for them, I do the same, and I’d love to share my experience.