6 Common mistakes parents make when confronting the child
Parents, when they discover something unpleasant and disagreeable about their child’s actions, fear that it reflects as their failure. Is your child hiding something? Read more As a result, a child’s mistake brings out, sometimes very violent reaction from the parent which is unjustifiable. Mistakes are a part of growing up. Parents must know how to handle the child’s mistake wisely. If your child has stolen something, or spoken a lie, it does not mean that he would lack integrity as an adult. You need to help your child to see what is right and support him to walk on the right path.
When confronting your child, though it may be an uncomfortable situation but crucial for both of you. It gives the child a sense of discipline, along with the idea of what is ‘okay’ and what isn’t. Here are some common mistakes parents make when they are faced with the child’s mistake and they need to confront the child:
- Don’t delay
Sometimes parents are aware of what has happened but do not confront the child as they either fear the child’s reaction or are unsure of themselves as to how to go about it. Once you know that there is something your child has done which needs to be checked, don’t delay. When the mistake goes unchecked, the child gets a feeling that it is allowed and unnoticeable and thus gets emboldened.
- Don’t shame the child
When you confront the child, angry and upset as you may be, it is possible to utter things which are hurtful. Don’t use shaming words which hurt the child’s self-esteem. It will be really difficult to undo that harm. Children take their parents words very seriously. Though it may not appear, they do hear and remember every word. Words like ‘liar’, ‘irresponsible’ are hurtful, and they do not fade from the child’s memory. Remain firm, but do not use words to ‘label’ the child.
- Don’t use extreme measures
Extreme measures will bring extreme outcomes. Sometimes parents directly, immediately punish instead of solving the matter and consider the punishment to be the solution. If you want to prevent your child from making further mistakes, the solution is through conversation. You must understand the child’s point of view as well as explain the discrimination between right and wrong. At times, telling the child of the consequences they could suffer as a punishment may be used. Yet, the punishment meted out to the child must be very gentle and only to reinforce your stand and never to hurt, harm or humiliate. For example, reducing pocket money could be enforced for a short period if your child has not spent it responsibly. It reminds the child of the mistake, yet does not hurt his dignity.
- Don’t confront in anger
Anger clouds judgment, so let your anger cool off first. When you find yourself calm, you would know that you are in control of the situation. Anger makes you volatile and reactive, and fearsome. It would make the child more defensive and try to cover up even harder instead of coming out with the truth. Without you realizing it, your anger could permanently sever the channel of conversation between your child and you. No matter what the situation at hand is, the role of a parent demands poise and rationality.
- Don’t burden the child with emotional guilt
Parents often find themselves saying “what have I done to deserve this”, “why have you done this to me”. A child has no such long formulated plan to particularly hurt the parent. It is quite ironic that when the child was committing the mistake, he was perhaps not even thinking about you. You must accept that it is an unnecessary emotional reaction on your part which has to be checked.
- Don’t forget to be loving
Remembering that a person, even be it your own child cannot be lovable at every point of time is a realistic view of a relationship. Love is tested by situations when the person you love does not do something loveable or agreeable. Yet, it is most important to treat the child with love and kindness even though he may have made a serious mistake. Harshness will cause the child to drift away from you, leaving you with angst and emptiness.
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