A parent was sharing frustration over her 3-year-old’s constant temper tantrums that occurred when they went shopping. On one particular trip …
“Everyone was looking at us. I still had so much shopping I needed to do. I had to make her stop, so I bought her a toy. But now she demands a toy every time I take her shopping! She throws a tantrum until I give in. I know I shouldn’t … but …. what should I do?”
I looked at her and said, “Just stop.”
We’ve all been there. However, in that moment, where does our adult brain go? We know that if we get our child that toy we are only rewarding bad behavior.
Do we also know we just taught the child they are in charge?
Say what?! Sure …
If I cry, mommy/daddy will give me something I want. Or at least I think I want it. All I know is I’m in charge and at this moment it feels good!
But kids don’t really want to be in charge. We are fooling ourselves if we think we are creating a confident, healthy child in this moment. Instead we are creating, well, lets say it plainly: a brat.
What causes us to abdicate our role as parent in these moments? The approval or disapproval of others? Our own discomfort? Laziness? Apathy? All reasons we can imagine why a reasonable adult might act in a way that makes no sense. But, now is the time to …
Stop rewarding the child for negative behavior.
Never forget, YOU ARE THE PARENT! You are the adult! You are the one with experience and knowledge – and it’s your JOB to train your child in the ways of life! They need to learn from us:
Consideration of others
The child in the store was simply doing a good job of being a 3-year-old. Mom, dad – in these moments step up and do a great job of being a parent!
Do not abdicate your parental position! Be fair, be loving – but be firm.
There might be some pain and inconvenience now, but the rewards will be plentiful down the road.
When are you most tempted to abdicate as a parent?