We understand that when you’re strict and reinforce discipline, you only want what’s best for your child and to see them succeed. But did you know that The Journal of Child Development Studies has found that yelling frequently at your child has synonymous effects as to hitting them – and could lead to them having more depressed and anxious feelings? According to Dr Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, children view their parents as security as they provide all the basic necessities – being frightened during yelling could affect this sense of security and impact them psychologically.
In addition, Elizabeht J. Short, associate director of the Schubert Center at Case Western Reserve University, says that kids with overtly strict parents are “eager to please and worried about parental approval, so you end up with kids that are anxious and indecisive. Or sometimes, they know there is no way they can hit the bar you have set so they don’t even try.” So, the next time you’d like to discipline your child, check out if you exhibit any of the signs below:
1. Your child lies a lot
While it’s normal to feel upset when you catch your child in a lie – ask yourself, how often does this happen? If it’s frequent, you may need to rethink the underlying problem to the situation. Are you too strict, which inadvertently leads to your child lying to avoid being punished?
2. You don’t tolerate silliness
You may be worried about how others will perceive your child if he or she acts goofy, or tells a ridiculous joke. But as long as your child isn’t being rude or causing any detrimental effects, it’s important to remember that they are still kids and it’s crucial to savour such moments. Shutting them down could in turn, lead to them shutting you out.
3. You go overboard with threats
If you constantly use threats such as “I’ll destroy all your things”; “I’ll give away all your toys”; or “I’ll disown you or throw you out of the house” – not only are you trying to instill fear and anxiety in your child, but if they were to call your bluff and said “fine”, all you’ll end up with are empty threats. This also teaches them that there won’t be any real consequences should they misbehave.
4. Your child doesn’t bring friends home
Do you always remind your child of the long list of rules you have at home? Do you constantly nitpick or criticise your child (perhaps unwittingly) in front of his or her friends? If your child is withdrawing from you and not allowing you to meet their friends, you may need to reflect on your methods.
5. You need things to be done your way
Here’s the important question: do you want things done or do you want things done your way? For example, if your child takes the initiative to make their bed or fold their clothes, but you reprimand them for not doing them the way you’d like them done – this will eventually dishearten and frustrate them.