How to assert your authority – balanced, calm and productive? For a start it is helpful to part with the principle of “do as I say, not as I do.” To educate is to set an example, all our experts agree with this. It is useless to try to establish rules and laws that we ourselves do not abide by.
The second principle is clarity and consistency. Saying no a hundred times a day, repeating the same things is a thankless task. But no child will learn vague, ambiguous, arbitrary, or vaguely formulated rules. If it seems to him that the parents themselves are not sure of the need to comply with these rules, the case will be ruined.
Another important principle is to respect everyone’s place in the family. The basis of authority should be the consciousness of the age difference. Children, even grown up, are not adults in miniature. By treating them “as if on equal terms”, adults only cause them anxiety. The concept of the difference between generations is necessary for children in order to determine themselves.
These principles apply no matter how old the child is – only the content of the prohibition depends on the age. “Easier said than done!” – you will think … and you will be right. Several typical situations, by the example of which we will try to determine the main landmarks.
Up to 2 years
The child begins to walk and actively explores the world around him: the first rules and restrictions are aimed at ensuring his safety. Encourage its discovery, but point out the dangers. And firmly say “no!”: He will understand you, even if he cannot answer.
“The younger the child, the more often the violation of the boundaries of what is permissible is associated with his natural curiosity, the desire to learn, try, touch,” explains the age psychologist Galina Burmenskaya. – A properly organized space will help to maintain the necessary balance between “yes” and “no”: if possible, remove from the “zone of action” that which is dangerous for the child’s life and (or) valuable for you. ”
We are responsible for our words
Any violation of the established boundaries must be authorized – only then will our words have weight. If we limit ourselves to threats, they stop believing us.
“The child himself feels a certain relief after being punished,” says Tatiana Bednik. “It allows him to make amends for his wrongdoing and free himself from guilt.”
Of course, the punishment must be reasonable. It makes no sense to make him write “I won’t lie anymore” a hundred times. Better to let him clean up what he got dirty, return what he took without permission, do something useful. It is important to make the child understand the consequences of his actions: by breaking the rules, he will imagine what he is doing. If (in exceptional cases) there was no punishment, he needs to explain why this happened.
2-3 years old
He doesn’t agree with anything. This is the time when a child makes his first attempts to separate from adults, to find his own individuality, so do not be surprised if he rejects everything that you offer him. So he emphasizes his independence, independence. Be flexible, replay his stubbornness by switching your attention to another activity. Rigidity and the use of force will only lead to defeat. When you prohibit your child from running across the street or touching an outlet, explain that this is not just your whim, but is necessary for his safety.
He hits other children, bites, breaks their toys. Be firm in preventing your child from hurting others and himself. “The ban on violence must be unconditional,” says Galina Burmenskaya. “This is the basis from which children learn to respect other people and the laws of society.” Sometimes parents use force to make the child feel what his actions lead to.
“When you are bitten back, you really feel that it hurts,” continues Galina Burmenskaya, “but such a“ mirroring ”is possible only in exceptional cases. Physical punishment is painful, humiliating and causes fear and aggression in the child. ” Talk to your child, each time look for words that will help explain to him that his behavior is dangerous, teach him to act without resorting to violence.
He refuses to eat. Sulking at the table is a common method of influencing adults. The child takes pleasure in tickling the nerves of the parents where they are especially vulnerable.
The more emotionally you react, the harder you try to force him to eat or entertain him by portraying an airplane and so on, the more he rests. Do not support his game: lunch runs the risk of becoming a heavy duty, instead of being a moment of intimate communication. Relieve tension: eat with appetite yourself, diversify the dishes that you offer him, and let him eat as much as he wants.
3 to 6 years old
He wants to marry mom (marry dad). Psychoanalysts call this age the period of the Oedipus complex, when the child feels love for the parent of the opposite sex and aggression, the desire to eliminate the parent of the same sex. This is the moment for the formation of a clear prohibition on incest.
“The child needs to be clearly told that he will never be able to marry his mother (marry his father),” says age psychologist Tatiana Bednik. – Acceptance of this fact is the key to normal development. Children should also be prohibited from sleeping in the same bed with their parents. “
It is better to supplement the prohibitions with a positive perspective: “When you grow up big, you too will meet and fall in love with a beautiful woman (man).”
Every child needs tenderness, affection, bodily contact with parents. “This non-verbal communication helps children to orient themselves in life, gives a feeling of support from mom and dad,” says Tatiana Bednik. – If the child shows an excessive need for affection, as they say, “sticks”, explain to him that tenderness can be expressed with the help of words, that it is not at all necessary to touch each other and hug. Thanks to the word, we will help him establish the distance. “
He masturbates in public. Masturbation is a natural exploratory need for every child. It is not worth prohibiting it on one condition: if he sometimes does it, then in his room, where no one sees him. This is the perfect moment to talk to your child about their body.
