Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Notes on Being Non-Reactive

01/13/2011 at 09:00 AM ET

Thanks for welcoming our newest celebrity blogger — Elisabeth Röhm! The actress, 37, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, wrapped a stint on Heroes last year and has a busy 2011 ahead of her. She can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and plans to continue her role as spokesmom for Juno Baby.

In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — reflects on learning to be non-reactive in her parenting while tackling the terrible twos.

Kimberly Metz


Who knew that the road to nirvana was getting whacked by your kid? Seriously, who knew? Learning to be non-reactive in life is one of the big ones. I mean, if Gandhi can do it then so can we, moms! In pursuit of better parenting, certainly being the bigger person is a key element.

And I have found — now that Easton has entered the world of ‘the terrible twos’ — that it’s not so terrible, it’s just immensely challenging. If I’m really flowing as a parent, sometimes it’s achingly funny to watch them powerfully assert their independence. A little bit of humor goes a long way too, right?

One of the great challenges of parenting is embracing our own leadership. It’s not easy having the answers 24/7; to trust yourself enough to feel that you know how to handle what’s put in front of you by your little one. Sometimes — if we’re really honest — we are simply guessing, or basing our decision upon what we’ve heard or read.

No matter how we approach a conflict though, we are required to be all grown-up and to let go of our own childish responses in order to be solid parents (although I’ve learned that an ounce of silly goes a long way in all scenarios).

Oh, what an opportunity! Being a parent has certainly helped me to come into my own. Parenting deeply empowers our intuition, self-respect and compassion. I know we can all confirm that the patience that we’ve learned to exercise has indeed brought out the best in us.

In this new year I am faced, as you are, with a desire to become a better version of myself and to absolutely become a better mother. As I throw out all the wrapping paper and break down boxes from the holiday gifts, I am inspired to keep clearing out. I am searching for what isn’t working anymore and what is outmoded. Out with the old and in with the new! What I really want are results and I find that I’m willing to do the heavy lifting to make some changes in my life.

One of the things I really long for is to be a non-reactive person. Boy, is that hard to pull off with little ones.

I could give a list of incidents that have pushed me to the edge, challenged me to be firm beyond my comfort zone and have ultimately made me a better mother. Like the time Easton had a meltdown at her second birthday and went running to the nanny instead of me, or when she nearly blinded me with a swift kick of her UGG boot and I had to drive home with impaired vision (thankfully only a few blocks).

Do you see what a golden opportunity all of this is? I have finally begun to learn a life lesson that almost nothing but my daughter could teach me: how to stay cool under pressure — upon being violated, publicly embarrassed or simply feeling baffled by a confrontation. These are real challenges that surface every day in our lives.

Our natural instinct is to become reactive, to defend ourselves. As parents we know that this simply doesn’t work with our sweet children, for a myriad of reasons. We know that our best response is to help them, guide and correct them in a gentle, yet assertive manner that promotes growth and well-being. Most importantly we learn to not take it personally when they scream, ‘Noooooooooo’ to us and run the other direction in a room full of strangers who don’t know us and how great we really are as parents.

I’ve learned to always take a deep breath and extract myself from the equation. I think back to all the times I’ve reacted in my life and remember how the situation was worsened and not diffused.

And so, I’ve learned from my child … to think before I act. This has nothing to do with you. “It’s not personal,” I say to myself. “How can I help this little person?” I think. This process is also applicable to big people who thrive on creating a little conflict and don’t know how to manifest positive attention quite yet. I’m sure you are seeing the connection, right?

I stop. I breathe. I think. I forgive. I explain calmly. I quickly move on. IT’S NOT PERSONAL!!!! I have learned from my little one how to get what I really want in life: trust and progress.

I look at my 2½-year-old after she’s intentionally smacked me in the face because I’ve turned off Scooby-Doo and say, “You’re such a nice, wonderful and kind girl. You’re truly amazing. Nice, kind people don’t hit, or bite or yell. They use their words and are gentle.” And Easton says, “Yeah.” “You’re very sweet,” I say. “Yes, I am,” she replies with a tender smile.

Then I notice for the rest of the day that she is very nice, kind and truly amazing. (Note: this method doesn’t always work. More often than not, though!)

