What screams I wasn't brought up well

Escalation traps in education

Education | Family | Conflicts

3-year-old Tom goes shopping with his mother. At the checkout he asks her for sweets. She replies that there is no sweets that close before lunch. He keeps begging. "Please please, why not?" She sticks to her "No" and repeatedly explains to him why she is not buying him anything sweet. Tom throws himself on the floor in frustration and screams for the best. In order to end the embarrassing situation quickly, the mother gives in to the wish and buys him the candy. This scene was worth it for Tom because he got exactly what he wanted. Tom's mother fell into a trap here by buying her son the candy against her will, just to stop the screaming as quickly as possible.

When parents give their children candy or toys to end an embarrassing scene or to dissuade them from wrongdoing, the child's behavior is rewarded. It can thus solidify and is likely to occur more frequently than before. The child was successful with his strategy. Scolding or long discussions also pay attention to the child and reinforce the behavior rather than prevent it.

Children learn very quickly that they just have to become more persistent and louder in order to get their way or have their wish granted. "If begging doesn't help, then I'll just throw myself on the floor and scream".

The parents are also ostensibly rewarded because the child stops screaming (at least for a short time). Since both the child and the parents benefit from this, it is very likely that such an escalating situation will arise again.

In a very similar way, mother and father can get into the habit of getting louder and reacting more violently if this allows them to make themselves heard more quickly and assert themselves better.

For example, the mother tells the child to tidy up his room several times without success. It gets louder and louder. Finally the mother is upset and demands that the child do what she tells them to do before she has counted to three, otherwise ...

From this behavior the child learns that the parents only mean business when they become loud, scream or start threatening. As a result, it will wait for these signs before reacting and doing what it was initially asked to do.

Even in such a situation, both sides primarily benefit. The parents take advantage of their response because the child will eventually do what was asked and the child will be rewarded because the parents stop screaming.

The question "Do I have to say everything three times?" know all parents. But why does this repeated and finally loud request have to be before the children react? Too often mother and father have fallen into this trap and a pattern has developed from it.

Parents should therefore be aware of these supposed escalation traps and reconsider their own reactions. Many of these parenting traps can be avoided with clear instructions and logical consequences.

News ticker

Better not to lie in white | 22.11.2019

"If you don't come with me now, I'll leave you here alone!" Parents are only too happy to use little lies to encourage their children to behave better. A new study now shows that this can lead to behavioral problems in the long term. Adults who were cheated more often as children are less likely to be honest with their parents later, more destructive in behavior, more likely to be plagued by feelings of guilt, and more likely to be manipulative and selfish. For the study, the researchers asked 379 young adults whether their parents lied to them as children, how often they lie to their parents now and how well they cope with various everyday challenges. The conclusion: "Parents cheat their children more often if they cannot justify something well. However, this dishonesty weakens trust and encourages children to lie themselves". Parents should look for alternatives to lying, e.g. B. Acknowledging their children's feelings, explaining what to expect, and offering choices to solve problems together.

Last updated: 02-03-20, JL