Too Much Telling
We can sometimes wonder why our child is incommunicative or resistant to our directions or at worst throws a tantrum and embarrasses us in public!
When children are very small, they are curious and eager to learn, but don’t have our timeframe in their minds. They are also usually keen to talk and to be in our company, but don’t care in the least about things like tidiness or punctuality. It is our job as parents to help ‘civilize’ our children, to teach them manners, help them attain some levels of impulse control and emotional regulation. However, we can be too keen, too critical, to unwilling to let children be children – to tolerate their mess and overlook their lack of control.
So we get on their case – telling them to do this and that, shushing them, demanding truth when they don’t yet know what it is, expecting sharing when they’re not developmentally up to it – in a word, nagging. So, if we notice this, what can we do? In Parenting for Everyone, Vijayadev Yogendra suggests:
So, do not give orders, but just make the children aware of when they are overstepping the mark. When it is a matter of getting things done, do not go after them; indicate what has to be done and if they do not do it, do it yourself. The result you want will come in time. For instance, if you want to cultivate in your child the habit of saying “Thank you”, then rather than nag about it, you can very occasionally give a reminder. “It would be good to say thank you because so-and-so was kind to you. Daddy always says thank you. But never mind, I’m sure you’ll remember it sweetheart.” Then forget about it for another five weeks or so. This means taking a long-term approach with your child and having the patience and consistency to see it through.
We are often working on too many fronts at once, and children can feel harassed. It is better to take up one thing at a time and overlook all the other points. You will feel more relaxed and so will they!!
I have posted the first chapter of Parenting for Everyone here. https://thefoundation.org.au/store/articles It takes up the topic of how to understand your children.