Our society is obsessed with children respecting adults. As children get older, our focus on this respect for elders increases. We tolerate what we deem as ‘disrespectful behaviour’ from toddlers and preschoolers, but once children are of school age our tolerance wanes. We take their backchat, rudeness and refusal to listen or do what we tell them to do as an indication that they are lacking in respect for us and we meet it with punishments, chastisements and consequences. We are wrong.
I often read comments from those dismissing a respectful style of parenting saying but the world is tough, you don’t do children any favours by mollycoddling them. It’s better to prepare them for the real world”
So often we over-complicate our discipline attempts. Remember this though – not everything has to be a teachable moment. Sometimes, making a small, simple change, is the best thing for your sanity and your child’s safety and happiness. Focus on something YOU can change, rather than expecting them to change.
I would say over 90% of the parenting dilemmas posed to me daily have one very simple answer; “you’re expecting too much of them”.
I come across this misconception time and time again; that if you don’t make your child do something (in an authoritarian way), then they will never learn and will grow to be rude and feral. People seem to forget (or perhaps don’t realise in the first place) there is a sweet spot in the middle – something known as Authoritative Parenting.
Coping with behaviour ‘in the moment’ is important, however it’s only half of the discipline. Unless you look at the cause of the behaviour and work to remove or reduce it, the behaviour is going to keep recurring.
I hear many myths surrounding gentle parenting. Some of them are so absurd that I simply just laugh them off. There are one or two though that really bother me. In particular the myth that “gentle parents don’t say ‘no’ to their children”. Because, actually – that really isn’t true. NO is not a dirty word and it definitely has a place in my parenting vocabulary.
My first real ‘red mist’ moment didn’t happen until towards the end of the toddler years. Since then they have been more regular than I would care to admit. You know what though? That’s life. Nobody is perfect. There is nothing wrong with anger, it’s a normal human emotion and actually a very useful one (more on this later). The problem is in the way we deal with it, especially in front of our children.
Why Do Children Whine?
Children whine for many different reasons; however, there are some that are fairly universal. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for whining and how to reduce them, using a mindful and gentle approach to discipline.
A child who feels sad, angry, unloved or struggling with a lack of autonomy is a ticking time-bomb. If their feelings aren’t diffused, with parental help, they are going to explode (aka – a tantrum)…..