You as a parent have to balance the role of friendship and authority.Today,we’re talking to parents,who struggle with the authority part which probably includes all of you.
If authority and control was a spectrum..we have on the right end parents,who become very aggressive when they use their authority,they use full force,they often explode and the situation … escalates things go out of control.
In the middle we have parents, who are balanced in their use of authority. They can get things done without letting the situation escalate. Things are in control. And on the left end we have parents who have virtually no power over the child.In fact,the child often overpowers THEM.
These parents have difficulty standing up to the child,because the child is too intelligent,too aggressive,or something else.Again , things are out of control. This post will help parents on both right and left extremes to come to the middle and control zone. We’re not talking about complex decisions , like “ you need to study harder,you should make more friends, pay more attention in your class,become more organized“.
Today our focus is using authority on narrow decisions,which are mostly rule based , like : “no TV after 9 p.m,we are not buying the ps4 until next year,you cannot stay out with your friends after 11:00 p.m., we are not ordering pizza,tonight you cannot use my phone “ etc. So,We are going to give you a six step process, almost an algorithm to execute authority on narrow,rule-based decisions.
First : calmly and firmly, state your decision or rule clearly,with at least three reasons. For example: “ No TV after 10:00 p.m., because it disturbs your sleep,it is addictive and we won’t be there to stop you late night.Now I will give you three reasons for giving three reasons.
A.Reasons make you look reasonable,and hence increase your credibility.It creates trust.
B.When you give reasons,the child is less likely to get offended.
They won’t take it personally as much like “my mom and dad are not against me,they are FOR some reasons.
C.Thinking of three good reasons,would help you separate good decisions from bad ones.
Sometimes,your decisions and rules suck.They are irrational.Coming up with good reasons is a litmus test. If all you have to say is…“Do this because I said so , do that because I like it that way“. These are not good enough reasons to pursue authority.Come up with reasons which can be validated by other people as well.
Second step,when you give decisions,it’s likely that the child will then resist or fight back . Their head will be boiling, and they will stop listening to your reasons altogether. They might start saying nasty and hurtful things .What do you do ? calmly and firmly : stand your ground , look into their eyes and keep repeating:
A.“these reactions are not acceptable,you need to talk respectfully,I’ve told you many times,if you talk like this,I won’t even consider your request.“
B.Say these things a few times and then wait,let them have a ride on their emotional roller coaster,you just stand back and keep looking at them.Give them a look how this is unacceptable and there are going to be consequences.
C.By the end of second step,they should understand,that “I can’t intimidate my parents . My anger and tantrums won’t budge them,and they won’t accept this attitude.“
D.and a very important thing here is that,you don’t add fuel to fire,you don’t let it escalate ,don’t hop on to the emotional roller coaster with them. Let them say whatever they want,we will deal with it later properly,not by losing control in the moment.You only show them that you are really strong.
E.If they don’t talk to you nicely,even after waiting for ten Minutes.Walk away,they will come to you,because the decision is in your hands.They will come.
Third,do not change your decision,UNLESS they give better reasons AND ask nicely.Stick to your decision calmly and firmly.One thing to remember here is you have power over them , power over their life,you control the resources.You are the legal guardians.Your decisions can affect them.So,when you have that power you do not need to use anger,you don’t have to raise your voice.You can very calmly and strongly say,“we are taking away the TV time for tonight“.And then unplug the TV,confidently.They must understand very very clearly that you are a wall,they cannot break.
At the end of this step,the child will realize, “the ONLY way to convince my parents is with better reasons spoken nicely,not with force,anger,or violence.They must realize decisions mean something.Use all your power to make sure that the decision is executed.The good thing about this,is when children see no scope of negotiating,they adapt,they accept.But if you leave loopholes,they’ll find a way to break the law.So follow through on your decisions with full force.
Fourth.Make sure to make them apologize for their disrespectful behavior.Here I’m assuming that you have not done or said anything bad or stupid yourself, that you haven’t lost control either. Because if you have , then you lose your moral high-ground.You become more an hypocrite.If you have stayed calm and firm throughout,at the end,again with that calmness and firmness make them apologize,for their impolite behavior.If they don’t stop everything,cut all privileges.Don’t leave the topic,until they have apologized.You just pursue this like a rock,but very calmly,“beta ! I won’t talk about anythingelse,anything…Until you have apologized for how you talked.And yes,I will decide whether you were rude or not.Yes you were.“.
If they run to their rooms,stop talking to you for a few hours,throw tantrums,that’s OK,let them where will they go ? Whenever you talk next,make sure that they apologized sincerely first.There should be no escape.By the end of this fourth step the child will get the message,“if I become disrespectful to my mom and dad,they will start a no -cooperation movement against me“. Peaceful protest,complete non-violence but a lot of strength,until you get freedom from DISRESPCT.
Fifth :consequences if they still break your decision, or if they still talk to you disrespectfully then,think of some short and mild punishments,which are in your control,for example no mobile phone for tonight,movie planned cancelled,no TV for one day,no ice cream after dinner ,or you’ll have to do your own dishes. Pick your punishments depending on your household but remember:
A. they should be short in time,like avoid giving punishments that lasts for days.
B. they should be mild in nature, like don’t beat them, avoid giving a punishment like,“from now on you cannot meet your friend ever again“.Too harsh.
C.What if they disregard your punishment ? that’s where it becomes a loop.
Now, your punishment to them, is also form of a new narrow decision.So follow all the steps from the top,again and if you reach this point yet again,make that punishment 10% higher.But caution,don’t keep increasing it to infinity,after a certain level,let the intensity of punishment plateau.More won’t keep becoming better.If it becomes too much,it’ll backfire.Overall, punishment should be a very small part of your parenting.
Only, When absolutely necessary.Use this fifth step, as rarely as possible.Finally, summersault to positivity.The moment they comply with the decision,the moment they apologize sincerely for being disrespectful,become normal immediately. Act as if nothing happened,start smiling,talking,joking like the memory of past incident has been erased.In summary,the child should understand that…they cannot overrule your decisions and they cannot challenge or disrespect you.
Make your child’s say this,“I can REQUEST mom and dad,not order them,I can give them my reasons nicely not aggressively.They may accept they may decline,but I cannot cross the line”.That rhymes ! one final line, you will need strength against your child.When strength is used with anger,it becomes toxic,when strength is used with calmness and good reasons,it becomes gold,or diamonds if you like.That’s it.