To Smack or not to Smack: How to Raise Gentle, Less Entitled Kids

Written by: Staff Post on 01/12/16

Let’s face it. Whether you like it or you don’t – in which case you probably don’t – kids WHINE all the time. We are living in the age where kids can totally drive you to insanity, making you yearn for your good ol’ kids-less days when you could enjoy a smoothie without having to wrack your nerves. As much as we adore our children, not even the most successful parenting tips can abate our desire to just smack them right in the face. We might even start to question ourselves, “Am I raising a spoiled brat?”

Mum, you are not alone in that dilemma. The “me epidemic” has taken a much larger scale and it is not your fault that the society we live in pushes our young generation to become me-centric beings. More often than not, these are manifested in everyday instances we aren’t even conscious about – probably because we are too used to seeing such. It could be in the form of a kid yelling to get that chocolate ice cream in the amusement park or a cute little princess crying over a teddy bear she didn’t get because her mum said NO.

But as a parent, there is something we ought to think about. Aren’t we all like that at some point in our childhood? Isn’t it just being human, a part of an intricate phase towards growing up? Well here’s what – everybody takes a generation me time until we become entitled as grown ups.

As parents, we tend to instantly lose patience over our children’s display of self-entitlement. Of course, we only want them to be the kinder, gentle adorable kids who can blend in a larger community – or at least this is what society wants us to think. Ironically, adults want to see a selfless young generation but are too drawn to ungrateful and egotistical acts. The good news is, science says children are undergoing a long humanhood process – both developmental and biological – that proves their annoying behaviors aren’t necessarily a moral or a character issue. So don’t worry, you are doing a great job in raising your kids!

Now you might ask, “Do I just let them be?” Not exactly. While it is impossible for kids to develop that sense of emotional control and to conform to our standard social norms, you can guide them to behave just a little less annoying. Well, you can’t expect them to be perfectly civil, but you can at least teach them core values they can bring with them as they grow up.

Okay, so here are some successful parenting tips:

Stay relaxed. This may sound unbelievable, but responding calmly to not-so-calm situations can work wonders for your children. For instance, if your child starts to act bratty, try a role-reversal strategy. Instead of freaking out and rubbing it in their faces that you are the authority, act like they are the boss. A lighthearted “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” can reduce tension between you and your kids and may even end up with a good laugh among yourselves.

But…

Don’t give in all the time. Now, this may sound a little bit tricky because you are now left with the decision between saying YES or NO like your life depends on it. Every time your kids are starting to do the acrobatics, know that there is a time to give in and a time not to. When you say NO, say it like you mean it. Stick to healthy boundaries and prove that their eye-rolling, pouting, and shouting won’t do the trick. It’s a great way of telling them life doesn’t always go the way we want to, and that’s totally acceptable. Make sure to acknowledge your children’s feelings, though. Do not impose personal preference such as implicitly forcing them not to feel desire at all.

De-center their universe. Gratitude takes practice. Instead of lecturing them about African children starving to death, show them what it’s like to appreciate every blessing in life. You are the parent. The model. The example. You are the best tool in showing your kids how grateful they should be in a world that fosters hate, greediness, and selfishness. The world isn’t all about them, and it doesn’t owe anything to anyone – including your kid. Even if you don’t recite this to them verbatim, it shows in how you talk, move, think, and respond to others. Remember that their eyes are set to you so lead by example.

Do not expect perfection. Your kids aren’t perfect. You aren’t either. We understand that you can’t be empathetic, kind, and gentle 24 hours a day for your children to see, and that is okay. It takes time to cultivate gratefulness and compassion. So if you want your children to be the gentle, compassionate change-makers of the society someday, accept them for what they are at the moment; they won’t stay that way forever.

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