I’m not trying to simplify tricky matters of parenting, nor am I suggesting that we don’t create strong boundaries with our children or the big kids out there in the world. But in general I’ve seen amazing results when I step back and treat Easton or another human being as if they are behaving in the way I’d like them to behave.

My goal for the New Year when the situation calls for it, is to stand before my child or a big kid who is trying to assert themselves and help them to help themselves by not buying into the drama. I think it is truly possible to have love in your heart when you are being tested. Let’s take the path of least resistance this year. We truly stand to benefit!

— Elisabeth Röhm

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 53 comments

Crystle on

I loved your blog keep up the good work

smiley on

what an absolutely stunning photo!!

Jenn on

I also have a 2 1/2 year old daughter — reading this post was such a joy because this is EXACTLY where we are with our daughter.

Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath and remember why we’re doing this parenting thing in the first place. The love, compassion, kindness and calm under pressure we give back to our child–albeit while they can fight every inch of it in those tough moments–WILL register in their tiny little hearts and minds! This will create extraordinary human beings that continue to give back that love, compassion, kindness and respect to the world. That’s the faith a parent must have–and it must work, right? We turned out okay!

Thanks for a beautiful post.

Jeanne on

Wait til you hit the 3’s!!! It should really be called “terrible threes” My sweet boy turned into a full fledged “terrible” about 2 weeks before his birthday – not sure who flipped that switch, but I’m doing everything I can to flip it back! lol

Angela on

I’m with you, Jeanne. The same thing happened with my daughter. Nothing major at two, but man… Three has been very interesting! They’ve been rather “trying” but not so “terrible”.

Barbi on

That is such a beautiful picture!

Miche on

Amen Jeanne! We soared through the twos with smiles, kisses and laughter. Then a week before her 3rd birthday, every little thing became a MAJOR MELTDOWN DRAMA! We’re slowly getting through it .)

Very thoughtful blog, enjoying it. I have a child named Eastin 🙂

megan on

I have to agree with previous posters….3 year olds are so so much harder! I don’t even really get the saying terrible 2’s…that age was a breeze for us!!!

Linda Rope on


Jacqui on

Thank you for this post!!!!

Merrilyn on

Yep, 3 is waaaaaay harder than 2. When my daughter was 2, she was absolutely delightful, adorable, pleasant, funny, so much fun! Then she turned 3 and I wondered what happened to my wonderful child. My son turns 3 in a couple months and I’m already bracing myself.

LM on

Lovely photo, but not sure about parenting advice from someone with a nanny (at a birthday party!).

Alli on

LM- I’m not sure that’s really fair. If parents choose to have a nanny look after their children instead of sending them to daycare I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just a different option. And maybe the nanny was invited to the party because she is a special person in the child’s life.

Amy on

I’m a little taken aback by this… Really, boundaries are established but your child smacks you for turning off the television or kicks you in the eye and you’re not “reactive”… As a mom of 2, who’s already been through the terrible 2’s (and 3’s) I’m thinking if your child is hitting/kicking (i.e. INTENTIONALLY hurting you) maybe, just maybe those boundaries and respect as a person (not just a mom) haven’t been established. And trust me, my child is STRONG willed, but boundaries have been set and there is a common level of respect for every individual in our house. I also do not have a nanny, just a husband, and we both contribute 100% to our children to teach them love, respect and tolerance each and every day.

georgiegirl on

I loved being a mom when my kids were little…sure there were times when we had issues….Allowing them to express themselves is one thing, but when they cross a certain line is when I put my foot down. The hitting and kicking thing should not be tolerated….initially time out is in order…and a lot of talking.

Friends of ours, from out of state, have three children. When there boy was little…but WAY past the age of two, he would kick his mom. One time they were visiting and he got upset with his grandmother and went over and kicked her…..NOBODY did anything. I took him aside and quietly told him that if I ever saw him hit or kick his mom or grandma again I would ‘beat his butt’. No one heard me but him, and I never saw that behavior again…..We have to remember that little ones grow up….My motto….if it’s not going to be cute when they’re older, it’s not cute at 2.

Jackie on

This picture of Eliabeth Rohm and her baby is so adorable. I loved Elizabeth on Law and Order. I was wondering if she will have a reoccuring role on “The Mentalist”.

Shannon on

OMG what a cute photo!

