Robin Berman: the Parent is a benevolent dictator

I'm often asked modern moms question: "If I entered the plane you saw in the cockpit of a four-year pilot, would you feel safe?" Remember: the aircraft you are, not your child.

Idell, Natterson, psychologist

If you want to know what modern parenting, go to Starbucks. Undoubtedly, you will soon find there is at least one child.

Oh, and here he is: charming four year old boy with curly blond hair touching. But all the charm instantly disappears, should he open his mouth and start whining, begging for mother's cookies and a chocolate milkshake, though it is not the first time she asks him to choose one or the other.

Here it is all in the queue appeal to the hearing: they hope that the mother will still retain their positions, although deep down I know perfectly well that it is unlikely. At least, I always cheer for the athlete-the outsider, whose name — the mother. The louder discredits the child, the more awkward feel surrounding. "I want a cocktail, and cookies! I don't want to choose! You're evil!" The whole line rolls his eyes. At this point I have to pull myself together not to intervene. Finally, I approach the counter, order a latte and see how the boy smiles triumphantly to me with biscuits and chocolate cocktail in hand.

I smile at him in response and think, "well, see you on my couch in 20 years!"

Why in today's culture education of this stage is perceived as something perfectly normal? Why modern parents allow children to suppress themselves emotionally? Mothers and fathers often feel hostage to their offspring. Previously, children no one listened — but now they have become the center of the universe. The pendulum has swung the other way — and now we have to find a middle ground between these two extremes of education.

I think modern parents are too careless to maintain its own credibility. Once kept them in his fist and was generous with the belt — and they swore they would never hit their child. The idea is wonderful — but don't you think that we drifted too far? The structure of parental authority is violated. Modern parents are afraid to take a position that is rightfully theirs — the position on the bridge. But if the ship has no captain, he does not float, or worse, go down.

I am often tempted to take a prescription form and write on it: "I allow you to be a parent."

Many doctors suggest similar recipes:

Parenthood is autocracy, not democracy. Children must follow the rules, otherwise they will become unmanageable.

Dr. Lee stone, pediatrician

Children want to know that someone is responsible for them, someone to protect them. Don't be afraid to consider that your opinion is good for the child. Don't be afraid to take responsibility.

Dr. Dafna Hirsch, a pediatrician

The parent is a benevolent dictator.

Dr. Robert Landau, pediatrician

We can not allow patients to operate a psychiatric hospital.

Dr. Ken Newman, a pediatrician


Children today, unfortunately, too often at the helm. And remember: if you indulge their bad behavior, you will inevitably come to such a result.

In celebration of the birthday of a seven year old girl walked up to the hostess and asked whether served ice cream to the cake, and if so, will it be chocolate chip or not? The mother of the birthday boy, absolutely exhausted the festive bustle, and muttered in response: "Probably, Yes".

And so, when it came time for traditional songs "happy birthday to you!", he heard a disgruntled voice demanding Susie: "I want ice cream!"

The mother of the birthday boy was clearly angry: the girl did not even think to accompany his request with the words "sorry" or "please". Nevertheless, she took out a carton of ice cream with pieces of biscuit and began to fill a plate Susie.

"It's not chocolate chip! — suzy screamed louder and capricious. Is with cake! You promised with the chocolate chips! I don't like biscuits!"

The mother of the birthday boy gently turned to the girl: "Sorry, I was wrong. I thought it was a chocolate chip. If you don't want ice cream sandwiches, take fruit ice".

You've probably already guessed what happened next. Of course, everything was not as we would like. Of course, ideally on stage here was supposed to be mother Susie, who gently explained to her daughter that her frustration is understandable, but she was offered a choice of two kinds of dessert, and if it is not satisfied, there is a third way to get up and leave the party, since she is unable to behave appropriately. And without exception, parents who attended the celebration, secretly wanted to see Susie chose a third way...

