Parenthood is hard: it requires a lot of time, emotional resources, awareness, and, in the end, money. No one acquires the ability to raise a child right after he or she is born. It’s a skill we learn partly from the experiences of our parents and acquaintances, partly from books. And some things we have to invent on our own.
It’s easy to make mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. But for some mistakes (especially if you repeat them over and over again), parents will have to pay off broken relationships with children.
Punishments by themselves are ineffective. A child who is often punished becomes afraid of his parents, stops trusting them, and may commit even more transgressions simply because he is nervous. But punishments are especially harmful if the child does not know at all, for what he or she is being punished, and besides, he or she cannot ask about it. For example, because his or her question will be followed by another punishment or the answer in a spirit of “think about it / you could have guessed it”.
In the eyes of the child, you appear not only as a tyrant and despot but also as a stupid person. Acting in this way, you do not leave him an opportunity to justify, to give arguments in his defense. And this means that at any moment you can punish the children, based on unreliable information.
When you scold your child for smoking, playing PC games, or forgetting a cup in the living room, and 20 minutes later you yourself smoke, bet via the best betting site, and leave dirty dishes on the table, he rightly has a question: “Why is it okay for Mom/Dad, but not for me?” Worst of all, if the response is something like, “Because I’m an adult and you’re just a kid, so do as I say.” Such behavior will build a solid wall of misunderstanding and animosity between you and the child.
Rules should work both ways and always be reasonable and fair. Besides, if there are too many of them, it’s simply difficult for the child to remember them. Do you think before you voice another ban or scold a child?
The Stick Without the Carrot
When was the last time you scold your child for not doing their homework, not washing the dishes, getting a “C” on a test or ripped jeans? And when was the last time you praised him for doing his homework, washing the dishes, getting a good grade and looking neat?
Many parents take good behavior and grades for granted, as something that should not be rewarded. At the same time for deviations from the “norm”, they still scold and deprive them of various bonuses. If you regularly punish children, demonstrate that you do not approve of their behavior, but almost never praise or encourage them, they may begin to think they are not good enough, wrong, or worthless. And the parents look to the child as perpetually dissatisfied critics. This not only destroys trust and intimacy but also prepares a rich ground for depression, anxiety disorders and ruinous perfectionism.
“I Know Best What He Needs”
Do you consult with your child when you make decisions that affect his life? Does he or she have the ability to choose his or her own clothes and stationery? Can he or she decide what color to paint the walls in his or her room? Does he manage his time? Can he refuse a family dinner, a trip to his great aunt’s birthday party or a vacation at his grandmother’s house?
The answers to these questions will tell you how directive you are in your child’s life, whether you control it strongly. If your views on his life differ, and at the same time you do not respect his decisions and desires, you should not expect respect for yourself. And a close, trusting relationship to build in such a case is hardly possible.
Besides, the child may develop a state of learned helplessness. If this happens, in the future it will be difficult for him or her to make independent decisions, manage his or her life and time.
Another Kid Is Always Better
“Helen’s daughter already knows how to cook borscht, and you’re lazy,” “Pryanka’s son went to university, and you barely got into college,” “And what grades did your classmates get?”
This kind of motivation never leads to success, to positive change. If you constantly compare the child to a real or imaginary person, so that he is always “losing” this competition, the relationship will be tense and resentful. Son or daughter will always seem that you just do not love him, that he was bad and wrong.
“He’s All Grown up and Responsible”
Of course, the child should be able to make their own decisions, but you’re still a parent – the one who is responsible for him. And so some areas of family life must remain solely your responsibility.
For example, a child should not be deeply immersed in the financial problems of the family and the details of personal life of adults, he doesn’t have to take care of siblings, parents and other relatives.
Most often, excessive shifting of responsibility to the child occurs in dysfunctional families. This happens when adults suffer from addictions or mental disorders, live below the poverty line, or are unwilling or unable to fulfill parental responsibilities. But even in outwardly well-to-do families, parents may perceive the child as someone who is on an equal footing with them, rushing and forcing him or her to grow up prematurely.
How often do you have a heart-to-heart talk with your child – not about school or household issues? Or do you spend time with him or her without distractions like work, chores, and social media?
Relationships don’t build by themselves. The process requires effort on your part. If you exchange at most a couple of lines with your child a day, and once a month together visit grandmother, it is unlikely to establish a strong bond between you.