“Tell him that everyone has intimate places and no one has the right to look at them or touch them, since his body belongs only to him,” advises Tatiana Bednik. Also, do not allow your child to watch films “for adults”: do not think that he “does not understand anything yet.”
He refuses to go to school. The child has found himself in unfamiliar territory with his own orders, and he needs time to adapt. In addition, he remains without his family for a long time, and this also takes some getting used to.
Listen to him, try to understand his feelings, but do not give in to persuasion. Sometimes it is difficult for a mother to resist childish insistence; at this moment, a third person may join the situation: a father, an uncle or someone from a family friend. It is for him that it is easier to explain to the child that the time has come to become an adult. But it often happens that psychologically at the age of seven or seven and a half, a child is not yet ready to start school life. A psychologist will help to understand this.
Bans “good” and “bad”
“Good” prohibitions give the child an idea of the boundaries without which he cannot live. The “bad” ones suppress his natural needs and desires, his personality. They risk making the child an obedient object subject to the authoritarian authority of adults. Some real life examples.
- Sleep. We do not require the child to sleep if he does not want to … But we can tell him to go to his room at the appointed time. If he doesn’t want to sleep, then he may well play and fall asleep later, but there should be no question of him leaving the room.
- There is. We cannot require a child to eat if he is not hungry, or force him to eat what he absolutely does not like. Only he himself can judge his appetite and his tastes. But you cannot prepare “dishes to order” for him every day. If he doesn’t like one dish, let him move on to the next.
- Dress. The child may well choose the style and color of the clothes that you buy him. And an adult, for his part, has the right to determine the maximum possible price of a thing, explaining this limitation to a child.
- Study. In high school, the child can organize his own time after school. He is already able to decide when to start studying and what task to start with. But his parents have the right to demand that the lessons be done by a certain hour.
7 to 10 years old
He cheats in class. “Cheating is part of the children’s community’s code of honor,” explains Galina Tsukerman. – To write off means to share, to help a friend. Remember: as a child, you probably taught your child to share toys and sweets, to help friends. At school, these good lessons are rethought in favor of cheating. “
Try to emphasize that this is not good for his classmates and that cheating will ultimately do him a disservice, as he deprives himself of knowledge. It is also important to figure out what difficulties the child faced and why he had to write off again today himself. And of course, try to help him.
He does not want to clear the table, to put things in order in the room. Think about how you reacted when your little daughter or son wanted to help wash the dishes. Maybe they sent you to play so that they would not interfere with you?
“Now, having grown older, children just continue the same style of behavior,” explains Galina Tsukerman. At this age, with the child, you can talk about what constitutes the basis of life in society – about the rights and obligations of everyone, about the division of work around the house – and remind him that rights without responsibilities simply do not exist. Therefore, if a child wants, for example, to go to the cinema, he, for his part, must do what he is obliged to do.
When a child becomes a tyrant
All children are naughty or naughty. But where is the line beyond which the child turns into a tyrant? Children’s psychologist Elena Morozova answers our questions.
Psychologies: What Exactly Does Tyrant Child Mean?
Elena Morozova: Whims help children to insist on their own, to achieve what they want, to express their anxiety or discontent. In a sense, it is a universal (children’s) mechanism of communication with adults. In periods of age crises (3 years old, 11-12 years old), disagreement with elders, resistance begins to dominate. This helps children to grow up: they learn to understand themselves, to defend their opinion.
Some become tyrants at the moment when their demands begin to relate to all areas of family life. They try to force their parents to rebuild their lives according to their desires. Finding that scandal or tears can achieve their goal, the child uses them again and again and completely subjugates the parents. The pressure on adults can also be hidden: for example, a child may constantly complain that something hurts him.
Who is this tyrant child you are describing?
It can be a boy or a girl, often the only or oldest child in the family. He often tries to rule over his mother than over his father, especially when he feels her anxiety, helplessness.
How should parents behave? Be less empathetic?
Why, to be sensitive and attentive is just necessary. One must learn to distinguish between manifestations of unhappiness and discontent. If a child is anxious, if he is sick, adults, of course, should help and support him. When he is simply unhappy and blackmails them with his behavior, it is important to be consistent, patient and firm.
Should the tyrant be punished?
This will not solve the problem. It is important to understand what is causing him anxiety by asking questions to him or to yourself. And do not hesitate to contact a specialist if you feel confused.