“I’m never raising my child like that.” “Kids can be rude!” “How ungrateful can a child be? They certainly were not raised well.”
And it goes on and on and on until you’re the one on the receiving end and it hits you that you’ve turned into a parent to one of the ungrateful kids. Of course, this makes you sad and angry with yourself.
But, now is not the time to complain or castigate yourself. Instead of the self-doubt and self-hate, it’s time to be a parent – show yourself some compassion and then address the discipline issue. Children will mimic what we do, and they might take after their environments. You can, however, change things. All you need to do is to put your foot down. Like it or not, that’s enough! Your child’s ungrateful behaviour/tone is enough. It’s time to stop your child’s endless requests and the ungrateful attitude once and for all. Lord knows the world needs more grateful children and people.
So, how do you turn down that request and the sweet spot that touches the deepest part of your heart? How do you stop negotiating, bribing, and saying no to more cookies, toys, and cakes? You know that he or she might never get satisfied and they’ll keep asking. You also know that this stage teaches your child the art of negotiating, but you still have to make sure that your child turns out better for it. So, how do you go about it?
Make that deal
If your child is regularly trying to avoid something they like or if they’re having fun, he/she will try to push your limits. This habit doesn’t have to be the worst part of your day. Use it to your advantage and get her/him on board, ahead of time. For example, if he/ she always asks for one more chapter of their favourite bedtime book during dinner or a few more minutes of screen time during the weekends, decide ahead of time the number of chapters or extra minutes they will get. You can make this easier by giving them two choices – for example; you could ask them if you should read one chapter or two. So, if after you finish one chapter or two (depending on your agreement), they ask for a little more, remind them of the deal they made, kindly. If you tell him/ her that you might read more the next day, they will be satisfied.
You might not have to remind your 5-year-old that they have 30 more minutes of screen time every second. However, you could warn him or her halfway through what they are doing. By giving notice, your child knows when to stop, and if he/she always has a comeback, you can anticipate it and have the perfect answer around the argument. If it’s a game, a notice can be as simple as “this will be your last game of you lose to me.”
Empathize and feel their pain
Even with limits and a deal made in advance, your child might plead for more. If this happens, your child will be less confrontational and more cooperative if you show empathy. Next time your little one insists that he needs two toys, respond calmly: “I know, munchkin.” Empathy will calm him/ her down and take them down the path of rational thinking. After empathizing, remind him/ her about your prior agreement.
Stand Your Ground
Finally, stand your ground. Say no. Stop arguing. Walk away.
Remember that every parent goes through this, be patient with yourself and your child. Soon, he/she will appreciate everything you do.
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