This tendency towards talking down to children, when you should be transitioning towards treating them as your equal is what causes the age-old friction between parent and child. Imagine for a moment that the roles were reversed and your child was offering non-stop advice on your being glued to your laptop or mobile screen? Doesn’t sound like a pretty picture, does it?
In the everyday struggle of dealing with the many parenting issues we tend to overlook the fact that children have feelings just like us and respond in the same way to positive and negative stimuli. Negative criticism impacts their ability to listen and respond in the same way as it does to us. If we often end up complaining that our children have forgotten what it is like to respect elders it is probably because we as adults have forgotten what it is like to treat children as equals. Respect and responsibility have no age tag attached to them. Children often model their behavior and habits on the people around them, and showing them the same respect that you extend to other adults gives them a sense of identity and self- respect that is also likely to reflect in their behavior and attitude towards others.
Of course children need boundaries and discipline but forced discipline only serves to aggravate the sense of injustice and ends up leaving the child even more frustrated and angry. When you let a child participate in decision making that impacts him or her- planning his daily schedule, letting him or her choose what clothes to wear and how they should spend their allowance, for example, you are empowering them and making them accountable for their actions.
As we watch our children grow older, our roles also start evolving from being tutors to mentors. They no longer need to be told what to do, rather they want someone who can listen to them with an open mind and offer them constructive advice and feedback without imposing our decisions on them.
Here’s to a healthy parent-child relationship that grows from strength to strength! After all it is the quality of this relationship that to a large extent determines the quality of their future relationships!