Authentic Parenting: Emotions Aren’t a Parenting Tool

Most of us have grown up with emotions being a dictate for our behavior… Not only our own emotions, but also the emotions of others. Fearfully rowing between the rocky waves of the anger, the guilt, the joy and sorrow of parents and caregivers, what have we learnt?
Nothing much, except that we should always, ALWAYS put other people’s emotions before ours, that emotions are scary and how to use our own emotions to manipulate others.

You know how people say that children are manipulative creatures? We are the ones teaching them to be.

Every time an adult tells a child not to do X or Y or “mommy will get mad”…
Every time we use our emotional outburst to sanction children…
Every time we yell at our children…
Every time we physically assault children (call it spanking or whatever)…
We are showing our children how to do the same. Yet emotions aren’t a good disciplinary tool, quite the contrary.

Obviously, all of us are entitled to our emotions, and it is healthy to feel them, but they should never be used to get a reaction from another person. Emotions are just your body’s response to a situation, nothing more. Pinpointing your emotions and working through them is a good thing. Finding out why you are feeling this way is good to.
Instead of telling your child not to do X because you’ll get angry, tell them the exact reason why this situation is ticking you off.
E.G. “Don’t tear down the wallpaper. I really like it this way. I spent a lot of time decorating the room. Let’s keep it nice the way it is.

Not giving full disclosure of why things make you angry or sad is pretty confusing for a small child. Give them the credit they deserve and don’t take the short cut telling them you’ll get angry. When you are feeling angry, do tell your child, but realize it is not them making you angry, it is the reaction your body and mind chose to come up with.

LauraSig Authentic Parenting: Emotions Aren’t a Parenting Tool
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