A recent article from a UK based nanny stirred controversy through claiming that modern parenting skills are falling short. Her main point was that parents tend to give in to their child’s tantrums, and therefore reward negative behavior.
While there’s nothing wrong with giving into your kids now and again, children do need set boundaries with rules that are firmly and gently enforced. Allowing children to set the agenda is not conducive to a healthy emotional development. Maintaining a consistent sense of caring authority makes a child feel safe.
We’ve identified the signs that you’re appeasing your kids too much and solutions for change:
Avoid Setting Guidelines
Having no rules or having very strict rules that can’t be enforced won’t result in the good behavior you want to instill in 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. The child knows where they are when there are clearly defined rules and consequences.
You Regularly Give In
Capitulating to kids’ demands because it’s easier than dealing with a temper tantrum confirms to children that you’re afraid of them. It also makes them feel they’re free to do as they please. You are the leader of the pack, so act like it. Despite how difficult they make your life when they don’t get what they want, your job is to set limitations and to create structure. Living within boundaries will enable your kids to thrive.
When you have a rule that no TV is allowed until homework is finished, avoid making exceptions. Try to be consistent in enforcing guidelines, or the child won’t have a clear understanding of your expectations. If a particular punishment or withholding of privileges is associated with a certain offense, enforce the disciplinary action without showing the child you feel guilty. Also, don’t try to compensate and undo the consequences.
Retreating into Another Room
Retreating into another room to avoid an encounter with a child will send him a message there is something wrong with him. Establish weekly meetings to provide a non-threatening atmosphere to solve challenges. This is a positive venue to discuss chores, fighting and other issues that need to be addressed. Make sure your nanny is a part of these discussions, so the rules stay consistent.
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 behavior and placate your child to avoid a tantrum, you can expect bad behavior to continue. The good news is the above guidelines can help you navigate this difficult aspect of raising a child.