Your Brat's Doormat?
I watched a disturbing episode of TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras show. Why did it disturb me? One little contestant hit, screamed, pinched, and resisted her mother's attempts to discipline her. She was out of control. She was miserable. Mom was embarrassed but confessed, "I want her to know I love her regardless of behavior."
Admirable goal, Mom, but there's a difference between unconditional love and letting a child walk all over you.
What was the lesson little "sweetie" was learning? "The world revolves around me, my needs, and my mood, consequently Mom can adapt to me!"
Mom needs to recognize that unconditional love separates the doer from the deed. It says, “I love you and not your behavior now.” Love takes the time and energy to confront and correct ugly, wrong behavior.
Even if kids scream, "You don't love me" in a fit of anger, that's no reason to back off and let them wipe their feet on you. I see too many parents who - don't have "strong-willed" kids but - are weak-willed adults. Good parents set boundaries and teach respect. Children feel loved when parents maintain rules, boundaries and limitations.
Be the best parent you can. That means accepting your responsibility to teach your child appropriate, self-controlled behaviors and respond to those that are not. Follow-up with a suitable consequence to defiant misbehavior.
I like what Gandhi said and apply it to parenting, "A man of character will make himself worthy of any position he is given." I challenge you in discipline, to be worthy of raising the child you were given.
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