Avoid com­mon par­ent­ing traps with your kids

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By Pro­fes­sor MATT SAN­DERS

It’s tough be­ing a par­ent but it’s easy to fall into one of the com­mon par­ent­ing traps.

The crit­i­cism trap is when there are fre­quent power strug­gles with your child. The sit­u­a­tions es­ca­late from crit­i­cis­ing to threat­en­ing and yelling. This type of dis­ci­pline of­ten back­fires. The par­ent’s anger makes the child and par­ent re­sent­ful and hos­tile. If th­ese kinds of bat­tles take place fre­quently, it’s time to try a new way of han­dling the sit­u­a­tion.

The “leave them alone” trap in­volves the par­ent sim­ply not ac­knowl­edg­ing their child when they are be­hav­ing well. If good be­hav­iour is taken for granted it may be re­placed with the mis­be­haviour that re­ceives more at­ten­tion. A ba­sic prin­ci­ple of pos­i­tive par­ent­ing is to praise be­hav­iours you would like to see more of­ten.

The “for the sake of the chil­dren” trap oc­curs when par­ents in un­happy mar­riages stick doggedly to the same mar­riage rou­tines, for the sake of the chil­dren, rather than ad­dress­ing the prob­lems con­struc­tively.

The per­fect par­ent trap. There is no such thing as a per­fect par­ent and try­ing to be one will only lead to dis­ap­point­ment, re­sent­ment, guilt, and feel­ings of in­ad­e­quacy.

The mar­tyr trap is one where par­ents be­come so over-in­volved in the task of par­ent­ing they ne­glect their own needs. The par­ents’ re­la­tion­ship suf­fers and may end in feel­ings of dis­sat­is­fac­tion and re­sent­ment.

Qual­ity par­ent­ing can only hap­pen when adults have their own lives in balance.

Pro­fes­sor Matt San­ders is founder of the Triple P — Pos­i­tive Par­ent­ing Pro­gram ®.

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