Nobody said it was easy. You’ve heard of “what you put in is what you get out”.
My daughter had gone to the school bathroom the other day and came out saying, “Isabelle’s mom is fighting with her.”
From the outside, I could hear the parent reprimanding her child in the bathroom. Inside the bathroom was an audience of little people with big wide eyes watching the “feud.” I reflected back to my daughter: how well she knows the bathroom as a place of “judgment” as well.
What I have seen and experienced myself as a parent is that we tend to fear the child’s tantrum-throwing, bad-mouthing, screaming, kicking and shouting, sulking or throwing themselves on the floor and crying. This can be VERY threatening and EMBARRASSING, especially with others around or in public places.
So what do we do to avoid those moments? We distract them (“what’s that?”) or give into their demands (“oh, ok then”) with a big sigh. And what does it teach them- NOTHING! Or ok maybe something: to manipulate or control us!
As a therapist, on the other hand, I have seen how some children are bad-mannered, manipulative and control the parent. Be firm and consistent with your child, if you had said no, he may not have a particular toy until a certain time, or he may not have a friend over if he didn’t do his homework– stick to your guns for goodness sake!
They will try the puppy look with a sweet “please” or the whingeing and whining until it leads to the wailing, stamping feet, arms in the air, crying stage. I warn you, parents – do not give in! Allow the child to blow off some steam within certain perimeters (bathroom, bedroom, outside away from a crowd) until he has calmed down. Then reflect back on what had happened and how it happened. Then teach him appropriate ways of asking and dealing with the anger and getting upset. And then maybe next time he will think twice before putting up a performance for everyone and making you grey a lot faster.
Please remember, though, that the performance may repeat itself a few times. CONSISTENCY – the child needs to see you are serious and he may try it again and then will start to realise you are serious.
Hey, we as adults would all love to throw our toys out the cot too sometimes, but is it appropriate?
Don’t be afraid to be the parent!