Things you should NEVER force your child to do (Part 2)
Due to your great response to the first instalment of “Things you should NEVER force your child to do”, we decided to go ahead with part 2! Enjoy…
As a parent once said, there is always more to learn when you are a parent, it’s a never ending story. Life is a lifelong lesson; we never stop growing. You’d be surprised at how much we can learn from our kids, even those who have not started speaking yet. We get epiphanies just by watching our kids sometimes.
Never force your child to…
1. To pick sides. Marital conflicts are not unusual, in fact not having any might be worrisome. As a parent, you should never force your child to choose sides or love one parent more than the other. “Go tell daddy that dinner is ready, I’m not talking to him at the moment.” Leave your kid out of the equation when it comes to your spousal squabbles. You’re adults; handle it the adult way, away from your children.
2. To get lost. : “Enough!”, “Stop bugging me”, “Can’t you just give me one moment of peace?”– If you keep doing this to your kid, at some point they will indeed stop bothering you, they will stop talking to you and eventually alienate you from their lives.
What you could do is tell them that you will attend to them later if you really cannot afford the time right now. Say: “Go play for a bit and mummy will help you out in a moment.”
3. To accept labels. “You’re so slow…you’re so stubborn…you’re so clumsy…” you get the point, right? Parents do get frustrated when kids take their own sweet time, when the clock is ticking and there isn’t time to dilly dally. There are children that are extremely klutzy too, messing up the house and leaving spills everywhere (even in places that we don’t know about).
We feel you. But it’s still not right to say negative and possibly character-damaging things about your kid—in front of them or within earshot like “Oh, that’s my quiet one over there”.
Young children are impressionable; they believe everything they hear without question. Your negative labels might actually lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, even if you did not mean it in the first place. It is really unnecessary to pigeon-hole your child at such an early age.
If you don’t do it, then your child will not see labeling as a normal thing and will resist it as he or she grows up. It makes your child stronger and better able to stand up to bullying later in life.
Go to the next page for the last 3 things that you should never force your child to do!
4. To feel emotions your way. “Don’t be a cry baby!”, “C’mon, you are stronger than that!” It’s never a good idea to discount your child’s emotions or make them feel “more grown up” by expressing their emotions just the way you express yours. It’s only natural for kids to cry when they are upset since they can’t really articulate what they are experiencing internally with words.
If you’re instructing your child not to feel this or that, it might send them the wrong message that their emotions are not valid. Allow them to express their feelings and acknowledge their emotions. Help your kid by naming his/her feelings and aiding him/her to describe what he/she is going through. Eventually, the crying will stop because it will be replaced with descriptions instead.
5. To be more like his/her sibling. We know it is hard not to have a favourite; being biased is natural, so do not be too hard on yourself. However, it is extremely important to not let your kids see this preference.
Asking your kid: “Why can’t you be as hard working as your brother?” or “Why can’t you spend more time practicing the piano like your older sister?” isn’t going to achieve the results you want to achieve—it might foster sibling rivalry and resentment. Each child has their own pace, temperament, personality and character. Comparisons might lead to a dip in self-confidence.
6. To think that they are inadequate. Yes, you might mean well, you just want them to work harder, so you might be using reverse psychology to make them buckle up and strive for better grades. Does — “Why can’t you do anything right”, “You’re just good for nothing.”— sound familiar?
It does not matter what age you are when you are told that, it is still detrimental to the self-esteem. Focus on your child’s strengths and ask them how you can help them to improve in areas in which they are weak. Keep their actions and their person separate. Criticize the action, not the child. Remember to always be the source of empowerment for your children. You are their rock.
Revisit Part 1 of the series for more on things you should never force your child to do!