Tag Archives: choices

Sept. ’18 Q&A – Old Beliefs, English as a Second Language and Teen Swearing

Old Beliefs Interfere with Appropriate Discipline

Q. I could never argue my case to my parents and was told not to sass them and be quiet or I wouldn’t get to do what I wanted or I’d have privileges taken away. I don’t like how my parents handled this, but I still ended up believing that if I don’t give consequences/punishments to my child, he will keep misbehaving. I will, however, let him make his case when he’s older.

Our son is 4 yrs. old. We have a rule not to get into daddy’s toolbox in the garage. He was drawn to one particular tool. I’ve explained that the tools are expensive and that he can only use them with an adult. After 3 times getting the same tool, I finally put it up high. A few days ago I was out in the yard and came back to the garage to find he’d gotten out a tube of Ultra Black. It’s VERY gooey, thick, black silicone stuff. It was an ultra PAIN to wash off his hands and feet. We also have a rule to stay in the back yard, which we’ve gone over MANY times—he still goes out of the back yard. (We’re waiting for a new fence to be installed.) Is a natural consequence of going out of the backyard that he can’t play outside any more that day? Do I just talk to him about this rule? Are my expectations too high thinking he will just stay in the back yard? Same for not getting into the toolbox?

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Developing the Roots of Helpfulness in Your Children

Many power struggles are fought over attempts to get our children to do what we expect in the name of learning to be helpful and take responsibility. Too often our best intentions get derailed. Instead of teaching helpfulness and responsibility, we teach them they are disappointments to us.

“When will you ever learn to pick up after yourself?”

“How many times have I told you to hang your coat up?”

“Pick up those dirty clothes right now. I am not your servant you know!”

“Do you ever think about anybody but yourself?”

We get an idea in our heads about what teaching responsibility means—usually stemming from what we got yelled at for— and we plow ahead quite unconsciously. We fear that any exception to the rule will lead to anarchy. But what is the real lesson learned when we hold rigid to a vague principle?

Instead of threatening a time-out unless your four-year-old picks up her toys or your eight-year-old cleans his room, consider the agendas. Yours is to have a clean house: no toys to step on, dust bunnies to collect, mice to gather. Your child’s is to play and have fun as much as possible. If your child doesn’t do what you ask, you might assume disrespect, disobedience, or ingratitude when all she is doing is trying to get what she wants. That is her job after all.

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10 Ways to Stop Helicopter Parenting
Helicopter mom
Helicopter parents not only take too much responsibility for their children and fix their problems to protect them from upset or disappointment, they also tend to be overly punitive by not taking responsibility for themselves and blaming their children for their own problems.

When boundaries are poor, a parent tends to bleed the line between her problems and her children’s, unable to tell the difference. If she has a problem—exhaustion, impatience, upset—she may make it her child’s problem by reacting punitively and lashing out with blame or criticism for her child’s annoying behavior. If it’s her child’s problem—anger over being told what to do, forgetting homework, getting a bad grade—she may make it her problem by taking responsibility for it, fixing it or trying to making it go away.

When boundaries are not strong and a parent hovers to closely, the child learns to depend on the parent to step in, even in ways he doesn’t like, and so can relinquish responsibility. As he grows, he may lash out hostilely at his parent for creating the dependency he has grown accustomed to.

The most important counter action to helicopter parenting is consciousness-raising on the part of the parent to see the patterns that get established. Becoming aware of tendencies from her own background that prompt her to hover, protect, and control can release the ties and initiate the letting go process.

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