As a parent, it’s completely your responsibility to set limits or rules for your children to follow. More often than not, however, you find yourself in a quandary when kids refuse to toe the line, so to speak. Getting them to brush their teeth, for instance, is a constant battle. You can’t very well force them to do it, but it’s something they have to make a habit of, so how do you implement this rule—and many others—without threatening them with punishment and essentially become a villain in their eyes? Dr. Laura Markham has something to say about this matter in her blog for Psychology Today.
Forcing kids to follow rules can be costly
Dr. Markham says forcing kids to follow limits or punishing them for breaching those same limits can impact our children negatively. For one, it teaches kids that threats and force are good ways of resolving conflicts or disagreements. For another, it creates a power struggle between you and your child, which could only escalate with the passage of time.
What to do when kids refuse to follow set limits
In situations like this, it’s always advisable to remain calm. According to Dr. Markham, you have “the power to calm the storm or inflame it”. The former, of course, is always more preferable. Sincerely acknowledging your child’s point of view on the issue is also a good way of going about it. If you can make a game of it, the better. Be creative enough to find a win/win solution to whatever issue is at hand.
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