"I don't want a snowcone! And I don't like biscuits!" — continued to scream Susie.

All eyes turned to mother Susie, who stood up from his seat, went to her daughter. The drama of this scene made the guests forget about the birthday boy: they tensely watched as the mother tries to calm her child.

"Honey, my honey, my angel! Ice cream sandwiches are just wonderful! Well, try, please!" — she urged the girl.

Suzy was still looking at her askance.

"You love Popsicles! — continued to bother her mother. Want an orange?"

"Not-e-e-t! — sobbed Susie. — I want chocolate chip!"

We all like spellbound, looking at her mother Susie, craning their necks like spectators at a tennis match, in the hope that the athlete has enough strength for the winning kick. But mother Susie did what we did not expect. Instead of calmly insist, to assert your parental authority, she began feverishly to choose from a plate of biscuit pieces, throwing them in his mouth. She struggled trying to perform the role of a peacemaker. I felt like a victim on TV show jokes. We waited and waited...

The possession of unlimited power is unsafe in the first place, for the child. Parents are desperate danced in front of their child, trying to appease him, instead of approve, finally, the authority and to set clear boundaries. And if you often find yourself trying to bribe the child or to bargain with him, you know, — you lost power in the family and no longer in control of the situation.

To begin, understand: children with too much power, do not feel safe. They often experience anxiety because they believe themselves to control their own life — understanding that to do it they are not. This stress, in turn, triggers an avalanche threat neurochemical reactions. Your hands to create a situation in which the developing child's brain is literally drowning in the "stress hormone" — cortisol — is not the wisest move on the part of parents.

I used to treat adult patients suffering from excessive anxiety. One of them is very accurately described the problem:

"As a child I felt very uncomfortable, knowing how easy it can manipulate parents. It felt like it had some kind of danger."

I think modern parents are not able to survive the moments when their children experience negative emotions. But you have to learn to observe their frustration and other unpleasant feelings, not rushing immediately to save them from worries. Otherwise, you will inevitably, albeit unintentionally, will disfigure the child's psyche. If you are not able to cope with their negative emotions, how they themselves to learn it?

Your job as parents to teach the child to calm down. You have to help him to build his own "emotional immune system". The vaccine is injected in our blood microscopic dose of bacteria or viruses, thus helping to generate immunity in case of real infection. Consider helping kids cope with unpleasant feelings, instead of instantly trying to get rid of them, you give them "emotional vaccine", a weapon that will help them to cope with emotional problems in the future. Parents who are scared and think about how to upset your precious child and are trying at all costs to protect him from disappointment, afforded the child a disservice.

Worthy of fulfilling parental responsibilities, you may at some time lose the favour of his offspring. But in this case, continue to think: "you hate me Now but thank me later". It is in order to grow from a child self-confident adult, you are not willing to endure a little whining?

Think about what behavior strategies taught Susie is her mother? "If you're unhappy — scream and up in the air as loudly as possible, to insist on. Your whims are more important than the desires of any person". Try to imagine what will little Susie when I grow up. Would you like to date a girl like that? Most likely, after the first meeting no one will want to continue a relationship with her.

Our excessive kindness finally able to turn into cruelty. To function properly, we need courage and common sense. Look for support in recognition of the fact that authoritative parents — those who listens to the child, encourages him to independence and thus clearly and consistently defends its dominant position, in the end, the kids grow up, perfectly adapted to life. Today to spoil a child is much easier than to set the necessary boundaries, but in the end, to help the child cope with their emotions and handling them is your responsibility. If the parents are helpless before their children's feelings, they inevitably grow up emotionally vulnerable people.

My problem is that the children know: actually my "no" means "maybe."

The mother of three children, new York

It is impossible to become a real parent, following the path of least resistance.

Mark, a divorced father

The only way to complicate the adult life of their child is to make his childhood a little too simple.

