Letter from a "STEP-Dad"
Your latest newsletter came for my wife today and I was reminded of some thoughts that I've wanted to share with you for a long time.
A couple of years ago, your STEP tapes [now an MP3 download] arrived in our house and I listened to each one. I realized, from what I was hearing, that I had found the parenting style that would help to create the type of parent-child relationship I always knew was possible.
My children are now 4 years old and I find that I enjoy my time with them more and more each day. I feel that, through the guidance of STEP, our relationship is healthy and that we feel mutual respect for one another. I have seen, firsthand, that children's behavior is directly linked to the behavior of the adults around them and that when a caretaker behaves in a mature, even-tempered, respectful yet firm manner, children follow suit - and not out of fear or pursuit of praise but out of genuine respect and love for the person they instinctively wish to emulate.
I don't wish to put forth the idea that I am a "perfect" parent or that I "have it all figured out." I have my challenges just like all parents. When I feel stressed I get short-tempered and sometimes I think I could be a little more flexible than I am. But, with the help of STEP, I catch myself in those moments and make a personal note to try and do better next the time.
STEP has given me a language I can use to speak to my children when their behavior needs correcting so that they realize they have made a mistake but do not feel worthless for doing so. For that, I am eternally grateful.
As a long-time educator, I have worked with many students and also with many teachers. I have seen time and time again how non-STEP practices can compromise the teacher-student relationship and even encourage students to engage in self-defeating behavior. I have also seen how teachers who run their classrooms based on STEP-like principles can cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and caring which, in turn, leads to a healthy, vibrant learning atmosphere.
If there is one complaint that I have about STEP, it is that the lessons I have learned have made it almost painful to go out in public and see how other people treat their children (or, are treated by their children!). In some ways, ignorance was bliss. Now that I know what type of relationship is possible between parents and children, I want to share what I have experienced with them. (In truth, I'm often playfully tempted to hand out a STEP business card to parents I see struggling with their children and to encourage them to look into it.)
I'd like to finish by saying what I've been trying to say all along and that is, thank you. Thank you for passing on the message of STEP and helping me (as well as so many others) to have a happy, healthy relationship with my children. I'll keep working each day to be the best "STEP-dad" that I can.
Keep up the good work - you're making a world of difference.
Scott Stewart, father of twins