Practical advice for parents- it's a challenge faced by each and every parent
Resolving your child's squabbles - is it right to fight their battles?
It's a challenge faced by each and every parent. We all, as parents, will stumble across dilemmas sporadically throughout the lives of our children where we will be forced to consider jumping into the front lines and defending our child when they get in trouble or become involved in an argument. We all wonder if it’s the right thing to do.
By jumping in to defend our children, are we stunting the growth of their independence and their strength of character? The answer to this question is YES and NO, and of course the answer is circumstantial. Here is some simple practical advice to aid you as a parent when you reach a point where a decision has to be made; whether to stand back or become involved in your child’s squabble.
When your child is of school going age, the likelihood of them becoming involved in a quarrel with other children is remarkably high, and naturally so. It is through these disagreements that your child develops their sense of self, their identity. As a parent, it is always our job to defend our children and ensure their safety, but there is a lot to be said for taking a step back, letting your child try to resolve the conflict by themselves. Unless the matter is very serious, or involves an unacceptable level of violence or verbal abuse (parental judgement should be used here) try letting your child attempt at dispelling the disagreement by themselves.
When a child settles a dispute with another child, without parental intervention, that child gets a rewarding sense of achievement. Essentially, your child is honing their diplomatic skills, and the more they do some, the more accomplished they will become at settling not only disputes involving themselves, but also disputes involving other children. Your child will become more and more independent as a result, and may even get the reputation of a peace-keeper among their peers!
Looking at the other side of the same coin, it is also important to realise that not EVERY situation should be left to your young one to handle alone. There are many issues where parental intervention is absolutely essential, most notably incidences of group bullying and harassment. It would be very unwise to let your child attempt to resolve these types of situations on their own. It is very important to stress the importance of parent/child communication in helping to deal with these troubles. This often helps you as a parent to resolve many issues before they get “out of hand”. Let your child know that you admire them for settling their disputes, but remind them that certain issues cannot be resolved without the help of an adult. Bullying was, and always will be a problem amongst children of a school going age. This is a given unfortunately. It is so important that you make it clear to your child that ALL Bullying can be dealt with, once they share their worries with a teacher, or you, their parent.
The key points to remember are, you want your child to develop as an individual, so you should encourage them to settle disputes themselves, intervention should only be considered when the situation is too much for your child to handle. Use your better judgement as a parent to differentiate between the two types of situation. You’ll be glad you did when you see the strong, independent personality your child has developed as a result.
By David Hughes.