Monday morning. Agatha’s running around the house, packing lunch for her kid while working on her presentation for work. Natalie, 8 years old, is busy playing with her dolls in her pajamas.
“Natie! Please get ready for school, we’re running late!”, Agatha calls from the kitchen. When she received no response, she calls again. In the other room, Natalie continues playing with her dolls – immerse by the role playing.
The frustrated mother barged in the room, “Natie! I told you to get ready right now! I don’t have time for this!”. Natalie gets up and frowns, “Okay mom” while strutting in the bathroom.
Have you been in this kind of situation? Wherein your only way to make your child listen is to yell at them? Why does your child ignore you and what can you do about it?
Path to a bittersweet childhood
Like every parent, we don’t want any harm to befall on our children. But we’re just humans, we make mistakes on parenting choices and discipline. What we can do is to be aware of our mistakes, own up and try to change it.
The effect of scolding and/or yelling to your child takes a toll in the long run. You may not be able to notice in the present but when the child grows up, you’ll see behavioral problems developing and many more.
When you scold:
- You increase bad behavior
As parents, we believe shouting and telling your child off can help prevent their behavior from worsening. Studies have found that children lower than 14, who have been yelled at by adults (or parents), were more likely to do rebellious acts in the succeeding years.
- Your child’s brain activity changes
Abusive parental techniques such as yelling, hitting, and shaming, increases the likelihood of mood and anxiety disorders.
Once a child is exposed to an environment which revolves around verbal or physical abuse, the child develops paranoia and extreme sensitivity or breakdowns in stressful situations.
- You create an unstable child
When you act before you think, it’s mostly irrational. We don’t think about the effect of our action to the receiver. In this case, parents yell at their children so that we feel superior/in power of the situation.
Every time we scold, the child’s emotional development is scarred. This may lead to depression and bipolar disorder. You may think it’s just scolding but a mere child interprets it differently. It doesn’t decrease destructive behavior but increase it.
- It affects the overall health
A child who feel they’re puppets of a play will grow up with chronic conditions. These pains can be caused by stress and anxiety. Besides this, the weight of your child also determines the level of stress he/she currently feel.
Your child’s behavior is the outcome of the kind of discipline and punishment you provide.
There may be times where you decide to stop shouting at your child. It’s easy to say, “I don’t want this and won’t do it again” but it’s another thing to see yourself in a tough situation that tests your patience and anger.
A predicament event is difficult to avoid, it snaps fast and needs an immediate reaction. Due to this, it’s easy to revert to the old habits of shouting or spanking.
Punishment or Discipline: What is it?
Every time you verbally or physically abuse your child, he learns to hate and fear punishment. This means, instead of grasping the reason why he’s receiving a punishment, the child will focus on the parent’s action.
Parents handle a situation in different ways, we follow the parenting style we see as effective. Below are scenarios to determine what kind of style you use:
George and Amanda are playing in their room while you check your emails and work tasks. Suddenly, you hear a loud cry from the playroom. You sprang into action and see the children fighting. What would you do?
- Ask the children the reason they fought, separate them, and spank or shout for hurting each other.
- Ask the children the reason they fought, start a conversation about the issue and try to guide them to find a solution.
Tony is a 6 year old child who talks bluntly and rudely to anyone, even his parents. There would come to a point when Tony has cursed during grocery shopping. Then, when he wanted a chocolate bar but didn’t receive it, he shouts at his parents and cries. What would you do?
- Pinch the child to stop being rude and spoiled. Tell, “wait, when we get home. You’ll get some spanking”.
- Pull Tony aside and tell how rude it was for him to do such things. Then, ask him to apologize for what he did and change how he formulates his words.
Samantha throws her dolls and stuff toys when she has to share it with other kids. Sometimes, she’d cry and push others when they play with her favorite toys. When her parents tell Samantha to stop acting this way, she’d bite her parent’s finger. What would you do?
- You confiscate Samantha’s toys and tell her if she still acts in a bad way, she’d never get it back.
- Talk to Samantha on why her behavior isn’t acceptable. If she has hurt someone, talk why that person feels sad and why she should apologize.
Now, If you obtained more A’s than B’s, your parenting style is Punishment. If you got more B’s then it’s Discipline.
There are two types of parenting technique:
- A kind of act where you use unpleasant methods to stop your child’s misbehavior.
- Two kinds of punishment
- When you hit, spank, slap, or use items like a belt to punish a child.
- When you say mean words such as, “you’re ugly”, “you’re a disgrace”
- An action that focuses to aid a child to realize the importance of controlling ones’ behavior.
- Two kinds of discipline
- You give a prize when your child does a good deed. Like, “You’ll get to have dessert for dinner if you finish your homework”.
- This is done when your child still continuous a bad behavior. “You’re not allowed to play after bed time because you forget to put away your toys”.
What should you do?
Punishment isn’t effective in interchanging your child’s bad behavior to good. What it does, is worsen the situation by creating a damaged child.
A violent cycle
Whenever you punish your child – verbally or physically – you’re letting him know that it’s acceptable to be violent or mean towards other people.
Withdrawal and disengagement
A child tries to avoid punishment by hiding secrets and creating a wall in your parent-child relationship. Yes, it’s the fastest way to make your child stop misbehaving but at the same time, your relationship is in jeopardy.
Numbness and no remorse
Once a child is used to the routine of being punished, they won’t feel any guilt of the action they’ve done to be punished. It’s the same as the phrase, “it’ll all be over and done with”.
Lastly, If you continue this kind of treatment, your child will grow up and do the same to his children.
So, if punishment isn’t the best option, what is? The main goal here is to teach your child how to behave accordingly.
- Being a Role Model
Children follow actions and attitude through observation and imitation. That’s why you may be surprised when your child copies the way you talk to your spouse or move in the house.
What the child see is what he believe is appropriate. Being a role model means treating your child with respect and love. You give him the opportunity to speak his thoughts
- Positivity as your focus
Negative punishment such as spanking and shouting creates a negative reaction. You’ve been there before, waiting for your dad to hit you with a belt while you close your eyes and try not to cry.
Why would you want to make your child experience the same thing? You know how it feels while you receive the punishment the turmoil and fear inside you.
- Knowing boundaries
Since eliminating punishment means there’s no more shaming and hitting, you will have to use the power of teaching. But there will be limitations on as to when you should teach, reward and penalize.
Once a child keeps doing the same bad behavior, you will have to find a different way on disciplining him. Example is by confiscating his toy, making him seat in the corner for 10 minutes, and many more.
- Awareness on child’s capabilities
There are certain discipline practices that’s only appropriate for a certain age group. You can’t possibly use the “no talking in the phone” to a toddler.
Same goes for being aware on the level of knowledge and capability he has. You can’t possibly teach a toddler how to do certain tasks that’s applicable to children older than 8.
Discipline is a way to create a healthy and productive relationship. It’s possible to change your child’s behavior into something you desire. As long as you follow the 4 steps: RPKA because who said parenting can be done blindly? It’s a must to take down notes!