Tuesday 21 August 2012

Why We Shouldn't Tell Our Kids to "Stop It!"

As parents, whenever our kids are misbehaving, our first instinct is always to ask them to "Stop it!"

But as you can see in this humourous video, it is not really helpful..

I was at a training recently where we were being taught on how to use the Attachment Model for children living in children's homes aka residential care. Our trainer, Dr Art from the Center for Family Development, showed us this video to illustrate that as therapists or staff working with children with history of abuse and neglect, just telling the child to stop the behaviour or stop the emotions is not going to lead to long term results.

I really enjoyed the course and thought that some of what I've learnt can be used as parents in dealing with our children as well so I'm sharing some of my learning points with you =)

1) Ask Questions, Don't Assume

I, for one, am very guilty of this! If my girl is throwing a tantrum, I assume she is in one of her princess moods and scolds her, only to find out that she is actually frustrated that she wanted to give me a piece of sweet but I was totally not paying attention. I ended up apologising profusely to her.. for being such a mean mum =(

So the next time your kid is "acting up", pause and find out what's really going on; which leads me to the next point..

2) Address the Cause, Not the Behavior

Dr Art illustrated it this way, if you have a fever and go to the doctor, your doctor is not going to give you medication for the fever. Instead, he's going to ask you some questions, check your throat, listen to your lungs and then treat the infection that causes the fever. If you treat the infection, the fever goes away.

Similarly, whenever a child throws a tantrum (i.e fever), we've got to dig deeper & address the cause of the behaviour (i.e infection).

Very often as parents, myself included, we tend to focus our attention on stopping the behaviour. "Stop whining!", "stop screaming!", "Why are you not doing your homework? Stop watching TV!" And when they continue to exhibit the behaviour, we get frustrated and wonder why our kids are not listening to us.

Instead, we should be finding out why they are behaving the way they do.

Ask them (after you've calmed them down), "Why are you screaming? Are you feeling angry? Why are you angry?"

More often than not, once you address the cause of the bahaviour, the behaviour will go away.

3) True Relationship Begets True Compliance

It is in-built in us to want to please the one we love.

Instead of focusing on enforcing compliance via punishment or force, focus on building your relationship with your child.

Once you've got a great relationship with your child, your child will want to obey you simply because they love you and not because of a strict set of rules and regulations.

Isn't it just like how we obey God because we love Him? That's the best kind of compliance!

Hope these learning points are as helpful to you as they were to me =)
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