BRINGING SECURITY TO YOUR CHILD
Updated: Sep 4
I have touched on this subject somewhat in the last two blogs. But this is such an important subject that I want to focus on it here. Many parents believe that making a child feel loved causes them to also feel secure but this is not true. A child who knows they are loved has a sense of worth which is very necessary but unless they also have good boundaries around them they will not feel safe and secure. An insecure person, whether child or adult, always grabs for control. They instinctively believe that boundaries give security and since no one else is setting safe boundaries they will have to set up their own system of control.
Children use whining, crying, temper tantrums, acting out, withdrawal and argumentation in order to gain control. As you can imagine this results in a high stress environment for both the parent and the child. There is a simple three step way to break this cycle and build a calm security in the child that results in a calmer home atmosphere.
The hardest part of these three steps is training yourself as the parent to be strictly consistent with this. This will be a true test on your maturity growth level.
I find that the "nice" parent usually ends up being abusive. The reason for this is they nicely ask, suggest and beg the child or use bribes to get the actions that are needed. A child whose parent does this learns to ignore their request until the tone of voice changes to frustration and even anger. At this point the parent can lose control and over react because they are just worn out. Now the smart child learns to obey at the anger point of the parent leaving the parent frustrated with the battle and sometimes causing them to quit altogether. At this point everyone loses.
Consistently using a three step plan avoids all of this frustration. The three steps are
1) ASK 2) TELL 3) COMMAND
ASK is a request said in a pleasant tone: "Johnnie pick up your toys" If Johnnie doesn't immediately move to obey the ASK then the parent must get up out of their chair or put down what they are doing, go to the child and make sure the child is looking at them. In a firm but still soft voice the parent repeats the request. Now you and Johnnie both know that the request has been understood. This the TELL. Sometimes a child is so focused on their activity that they didn't actually hear you the first time but now with the TELL step you both know that the communication is clear. At this point if Johnnie doesn't quickly obey he is choosing to rebel and step three must be applied.
COMMAND requires a quick "memory booster" that it is better to obey than to disobey. This belief may some day save your child's life. But first you must practice the action desired with the child so that you know they are clear about what to do, and will obey the command immediately. Immediate obedience is a result only of consistency and motivation, thus the necessity of that "memory booster". Since children learn best through their bodies a quick stinging swat to their bottom or fat part of the upper thigh works quite well. This is ONE quick sting only. The use of a soft plastic spatula can do well here without leaving any marks. Swat your own inner thigh to determine how to just sting but not hurt.
In this day when "time out" is highly recommended I want to add some experienced wisdom. A time out is often used by a child to day dream or whine or think up something else to do to get revenge on the parent but not to think about the fact that they don't want to repeat the disobedient action again. A quick sting gets their attention, is more motivating and does no physical or emotional harm. Why is immediate obedience so important if I am a patient parent?You ask?
Let me tell you a story about my granddaughter. She was two years old and very active. We were having a large family get together in a town house located on a fairly quiet street with a park across the street in which we had taken the children to play earlier in the day. We were all inside the house and my granddaughter's mother just turned her back for a moment as someone came in the door and my granddaughter stepped outside unnoticed. Her mother quickly realized that she wasn't in sight. With everyone looking for her it was soon discovered she was outside and nearly to the curb on her way back to the park. As her mother ran out of the door she saw a car coming swiftly down the street. She knew she couldn't get to her two-year-old in time.
Now for several weeks her mother and I had been training her with ASK, TELL, COMMAND. We had practiced the commands STOP and GO. Stop meant don't take one more step until Mommy says go. We had been doing this very consistently trying to make it a game but also letting her know we were very serious about STOP.
So her mother shouted STOP and she immediately stopped at the edge of the curb as the car zipped on by. When we finally quit shaking we were even more determined to use ASK, TELL, COMMAND in training.
My granddaughter is now a sweet cooperative teenager with lots of creativity and a great sense of humor who shows respect for her elders and a very secure nature within boundaries.
How do you want your child to turn out?