Betsy brown, a consultant on education


Modern parents are willing to endure for too long baby vzbryki and whims. For some mothers, a stock of patience seems inexhaustible — they are willing to endlessly haggle with the children and make their tantrums. Their kids are naughty, whining, screaming, and the parents do nothing but listen to these cries.

I just wonder how many of today's young parents can repeat: "If you ever do this, I..."?

Carrie, grandmother of


I was most struck by how helpful become parents when their child begins to bargain with them. The impression that they are touched by how clever and smart he is manifested their child — instead of having to finally grow tired of his endless attempts to defend their desires. The simplest tasks — for example, to go to bed or leave the Park, lead to disputes on the quarter hour. It's really exhausting.

The power structure in the family turned on its head, and as a result, many children feel crushed by this burden. They talk more and more, faster and faster, just to get her way, and in the end everyone is under stress. Parents again and again people ask me how to get back to a proper state of things?

The most effective way to help stop little talker, I call "the negotiations on the contrary." He reminds me of a magic spell. It works as follows: you must declare to the child that are not going to bargain with him. If you think that this task is incredibly complicated — it is and will be. But Hey, that's not all! Then you explain to your child that if he again try to negotiate something for yourself, you will not only get what he hopes, but what you've offered him from the beginning.

Let's consider a small example:

Parent: Today sleep in eight hours.

Child: But I want to play until eight-thirty!

Parent: No, you will fall in eight.

Kid: But it's too early!

Parent will form a quarter to eight.

Child: Okay, eight.

Parent: No, now only half-past seven.

Your task is to insist on this, the last time bedtime. Hold on firmly to its position. Any indulgences! And do not panic ahead of time. Ahhh... and silence. All is calm, all is well. It's like somebody finally turned off the radio, which was annoying background.

If you will be able to hold the positions, your young he would disappear — and in its place will arise a beautiful baby in a cute Onesie, ready to lay in bed. Cable-cable-boom! And magically this eternal phrase, "If you ever try to...", rolling around in your head like a broken record, instantly silenced.

Sometimes love is embodied in the word "no."

Marianne Williamson, writer


What you should know about the word "No"Checked psychotherapists

Approved by mums

  • No.
  • No is a complete sentence.
  • No is my final answer.
  • No — it means that bargaining is useless.
  • No — not "maybe".

The navel of the earth

For starters, let's clarify what is not included in your parental responsibilities.

You don't have to be for a child overgrown playmate in the sandbox, a multi-entertainment center in 3D and the more "live dummy", i.e. assistant, a sedative.

If you take to heart any childish remember: thus you turn a kid into a selfish, not able to think about the needs of others.

Let's stop a minute and figure out what message we are sending to child, hysterical at the Starbucks or at a birthday party. We would teach him, "Yell louder, yell hysterically — and then you get a cookie, and a chocolate shake, and all this — in addition to vanilla ice cream, which, look, I already dug all the pieces of biscuit!"

To teach children understanding and compassion, to explain that the world does not revolve around them — then give them a far more valuable life lessons.

Honestly, I would love to have the opportunity along the way to tell mother Susan that she should have to do:

Step 1.Stop for a second, calm down.

Step 2.Acknowledge the child's feelings: "I understand you're upset".

Step 3.Label border: "we're So sorry".

Step 4.Give an opportunity to choose the right strategy: "Choose one of two desserts".

Step 5.Indicate the consequences of further disobedience: "If you can't control your behavior, we're going out."

Step 6.Firmly stick to his position. Surprise your parents watching you: do you take the child from the holiday. You will see: you spend a thunder of applause.


You must be eager to leave the party. If a child behaves inappropriately, it is necessary to stop. He must firmly grasp that your threat is not an empty sound. You'll earn a lot of points in the eyes of other moms, unless by promising to take away the kid from the festival, really do it.

The mother of three children


What you really need SUSY — so it is a well-defined border, solid understanding that you can't be too picky and make fun of others, trying to get what you want. She needs to understand how to cope with his dissatisfaction in cases where her desires are not fulfilled, to learn to be flexible and find compromises.

