“Be silent or say something better than silence¨

This proverb is a good one for us to remember when we start feeling frustrated because of our child’s behavior. If we don’t have something constructive to say and we are about to lose our cool, it is better to take a deep breath and just remain quiet. By getting angry, sending guilt messages, nagging, and withdrawing love from their children, we don’t solve conflicts; furthermore, we create additional difficulties and resistance because we:

  • direct the attention of the child OFF the real problem. The child responds: “my mom is unfair to me” or “my mom is so crazy” instead of “my behavior need some correction”
  • stir up emotions of anger and resentment in the child instead of the one feeling that will change the child, sadness.
  • place the burden of correcting the behavior on ourselves
  • show low expectations of the child’s ability to behave

While on some short-term basis parental responses like getting angry, sending guilt messages and nagging might force the child to do what we want, these psychological pressures don’t really motivate a child to make a TRUE and long-term change. Besides, they teach the child that anger is an acceptable way to respond when things don´t go your way.  These behaviors also show the child that we are at a loss as to how to handle the situation. 

So instead of responding impulsively, let´s come up with a plan for the next time that we find ourselves in the same situation so we can respond in a more effective way.  In the meantime, let the silence speak.  

I can help you make the plan! – Pepa W 

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