Parenting Article: Stop Screaming, Belittling and Hurting Your Kids
This parenting article
is one of the most important you will ever read. Have you ever felt bad about the way you've treated your kids? Maybe you scream at them, call them names or even swear at them or hit them. You know this behavior is unacceptable and inappropriate, but you can't figure out how to stop. You promise yourself you won't do it again, but within a day or so of making your promise, you find yourself doing what you swore you wouldn't. Why does this happen? What causes it?
To answer, let's use this parenting article to examine a common scenario. Let's say that you're in the store and your three-year old child asks you for a toy. You say "no" and your child begins to whine. You hiss at him to stop. He continues. You threaten that if he doesn't stop, you're going to march him right out of the store. His temper tantrum escalates. Your threats extend further into the future. You tell him if he doesn't stop right now, you are going to cancel his play date with his friend. Your son starts kicking and screaming and people are staring. You grab your son by the hand and practically drag him from the store.
Once in the safety of your car, you start screaming. You accuse him of being ungrateful. You point out every instance of his bad behavior. You go on and on. Something tells you to stop, but you can't. When you finally notice that the defiance in your son's eyes has changed to fear, you catch yourself. You're spent anyway—exhausted from yet another battle and your inability to deal with it effectively. You sigh and wonder why no one ever told you the truth about having kids. You're still angry and frustrated that you didn't get your shopping done. Together, but emotionally disconnected, you and your son drive home in silence.
Parenting Article Point: Here you are—an adult—ranting, raving, pointing your finger and snarling at a little three year old.
If you could have seen yourself in the car, you would have been dismayed. Here you are—an adult—ranting, raving, pointing your finger and snarling at a little three-year old. Since the purpose of this parenting article is to give you insight, let's take one step back and look at the situation from your child's perspective. He was disappointed that he couldn't have the toy. He expressed his diappointment through whining and throwing a tantrum. Since he's only three years old, he was ill-equipped to handle the overwhelming feelings that are part of disappointment. His behavior showed you this. But you weren't responding. Instead, you were reacting to his behavior and showing him that you are also ill-equipped to handle his disappointment.
If you missed what I'm saying, read the sentence above again.
Parenting Article Point: Your reaction to your child's behavior shows that, like him, you are ill-equipped to handle his disappointment.
In other words, you have not developed the emotional maturity to deal with athree-year old's feelings.
Now, I realize that what I said may feel like an insult. But since I'm not really talking about you, you can take a step back and see that in light of what happened in this scenario, what I say is true. The only way to change the pattern is to start to see the truth. If you're willing to step out of denial and into the light of the truth, gather your courage and finish this parenting article.
Although it may have not seemed like it at the time, your child's behavior was a cry for help. It was telling you, "Mommy, disappointment hurts and I don't know how to deal with it. I want the toy and don't understand why you won't buy it. I don't like feeling disappointed—it feels terrible." Of course, rather than helping him, like most parents, you pushed him away and compounded his disappointment with shame, self-loathing, fear and anger.
If you recognize yourself in this scenario, you are not alone. This is how most parents raise their kids, believing that everything is a struggle and moments of tenderness are hard-won.
My purpose in explaining this in this parenting article is not to make you feel bad, but to help you realize that this behavior is problematic and needs to change. Of course if you understand what you are doing to your child (whether he is one, four, twelve or seventeen) when you treat him like this, then your feeling of remorse will inspire you to overcome this pattern.
And it is a pattern because you find yourself doing it again and again. And when I say that "you find yourself doing it," I mean exactly that. Because it is behavior that seems to happen reflexively—without choice. After it's over and you realize what you've done, you may even feel like you've just awakened from a bad dream. It is a pattern because if you fail to stop it, then your children will grow up to treat their children exactly how you are treating them. This is why it's highly likely that this is how your parents treated you.
Parenting article point: This kind of angry, acting-out behavior is an unconscious coping mechanism that has been passed down in your family from generation to generation, destroying everyone in its wake.
I am here to tell you that the pattern can be stopped and that stopping it will set you free, make you a better parent, greatly improve your relationship with your child and transform you into a better human being.
Pledge right now to stop the pattern. Sign up for my
and you will learn how to put an end to this pattern of abuse. Do it for yourself, do it for your children and your unborn grandchildren.
About the Author of this Parenting Article:
Return from Parenting Article to Family Matters Parenting Magazine home page
Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. It is the only book that uses ancient native concepts and heart-centered psychology to show parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and unfold their spiritual nature. The book leads parents on a journey that is rewarding and fulfilling and will completely transform their lives.
This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written permission of the author. However, you may link to it from your web site, blog or forum. parenting article