Next time you’re giving off to your kids about their bad behaviour, take a moment to consider whether you’re actually setting them a bad example?
Okay, so we’ve all been guilty of the inconsistency sin. It’s so easy to threaten consequences in the heat of the moment and then forget them almost immediately that children, from an early age, begin to think ‘well, that didn’t happen, so I’ll just carry on’.
Once you start threatening consequences without enforcing them, then the simple fact is that future warnings will go unheeded by your child, who will end up feeling unsure of what’s happening around them and ultimately insecure. Try to stay clear and specific and, when you tell your child of the consequences if they don’t do as they are told, then you must carry it out.
Trying to be a supermum
Anyone who has read Alison Pearson’s ‘I don’t know how she does it’ will clearly identify with the central character, who’s to be found at 2am in the kitchen, still in her business suit, bashing the tops of Sainsburys’ mince pies to make them look home-made! The simple fact is that trying to be a supermum, who manages everything without any help, can leave you feeling totally stressed out and overwhelmed. If toys are strewn all over the floor in the evening, remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world.
Living vicariously through your child is always a recipe for disaster. If you always wanted to have ballet lessons but couldn’t due to your parents’ financial restrictions, that doesn’t mean that you have to drag your daughter kicking and screaming to the
local ballet classes! It’s a sure sign of being a pushy parent when your desperation for them to achieve something outweighs their own desires.
Lack of boundaries
While you obviously want your child to feel that they can talk to you at ease, you also need to command a level of respect from them. Putting boundaries in place helps your child to feel secure. If there are no clear rules then your child can become very controlling in the home. Your child needs you to be a parent, not their friend, so don’t discuss your problems with them as they need to grow up free from adult stress.
Using TV as a childminder
It’s estimated that, by the time the average teenager has left school, they’ll have spent between fifteen and eighteen THOUSAND hours in front of a TV compared to the twelve thousand hours they’ll have spent in school. Instead of allowing your child to slope off to watch TV every evening by themselves, try to find time to do an activity as a family.
We’ve all done it, haven’t we? ‘If you do…..mummy will…..’ Sometimes it makes life easier, but the simple fact is that bribing children can lead to them not being good unless they get something in return. If you’ve been guilty of bribing your child, then it’s easy to break the habit. Instead of giving your child a bribe to stop doing something bad, simply give them a reward when they do something good or positive. Make out a set of ‘vouchers’ on the computer with ‘rewards’ such as ‘go swimming with mummy/daddy’, ‘watch DVD with mummy/daddy’ or ‘bake buns with mummy’ and then, when your child behaves well, or does something good, offer them a choice of the vouchers. They’ll love the fact that they’re getting to spend more time with mummy and/or daddy!
Arguing in front of the kids
Children are often compared to sponges and there’s a reason for that! Kids pick up on their parents’ moods – good and bad – very quickly. You are, after all, the example for your child so if you lose your rag at the drop of a hat, then chances are they’ll not be long following suit! You need to teach your child that it’s good to discuss and, yes, have disagreements, but it has to be done in a rational manner without shouting. If you find yourself losing your temper, do some deep breathing and leave the room for a few minutes to compose yourself.