The idea that WE, as parents are our children’s biggest bully doesn’t seem to fit the title, it makes us squirm but it’s the harsh reality. We begin this by holding them to standards higher than we hold ourselves.
1) We too become disappointed and this leads to frustration but when they become this way, we call it tantrums and grant them time outs or other form of punishments. Instead we should, give them the space to experiment and limit the rules we present to them so they will feel comfortable and competent to try something else.
2) We embrace the notion of independence by overcoming obstacles and pushing limits but when they do, we are waiting and ready to mete out some form of absurd punishment.
Instead, we should be gentle when they get it wrong. Children want to do the right thing and they are trying their hardest. Don’t come down hard on mistakes – they’re still figuring it out. Treat the mistakes they make as opportunities to teach them something valuable, and in the midst of all that, afford them to the opportunity to be “little people” when they tire.
3) We tell them to make good word choices but we fail miserably at times. The scariest part of verbal abuse is that often times we are unaware that it is happening but this scars children in much the same way as physical abuse does.How many times have you said or heard someone say things like:
– why aren’t you more like X person?
– why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?
– boys don’t cry
– why don’t you grow up?
– when will you ever learn?
– you must not love me because…
Sometimes these questions, statements and harsh words are a representation of our childhood; perhaps it is an effect of frustration in another aspect of our lives or maybe we see it as a form of tough love; whatever reason you allude, it is WRONG.
Quick Steps to Improve this:
1) Remove yourself from the situation and when you return, ensure that you connect in some way- through kind words, through a hug, a touch- but connect in order to “reconnect”.
2) Commit to making your home a zone free from name calling, bad words, insults and instead consciously replace them with positive words.
3) Apologize when you make mistakes, that too is an opportunity to show our children that when mistakes are made, we should apologize, AND MEAN IT!
4) Eat and Drink- This is a distraction from the situation that always works.
5) FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT- if nothing else works, just fake it, pretend to be patient, pretend to be calm, pretend to be in control of your actions and words, pretend to be a responsible adult….until you make it!