Aug 26, 2006
They don’t mean it
When your child asks you if he could play outside and you say No because he has to study for his exams, there are two things to expect. The first one, an out of the ordinary child would simply accept your words. Or, like every other child around the world, he would complain endlessly. The latter usually happens.
The argument begins. Moody bouts are thrown at you and sometimes, you might hear maddened “I hate you! I wish I had another mommy!” and other hurtful lines. So what are you going to do? You feel hurt and disheartened.
Thing is, when children are mad, they sometimes use hurtful words or actions to show their feelings. In what other form or way could they anyway? These sudden blowups should not be taken seriously. Don’t let it break your heart. In other words, he didn’t really say that because he does. It is because he is so mad that he didn’t get what he wanted and you were the reason for it. That doesn’t mean you should just keep quiet and accept such behavior though. But in order to react “wisely”, you should be able to handle your own emotions first.
They need to know that getting mad is fine, but there are different ways to show their madness. The one that is acceptable to the people around them and the one that will get them in more trouble. When a child uses strong words and shouts at you, turning your back and walking away after telling him that you’d rather talk later when he’s calmer, is probably the best for both of you. In that way, both of you can get a breather.
This type of discipline was never easy for me, I grew-up in a country where corporal punishment was acceptable. No parent really talked when they were mad, and children didn’t really have a voice. But things change and I’ve learned to apply this style in my own discipline measure.
My 35-month old and I had a small fight, wherein I asked him to go to the room and stay there until he’s finished with his tanturms. He walked away mumbling and turned to me before entering the room and said, “I’m mad at you. I don’t like you.” and disappeared with a loud cry. Had that happened without me yet accepting this newfound discipline, I would have used my hands to express my madness, taking those words as disrespecting me as a parent. But no, I just looked at him and said, “okay.” Couple of minutes later, he was fine and we were back to our good old selves again.