Please take a look at the article “No More Mrs. Nice Mom” in the NY Times.
I’ve read the article and watched the news report and I’ll respond to them the way I do to so many others…what happened to the middle ground?!
We have certainly had a trend in parenting where grown-ups want to be children’s friends. Often, grown-ups use too many words to explain to young children why they are behaving the way they do. Many parents use lack of sleep or hunger or having been “thinking about using that toy all day,” as an excuse for their child’s poor behavior. I’d also venture to say that the other end of the spectrum, where a child’s every moment is controlled by the parent, they are told that they are garbage and they have beloved stuffed animals burned, is not the best technique either.
Using simple, short sentences with young children to help them express their thoughts and feelings creates positive, lifelong abilities and good self-esteem. Lack of discipline and lack of consistency is scary for young children. They need external limits before they can internalize them. They need bigger, stronger grown-ups with their best interest at heart, to help them feel safe. Having expectations for your children while being aware of where they are developmentally, encourages a sense of competence and capability. Authentic praise when a child has done something respectful, responsible, or friendly (or something that reflects another quality you value), reinforces positive behavior. Gentle and consistent correction helps children to learn to make good choices. Threats and punishment are not the way to produce achievement, but neither is having no expectations and no rules….don’t forget the middle ground!
Parenting is about learning who your child is, and teaching them to be the best little person they can be. That takes a careful mix of love, kindness, understanding, guidance, rules, expectations, and much, much more. Most importantly, the mix and the technique have to reflect your individual child (and it may not work for multiple children in the same family) and your unique family.
This post could truly have gone on and on. If you have questions, ask. I’m here to help.
Dana’s Kids. Empowered Parents, Happy Families.