Have you ever wondered why your children don’t seem to appreciate what they have? Or perhaps your child has been telling you they hate you and it has been breaking your heart? Maybe you’ve been angsting over the fact your child always destroy things? If you have you are certainly not alone as these three issues rank in some of the most googled parenting questions. So what are the answers? I’ve asked three different parenting authors to share their wisdom on some of the most googled parenting questions below…
What to do when your child says they hate you?
Answered by Mick Jewell, author of Are Difficult Children Difficult, or Just Different? What if We Can Change to Help Them?
This is a common thread in all carers, teachers and parents that are looking after children who are finding things difficult and the first thing you must always remember is to not take this personally.
The young person does not hate you and you are not the intended target of their anger, emotion or frustration (as cited in Chapter 43 of my book). Always accept the words and divert the argument, tantrum or attack by qualifying with a positive phrase identifying the emotion they are feeling.
You can say, ‘I can see you are feeling angry and I am going to make sure you are safe and come back.’ It is always best to remove yourself from the situation and allow the young person to calm, ensuring they are safe. Move them if necessary, but speak in a calm low tone and be patient asking them to ‘move to a more private and safer space to express your emotions’.
Never attempt to discuss an issue when heightened in a state of anger or extreme behaviour (even positive) and revisit and discuss when the young person is calmer and you also feel in control of your emotions and safety. I have addressed options and strategies in Chapters 27-29 in the book for different situations that we have experienced.
We continue to work with four young people in our home and they all experience these feelings and direct them towards the adult currently in view, whom they feel safe with and often trust not to return anger and increase the battle. Although sometimes you would strongly believe they are spoiling for a fight!
Some extreme young people would prefer you to battle and sometimes even extend to physical violence, but we have found that in this case it is best to voice this ‘I am guessing you wish me to argue with you and possibly even fight with you, but this cannot happen, so I am going to ensure you are safe, but keep my distance and remain calm until you are feeling calmer’. Reflection and labelling usually work.
Why does my child always destroy things?
Answered by Christopher Ayton, Author of Behaviour
The question needs clarification. Firstly, no child ‘always’ destroys things. The question poses a question mark on the attitude of the parent asking such a question.
That aside, the next clarification must be what age or age range is this mythical destructor?
Let’s assume in the first place that the child in question is at a pre-school age child. In this case the actions of the child are not of destruction but of discovery. ‘What happens if I hit Mummy’s phone with this rock? ‘What happens if I push over this tower of bricks?’ ‘How will the people around me respond?’ The act of discovery, in whichever form it takes, is a necessary and important human developmental process.
Now if the child in question is of school age. Then their actions can be perceived as an act of fun. Yes, it can be very enjoyable wreaking something. And in many cases destruction is necessary for rebirth. Look around at the numerous buildings being demolished so that a new buildings can be constructed. Destruction isn’t always a negative action. It is often the case that something has to be dismantled to be repaired or improved. Again a child ‘destroying’ something is an act of understanding.
Lastly, if the child involved is a teenager, their action could be an act of rebellion. A cry for attention, obviously this can apply to any age. Seeking love and understanding isn’t something to view as ‘destructive’ it’s a positive quest for support and love. Our actions aren’t innate they are learnt.
On a more general note given the world that most children are born into, a world of perpetual war, famine, slaughter, fleeing, extinction and environmental ruination, I’m always amazed how positive and creative our children are.
But is the question really ,”How do I stop my child destroying things?” Love, unconditional and relentless love. Love your child no matter what they do or say. Your role as a parent is to unconditionally love your child.
Why don’t my children appreciate what they have?
Answered by Eddie Gallagher author of Who’s in Charge?
Many adults also take for granted what they have. We live in an acquisitive, greedy society. Individualism is higher than in any previous culture and this trend has been continuing for over a century.
We are also materialistic, and our children have grown up in a media-saturated world where they have been exposed to hundreds of thousands of advertisements designed to create demand for products, which increases their demandingness.
Families have become more child-centred and in some children this makes them treat parents as servants. Adolescents tend to be more egocentric generally so there has been an increase in narcissism in this age group (the selfie generation).
Well there you have it! Now we have the answers to some of the most googled parenting questions. I hope this has given you some useful insights into why your children may have been doing any of the above things. Remember, parenting is a tough job in today’s crazy modern times so don’t be hard on yourself and just do the best you can.