Parent-Deaf?!

400 300 Kirtanya

Do you have a child who is parent-deaf? The symptom is that the hearing with respect to friends is phenomenally high. But when it comes to you, especially the mother, he/she goes stone-deaf. Your ward knows exactly how to step around your limits and get his way… every time!

What causes such a selectively deaf condition? Most often, it is because the parents have used counter productive ways of dealing with the child whenever they wanted a particular behavior. These parents have unknowingly relied heavily on punishment/reward system of bringing up the child or tried to reason out excessively every time a misbehavior crops up.

A child who has been punished  repeatedly develops immunity towards punishments or a pseudo-submissiveness, which turns in to aggression at possible opportunities. On the other hand, when you rely excessively on rewards, you steal from the child the joy of right living. For right behavior is no more for the sake of  right living but for the bribe you get. Besides you need to like your reward every time.

What is wrong with reasoning with a child? When faced with instant gratification, reasoning is one of the toughest things to understand, even for an adult!

So what in the world should a parent do? Put in place a system of natural and logical consequences. As much as possible the parent should avoid the role of a law-enforcer and make children face the natural consequences of their actions.

I had this mother who attended my parenting workshop. She had a persistent problem with her daughter who took very little care of her clothes. No amount of reasoning and punishments would help. After learning the skills, she simply put in a system of washing her own clothes, whenever it was too soiled. She also was prepared not to be emotionally perturbed at the daughter’s expected defensive mechanisms. She refused to buy her clothes until the existing clothes were well maintained. Most importantly, she learnt how to side step the emotional blackmail and verbal warfare that children resort to in testing the limits of the parent.

It has been over four months now since the natural consequences have taken over the policeman duties of the mother. She reports a significant improvement in not only the behavior but also the quality of the relationship. In case if your child is parent-deaf, you may have to cut down the sermonizing part of your relationship. Learning assertive communication as against aggressive communication might really help.

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