Her mother, in turn, should easily relate to the frustration of the daughter instead of immediately rush to the rescue.

Always think about what you inspire a child to their behavior, and what are you teaching him. In the midst of conflict, try to take a deep breath, take a pause and look at what was happening. And then look forward and ask yourself: do you to educate the child those qualities that you think is significant? Will your present behavior to the child's development in the long term, or are you just seeking at any cost to solve the immediate problem?

For example, if SUSY's mother gave her daughter a lesson in proper behavior, he would bring long-term benefits.

The child's reaction should not affect your parental position. I assure you, this compass will lead you nowhere. Remember: you are older, wiser and more adequate judge of what is happening. Don't let your children put you in a doubt, and even if your child makes a fuss stronger, do not start themselves.

One day the daughter cried: "Mom, if I ask for something, don't immediately say "Yes"! Tell me, finally, no!" I was shocked.

The mother of an only child

Today we are witnessing a generation of egoists who do not understand the needs of others.

Once on the first day of work one nurse asked the mother to instruct her on how to communicate with its seven wards.

"Let him lead — and the day will pass without problems!" mom said.

Possible, so the nanny would actually be able to secure a easy working day — but, of course, this approach promised in the future a hard life for the boy.

On the same day, the babysitter told him to collect toys.

"I'll tell mom and she'll fire you!" he said in response.

This is not good — there is, perhaps, one should choose a stronger word, it's just awful when a child is so much power! The worldly wisdom of this boy too far from reality. It will grow, and obscenely inflated sense of self-worth will be very hard for him in school, and subsequently alienate potential employers. But if children learned to respect the hierarchy in the family, then they will easily be able to do it in school, at work and in life in General.

One of the ways to let your children know that not everything in the world they are subject, is to deny them a desirable, but not a member of a category is required.

For example, one mother somehow survived the whole battle when buying heats in Bloomingdale's. Her 13-year-old son actively pursued the acquisition of designer clothes. But the mother just by looking at the price tag, then firmly said no, explaining:

"I'm not going to buy you an expensive thing, from which you will grow very quickly".

The boy continued to beg, and then, seeing that the mother is standing out, finally upset. "Well, why not? — he whined. — You can afford it!"

"Yes, I can,' replied her mother. But do not think that this waste will be reasonable. If you want, then sue me in court because I taught you the principle of reasonable expenses".

"Okay, you're right," he surrendered finally a boy.

In such cases, you should be ready to insist on its end, acting not as easier as well as healthier for the child.

But if sometimes you'll insist, and sometimes to take the position, this will lead to catastrophic consequences. In psychotherapy we call this the "variable reinforcement", implying that the reinforcements received in response to specific behavior that is unpredictable.

An excellent example of this phenomenon can serve as gambling. Throwing a coin into a slot machine, you can sometimes hit the jackpot, but the vast majority of cases this does not happen. However, you return again and again to the machine and throw a coin with the same thought: "what if...".

Variable reinforcement can perpetuate bad behavior. If children feel that your threat is an empty sound and that you are only sometimes able to insist on, to obtain their obedience would be almost impossible. If you say "no", but, in the end, in four cases out of five giving up, your words will mean nothing.

Children learn best, if you insist on constantly. We call it "fixed reinforcements." This is what your behavior teaches children that you say what you think, and do exactly what they say. If you do not know how to get their way, children come to the conclusion that you are trustworthy.

A way to reinforce that we use has a critical influence on how the child acts, how he reacts to us and how it behaves. Your requirements are the best received if they are constant. You will be surprised how quickly change the child's behavior, if you learn constantly and consistently insist on.


No hands!

