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We have talked about the funnel, and how kids are pushed out of it because Mum or Dad’s expectations are too high. There is another reason kids get pushed out of the funnel by their parents. Too often, parents give their kids freedoms they are not READY for because they want their children to be happy. Just because children want to do something doesn’t mean they are ready (age or maturity-wise) to do it.
Three year old Sarah wants to eat her lunch on her lap while watching TV. Since Sarah rarely gets through a meal at the table without spilling something, eating while trying to balance her lunch on her lap is a recipe for disaster. Mum gave in, because she knew if she didn’t Sarah would throw a fit and Mum wasn’t in the mood to deal with it.
She dropped her sandwich and it fell apart leaving vegemite on the couch and floor. She dropped her juice on the hardwood floor. The lid flew off and the floor was covered in sticky liquid. Mum yells at Sarah, telling her what a bad girl she is and that she is never eating in front of the TV again. Poor Sarah has no clue why she is getting yelled at.
When children do not have the physical, emotional or mental ability to do something well, they don’t see how they made a mistake. She didn’t take the lid off the cup, and how could she help it her sandwich fell apart when it hit the couch? Because she did not have a deliberate motivation to misbehave, she doesn’t understand why her Mum is so upset. After all, Mum gave her permission to be there.
When Sarah first asked to eat in front of the TV, Mum, realizing it was not a good idea, should have put fences around the places where Sarah could eat and said “No.” Mums ask for trouble when they let their kids out of their fences prematurely, yet it is the kids who get IN trouble when things go wrong.
Please don’t allow your children to do things they aren’t ready for to avoid conflict with them. If your child doesn’t like what you say, have him sit with his hands folded and no freedom to speak until he finds his happy attitude. You won’t believe what a difference this makes!