New Parenting Model is Based on Respect

If you missed Dr. Michael Bradley's appearance, here is where you can get detailed notes and a short video of his presentation.


The Los Gatos High School auditorium was packed on Oct. 16.

Parents from our local communities poured in to hear Dr. Michael Bradley share with us his respect-based communication paradigm. You will find his handout "Ten Commandments," contains very detailed notes (scribed by Nancy Highbarger), and a video (taped by Lane Lyle) of the first hour of this two-hour presentation on our Parenting Continuum website. 

Notes include details on topics covered: 

    1.  brain development,
    2.  alcohol,
    3.  marijuana,
    4.  violence,
    5.  how to earn our teen’s respect,
    6.  opportunities to increase connection,
    7.  sleep,
    8.  homework,
    9.  messy rooms,
   10. five actions to live by.

Dr Bradley started his presentation by stating the parent mission statement: “Our job as parents is not to control our teens, but to teach them to control themselves."

The days of authoritarian, fear-based parenting are long gone. The new model is respect-based parenting. This is a lot harder but a lot more rewarding because you have an opportunity to establish a connection with your teen.

A story he shared with us from his practice is that of a teenage girl and her mom, who was not happy with the kind of music her daughter was listening to, so she installed spyware on her daughter’s computer. 

The daughter revealed to Dr. Bradley the spyware on her computer alerts her when her mom’s spyware is running. When this happens, her computer will appear to her mom's spyware that she is listening to the kind of music her mom approves of when all the while, she is not! 

The moral of the story is spying doesn’t work. If you do spy, let your teen know you are spying because if you find out something that is upsetting, how are you going talk to your teen about it? “Be careful to preserve and model trust.”

Dr. Bradley said it's OK to bribe and that might have been a bit confusing because it's possible the person receiving the bribe may lose respect for the person giving the bribe.  

A bribe doesn't sound like there is much choice in it but what Dr. Bradley probably meant is a "mutually agreed upon bribe." It is an effective way of turning an extrinsic behavior into an intrinsic behavior. For example, if your teen doesn't start homework until 9 p.m., you might give him/her some money for completing his/her homework before 6 p.m. for an agreed upon time period.

We all need bribes or rather incentives to keep us motivated, so why not find one that you and your teen have agreed upon and try it for a little while to see how it works. You can always re-evaluate at the end of this period and talk about what worked and what didn't. Most importantly, share what valuable lessons you have both learned from this experience.

For those that came to the presentation, please share what you liked most and/or what you enjoyed least. I would also love to read about how you connect with your child, so please consider sharing.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Linda Masciarelli November 12, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I was recently able to see Dr. Bradley at WGHS. What an amazing opportunity that was! I am drawn to someone who can remind us to laugh (and laugh often!) during the midst of the whirlwind tween & teenage years. He shot from the hip, delivered some harsh truths, and still I walked away hopeful. The idea that respect is bought through harsh words or punitive measures needs to be smashed. After all these children are not ours to own and control.
Sheri Woodburn November 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Thank you for your notes and link to Parenting Continuum website! I heard from several parents that Dr. Bradley was excellent and look forward viewing his presentation.
Marina Barnes November 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Hi Jim, This is a conundrum the Parenting Continuum has. You're right most of the attendees are parents who are modeling or trying really hard to model respect already. Would you like to brainstorm on how we can draw in others who would really benefit from these talks as well? Marina marina@listenlosgatos.com
Marina Barnes November 12, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Hi Sheri, Let us know your feedback after viewing his presentation or if there is more info you would like as we were only to capture the first hour of his talk. The notes is a great companion to the video and it is quite comprehensive. Marina
Marina Barnes November 12, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Hi Linda, Spot on! Marina


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