Obedient child: why not with us? 5 mistakes of modern parents
Modern parents - people deeply unsure of themselves, says psychotherapist Robin Berman. How else to explain the fact that they can not always insist on their own, discuss with their children their problems, as with friends, and even allow children to raise their hands? Here are the five main signs of such unfortunate educators. If you notice them in your family, it means that something urgently needs to be changed.
Too much doubt
Best of all, children learn if you insist on your constantly. We call this "fixed reinforcement." This is your behavior that teaches children what you say, what you think, and do what you say. If you do not know how to pursue their own, children come to the conclusion that you are not credible. Your requirements are perceived best if they are constant. You will be surprised how quickly the child’s behavior will change if you learn constantly and consistently to insist on your own.
But if you sometimes insist on your position and sometimes lose ground, it will lead to disastrous consequences. In psychotherapy, we call this “variable reinforcement”, implying that the reinforcement received in response to a particular behavior is unpredictable.
An excellent example of this phenomenon is gambling. Throwing a coin in the gaming machine, you can sometimes hit the jackpot, but in most cases this does not happen. Nevertheless, you again and again return to the machine and throw a coin with the same thought: "What if ...".
Variable reinforcement can contribute to rooting bad behavior. If children feel that your threats are empty and that you can only sometimes insist on their own, it will be almost impossible to obey them. If you say no, but in the end, in four cases out of five, you give up, your words will mean nothing.
Too much talk
Another exaggeration characteristic of today's parenting culture is excessive talk and excess information. Previously, it was enough for parents to say: “No, because I said so.” Well, today we, on the contrary, are ready to explain each of our steps until blue in the face.
I watched a two-year-old girl play on the balcony, while her mother conducted a non-stop monologue: “Emmi, do not come close to the edge! You can fall and hit hard! It will be terrible! When you come so close to the edge, I get nervous. You make mom nervous! I will soon have to go to a psychotherapist. I do not want anything bad to happen to you! ”
Too much information. The child is only two years old! It’s enough for mom to restrict herself to a brief one: “Honey, you can't go there!” And that's it! Speak to the child briefly and tenderly. Feed him small pieces of information that he can easily digest. If the parent speaks too much, the child may stop perceiving his words - or, even worse, absorb parental fears and complexes for the rest of his life.
We must unlearn speaking all our own fears and experiences in conversations with children. To do this, you must consciously clean your speech from such garbage. Before you speak, take a deep breath and think for a few moments. Discard from the harvested speech that the child should not be heard. In this case, the less is said, the better.
Too wide choice
Another problem, in many ways similar to excessive talk, is the problem of too wide a choice that you give to children. It also upsets the balance and can be unbearable for the child.
I was very surprised when I once witnessed how my mother consulted with her five-year-old daughter about her future career: “Do you think mom should go to a new job, go to a bank, or stay at an old job?”.
Warning: this is dangerous for the child's psyche! The brain of the baby is not yet ready to make such serious decisions! The frontal lobes of the brain responsible for critical thinking in children are still at a very early stage of development and will finish forming at the age of far beyond 20. So your young offspring, in terms of neurology, is not yet ready to make decisions for you. At that time, the girl, looking at her mother, issued: "What ?!". Well, well said.
Children can be given the right to make decisions - but according to age. “Will you be chicken or macaroni?” Is a normal choice for a five-year-old girl. But forcing her to weigh the pros and cons of working in a bank is absurd.
Trying to become a friend of your child, you play with him on an equal footing. The problem is that there is no equality between you and cannot be. By building friendships with children, we again break the structure of power in the family. If you are a friend, not a parent, then your child remains an orphan.
As a psychotherapist, I often meet with patients who dreamed that their parents would finally take up their duties. So, mother Jill, one of my patients, all the time sought to be for his daughter in the board. She treated her company to alcohol when they were minors, turned on her daughter’s favorite music in the car at full volume and dressed according to the latest squeak of youth fashion.
When Jill, who was 25 at the time, invited her mother for a joint session of psychotherapy, she was shocked.
“Jill, you are my best friend,” her mother began. - You remained it always, even when you were still a baby. I do not understand what is wrong?
Jill looked at her mother, and tears appeared in her eyes.
“Mom, you tried your best to become my girlfriend,” she replied. “But I have many friends, and my mother is only one.” I do not want you to be my friend - I want you to be my mother! ”
One wonderful father learned from his own experience how the establishment of boundaries contributes to a child’s sense of security. The mother of his son died when he was a baby. Jay did not know the happiness of unconditional maternal love. Because of this, his father suffered greatly - and as a result he spoiled his son. He never punished the boy for bad behavior. In 10 years, Jay made a huge scandal in the store. He wanted to buy a film that the distributors did not recommend to children under the age of 13, and which his father considered unsuitable for his son by age. Jay threw a real tantrum, falling to the floor and jerking his legs.
Before that, while working with his father, I tried many times to convince him to set boundaries for the boy and consistently make him stick to them. However, until that time, the man did not have the heart to follow my advice. But then, finally, his patience ran out. He calmly told his son that they were going home without a movie. Jay sobbed all the way home. But after about an hour the boy already looked absolutely happy, laughing and joking with his father. And at some point he asked: "Dad, we did not buy the film - so why am I so great?".
We must be able to surround the child with love at the moment when he experiences anger, suffering, frustration, and let him experience these feelings in safety. We must be able to firmly hold the course, even if a storm of emotions overwhelms our offspring headlong. So go ahead, allow yourself to be free and get rid of the fear of looking like a “bad guy” in the eyes of a child. Take it easy for today's displeasure of your child - and I assure you, the story will be favorable to you.
Who beats whom
In modern family practice, I am most struck and horrified by the fact that children beat their parents! Alas, such monstrous and categorically unacceptable behavior today is not uncommon.
Of course, when previous generations of parents considered it normal to raise a hand against a child, it was no less terrible. With such a bad example, parents teach a child that problems can be solved with the help of violence.
Let's think about what message you convey in this way: “My child behaves disgustingly. I will beat him up properly, and let him know that if he is upset about something, he only needs to go and beat someone! ”
Yes, you will succeed in achieving immediate obedience - here and now, but in the long run you will most likely cause many problems. Studies show that children who have been subjected to physical punishment are more often unable to comply with the requirements of the discipline, more often show physical aggression, more often become victims of various kinds of addictions and experience mental problems.
"I was flogged - and nothing, grew up as a normal person!" - this excuse is very common, but this does not make it less vile. Memories of the physical punishment experienced in childhood are still painful for many adults. And the fact that parents have flogged children for centuries does not make spanking the right or at least an acceptable method of education.
But no less disgusting, when today, with the hierarchy of power turned inside out, children raise their hands to their parents.
Today, fathers and mothers send the following message to their children: “You are upset — so come here and give me a good slap on the face!” You, albeit unintentionally, teach him to raise his hand to his loved ones — to do what, as has been said, cannot be done in any way.