Am I a bad parent if I don’t fulfill my child’s demands? Will my child ever stop demanding? Do all children demand stuff from their parents all the time? What kind of demands is justified and what shouldn’t be fulfilled for children? These and many more such questions abound the parent’s minds these days.
Many parents surrender to children’s demands with a good intention of love and care for their child but in reality it is not always helping their child in his/her growth for life. Sometimes parents feel guilty of working for long hours and then compensate by fulfilling their child’s every demand and sometimes they bribe their children with gifts in order to get them to do their homework or studies.
Many parents, who feel that they had been denied of certain luxuries in their childhood, want to fulfill their child’s every need so that their child doesn’t feel left out or unloved. All this is done with good intentions without realizing the impact it can have on the child. This instant gratification of having their demands fulfilled can send wrong messages to children about how to manage their life in future. For e.g. they may not respect the value of money, they may learn to manipulate to get a yes for everything and many other things.
How a parent responds to their child’s requests and demands teaches the child some important life skills like communication, empathy, respect and money management. Although saying no can be tough sometimes but it can be an important lesson for children to ensure they are prepared for life when they grow up and have to fend for themselves.
Parents can respond constructively to their children by taking some time to think about the following points whenever their child puts across a demand:
1. First of all listen in a non-judgmental way and see where the demands are coming from. Is it a legitimate demand or is it whims and fancies. Whatever the demands be, refrain from using physical force and focus on building connect by having an open conversation.
2. Sometimes tantrums and demands are not consciously willful but indicate a deep need of the child. Maybe the child is overwhelmed with emotion due to something that happened with his/her friends or it can be any other reason. Demanding constantly may be a way to unleash his unmet need. The idea is to make the child unlearn this behavior by talking to him about his feelings and establishing connect.
3. Be honest and truthful with your child. If the child demands of an expensive thing like a mobile phone which you can’t afford then tell the child calmly about your financial affordability rather than putting yourself under pressure to please them. Children’s understanding of such matters can far exceed our expectations if we treat them as responsible beings capable of understanding. Whether you choose to fulfill a demand or not, always give a valid reason to your child without camouflaging it behind a story.
4. Once you say no, stick to your reason without falling prey to fusillade of questions or tantrums from children. No means no and not maybe.
5. Lastly, model the behavior you wish to have from your child. Respond in a calm way and in case you feel angry, share your feelings with your child and find a solution together. After all parenting becomes a beautiful journey when there is a two way communication between the parent and the child. This helps in resolving power struggles too.
Remember that, a demanding child provides a parent with a great opportunity to teach.
Enjoy this beautiful journey of learning with each other. Happy Parenting!