In a modern family practice me the most striking and appalling is that the children beat their parents! Alas, this heinous and totally unacceptable behavior today is not uncommon. Of course, when preceding generations of parents consider it normal to raise a hand to a child, it was no less terrible. Parents should never use physical punishment, and this rule cannot be exceptions. Such a bad example you are teaching the child that it is possible to solve problems through violence. You yourself, with your own hands, learn his uncontrolled behavior.

Let's think about what message you pass in this way: "My child behaves is disgusting. Pummel me him and let him know that if he's upset about something, he needs to go and someone to beat!"

Here is what he learns, this is what you teach. Yes, you will be able to achieve immediate obedience in the here and now, but in the long run you are likely to generate many problems. Studies show that children who were subjected to physical punishment are more likely to be unable to comply with the requirements of the discipline, often be physically aggressive, more likely to be victims of different kinds of addictions and experiencing mental problems.

"I was flogged — and nothing, grew up a normal person!" — this excuse is very common, but that doesn't make it less vile.

Memories of his experiences in childhood, physical punishment is still painful for many adults. And the fact that parents beat children for centuries, does not make spanking right or at least acceptable method of education.

However, shockingly, when today, when turned inside out the hierarchy of power, children raise a hand to parents.

Today fathers and mothers are sending their children a message: "You're upset — well, come here and otvezi me a good slap in the face!" You are, albeit unintentionally, teach him to lay hands on loved ones — to do what, as has been said, is done in any case impossible.

Park's mother, talking with the same young parent, told his four daughters that in five minutes it was time to leave. Child Bruxelles, whined that he wanted to walk again. Mom said that they have no more time, and then the girl punched her in the face. The confused woman nervously laughed and returned to the interrupted conversation. The other mother was shocked — and no wonder: after all, if the child allows himself to punch the mother or father, then all respect for parents is lost.

The class needs a teacher, ship captain, the country's President, a child, a parent. Your responsibility is not to entertain your child, and to raise and educate him. That is, to set rules and boundaries, remaining within the framework of which the child will be safe.


Too much information

Another inflection characteristic of today's parenting culture is excessive talk and excessive amount of information. Previously, parents only had to say: "No, because I said so." Well, today we are ready to explain every step until you're blue.

Today's generation of parents says, incessantly for a second. Fathers and mothers are not able to simply spend time with children — they try to maintain contact with them through regular conversations. But it is possible to reduce children crazy! Children are turned off after the first words — they just stop listening.

A specialist in early childhood education

I watched two-year-old girl was playing on the balcony, while her mother led a non-stop monologue: "Amy, don't go near the edge! You could fall and hit severely! It will be terrible! When you come so close to the edge, I start to get nervous. You're making mommy nervous! I will soon have to go to a therapist. I don't want that to happen to you anything bad!"

Too much information. The kid's only two years! Mother is enough to short: "Honey, don't go there." And that's all!

Talk with your child briefly and gently. Fed him small pieces of information that it can digest easily. If the parent talks too much, the child can stop to take his words — or worse, a lifetime to absorb parental fears and complexes. Think of yourself, how easily, albeit unintentionally, we out on their children's own problems! Aren't children better without this baggage?

Doctors, as you know, take the Hippocratic oath. It would be nice if parents gave a similar oath, which, like the physicians, the main point would be: "do No harm!".

We need to unlearn to speak in conversations with children all of our own fears and worries. For this we need to consciously clear the speech of such debris.

A child's brain is constantly developing — so don't fill it with unnecessary facts, information noise, or even worse, our own anxieties. Before speaking, take a deep breath and a few moments of ponder. Emissions from a prepared speech that the child should not hear. In this case, the less said about it the better.

This generation talks too much. Meanwhile, the habit of unnecessary talk weakens your position as a person in authority. And children no longer feel safe.

A doctor practicing in one of the States of the Midwest

Today, parents talk too much. The children just get lost.

Phyllis Klein, a specialist in early childhood education


Too much choice

Another problem, in many respects similar to excessive talking is the problem of too wide choice, which you provide to children. It also upsets the balance and can be daunting for a child. Today, parents give their children the opportunity to take more decisions on their own, thus turning everything on its head the system of power inherent in the family.

