Sometimes it makes me want to speak out and ask the parent to “chill”, but then I wonder if it might make it worse for the child.
I next think, “Wow. Am I ever like that?” I hope not.
Then I remind myself that as a stranger, I might only being seeing one side of the story. I might not have seen the previous thirty three times where the parent patiently and kindly responded to the child grabbing something off the shelf in the candy aisle and dropping it in the cart or on the floor, and this last time happened to be the one where the parent finally lost it.
I’ve been there before, but I definitely hope I handled it better. Children need to be disciplined, but there’s a difference between discipline and parental bullying.
That brings me to the train of thought that my mind follows next and the main point I want to bring out here. What are some things that I can do to help me avoid ever being a parental bully when a child acts up? As my children can attest, I still need to do a lot of work on all of these. Still, when I remember the following, it helps me be a more loving and patient parent.
- Smile always. We usually speak kinder when we smile. It’s hard to lash out with a smile on our face.
- Remember how tough it is to be a child. No matter if we had the best or the worst parents ever, being a child can be hard. Showing kindness and patient can make it easier on our own children
- Take a deep breath. It helps to take a little “chill” pause before we act or open our mouths, and make sure the punishment doesn’t exceed the crime.
- Discipline with love. We can be firm and loving at the same time. A reprimand couched between a gentle hug and an “I love you” can strengthen the parent-child bond while still getting the message across that behavior needs to change.
- Say a silent prayer. Sometimes we need a little outside help, and there’s no one better or more willing to provide it.
If you have other strategies or advice to help avoid parental bullying, I’d love to hear them.