The RIE Approach to Raising Children

I will never forget the evening I found out I had been pregnant with my eldest daughter. I went to work the second morning feeling the magnificence of being the child of God walking on earth! Wow! Through me, a life will be born to life! This is one of the jewels of pregnancy, in spite of it not being unusual; it never fails in making a woman feel like the most special being walking!

Of course I could not concentrate on my work that day and I did not want to share my BIG news with any of my colleagues fearing the disappointment of something going wrong (God forbid). Reality started setting in and the excitement began to be overtaken by the worry over my insignificant knowledge about handling infants and raising children. I called my husband in an attempt to diffuse my fears, of course he assured me that everything we will be fine, to no avail! I was still very worried.

On my way home from work, I stopped at Barnes and Noble and headed to the children’s section to look for books that can help me. One book/title stood out as if it were calling to me. The title of this book was “Your Self-Confident Baby”. Yes I thought, this is exactly what I wanted to raise. I bought the book and went home, quickly completed my chores, and cuddled in bed with my book that became my favorite book in no less than five minutes. For three days, this book never left my sight until I had read it cover to cover. To me, it was not a book, it was a found treasure!

The book is written by Magda Gerber and Allison Johnson. Magda is the founding director of the Resources for Infant Educarers or RIE organization. Educarer is a made-up word meaning the one who educates children in a caring manner; and caring here does not mean loving, rather, putting love into action, and there is a big difference between the two. In a nutshell, RIE is a vital practical resource for developing a mutually respectful relationship with your child from infancy to twenty-four months, and you can perceive this as the founding stone that sets the stage for a healthy respectful bond for life.

What is so exceptional about this effective and result-oriented approach is that is does not ignore the needs of parents; on the contrary, it helps parents to define their boundaries and recognize the boundaries of their child based on observing rather than stretching their child’s abilities. Then it fosters a mutual respect for these boundaries by the parent and child alike.

Now why does the RIE address the first two years of upbringing? You may be surprised to learn that a child’s personality is fundamentally formed in his/her first three years. So this approach focuses on the golden years of childhood and I advise every new and expecting parent to learn more about it. For more on this topic, you can visit www.rie.org.

I used the teachings of this amazing approach on my children and I can certify their effectiveness in creating a respectful nurturing upbringing environment. This book taught me when to say no and when to say yes, and most importantly, it taught me to explain myself to my children on why yes and why no. This in turn has helped me with double checking my reasoning behind my yes’s and No’s and helped my children with responding to me with equal reasoning and respect for my role and authority as their loving educarer!

Knowing RIE had prompted me to quit my job twice and stay at home for one year with my daughter and two years with my son when they were born, and I am so glad I did! Of course there are major financial considerations that I took into consideration in this case that cannot be ignored, and it’s advisable to make such decisions wisely.

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