This seems like a somewhat profound and pretty philosophical question, but this is one that we can break down for you in a straightforward way. So, when it comes to thinking about punishing your children for being human, you might feel baffled as to how you might even be doing this.
We are here to highlight some of the ways that you might be punishing your child for being human, and how you can improve yourself to make sure that you are not being all that hypocritical along the way.
To answer this question straight away, you would immediately say of course not. Of course you should not punish your child for being human.
At the end of the day, we are all human – so why should your child feel the brunt of it?! We all have inherent human qualities that might annoy each other, or cause minor frustrations – but these qualities are not the end of the world.
For instance, one way that you might be punishing your child for being human is because they are being lazy. This is a classic dependency trait that every child develops because as a parent you clear up the trail of mess they leave in your wake.
However, as your child gets older leaving their clothes on their bedroom floor opposed to picking them up and putting them into the laundry basket will become more annoying. However, ask yourself this: is it fair for me to tell off my child for doing this, when I have left last night’s clothes draped on the bannister?
The honest answer to this question is that no, that is not fair. It’s double standards! But there are two ways of looking at this scenario.
You can either check yourself because you need to set an example for your child, and if you want them to put their dirty laundry in the laundry basket, then so should you.
Or, you can give them gentle nudges to do this because we all have lazy days and sometimes getting your clothes to the laundry basket is just too much effort.
Another example of how you might punish your child for being human unintentionally is if they lose something valuable. We’ve all been there, right?
Where you are already running late and you just need to grab your phone, keys and wallet… but where is your phone? It is pointless trying to call your phone because it will be on silent because you always forget to turn it back to loud after you finish up in the office. You are frustrated at yourself because you do this every time, and wonder: will I ever learn?
The answer is absolutely not. No, you will never learn, and this is part of what makes you and the rest of us human.
So, when your child misplaces their favourite teddy bear and gets upset, then consider how to deal with this situation. If someone were to be frustrated at you and shout at you, or tell you that you should look after your things as you turn your living room upside down to try and find your phone, how would you feel?
You would definitely be annoyed if someone even threw in the classic ‘where did you last leave it?’ Well, if you knew that then you would not be throwing magazines and cushions around your living room and fishing in the cracks in your sofa, praying your phone magically appears.
It’s funny, right? How you can draw these parallels between yourself and your child that you undoubtedly have never thought about before. But this is why you should not punish your child for being human, because even as an adult, you can still be lazy and dishevelled.
So, how do you stop yourself from shouting at your child and become the perfect parent? Unfortunately, we do not have the answer to that.
But, newsflash! No one has the answer to this. No matter how much positive language you use, and how much you meditate and listen to parenting podcasts – you cannot mould yourself into the world’s best parent. What you can do is treat your child like a human being.
Don’t get us wrong it is by no means easy to do this. And we are sorry to say that your child won’t make this easy for you either. Why is this? This is because as adults we usually know how to deal with our emotions, children are still learning.
So when your child is crying because they can’t find their favourite teddy bear, put it into perspective. Realistically, this is how frustrated you are feeling when you can’t find your phone but you know better than to cry about it because it won’t make your phone magically appear. But, your child is still yet to learn this lesson.
As your child gets older, they will understand how to process and deal with their emotions whether they are happy, sad or under intense stress. They will also learn what situations build anxiety and stress for them, and they will either avoid these situations or they will be able to process them in a way that suits them.
But for now, this is something that your child has to work out as they grow up. So, telling your child to ‘stop crying’ because they cannot locate their favourite teddy will make them feel the same way that you would if someone were to tell you to ‘stop panicking’ because you cannot find your phone.
So, how should you navigate these situations? Because, we have stressed throughout this that your child is only human. But, so are you. And, we get it.
After a long day of working, there is nothing more taxing than coming home, taking a peek inside your child’s bedroom and seeing heaps of clothes strewn around their bedroom.
You have had a long, hard day and the last thing you want to do is clean up after our child when it would take them a few seconds to put their belongings away – be it toys or clothing. Well, we recommend the classic firm but fair approach.
What is this approach? Well, tell your child, yes that’s right, tell and not shout, that they need to tidy up their belongings. And of course, you might encounter some moans and groans but again, your child is just acting out how they are feeling.
If this was from an adult’s perspective, usually we adults tend to keep the groans in. Your child hasn’t quite mastered this yet.
So: tell your child that you would like them to tidy up their belongings and leave them to it. Try and avoid clearing up after them as this will become habitual and they will never clean up after themselves.
So yes, resist the urge to go into their room, tidy it up and then moan to them about having to do that. Why? Because you have done it now, your child will just let you carry on with this routine because it means that they do not have to tidy up their bedroom. They know that you will do it for them!
Don’t get us wrong, teaching your child good practices such as cleaning up after themselves, and looking after their belongings are lessons that we all know and have learned and have ingrained into our brains.
Who instilled these lessons into us? Our parents. But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t slip up now and again. So it is only fair that your child is allowed to have these moments of untidiness.
It is only fair, after all.
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