Coloroso’s “Backbone Family”

This series of blogs on parenting began with Respectful Parents Respectful Kids by Sura Hart & Victoria Kindle which changed my thinking and habits in several ways:

  1. Children learn from “what you are living”, not saying; parents must show by example what they expect from their children.
  2. Children’s actions are driven by their “needs”; parents must learn to see and value the needs behind every action, of their kids as well as themselves.
  3. Always use a language of respect, or ”giraffe language“, based on empathy; stop using “jackal language”, which is based on judgement and evaluating behaviour as right or wrong.
  4. Turn your home a “no-fault” zone where there are no labelling of actions and thinking as “mistakes”; instead, the family is learning together how to do things better.

Barbara Coloroso in Kids are worth it!, Penguin Canada, Toronto, Ontario, 2001, sheds considerable light on different parenting styles as discussed in my post, “Brick-wall, Jellyfish, and Backbone Styles”.

In my third career as a teacher, I stressed responsible behaviour, sometimes too rigidly. Gradually, I recognized that a softer, kinder approach, as described by Coloroso’s “Backbone Family”, was much more effective.

The “Backbone Family” develops a solid network of support for its children through SIX critical life messages given daily:

  1. I believe in you.
  2. I trust you.
  3. I know you can handle life situations.
  4. You are listened to.
  5. You are cared for.
  6. You are very important to me.

These life messages must be authentic to encourage responsible behaviour. It doesn’t happen overnight. Future posts will show how Coloroso deals with the difficulties encountered along the way.

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