Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Screaming and Stubborn Child!!

Often, I get to hear this complaint from the parents about their child(particularly of the age group 3-6): "My daughter screams a lot or behaves stubborn when the object of her wish isn't given to her. What to do?". As a parent, I am not exempted from this.
Let us understand the child a bit here: It has a desire or wish. But, I as a parent, am not fulfilling it. So, what can the child do now? Had it been the same situation for me, as an adult, I have many alternates in terms of people and situations, if I don't get my object of wish. I can reach out to someone or take a different path. And I am also aware of the concept of time. But, what alternates and options does the child have in terms of people to reach out to? the approaches it can pick up? Or Is the child even aware of the concept of alternate itself ? No. It is not.
The parents are the only source for anything and everything to the child (Unless its a joint family or there are others at home with whom the child is close to). It can speak and express itself to the parents only and it has no alternate to whom to reach out; it even can't do it by itself (For ex: If it was getting a chocolate from fridge or getting a toy from wardrobe's top section). The only available options for the child are the basic not-moulded, emotional sources like screaming or shouting or behaving stubbornly. If we even close this, where should the pent up frustration, anger, disappointments of having not got the object should go? That is really emotionally unhealthy for the child.

If you don't want your child to express its frustration, anger, disappointments through shouting, screaming and behaving then teach it the alternates. The first thing we have to do as a parent is to listen to the child. Make him or her feel that its requests are heard. And whenever the request is not inappropriate either w.r.t the timing or safely, try to fulfill it. But, when it can't be fulfilled 'coz of one or the other good reason, try to explain to child the reasons, in its own language. And very importantly, stick to your decision once said. (This point of sticking to decision is open for debate. Will write about it in a different article). The chances are that the child might "reduce" the instances of screaming or shouting or behaving stubbornly as it feels heard and addressed, repeatedly. The trust starts building in it.

However, note that - these shouting, screaming and stubborn behavior will not be eliminated completely.
Often the questions like - Had I given it(the object) or not to my child or Had I slapped him or not does arise. There is nothing as PERFECT PARENTING. As a parent, I am also human being and made up of many flaws, own inauthenticities, fears, joys, confidence etc. There is no fixed rule which says, if I do x,y and z then it is correct parenting else it is not. So, whichever way you feel appropriate to the moment, go ahead with it.
And very importantly, notice that - On the other hand, its a good sign in the child that its strongly behind the object of its wish. This shows the strong will of the child.

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