In the past, it was a common theme for children to be scared of their parents. Now, some parents seem scared of their children. Times have changed from the idea that children should be seen and not heard, to being heard and continually indulged. In today’s society some parents are very much uncomfortable with the idea of setting limits or boundaries for their children and asserting themselves as the person in charge of the family unit.
It is natural to want to attend to your child’s needs and to be a responsive parents, however there has to be a balance. If not, you run the risk of being a “yes, yes – parent” wanting to please your child and struggling to say the word “no”, to their ever growing demands.
Not having a balance with being responsive to your child’s needs, shifts the balance of power within your household. This is a very unsafe position for your child to be in. Try to be assertive with your parental responsibilities. “Let your yes, be yes, and your no, be no”…. and support them in regulating their emotions whenever they do not like the answer you give them. Being firm and consistent gives them no room to negotiate and will reduce the number of tantrums that are displayed at the store or stop the emotional bullying into getting their own way. But not being firm, will reinforce the bad behaviour and in turn teach them that crying and throwing tantrums gets them what they want.
As a parent you want to help your child develop the skills they will need to be successful in school, at work, in a relationship and in interacting with people in general. Help them to be resilient individuals by tolerating their emotional outbursts and helping them to regulate their emotions in a better way. Recognise and empathise with their emotions, but do so in an assertive way: “I know you’re sad because you want some ice cream right now, but you can have some after dinner. Just not right now.”
Your child should understand that there are consequences for bad behaviour. Don’t be afraid to discipline your child. Discipline is not the same as abuse or hurting your child: it can be taking away an item or an activity they love for a set time. You are the adult and your responsibility is to parent your child. You can do this in a loving way even when they are angry, hurting or crying. Doing this will stop the emotional bullying and allow you to gain control back as the person in charge of your family unit.