How Much Are You Unnecessarily Controlling Your Kids?
I’ve been reading some posts lately on forums and magazines that have made me think about control and how much we use it automatically and unnecessarily with our kids. I’ve heard parents say unexpectedly that her daughter threw a tantrum that she couldn’t have her favorite show this morning because she has already watched one show, or couldn’t have a favorite food because she was only allowed that after lunch.
Why not just let her watch her show or eat her food if it meant that much to her?
I just sometimes wonder, if this was your partner or husband saying this, controlling you to this level, if you would think its acceptable? Why do we feel the need to control everything our children do and have? How much TV, what type of food and when, when they go to bed and where, sometimes even what they play with, who they play with, when they play. When they tidy up, what they wear, what school to go to, and even the fact the have to go to school in the first place. Why do we feel because they are younger they are completely incapable of deciding what they want for themselves, or even whats good for them? They may need a little bit of help figuring things out in the early years, but thats where we can be their partners, not their masters.
Its as if society doesn’t have respect for children’s own autonomy.
I wonder what it is we’re scared of? What will happen if they eat that food at that time of day? If they dont tidy up when we say? What stories do we tell ourselves about it? I doubt they’re true, just beliefs passed down through generations mainly. TV is meant to be some great evil, they shouldn’t be watching TV because they should be outside playing, too much tv with rot their minds, but did you know books also were thought to rot the brain when they were first invented? Its true.
As with sweets and sugar, there was a study of children, who had all different foods put out for them including sweets and they could choose exactly what they wanted. At first they went for the sweets as they had always been restricted, but after a few days they regulated their food intake and also made very healthy food choices so they had a very balanced diet.
There was another study done in Illinois a few years ago. They observed 77 children between the ages of 2 and 4 and also looked at how much their parents controlled their eating habits. They found that the children whose parents made them eat only during meal times rather than when they were hungry, used dessert as a reward or expected them to clean their plates even when they weren’t hungry, lost the ability to regulate their caloric intake.
Maybe I’m quite radical on my parenting style, but I believe in letting my children have the things that they want as much as is possible. Why should I restrict something just for the sake of restricting, or because I’ve been told that if I give them too much they’ll get spoilt.
Parenting is about modelling. If I’m generous with my time, my attention, my love, my ability to meet their needs, even if that is for a favorite TV show or a favorite food, over and over again all day, then I know I’m raising generous kids who will go out of their way to meet others needs. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think below and get to know more about you!