I agree that parents shouldn’t re(act) in anger toward children…but hitting others is simply unacceptable. Children are very intelligent and can learn right from wrong if they understand that every action has consequences. I hope non-reactive isn’t just another way to say no discipline. The larger society won’t be so accommodating and understanding.

Jenny on

If I kicked my parents in the face when I was 2.5, I can guarantee that their response would not have been telling me what a sweet child I was. I would have gotten a spanking!

alli on


You threatened to HIT someone else’s child?!? Am I reading that correctly?

just meg on

These two ladies are absolutely beautiful! Love the photo!

Myomy on

My god people every child is different. Some have terrible two’s, some have terrible three’s! Why does parenting have to be a competition?

alice jane on

Jenny, it’s not just saying, “Oh, you are such a sweet baby!” after your kid hits you and leaving it at that. It’s like saying, “I know you’re a sweet kid, and sweet kids don’t hit others” I don’t really know anything about non-reactive parenting, but it sounds to me like it’s more about taking the emphasis away from the “you’re bad” aspect that a lot of parents rely on when disciplining, and focusing on, “you’re a good kid but that was wrong”

I guess it’s one of those things that probably works great with some families and not so great with others.

And this is a beautiful picture of Elisabeth and Easton! I’ve actually only seen Elisabeth on Angel and I loved her! I always wished she would come back while it was still on.

Tee on

Elisabeth, that photograph is stunning! I really enjoyed reading this blog post and would be curious to have you expand on where you draw the line on being non-reactive. I completely agree with you that children need to be handled in a loving manner and they respond much better (as a general rule) when handled that way. However, I honestly couldn’t see allowing a child to hit me in the face and not reacting in a more firm manner than what you’ve described. I’m glad it works for you though! I’m just curious to hear more about it!

Jen on

This was the perfect thing for me to stumble upon as my just turned 3 yr old has been quite the unexpected challenge! Thank you for teaching me a few tools.

What’s with all the comments being so attacking ? Can’t we all just respect each other and take this for what it’s meant to be?

jessicad on

Love the article! Being non-reactive and re-directing are things I had to learn to do as well. I was spanked as a child and didn’t want to go that route with my daughter unless she did something life threatening like run in the street, this way works for us. I look at my daughter the same way you described, as this little person I want to help learn to deal with life and her emotions in a healthy way. She turned 3 in October and things have definitely eased up from the 2’s. I know every child is different and they say 3 is the new 2, but it hasn’t been that way for her, thank goodness:)

That picture is adorable and I love the name Easton!

Lorelai on

I like how you describe the situation to be challenging instead of other adjectives because I agree with you. Kids to teach us lots of things (I have a 4 year old girl and a 1yr old boy and I work full time on top of that) and it’s really hard sometimes to deal with so many things. I also relate to the “running to the nanny instead of me” part. She knows you are the mom but she also knows she can get -more- away with stuff if she goes to her! The terrible two’s are quite an experience, wait until you get to the Terrorist three’s. You are doing the good thing here, treat her with love and respect and she will learn from that, nothing good will come out from yelling or spanking, you are a terrific mom!

elle on

i have to disagree. once again another new-agey touchy-feely parent making excuses for their childs bad behaviour. children,especially small ones, need clear boundaries and to be shown that if they hit mom in the face with a boot that there will be consequences. we all love our kids and for that reason we need to do right by them and teach them that actions have consequences. by the way, it really is a lovely photo.

Michelle on

I have a 2 yr old girl and a 1 yr old boy. Boundaries have been set since day one. On a daily basis I am outnumbered and as a SAHM for 13 hours a day with no help while my hubby works, it’s important to establish who is the boss. They are not angels, but they understand when I tell them through my words, my facial expression and my tone that I mean business. I feel that those patterns must be established right away– even before a child turns 2 or 3. Otherwise your kids have one up on you– and in most cases for life.

kim on

I agree with the non-reactive method when my children have melt-downs, are whining too much, stomping in frustrating…they just need time to cool down and understand that they will not elicit an equally over-the-top reaction from mom.

However, if one of my children ever hit or kicked me, then there would be punishment, at two it’s hard b.c the punishment needs to be very timely or the child will never remember why she’s being punished, but she must understand that you will not tolerate that behavior and that it is inappropriate to hit – at any age!!! She should not be rewarded with “sweet girl”.

