The majority of mothers complain that their children can’t follow the rules and say NO to almost everything parents ask them to do. However, some moms are concerned about having obedient children who agree to everything they say and never question a rule.
Should I worry if my child agrees to everything?
Trying to answer this question, I interviewed Certified Positive Discipline Educator, Rana Hany. The expert started by telling us that the absolute and unconditional obedience of a child is something we have to assess. Kids object by nature starting 2 years old and love to decide and make choices by time.
Parents play a major role
A mother can contribute in making her child overly obedient through three critical behaviors:
- Severe punishment: A child who never says NO to his parents is usually afraid of a repeated over-the-top punishment if he/she makes any mistake or breaks a rule.
- Conditional love: Unintentionally, mothers sometimes link their love or the love and approval of others to the child’s behavior. While guiding the child, the mother might use words like “This attitude will force your friends to leave you” or “Don’t do this because people will be ashamed of you.” Children start to believe that nobody, even their parents, will love them unless they say YES to everything. By time, the child’s main aim becomes everyone’s approval.
- Comparing the child to his peers: Comparing a child to his siblings and praising the sibling for following the rules can turn a child into an approval junkie. Comparison makes them feel that they’re not safe and that they are in a continuous competition. As a consequence, they resort to agreeing to everything the parents say to gain their love and pride.
Time for change
The parenting expert listed two main tips that a mother can apply to reinforce independence in a child:
- Avoid blaming and threatening the child: Threats like “If you don’t stop crying, I will leave you here” should be stopped. Such threats make the child feel unsafe. A mother should show her children that she loves them unconditionally no matter what they do. This helps the child feel that the family is the comfort zone they can turn to even after making a big mistake.
- Give responsibility to the child: Starting two to three years old, a child can choose what to wear, for example, to learn how to decide for themselves. A mother should also make them responsible for their actions. For instance, if the child makes a mess in the house, they should participate in the cleanup. This way the child learns to face the consequences of their actions instead of doing things behind everyone’s backs or seeking people’s approval to avoid punishment. This gives the child extreme self-confidence.
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