As a parent, are you struggling to discipline your demanding child, but you are not sure where to start from and how to do it?
I thought I would share some insights about the demanding child. How do we teach our children to be considerate human beings and not demanding ones that throw a tantrum every time things don’t go their way? As always, first, we teach by example. We teach by remembering that they are like photocopy machines that learn to mimic our actions, words, and intonations.
There is a distinct difference between a demand and a request. Let’s say a child received a gift and didn’t say thank you. Typically, parents say to a child “what do you say?” In that question from the parent is a hidden demand (I want you to say thank you). In being present with yourself in a moment such as that, a parent might say “That was such a nice gift Justin gave you. Would you like to say anything to him?” This gives the child an opportunity to choose, without being forced to choose. If that child chooses not to say thank you, that’s ok, because the child is left with himself in that choice.
What I mean by “a child is left with himself in that choice” is that there is no “interference” in the moment by any “old” part of ourselves that would make the child feel “bad” about their decision.
The child is then left with himself wherein he or she has an opportunity to experience whether his choice felt “right” or not in that moment. Children learn in their own time. Within every human being lives both a compass and the good to which it points. Somehow along the way, we have buried that internal guiding compass.
Want to know more about how you can discipline your demanding child? Read How to Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children: 3 Crucial Lessons To Teach
Many of us have experienced a strongly negative demanding child. The child that screams and makes a scene because they were told “no” to their request (which most likely came in the form of demand in the first place).
First, we have to understand that it was our very inattention that created that demanding child’s behavior in the first place. It was the past that spoke to us in the moment and convinced us to acquiesce to them in their fitful display. That acquiescence created a negative pattern that will manifest itself once again until properly sacrificed in the moment it appears. Reactions are memories. They are the past revisiting the moment for another opportunity to not do the same ol’ thing again. They are simply old patterns that just repeat themselves.
Let’s say a pattern that has been created is one that when you go to the grocery store, your child always demands a candy bar, and you have acquiesced to that demand time and time again in order to avoid a scene. In order to break that pattern, there has to be a disruption of that pattern.
Don’t ever assume that your child is too young to understand something. Simply speak to them from your heart. Being honest with them by saying something like “You know Jane, I didn’t help you by giving you those candy bars every time you screamed for them at the grocery store. I actually hurt you by doing that. You may not understand that now, but it is true, and I’m sorry. So, I just wanted to let you know that I can’t continue with that same pattern anymore, and so I won’t be buying you candy bars when we go to the grocery store, or (name other places you tend to give in). You may still feel the need to scream and throw a fit about it when I tell you “no”, and that’s ok, but it won’t make a difference in my decision. I love you and want to help you be the best person you can be.”