Later after the punishment there is time to ask “do you understand why were you punished?” and to “talk it out” (bearing in mind the kid is 2)…but when your child acts inappropriately (ie violent) then he or she needs to understand 100% that you, THE PARENT, will not tolerate that behavior.

Blythe on

I always say that anyone who says “terrible twos”, just hasn’t had a three year-old yet. 🙂

Lala on

wow that is a different take on parenting but it doesn’t mean it is wrong. i think we all do what works for us as parents. being a non-reactive parent works for her so that is what she does.

i am a reactive mommy but i am not a spanker either. i have the # method i count to 3 or give out strikes as in saying strike on and so on till he gets to three which rarely happens. but he also knows i am an adult and i do and say adult things that he can not say and do til he is older, much older. no mom is perfect and we all make mistakes and learn from them. the best thing is that our children love us and they forgive and forget. no matter what at bed time we say our sorry’s if i yelled at him for any reason and explain why i did what i did or he will apologize for his behavior too. then its hugs and kisses and night time.

good luck to her it seems like she is doing a great job with her daughter. and don’t hate on her for having a nanny we all need help raising our children whether it be a daycare for a break or a nanny.

annie on

I agree with you elle. Kids need to have boundaries and clear expectations.

Indira on

the example she gives of non-reactive parenting seems awful. It seems like something a teacher might say to a child as they have boundaries they cannot cross. Where is showing responsibility for the action of hitting? It makes what the child did seem like an out-of-body experience!

Au-roar-A on

I can’t believe i just read this. A parent got smacked in the face for turning off Scooby-Doo and failed to provide an age-appropriate consequence to the action (i do not mean spanking btw, i mean a boundary)? In the case of a child smacking their parent in their face, non-reactive parenting or whatever it is that is described above is a fancy name for opting out of parenting altogether, in my opinion.

There has got to be a line drawn in the sand as to what is acceptable and what is not. It’s called discipline and having the courage to do the unpleasant things involved in raising a child. Conflict avoidance at all costs (which this turns out to be, under the guise of an alternative parenting style) is extremely unhealthy in my opinion. I’m very shocked by this story.

Kat_momof3 on

This is the second blog I’ve read of hers and the second where I’ve found myself in complete disagreement with everything she’s saying. While yes, you want to be calm, you still have to react… you have to be firm and show that this behavior is something that affects people in a negative way and cannot be tolerated.

I also still can’t fathom why anyone would think that a child NEEDS formal school at that age. Of course, I get why daycare or preschool is needed sooner and for a longer day for the parents, who work, but to say the CHILD needs it… please. A child would most always rather be home learning in the most traditional way possible… through play and with their parents.

Jill on

I can’t believe that georgiegirl threatened to “beat the butt” of a friends child!! Every parent decides how best to discipline their child. What works for one may not work for another. But, there is no way that a friend or family member or anyone will ever “beat the butt” of my child. That is a sure fast way for my friend or family to never see me or my child again.

Shannon on

You can stay cool under pressure but still give your child consequences. My goodness I don’t this at all. And I am against spanking BTW but this is borderline neglectful.

michelle on

My daughter only hit me once (okay maybe twice) but that was when she was between one and two years old and I addressed it then and made sure it didn’t continue to happen. It sounds like this wasn’t the first time she smacked her mother in the face. I guess I wouldn’t call my parenting non-reactive because I sure reacted when it happened. I pretented to cry and turned by back to her and ignored her for a few minutes. She came to me to see what was wrong and I explained to her that she hurt me and it was not okay to do that. It happened once more time a few months after and I did the same thing and it has not happened since and she will be three next week. It needs to be addressed the FIRST time it happens and don’t ever accept the behavior.

Amelias Mom on

I take bits and pieces from the non-reactive mindset…but really…to me, I always remember that the word “discipline” comes from the greek word that means “to teach”. An act such as hitting would have promted me to use that opportunity to teach my dd about impulse control (2.5 yr olds have almost none) and say something like “In this family, we do. not. hit. I can see that you’re angry…and when we feel angry, we may say “I am SO angry!!! But we may NOT hit.”

