The adults running the world, hurrying through their lives, basking in all the glories of their accomplishments are in reality living a myth. Their strings are pulled by their tiny human beings. The little beings who in all their might may test our patience and are completely capable of driving us crazy with our parenting.
Adults have control in their actions and their lives but most of the time they become helpless when it comes to their kids.
The powerful professionals in their lives go clueless when it comes to handling kids and their tantrums. Modern lifestyle’s stress, living in constant short of time and patience and inability to understand the behavioural patterns of kids often progresses into resorting to non-violent methods of parenting.
Violence towards kids can be of two kinds- physical and verbal.
We parents are in a strange hurry to align our children’s behaviour with us as adults. Sometimes we are a victim of our unrealistic expectations and sometimes we are forced to do so because of societal pressure on seeing other kids behaving more according to our expectations.
Moreover, pandemic, the virus and its stress and kids being confined to their homes have accentuated this problem multifold. But a violent action be it a little spank or yelling can only be a temporary solution to a comparatively long term problem.
This all may sound problematic but there are some methods by which a violent parenting procedure can be prevented altogether.
Here are a few tips to help you practice non-violent parenting.
1. Practice calmness and patience.
We all know how the famous quote goes like- “Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how we react to it.” This can be very well applied to the behaviour of our kids and our reaction to it.
Teaching them the behaviour that is acceptable and what is not a lifelong process and being patient and practising calm will just make it smooth. The onus is on us and losing our calm will only make it difficult. Practising meditation and calm on a daily basis will prepare us for parenthood.
2. Keep your expectations realistic
Align your expectation with the reality of the age and nature of the kids. Crying, creating a mess, examining things, trying to be self-dependent are all part of the development phase age-wise.
3.Work on the environment
A toddler will cruise through different things at once. They will cause accidents, throwing things on the floor, tearing or breaking stuff. Curiosity is their first nature. It is our job to keep the precious and harmful things away from their reach and constantly supervise them. Childproofing will save them from injury and you from the stress of cleaning.
Introduce them to the household stuffs one at a time, observe their behaviour around them and if necessary remove them and reintroduce them later.
4.Focus on the right, ignore the bad.
While ignoring their mischief if it’s not injurious to them is a good approach, meanwhile appreciating them for the positive behaviour will encourage them to easily shift into constructive conduct from a destructive one.
Likewise, positive language can make magic happen whereas, always using negative language can turn into nagging. Instead of ‘Don’t yell’ say ‘Please talk softly’ or instead of saying ‘Don’t throw the food’ say ‘Eat nicely’.
Timeout is one of the most effective methods to calm down an out of control child. Timeout is cutting off a kid yelling or throwing tantrums from the scene of the crime (here, destruction) to a safe, peaceful space and telling them briefly why they are brought there and they have to wait there till they correct it. Keeping the communication as brief as possible and leaving them alone will give them a chance to slow down and think about it.
There is no standard time fixed for the time out, it depends on the age with one minute for each child’s age. Once they come out of a timeout, stick to keeping the communication as short as possible, better leaving the matter to die on its own.
Distracting works easily for toddlers as their attention span is quite short and their curiosity makes them shift their attention quickly but it’s tricky when it comes to preschoolers and grade-schoolers and almost futile with teens.
It needs practice and understanding of the likes, dislikes and tendencies of the child.
6. Ditch the power struggle.
You are not in a competition with your kids and you don’t have to win every time. It’s better to curb the need for immediate action. Sometimes it’s also important to let them have their way otherwise it can lead to a rebellion without a cause.
7. Guess the unattended needs.
Many times the tantrum comes from unattended or unspoken needs. Listen to them genuinely and ask what they want. Some of the toddlers are too young to express what they need and the understanding of it comes with time. Show empathy when they share their needs in the form of concerns, fears and demands.
8. Enable them to choose.
If the kids are going out of hand while demanding and nagging, give them a choice but both choices should be safe and right. For example, give them a choice to finish the assignment now or early in the morning before school. But make sure that they stick to their choice.
9. Keep a poker face.
The less you communicate, keeping a straight face the quicker they will calm down. Avoid yelling for yelling and nagging for nagging, instead look at their eyes and calmly tell them your instruction.
10. Be a role model
Children are masters in imitation. Be very careful of what kind of example are you setting before them. Adults have control in their actions and their lives but most of the time they become helpless when it comes to their kidsIf you want them to read more and be less on-screen then take you have to keep your phone locked inside and take out time to read with them. Practice speaking softly amongst the family if you want them to not yell.
To err is parent. If on any bad day you chose any violent method of communication while dealing with your kid then owe it up entirely without putting any blame on them. Apologize and accept your mistake, take a break, care for your mental health and once again make an effort to practice non-violent parenting.
Note- The author is not an expert in studying child behavior. She is a mom to a toddler and is practising these methods to prevent any violent communication in parenting