It's a Mistake to be TOO Nice to your children?????

Children have an instinctive ability to beg and plead their way out of consequences. They honestly believe that they will never do it again, but they will. Giving in to a child's distress and agony is not a kind thing to do. Sometimes, you have to be tough to be a parent.

Begging and Pleading for Mercy
Don't Fall for It
by Elaine M. Gibson

* "Please, I'll never do it again. I promise. Please, please, please."
* "I forgot. I promise I will never forget again. Please, please, please."

Every parent can add the dramatics needed to complete these scenarios. Children have an instinctive ability to beg and plead their way out of consequences. They honestly believe what they are saying. Faced with the consequences of their latest action, they DO believe they will never do it again or that they will remember to do it the next time, depending on the infraction.

The fact is, they won't. What they will remember is that it is possible to beg, plead, and cajole their way out of consequences. Giving in to a child's distress and agony is not a kind thing to do.

As parents, it is difficult not to feel our children's pain. A child who is faced with unpleasant consequences is in real pain. A very intense child will make that agony a shared experience for all. When a child seems truly repentant, as any child faced with consequences will be, it is so easy to think, "This child has learned his lesson. The consequences won't be necessary."

The consequences ARE necessary. If a child escapes the consequences, a parent's authority disintegrates. This is a difficult time for parents. We actually must allow our children to suffer. The consequences teach the lesson, and the lesson will be remembered. Easy children make this process easy for parents. They accept the consequences and do what must be done. Difficult children make the process very hard.

It is important to keep in mind the desired result and ignore the "ugly" behavior of a child that rails against the inevitable. A child that cries, yells, storms around, and finally accepts the reality has learned to accept consequences as surely as the child who politely says, "Okay." The goal is for children to realize that parents enforce rules. If parents can do that consistently, even difficult children will get better at accepting the consequences that they have earned.

The trick for parents is to believe that it is the right thing to do. And it is.The following guidelines are reminders of what every parent already knows.

1. Don't set any consequence that cannot be enforced.
Children will always call your bluff. So don't bluff.

2. Don't be intimidated by a child's anger.
A child's anger means, "I'm out of control and I need you to be in control." Keep the goal in mind and ignore the sidetracking behavior.

3. Don't fall for the "I promise" routine.
Earned consequences should be delivered. Children learn from consequences, not from promises.

4. Being respected is more important than being liked all the time.
It's okay if your kids don't like you right this minute. Things change. They'll get over it.

* 5. When children do something wrong, they deserve to experience the the bad feelings.

Building a child's character is more important than making the child feel good all the time. This is real life.

Be firm. Be the parent.
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