Also…and this is KEY…acting out is a symptom that they are not coping. Look at what was going on BEFORE the hitting. Was there ample warning that the tv was going off? Was the child exhausted and ready for bed? Most of these issues can be stopped BEFORE they happen, with a little foresight and respect for the child’s age and ability.

MiB on

Non-reactive parenting is about reinforcing good behaviour and substituting bad behaviour with good, which is what she did here. My father actually applied his own version of this, and let me tell you all, the worst thing that could happen to my brother or I was our father looking at any of us, and say that we had dissapointed him or made him sad. Dad never had to raise his voice, my brother was grounded ONCE and we were sent to our rooms to calm down a couple of times, I had a couple of shouting matches with my father, but they usually dwindeled down tto us having a cup of tea talking about it since there is no point in shouting at someone who ignores you when you do it. We were not unusually well behaved by nature, we just realized that we got attention if we were good but no attention at all if we were bad, so we didn’t really see the point in behaving badly. Some kids respond to it, some don’t, but that’s the case with all parenting techniques.

ecl on

boundaries, boundaries, boundaries…all of you are talking about setting boundaries, but you are vague. Can you give some examples of what she should have done instead?

jessicad on

I know a lot of kids who will notice the negative reaction they get from the parents and keep doing the behavior over and over because of that. I think this method works well for a lot of kids, but obviously they are all different. If you use other methods that work great, but don’t call a mother neglectful over something like this, that’s just ridiculous. It’s not like she let her daughter slap her around then gave her a huge piece of cake as a reward, she re-directed and explained why hitting is wrong, that is a boundary.

My 3 year old is proof that it works pretty well, she started Mother’s Morning Out last August and they absolutely love her and I’ve never had an issue with her hitting or biting other children, even though it was done to her a couple of times. and yes I chose to put her school, and no it wasn’t to “get rid of her”. I thought of her as a 5 year old and entering school for the first time and how much of a drastic change that would be, going from home all day with me(or my best friend who has a son the same age and watches them together when I work)to school 5 days a week. It made me uncomfortable thinking about her being uncomfortable so I decided to put her in a few hours a day a few days a week, and she loves it. She runs to class and loves having new friends, they do a ton of educational projects, teach them about manners, listening to adults, writing, numbers, and the list goes on. I also have no problem admitting that I like the 3 hours I get to myself those days! 🙂

Angela on

I love this article and commend her to blogging about utilizing a controversial parenting style.

I find it sad that some people seem to feel that copying the child’s behavior by acting out themselves is a proper response. Honestly, one is to teach a child not to hit, by hitting them? You teach them not to yell in anger by yelling in anger at them? You teach them not to lose control by losing your control? You may think that you are exibiting that you are the one in cotrol in this situation, but if someone videotaped it and showed you later, you might have a very different view!

Non-reactive parenting is a bit like reverse psychology. IE: if you don’t run, they can’t chase you. You change the game simply by not playing into it. By not giving the child the expected reaction, you change the outcome. Ever run into someone who just rubbed you the wrong way? Ever try being really really nice to them? It catches them off guard and you have your foot in the door to explain your view, and change their view.

I think the poster who hit on nothing being worse that her father giving her the look or telling her she had disappointed him, hit on effective use of this technique. It is not about giving up boundaries, or not having consequences. It is in fact about getting your child to use their brain and decide to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because you are afraid to get into trouble.

There are many cultures in which aggressive reactionary parenting is not practiced. Yet children in these cultures grow up to be respectful, respectable, adults.

But this parenting technique takes dedication. You really can’t do it part time. Otherwise you have a very confused child!

I had several friends who had one reactionary parent and one non-reactionary parent. By the time they were teens they tended to ignore the reactionary parent, and feel terrible if the non-reactionary parent looked at them with that look. It was interminable for them to sit there while the non-reactionary parent just looked at them.

pamela on

i really value this advice…can’t wait to let my hubby read it. it’s the short little articles and ideas that resonate… thank you momma!

chelsea on

I don’t think her intentions were to allow her daughter to get away with hitting her. I think she was trying to communicate that holding your cool instead of reacting and yelling at your child is more productive. If you do no want your child to act out in violence than you should not do it yourself.

Modeling bad behaviour does not make the situation better. A two year does not yet know how to properly express themselves fully which is why they may act out in other ways to express themselves. It sounds to me by being non-reactive she is attempting to teach her daughter how to express herself by using words, not using aggression.

