MIAMI (CBS4) — Is the key to raising a self-confident child treating them like adults when they’re babies? There is a decades old parenting approach gaining momentum. It encourages children to be more independent and self confident and Ann Russo says she loves the concept.

“I feel like I’m raising creative thinkers and self motivated learners,” said Russo.

She and 11-month-old son Julian attend a unique child development class with a hands-off approach. She says it worked with her four-year-old daughter.

The approach is called RIE which stands for ‘Resources for Infant Educarers.’ RIE’s fundamental philosophy is for parents not to “baby” their babies, and that includes no baby talk. RIE believes children develop faster and better and are ultimately more secure when they are treated like adults.

Parents are instructed to observe their little ones working out challenges rather than jumping in to fix them.

Children’s specialist Magda Gerber developed it in 1978 by studying babies in orphanages. Her philosophy was simple, treat kids with respect and raise children that we not only love but who we love to be with.

One of the philosophies of RIE is to offer your children choices.

“For instance, it’s time to go now. I see you don’t want to go but would you like to walk to the car or shall I carry you?” explained Executive Director Deborah Solomon.

Also tell your baby what you’re going to do to them, like changing the child’s diaper, don’t just jump in and do it. Believers say this is respectful, relaxing and helps with the child’s sense of predictability.

“We would never pick up an adult and haul him into the other room so why not afford the same respect to a baby?” said Solomon.

One of the tougher philosophies for parents concerns crying babies. The RIE approach says wait for their cue to be cuddled.

“Very often people will rush into the cry and swoop the child up and hug them tight and sometimes I feel as though it’s more about comforting themselves because they’re really uncomfortable with hearing their child cry,” said Solomon.

Children who are raised using the RIE approach play with inexpensive objects found around the house. This is to encourage experimentation and active play versus televisions and electronic toys that entertain.

RIE babies are also trained without high chairs or sippy cups in order to teach children about table manners at a very young age.The RIE approach may not be for everyone, but some parents say it really works for them. When parents do less and observe more, RIE believes little ones learn how to work things out on their own, building independence.

There is a class offered in Miami that practices the RIE approach. It’s called RIE bred inspired parenting. Click here for more information.

Comments (2)
  1. laura briley says:

    Magda Gerber had a mentor, Dr. Emmi Pikler who was a pediatrician and started an orphanage in Budapest, HUngary in 1946. The Pikler approach is based on research at the Pikler Institute and is still operating today. Trainings about this approach is going on throughout the world and used in group settings as well as home. i think it is important to note that the RIE philosophy has more history than 1978.

  2. Nathalie says:

    I took a RIE class with Lisa Chariff Better in Miami and am so happy that I did. I saw firsthand how it was beneficial to my children to observe and support them, rather than be a “helicopter” mom hovering over their every move. People always comment on how independent and secure my kids are and that is because I stop myself from jumping in every minute to resolve their issues. They surprise me everyday with their problem solving techniques.

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