The Importance of Kind but Firm Parenting

Parenting is the toughest job on earth and when your child runs amok, you will be at your wit's end as to how you can reign in your rambunctious kid. Most parents oscillate between being too indulgent or meting out harsh punishments. While there is no set-in-stone rule for disciplining your child, all child psychologists are unanimous in the belief that though discipline is imperative, it has to be imposed with a gentle and loving touch. Read on to know why tough love is so important.

The Good Parent/Bad Parent Dilemma
21st-century working urban couples often harbour a sense of guilt triggered by the fact that they have to leave their child in a nanny’s care. To make up for not being able to spend quality time with their child, they decide to play down their child’s misdemeanour. This is their idea of being a good parent.
Sometimes couples with diagonally different philosophies on parenting, bungle things up. One parent goes overboard with strictness to keep a child at hand (and becomes the bad parent). While the gentler parent tries ‘make amends’ by being the ‘good parent’. Neither approach is likely to do your child any good who might get emotionally scarred, develop personality disorders or grow up to become a dysfunctional human.
The only thing that will work is a balanced strategy.

Why You Should Be Firm With Your Children
Parenting 101 since the beginning of time has been all about ensuring that your child becomes a responsible, empathetic and law-abiding adult. Wish fulfilment’ is a strong urge in all babies and children and it is natural for them to try and have their way.
But giving in to your child’s whims amounts to not teaching them the consequences of their actions. Being firm teaches a child the difference between right and wrong. And this is a particularly important lesson. Our society operates on certain dos and don’ts which kids need to be taught so that they don’t end up on the wrong side of the law.
That’s not all. If you discipline your children, they will reap the benefits all their lives because tough love will teach them to-
  • Make reasonable decisions and good choices
  • Get a handle on their emotions and keep them in check
  • Take responsibility for their action
  • Not be impulsive
  • Being flexible, competent and adaptive
But, the balance between firmness and gentleness can be a parenting tightrope. The rule of the thumb is to be authoritative and not authoritarian.

Here Are a Few Tips on Being Firm yet Gentle at The Same Time-
  • A direct no will turn a child’s back up. Explain to them why you don’t want them to do what they are doing
  • If they make an irrational demand, tell them you love them but you can’t give it to them. This will prevent a nasty power struggle from breaking out
  • Treats should only be given as a reward, teach them that they have to earn it
  • If you want them to do something that is unpleasant to them, join them and give them company
  • Do not order your child about, clearly, state that it would make you happy if they did what you want them to
  • Do not judge or compare your child to another
  • Instead of inflicting pain as punishment, order a time-out. Send them to their room and do not interact with them for a few hours during which they will reflect on their actions. But afterwards, you MUST hug and patch things up with your child
  • Do not be disparaging or patronize your child, talk to him/her as a grown-up, this will make them respect you more
DO NOT be-
  • Too forgiving
  • Too generous
  • Too permissive
  • Overprotective
  • A helicopter parent
Why You Shouldn’t be Too Hard On Your Child
The worst parenting mistake you can make is to be too harsh on your child just so that they can’t run get the better of you. Here are a few things that are likely to happen if you bully your child-
They grow up with the idea that intimidation gets things done
They will become even more belligerent
They develop a damaged sense of self-esteem
Trust issues will crop up between the parents and child
Being a parent is a learning curve and you are bound to fumble and flounder. Love your child and remind yourself of his/her positive traits, control your own turbulent emotions, be patient and you will ace the parenting challenge.