I do agree that it sounds like she may have been a little soft in these situations, but I also know I was not there so I do not know exactly what happened. She appears to be a very intelligent and caring woman so I am sure she has the best intentions for her daughter whether you agree with her parenting style or not. Every child is different and different parenting styles do not work for everyone.

Sara on

Why, as I read this, do I feel like she has this tone of “I know EVERYTHING and I have figured this whole parenting thing out”… It’s not that I don’t agree with SOME of the things she says, but as a reader this just comes across as a bit “know it all”ish and not very fun. I’m not criticizing the ideas, or even the person, (because I don’t actually know the woman) but the tone of the article…

Jane on

Elisabeth I just read this blog and thank you for writing about this. I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old and had forgotten how trying the 2’s are. You have helped me immensly with this, I have been struggling with the tantrums and found myself them occasionally. This gives me new perspective and I look forward to your next blog.

Jen on

I have a 17 1/2 year old and I have to say this advice is just as effective for her. Thank you for writing just what I needed to read today.

EJ on

What a really surprising and wonderful thing to find on People.com. Thank you so much for this!

Nena on

Lovely photo. Parents enjoy your children, whatever their age-related behavior. Twos, threes, etc. only come around one time. Just appreciate all the time you have with your children.

VV on

I just happened across this blog, and I really appreciate Elisabeth’s thoughts. I have a 3 year old, and I find that one of the hardest parts of parenting is remembering to take a deep breath, and react to a situation in the best way possible. Some days, especially when I’m tired or sick, or just tired of being in the mom role, my responses are not what I wish they would be. (I’m not referring to anything physical, but just my choice of words in certain situations.)

It’s helpful to be reminded that it’s worth taking a moment to collect yourself, look at the situation with a new eye, and then proceed to deal with your child in a calm, rational way (whatever your discipline style). I always feel better when I do this. And it’s also nice think about how these experiences probably do help us in other ways in our lives.

So, thanks!

Amy on

I do not agree you should be “non-reactive” when a child does something like hit you in the face. You should not react with anger, but that is different than being non-reactive. My son was a hitter at 2 1/2 – whoo, boy. He hit everyone any time something did not go his way. Me, his Dad, teachers(!), Grandma and Grandpa, other kids in his daycare class, etc. If we had not been firm and consistent I am sure the behavior would have gotten worse by now (he’s 4). What we did is that every time he hit, we would get down on his level, take his hands firmly, look in his eyes and say “We do not hit. Hitting is wrong and hurts people.” If he then hit again within a few minutes we put him in time out, either holding him on our laps or in a chair.

There is actually a great book out there called “Hands are Not for Hitting” (the same company has two really good other books called “Teeth are Not for Biting” and “Words are Not for Hurting” which we have also used). We would pick a calm time and read those books and that seemed to have a lot of impact. The main thing that worked is not letting the incident go by un-commented-on. Even if the infraction was minor, we would say, every time, “We do not hit, hitting is wrong and hurts people.” I absolutely do not believe parents should spank their kids out of anger or otherwise react poorly, but ignoring bad behavior is the reason why so many kids think it’s OK, when it’s not.

Shay on

Oh my goodness, so many judgements in these comments!

First of all, one of the greatest things about our country is we have the right to parent our own children as we see fit. I didn’t see anything in Elisabeth’s blog that talked about neglecting her daughter or abusing her in any way, and her daughter looks perfectly healthy and happy in this picture, so obviously Momma Elisabeth is doing something right. Just because “you would never tolerate…” doesn’t mean that y’all’s way works for every child.

My child is incredibly sensitive, he’s harder on himself than anything, so the non-reactive style works for him. Not saying it’s the best method for every child (if my mom had tried it with me she would have been trampled like a doormat lol), but if it works for your child then more power to you! It is an incredibly difficult style to use as a parent because it requires immense self-control (daily struggle for me, I won’t lie!) but I think my son is happier and closer to me because I personally treat him with respect.

I do set boundaries for him – he knows what he cannot get away with, but I don’t have to scream at him or hit him or use any other (in my opinion) destructive means of discipline. Granted, he’s only 2 and a half right now, so I know that I’ll have to adapt and potentially change my discipline methods as he gets older, but for now this works for me. 🙂