None of us, not the parents and not the kids, like to be told what to do. Our kids are quick on the uptake when it comes to learning how to say no. We tell our kids no running in the corridors, no kicking the ball in the house, no playing with their food. They retaliate by doing the complete opposite of what we ask and turn our words against us. They listen to us repeat the word no and bark orders and defy us at every corner.
From our toddlers to our teenagers, they all have an inward reprisal to ignore our sound advice and head in their own direction. And that’s one of the many traits of simply being human. We crave independence and autonomy no matter what age we are and so we will rebel against anyone who tries to keep us in place. We don’t like to be told what to do as adults, so we know the feeling. But what can we do when telling our kids to do or not do something is in their best interests?
Check Your Reactions
When our kids actively resist against us, frustration and anger can spiral throughout us. The same reaction is building in our kids as they instinctively become annoyed at their actions being limited. Our opposing but similar reactions can cause a battleground between parent and child, potentially leading to relationship issues.
Take stock of your feelings and reactions and remember you are the adult in the relationship. While our children are still learning how to self-regulate and understand rules, we should be much better able to manage the situation. Avoid letting your ego take over and neutralise your reactions so you can connect with your child on a level of understanding.
Reframe The Scenario
When emotions are calm and both you and your child have eased your responses, help your child to understand why you have made a specific demand of your child. Go through the scenario together and reframe it so they can see it from your perspective. When you reframe the situation, the threat to your child’s independence is altered and hopefully lowered.
Remember that our reactions are there for a reason. If you feel your child is overreacting to your simple request, think about how they feel and understand why they have hit back against you. Put yourself in their shoes before responding. Showing compassion, kindness, and understanding will encourage your child to listen to you and ultimately appreciate why you have told them to do something they initially did not approve of. Communication is always key when interacting with our kids.