How to not give in to your child's demands
Created by Dr Reetika Inderjeet Juneja Updated on Oct 29, 2019
I walked with my child towards a playground today. My child was holding my hand. He saw his friends on the ground and quickly unclasped his hold on me. As he went away, he called out for me to sit down on a nearby bench and watch him. So far so good! However the challenge was that I did not want to obey. I wished to take a walk around the ground instead. My child stopped by to look back and again gestured me to sit on the bench. I am in a dilemma-To listen or not to listen to my child? Have you ever faced such reverse face-off situation? It could be any time when you want to do your own thing and your child wants you to do something different. How do you handle it?
Your Toddler And The Demands
As soon as your toddler learns the power of 'No' during toddlerhood and the power of 'I hate' in their preschool school years, they can get explosively expressive about the same. Things tend to be in extremes, hovering over 'I Like it' or 'I Hate it' with not much in between the two. To make it tougher for the parents, this black and white of 'Its all about me' can go all over into adolescence too. The demands of your child can range from
- Showing disgust: Eww, you cannot wear this color to my friend's birthday party
- Howling over: I hate your beard. Please remove it
- Stuck over: I want to go in Honda city today, I do not like Eco. He or she can get stuck on the type of toy they want
- Impatient over: Why are you talking to the neighbour, please look at what I have drawn instead
- Unkind over: I do not like your white hair strands. Please pull them away?
Sounds familiar? So the question for a parent is-How do I react to this? Do I follow what the child wants me to do?
How To React To These Demands?
As a parent that is the most pressing question for you and if for instance you plan to comply with your toddler's wishes then the scenario would be like this –
- Sit down on the bench while the child plays around even though you would have loved to take a walk or two instead
- Change your dress to the red color of your child's choice even though you would have loved to be in blue
- Cut your painstakingly maintained beard to keep your child happy
- Keeping the wishes of your child, switch to Honda city
- Lamely look away from your neighbour giving full attention to your child, as desired by the child
- Color your white strands to end the pleas of your child
Well, even if you do all that your child demanded of you did you get your fairy tale of 'And they all lived happily ever after' then? Do the demands on you end here? The answer is no. So then what do you do? You think and ask yourself this question – why do I need to give in.
Why Do You Feel The Need To Give In?
Before you readily give in, it is a good idea to reflect back-Why am I giving in? Is this what I really want to do? How long can I keep giving up at the altar of my child's wishes. Am I being selfish if I stand to my point?
Well, first things first. Who said every whim of a child, especially if it has nothing to do with him or her, needs to be met? Just ask this question to yourself --would my willingness to give up make a- Happy Child?
The answer to that question is 'no'. So then why do you give in to our toddler's demands? Maybe because you feel that if you give in to his or her demands for the time being it will stop them from complaining for that precise moment at least and we can deal with the repercussions later. But do you know what you are teaching your child by giving in to his or her demands.
What Are You Teaching Your Toddler?
You may think that you are doing your toddler well by giving in to his or her demands but remember that this is what you are teaching him or her.
- Being trampled over is acceptable: You are teaching your child that it is alright if somebody tramples over your wishes
- Keep others happy at the cost of your happiness: You are teaching your child that it is important to keep trying to please others at the cost of your own beliefs and happiness
- 'No' is not acceptable: You are teaching your child to be aggressive where he or she are not ready to take No for an answer and have his or her wishes fulfilled at any cost
Either ways, if you do not justify your choices you are doing an injustice to your own self worth and your modeling to the child.
Stand by your beliefs. Stand within your comfort zone. Patiently, open mindedly give reasons for your choices. Let the child negotiate, discuss, maneuver, go deeper why he or she is getting disturbed by what the parent is doing. Through this small dose of soft skills, the child also learns to be articulate.
What Should Your Response Be To The Demands?
Your responses could be anything that lets you keep your self-respect intact and lets you do what you want to do and not what your child wants you to do but at the same time making your child understand that it is how you want to do it.
- I know you want me to sit here; however, I would like to do some exercise while you play with your friends. Is there any special reason you want somebody here?
- I understand brown may not be your choice of color, but I like this color and am comfortable to wear it. If you wish you can help me choose between those two shoes
- I am maintaining a beard for a change of my looks and am planning to keep it for some time and I understand you may not like it. Would you like to share why?
- We are going to the market and smaller car is better for me to park there. I find it difficult to take Honda city there. Is there any particular reason you don't like Eco?
- I am having an important discussion with her. Please wait for 10 minutes. Meanwhile could you do something else please? I will join you once I am done
- As I grow in age, the hair loses color. I am comfortable with these few white hair for now. Why do you not like a white hair?
When you talk to your child like a reasonable person he or she will also react in a similar way.
What Can You Do To Ensure That There Is A Clear Line Of Communication?
You can do the following to ensure that your child understands that you need your space and freedom to do things your way.
- Keep your wishes clear: This is the first thing you can do to ensure that your child knows that you too have a wish and you want to fulfill it whether he or she likes it or not
- Be genuinely inquisitive: When asking about their concerns be genuine in your queries to find out if the child is building any notions based on his or her interactions with outside world and trying to get them across to you
- Don't take anything to heart: And never ever take anything that the child says personally. Bitter truth! They are too much into their own self to really bother about you at this point of time! A few stray comments here and there are no ways a reflection on what the child truly thinks about you or how much the child loves you
- Be firm with your principles: Stick to your principles, your moral, your values not to impose them onto the child, but simply to teach the child that you respect yourself. In return the child will grow up to show the same respect to his or her own self when facing peer pressure as well as learn to value your wishes more
Did you like the blog on giving in to your child's demands? How do you deal with your child's demands? Please do share your views and feedback with us in the comments section below, as we love to hear from you.
| Oct 11, 2017
very explicitly explained with examples. one is easily able to connect and feel like it's her own story.. my child always tells me what to wear on a birthday party and doenst like me wearing Indian clothes. however , I at times do feel like wearing a suit. I know now how to explain it to her without hurting her feelings. thansks Dr Dr Reetika Inderjeet Juneja for sharing this blog with amazing tips!