Who wouldn’t want their child to be well behaved and polite, speak well at least in two languages, play so systematically that toys are not strewn across the room, come out on the top in every activity… and listen to what the parents say, immediately! And to achieve that, who doesn't say:
“Put the toys exactly where they should be”
“No, you cannot watch TV, it's not good for you”
“I don’t want you to play at the birthday party as your dress will get spoilt”
“Eat your food without making a mess”
“Always share your toys with your friends and siblings”
We’ve all used these statements some time or the other, and there is nothing wrong in teaching the child good manners. But constantly striving for perfection can make parents very particular, rigid and fixed in their ways and views. Parenting style becomes autocratic in the name of care; dictating and obsessive in the name of love. What the child is allowed or not allowed to do is designed by parents in a way that their "perfect child syndrome" is catered to.
But a child will, realistically, have preferences, moods, and will love to play! And what happens as a result?
These children wait for a chance to let loose! They look happy when parents are not around, they break all rules whenever they get a chance. Complaints from school, fights with friends, lies and sneaking behind parents’ back become common.
Far from being perfect, these children are not even happy. Rules and rigidity make them overburdened, wanting to break free. When natural childlike instincts are curbed, free play is discouraged continuously, children become increasingly defiant. They defy adult supervision and instructions with a vengeance, at home and school and later even college.
So how does one raise happy, playful children who listen to their parents and seek positive attention? The first thing to do is to drop perfection. Pursue happiness instead! Let them feel that parental love isn’t directly proportional to their abiding by rules.
Talk to your children with an open-minded attitude and listen to their wishes. Give them fair options and explain the difference between right and wrong. Have realistic expectations and be open to changes and exceptions to the rules.
Every once in a while, let them do childish pranks and vary your responses so that they don't learn rigidity. Praise them and motivate them to make better choices rather than suffer from defiance disorder.
It's never too late... start now! And if you need some help, get in touch with our counsellors.