Clinica Sierra Vista WIC
The little boy was talking nonstop. He followed the man around the local store, talking, talking, talking, just chattering up a storm. "Come on Poppa, give me $6.00. Come on Poppa." The grandfather was seemingly reluctant, as he walked around the store he remarked, "Wait for your grandmother to get here. Let's see what she says." The boy continued to press repeatedly, "…Come on Poppa, give me the $6.00!" A customer standing near the counter remarked to the child, "…Maybe 'please' would be a good thing to say." The grandfather looked up with a woeful face and remarked, "We are way past him saying please." The child looked up at the customer like he was from Mars and returned his attention immediately to the grandfather, "Come on Poppa, give $6.00, just give me $6.00."

 The customer again remarked to the child, "…Perhaps you could offer to do some work for your grandfather, that's what people often do when they want to earn money." The child again looked briefly at the customer as if he was speaking Swahili and turned his attention back to the grandfather. The grandfather was momentarily distracted by a customer sale and the child went for the cash register, grabbed six dollars from it and took off for the door, saying, "…Thanks Poppa." The startled grandfather quickly responded, "Whoa, show me what you've got!" The child threw up his hand, showing that he was gripping a $5.00 dollar and a $1.00 bill, and slid quickly out the door.

 Sure, $6.00 you say, that's not much money. Perhaps, but that is not the point to consider. How often can an adult do that type of interaction… walk into a relative's house and take something that did not belong to him, and walk out the door with the item saying, "Thanks." "Hey," people would say, "…You can't do that!" Typically one would call that stealing, much as the boy did at his grandfather's store. Where do individuals learn to be so callous with one's behavior, not considering others? Simple answer: CHILDHOOD.

 Parents are the Gatekeeper to adulthood for their children. It is through the parent that the child learns to become an adult. Should one fail as a parent, the child may physically grow, but he will not mature emotionally, and thus will remain forever a full-grown adult child. This is what happens when one sees an individual who appears to be an adult but is harshly acting out in a selfish manner at home or in public. That type person has no direct sense that others have feelings that he should even consider! For that individual, it is all about HIM, thus he has no need to consider others at all! And this all started….in childhood.

 As parents, we must make certain that our child learns to take "No," "later," "can't do it," "…some other time," "…perhaps tomorrow," as an answer, rather than the child continuing to beg, whine, and plead while as a parent one continues to respond to the child's incessant begging, crying, whining, tantrums, and abusive behaviors. Asking your child to "stop" makes you appear to be weak, telling him to stop tantruming places you in the feeble position and the child recognizes all of this. Parents need only answer ONE TIME and mean it, each time. Otherwise you will be repeating yourself endlessly but your child has the firm, and oft times factual belief, that you will eventually give in, much as the grandfather did at his store with the grandson. That is not good parenting. Say it once, mean it once, and stick with it. Your child has perfectly good hearing. You can train him to expect just one answer and accept it, but you must present it to him FIRST. Say NO and Mean NO: ONE TIME. Following that, act as if your child is invisible to you until he stops with the tirade and goes on to do something more productive. AT THAT TIME you move toward him and offer him your parental attention, which is all he really desires anyway. Teaching your children to be respectful always starts with them learning to be respectful to you FIRST. Demand it, wait for it. EXPECT IT!  Truly, you must display how to wait first, so that your child can observe the tactic. As you learn to do this, so will your child. Remember, parents are the ROLE MODEL for the blossoming adult in every child.

 Offer your attention for compliant behavior by your child, ignore the rest, forever. Your child will quickly learn what it is you want from him. At that time, rather than hearing "gimme, gimme" you will hear, "Please," and "…Thank you."

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Tags: Toddler, Tweens & Teens

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