Parenting is a huge responsibility. It isn’t always snuggling and cute hugs from your child. It is tantrums, mischief, messing and all those things from your child that throws you off your edge. Even the calmest ones among us have resorted to yelling and screaming when it comes to controlling our kids.
As much as yelling seems to be the right option at the minute, IT ISN’T. Yelling gets the job done at the minute and your kid might stop that behaviour for a while but it is only a temporary fix. It won’t be long enough that you will find your kid doing the same thing again and thus the cycle continues. Not only is yelling a temporary fix, it Is also a bad one.
Yelling triggers, a fear response in your child’s brain. It activates the centres that control their flight or fright response. Once your child perceives any information in this state of mind, it isn’t automatically processed and there is no learning achieved. Furthermore, the parent child bond gets compromised and the child stops trusting their parents.
The parents are responsible for moulding and shaping their kid’s personality and to bring out the best in them. Yelling, threatening and screaming isn’t how you get the job done. So what is it that you can do to make them listen? Here are a few tips on positive parenting that will give you the positive results that you have been looking for:
As individuals it is important that we introspect ourselves every once in a while. We need to focus on our inner selves and observe our own behavioural patterns? What triggers us? How do we control it? How do we redirect our thought of negativity into something positive?
We have ourselves been taught by our parents that yelling and threatening is the right way of parenting, but we know better. It is time that we break the generational cycle of abuse and learn the positive patterns of raising our kids.
As parents our duty is to enhance our child’s self-esteem and that is usually crushed by our yelling. Even us as parents feel extremely guilty after once we have calmed down and we need to remember this feeling of guilt when we get triggered.
We often find ourselves using phrases like ‘bad boy/bad girl’ to our kids. This hits their self-esteem and causes them to believe that they are not good enough. In the long run, it makes them not listen to you.
We should take care of the words that we speak in front of our kids and to our kids. We should always use positive communication when addressing them. For example, instead of saying No directly, we can tell them yes, but later. Or if we feel like they are asking for something absurd, we can tell them the bad news in a buffered way. In this way we are able to communicate our message to them and also minimize its impact on them.
What we sometimes fail to do as parents is the acknowledgement of our child’s feelings. When we repeatedly tell them to stop a certain behaviour or we repeatedly say no to them for something. They feel like their feelings are not acknowledged by us.
This creates the rebellious trait in them which makes them disregard our directions. That’s why it is important that we always acknowledge them. Even if we are telling them that something is not alright, we must always tell them that we understand how they feel and their feelings are acknowledged and respected.
This creates an atmosphere of mutual respect among the child and the parents and they don’t feel like their demands are merely ignored. Instead they get the sense that they were thoroughly considered by their parents.
Another mistake that most of us make is the lack of appreciation. And not just as parents, we as individuals lack the trait of appreciation. We need to appreciate others more, especially our children. We need to constantly tell them how amazing they are doing and how proud they make us feel.
Even on small things like putting their plates in the sink or finishing a plate of rice by themselves. We need to make them feel like their efforts are above the mark. Not getting enough appreciation makes them feel unwanted and they stop repeating that behaviour.
Human beings constantly seek approval and appreciation, especially from the ones that we love and care about. For children it is extremely important that their parents appreciate them and approve of whatever they are doing.
Coming back to the basics and learning from PAVLOV, we know that there are two modes of learning behaviour. Negative and positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is creating a reward system.
It is something that we can use for making our kids learn and understand. For example, if we want them to adopt a certain behaviour, we need to establish a reward for it. Every time our kid repeats the behaviour, we offer them a reward.
For example, we can tell them that if they wash their hands every time they finish playing outdoors, they will be rewarded with candy. It is better than telling them that they will face a bad consequence if they don’t wash their hands.
Another established communication tactic with children is the use of eye contact. When we make eye contact with the kid, they automatically get engaged and listen more carefully. They also get a feeling of being noticed. This extra attention often gets them to drop the wrong behaviour.
It is recommended that we stoop down to their level by bending a little and then make eye contact with them and listen carefully to what they are trying to say and then slowly whisper our reply. It reinforces the positive communication tactic that we learnt earlier.
Another useful way of communicating with children is the use of redirection. It is especially very helpful when trying to tell them No for something. Instead of telling them no directly, we need to redirect them to something else. Children often forget the thing they were asking for or it gets easier for them to understand and accept the answer.
Instead of this, using direct communication often leads them to throw a fit and doesn’t give us enough room to tackle the situation in a positive manner. For example, if they are asking for ice cream at the mall, we can instead say that “Ok we understand that you want ice cream for now but mommy thinks in this weather, you will get sick, how about some chocolate for now?”
It is important that we understand that every child is different and we cannot compare our children to how we used to behave when we were kids or how other kids behave. We also need to realize that our kids observe our behaviour and their behaviour is usually the reflection of our moods and patterns, so if they constantly repeat certain things, we need to observe how we have conditioned them into doing so. Being a parent is a tiring job and requires us to constantly learn and evolve into better human beings for our kids.
In conclusion, it is important that we take all the time and effort required to change our kid’s damaging behaviour, as well as our ill fitted response to the situation. We need to understand that our mood deeply affects our children and our negative responses can damage their self-esteem. Yelling, threatening, and screaming all can have long lasting traumatic consequences.
Thus, instead of resorting to these tactics, we need to use positive communication, acknowledgement, appreciation, and a reward system to get our desired objective. There are other tools in the box too, such as using the power of eye contact, understanding our own inner self and introspecting on our triggers.
Lastly, we need to understand that every child is unique and we cannot expect them to always act maturely since they are not adults. It is important that we give them time, and affection and set realistic expectations from them.