Your Child Needs To Be Respected Too!
Created by Deepti Deshpande Updated on Jun 07, 2021
It is not an uncommon sight: a mom scolding her little child for some mischief …one hand on her waist, and with the other, wagging a finger at him, a frown on her face. The little one listens to her with his lips pursed and eyes all sheepish. After all, the mom doesn’t know how much fun it is to turn the entire contents of the soap dispenser upside down, into the tub full of water… so many bubbles to play with… if only she would join him too.
A child acting up in the middle of a birthday party because he wants to cut the cake instead of the birthday boy; and no matter how much you reason out or cajole, the bawling reaches decibels that you start wondering if your hearing will get affected after all.
I am sure there is hardly a mom out there who cannot relate to the above two scenarios. Well..welcome to not-so-easy world of parenting. A child’s tantrums can sometimes push us moms to the brink and make us wonder where all that energy comes from. And, it can be daunting to try and figure out a concrete resolution that is a ‘win-win’ situation for both the mommy and the child. Though it has been scientifically proven that your child acts up because his/her brain is not yet developed enough to understand the virtue of patience and logic as compared to us adults, sometimes we want to pin down a perfect solution. And, in this scenario, we tend to forget that the little one also needs to be treated with respect.
So what is the solution for a behaviour gone ‘wrong’ in our adult definition? It lies in connecting with the child at his/her level of understanding and emotional wavelength. Here are a few things that can work and stop you from losing those remaining precious strands of hair from your head and save the poor child his/ her energy for the ‘greater good’, (in their definition jumping on the couch)
Take the child away from the situation – especially in a social setting, for instance, if there is snatching on account of unwillingness to share. This will neutralize the conflict and prevent it from escalating further.
Provide a safe space- After all the best results can be achieved only when the child is in a calmer state. At home, it might be easy to let the child yell or punch a pillow, but do not allow the child to hit you or someone else physically. You can firmly tell the child that it is completely unacceptable. However, in a social setting like a restaurant, the dynamics change. You can pick up or take the child outside for a small walk. Alternately you can sit the child in your lap and give a firm hug if he/she permits you at that point of time. A washroom can also substitute temporarily to make up for a lack of another space.
See eye to eye – this literally should translate into what it means. Imagine yourself walking into a room full of giants, everybody towering over you and most objects out of your reach, one of them looking down and talking to you. Perhaps, that is what a child feels around adults, especially in a tense situation. To remedy this, either lower yourself on your knees or place the child on a higher platform so that you both are at ‘eye level’. Tell your child that you understand what he/she is feeling. Acknowledging your child’s anger is half the battle won. Phrases like ‘ I know you are angry, would you like to tell me about it’ or ‘ it must feel so terrible, I would like to help you’ give the child a blanket of emotional security and trust.
Provide clear and realistic options – Give options that can actually work along with clear guidelines. For instance, at the birthday party example, one can say “ I know you would like to cut the cake, but it is Riaan’s birthday… he may feel bad..it will be great if we can let him cut his cake. How about we help his mom cut the rest of the cake.” Clear demarcations of what is acceptable and what is not, builds clarity of actions.
Reward good behavior – Rewards do not always have to be treats or actual objects. A lot of genuine verbal praise can also make the child surer and more confident about self-regulation, the next time a similar situation presents itself.
The parent-child connect becomes stronger and conflict-free when we as parents treat our little ones as independent entities with their own will and who deserve as much respect as anyone else. Hope you like this blog and if you do, share it with your friends and family!