Everyone has seen it….the parent in the store trying to shop while the child is screaming for something that he can’t have. The parent keeps saying “no”, and keeps getting louder and louder, explaining why to the child, getting increasingly frustrated and angry. As the parent gets louder, so does the child. Finally, the parent gives in, and the child gets exactly what he was begging for.
Let’s face it. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual. It is a learn-as-you-go experiment that, unfortunately, puts you in the driver’s seat with your children hanging on for dear life. The good news is that parents can learn from each other. Some basic principles apply to raising children, and it doesn’t matter what your status is. You can be married or single, rich or poor.
One of these basic child-rearing principles is this: Never argue with your child. You are the parent. Period. There is nothing to argue about. What you say goes, and your child doesn’t have to like it or even pretend to like it. It is what it is. When you argue with your children, you are sending them an entirely different message. You are telling them that they have a chance of winning the argument. The fact is they should NOT have a chance of winning the argument, because you are the grown-up, and what you say goes.
Far too many parents give in to their children’s tantrums. They get tired of hearing them. They get tired of telling them over and over how it is. So they cave, and the child is thinking to himself, “Wow. That tantrum stuff works. I need to do that every time I don’t get what I want.”
Cave in only one time, and you will regret it for a very long time. The child begging for candy will one day be a teenager begging for the car. Be firm in what you say, however, and your child will get the message. Soon he will realize his tantrums are a waste of time. So the next time you are shopping and your child decides to start begging for something he knows he cannot have, tell him quietly no. Don’t raise your voice. Don’t argue. Matter- of-factly say “No. Not today.” He will scream and cry and continue to beg…for awhile. But if you remain calm and stick to what you say, he will eventually stop. The next time you go shopping, he will not tantrum for as long. Eventually, he will not tantrum at all.
Never take what seems to be the easy way out while you are raising your children. A little firmness and discipline will save you a lot of heartache down the road.