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Do as I say!

Children arguing

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As a parent it’s not always easy to get the balance right between nagging your child and gently guiding them in the right direction, which is where things can get tricky – what’s right for you may not be right for them. But how much have things really changed from when you were young?

Most parents are quite happy to open up about their parenting struggles, especially as it’s no longer a case of giving your child a smacked bottom and sending them to their room. Now you are expected to resolve issues by talking them through in a sensible fashion, or in many cases, screaming until you’re blue in the face.

Mother Shouting at Son

When I was a child it went without saying that there was an expectation of how I should behave. At the same time, I was extremely lucky to have parents who understood the importance of praise and gave me the freedom to learn from my mistakes.

I hate you!

A recent Daily Mail article titled: “When my four girls shriek ‘I hate you’ I know I must be doing something right”, made me wonder how I will feel when and if I hear those three dreaded words. Not good, that’s for sure! The author wrote: “Most of Miranda’s day is spent trying to shock or annoy me – and often she succeeds.”

I would like to think that many teenagers actually feel they have better things to do than wage a war on their parents and find the constant bickering just as stressful as you do.

I spoke to full-time nanny and child behavioural specialist Anna Pearlman, who had this advice: “It’s easy to slip into controlling everything a child does and I think it gets worse depending on how tired we are as parents and carers, especially if there are siblings involved or you are a working parent.

Anna Pearlman

“Children get very excitable and sometimes this can get mistaken for bad behaviour, when actually it is because they aren’t sure of what is going on and you feel you are not on top of your day. By getting the children used to a schedule as early as possible and establishing a good routine you can help alleviate unexpected outbursts.

“It’s easy to slip into adult mode and get too ‘wordy’ with them. Sometimes we need to speak to them from a child’s perspective. Ensuring that their day isn’t just about you telling them what to do next but about them being able to engage with you is important for their learning and development.”

The guilt-factor

The most common complaints from teenagers when it comes to getting irate with nagging parents is the feeling that everything they do is wrong. It appears that this translates as “you’re not good enough the way you are”.

As hard as it is in the heat of the moment, I remember only too well that as a child or teen I would respond better to being asked my opinion on something or being offered a compromise, rather than it being a straight ‘no’.

“One thing I learnt over the years is that the biggest thing that teenagers have an issue with – especially when they have siblings – is the loss of one-on-one time with their parents,” adds Anna. “There is an expectation that because they are older they can manage themselves, their siblings more and perhaps the parents feel that they can step back a bit. The child parenting needs to stop, but the adult parenting needs to step in much more.”

Father shouting at his teenage daughter

The ultimate revenge

I’ve been wondering how I will deal with teenage rows and conflicts when the time comes and in doing so all I have to do is think back to what my Dad did. Having received numerous high phone bills and when pleading to cut down on our phone chats fell on deaf ears, he made the bold decision to install pay phone… one of those bulky ones you get in pubs – absolutely humiliating, yet really, it was quite genius.

I would call my friends up only for them to hear the chink of a coin and we would have a moan, but at the same time, a chuckle about the unfairness of the situation. It actually made me respect my rather quirky father for standing his ground.

As parents we often worry too much about how our children perceive the choices we make when it comes to discipline and setting boundaries. But in the long-run, I feel that as long as we are fair, we listen, and we remain committed to our threats when it comes to setting boundaries, our children will only have respect for us further down the line. That’s what I’m holding out for anyway…




About Julia Faulks

About Julia Faulks

Julia Faulks is a content editor and journalist with 11 years' experience writing and subbing editorial for a number of publications. Now a mother herself, she has turned her hand to writing content for parents as well as young people and likes nothing more than turning long and complicated copy into something that everyone can understand.

Website: Julia Faulks

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