Are You Afraid of Your Child?Back to Top
by Saoirse Hannigan of MindMe.ie - Ireland’s Largest Childcare Website
Signs you fear your kids and how you can change their behaviour.
Parents fearing their children or more to the point their children’s reactions is much more common than you might think. Lots of parents are absolutely petrified of tantrums and their ‘kids' seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. Because of this they bend over backwards trying to please them.
Now, there's nothing wrong with giving into kids now and again and of course wanting what's best for them. However, children feel a lot more secure in an environment that has boundaries, where rules are gently but firmly enforced, and bad behaviour is never rewarded. Nobody likes the bold kid.
Vicki Hoefle, professional parent educator and author of "Duct Tape Parenting," says, "allowing children to set the guidelines is not conducive for their healthy emotional development." A pretty obvious statement but one we ignore at our peril.
Clinical psychologist and relationship specialist Dr. Jeanette Raymond agree, adding that "maintaining a sense of caring authority at all times makes a child feel safe."
Here are some signs you may be afraid of your child’s behaviour or the behaviour of a child you look after, and some pointers to help:
Do you give in too often?Back to Top
Giving in to kids' demands because it's easier than dealing with a temper tantrum tells children that you're not in control. It also makes them feel like they can do as they want. "You are the leader of the pack, so act like it," explains Hoefle. "Despite how difficult they make your life when they don't get their way, your job is to set boundaries. Living within set boundaries will enable your children to thrive."
Do you avoid setting guidelines for acceptable behaviour?Back to Top
Having no rules or having very strict rules that can't be enforced won't result in the good behaviour you want from your children. "It isn't wrong or bad to tell your child what is acceptable and what isn't. Make simple, clear rules that you as a parent can enforce, and do so at all times," advises Dr. Raymond. "The child knows where they are when there are clearly defined rules and consequences."
Do you create routines around one child?Back to Top
If you create routines to ‘keep the peace’ with one child whilst ignoring the needs of other family members, you are promoting selfishness and self-centeredness. "In addition, stress and an air of uneasiness will be present in the home because one child has too much influence," Hoefle points out. "If a child has to make a small sacrifice to accommodate the needs of others, he will learn to be considerate and consequently, greater harmony will be enjoyed in the home."
Are you consistent?Back to Top
For example, if you have a rule that no TV is allowed until homework is finished, avoid making exceptions. Be consistent in enforcing guidelines, or the child won't have a clear understanding of your expectations. Also make sure your Nanny or Childminder knows what your rules are.
Being a parent or nanny has its tough moments. Sometimes it seems like requirements for the job are nerves of steel and a backbone of iron. Nevertheless, remember that if you reward bad behaviour and placate your child to avoid a tantrum, you can expect the bad behaviour to continue. The good news is the above guidelines can help you navigate this difficult aspect of raising a well-balanced child.