We have three-and-a-half children. Sometimes we want to run away screaming. However, we consistently get compliments about their behavior. A dozen times old ladies have given them candy or money because they were so impressed. Being a parent is complicated, but here is one rule that goes a long way. Don’t Grab Your Children!
I see it constantly. A child is doing something that embarasses her parents. Maybe they are running in church or going after that fragile decoration on a friends coffee table. Mom or dad tells them to stop and is ignored. So they grab her. The parent physically stops the kid from doing whatever it was. This is always a mistake.
Now, I am no bleeding heart.. I am a believer in spanking at the right moment and age. The problem with grabbing your kids is that it doesn’t work. The child is out of control. They need something to control them. But when you grab them the point of control is outside their mind and body.
Imagine you are the child. You know you are doing something wrong. That is the seed of responsibility and self control. As soon as mom grabs you it is taken away. It is mom’s responsibility to hold you back, not yours. You learn that you can do whatever you want and someone else will make sure you don’t go too far. That is a super bad lesson to learn.
But you say, what else can I do? The answer is simple and bears incredible fruit.
Don’t Grab Your Kids!
I like to think of it as a game. Here are the rules.
1) You must get them to stop if you said no.
If you say no you have to deal with it. You face it head on every single time, even if it is small. If little Billy is climbing on a table and you have never told him he can’t then fine, you can let it go on. But if even once you say ‘No climbing on tables’’ you MUST confront Billy until he stops.
2) You cannot touch them
You can’t grab Billy and pretend to hug him so he doesn’t climb up anymore. You must use your words. You can promise consequences as long as you follow through.. This means Billy has to think. The point of control is inside himself. You are giving water and sunlight to that seed of responsibility. The choice is his.
3) You can punish them in appropriately
Billy is going to ignore you. He must have consistent consequences just like he will later as an adult. Spanking and timeouts can be good, but be creative. Most times there are more important things you can take away. Don’t think of this as doing something against your child. You are helping them.
That’s it! Win the ‘Don’t Grab Your Kids Game’ and soon your children will learn responsibility. They will respond when you say something and little old ladies will love them.
Tell me what you think – Isaac