Coping with a child’s bad behavior, perhaps more than any other aspect of parenting, can cause stress, family dysfunction, and a general loss of harmony in your home. Over time, negative behavior cycles can become ingrained in a family’s way of interacting with each other.
This article will be divided into three post that will be publish in three weeks.
Be a benevolent dictator
In today’s times it is tempting to think of our family as a small Democracy, giving equal weight to the wants and needs of every member. Families schedule meetings to discuss rules. Negotiation is a skill learned even before tying shoes. Rules apply only if children choose to obey them. Giving children lots of choices seems to be of paramount importance.
Parents who operate these types of Democracies think that they are showing their children love and respect. In fact, what these parents are showing their children is that they don’t have the fortitude to do what is right.
This approach belies the fact that we parents usually have decades more life experience than our children, we have had more education, and we are more mature (hopefully). In short, we should be the ones in charge. Contrary to what children might say, they in fact, want us to be in charge.
They know better than anyone what their limitations are, and if they are given too much responsibility, it scares them. Imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly put in charge of a small country in a foreign land. You might feel powerful, but I dare say, you wouldn’t feel secure. It’s like being the captain of a sailboat and not knowing how to sail. Eventually you would run aground.
Research has shown that in order to raise well-adjusted kids, parents need to be authoritative. Authoritative parents were described as people whose motto is, “I love and respect you, but since I am the parent, you have to do what I say regardless of whether you agree with me.” Taking this type of approach with your child ensures that they know they are loved, and that they will be saved from making bad choices because they have a parent looking out for them.
Setting limits for your kids makes the world more manageable for them. They feel safer knowing what the boundaries are, and in knowing that they have your help to stay within them.
This article was written by Katie Basson. Katie Basson is a parent, teacher, and creator of The BITs Kit Better Behavior Kit for Kids™. Katie teaches seminars on behavior modification techniques, and assists parents through challenging behavioral and educational issues. She serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA and is an educational advisor to Zoesis, Inc., a children’s software company. Katie’s expert advice has been sought for articles in The Boston Globe and Parents Magazine.