With the exception that the Royal offspring of the Ming dynasty, today's young Americans are the most spoiled children in history, possessing unprecedented power.

By Elizabeth Kolbert. Spoiled, The New Yorker

The child is difficult to constantly make choices. I was very surprised when once witnessed, as a mother consulted with five-year-old daughter about her future career: "do you think mom to go to a new job in the Bank, or stay in your old job?"

Attention, it is dangerous for children's psyche! The brain of the baby is not yet ready to take such serious decisions! The frontal lobe of the brain responsible for critical thinking, children are still at a very early stage of development and will be finished to form in the age is 20. So your young offspring, from the point of view of neurology, is not yet ready to make decisions for you.

The girl looked at mom, gave out: "What?!" Well, that's good.

Children can be given the right to make decisions — but in accordance with age.

"You're the chicken or the pasta?" — the normal choice for a five year old girl. But to get her to weigh the pros and cons of working in a Bank is absurd.


Accept the dissatisfaction of a child

Today parents are much more anxious to be friends with their children, not in order to assert their own authority. And the children, meanwhile, needs a leader. They like to admire a man who is bigger, stronger and wiser.

Helen Basian, Ph. D., psychologist

Trying to become a friend to your child, you play with him on equal terms. The problem is that equality between you and there can not be. Building a friendly relationship with the children, we again break the power structure in the family. If you're a friend, not a parent, so your child stays an orphan.

This problem is very accurately described by psychologist and writer Wendy Mogel:

"Your child doesn't need more a couple of overgrown buddies. He already has friends and they are all more fun and more fun you. But the parents he needs".

As a therapist, I often meet with patients who wanted to parents come, finally, for the performance of their duties. So, mom Jill, one of my patients, all the time aspired to be for the daughter Board. She used to give her company in alcoholic beverages when they were minors included in the car favorite daughter music loud, and dressed in the latest fashion of youth fashion. When Jill, which at that time had turned 25, got the mother in a joint therapy session, she was shocked.

"Jill, you're my best friend,' began her mother. — Did you have it always, even when you were a little girl. I don't understand, what's wrong?"

Jill glanced at her mother, and her eyes seemed to tears.

"Mom, you struggled trying to be my friend,' she replied. But I have many friends, and my mother is only one. I don't want you to be my girlfriend — I wish you were my mother!"

This is a very important point. Children need parents, children want to be present in their lives. And let your offspring be from time to time you are unhappy due to the fact that you competently perform their duties.

A wonderful father learned, as the establishment of borders contributes to the formation of the child's sense of security. The mother of his son died when he was a baby. Jay did not know the happiness of unconditional motherly love. Because of this, his father suffered greatly — and as a result spoiled son. He never would punish the boy for bad behavior.

In 10 years Jay made a huge scandal in the store. He wanted to buy a film that distributors do not recommended that children under the age of 13 and which his father considered inappropriate for a son age. Jay threw a real tantrum, falling to the floor and kicking his feet.

Before that I was working with his father, tried many times to convince him to set the boy's boundaries and to consistently get it to stick to them. However, before the man had the nerve to follow my advice. But then, finally, his patience ran out. He calmly told my son that they go home without the film. Jay sobbed all the way home. But after about an hour the boy seemed totally happy, laughing and joking with his father. And at some point he said, "Dad, we didn't buy a movie — so why am I so great?"

Rules give children peace of mind and confidence.

Judy Mansfield, a primary school teacher

Discipline and setting boundaries is a way to love their children.

The mother of two children

You should do what you deep down believe is right, even if you have to lose points in the eyes of a child. Children do not necessarily understand the reasons for your actions. In contrast, you have the experience, knowledge and the ability to see the future, children are not yet available.

We should be able to surround the child with love in that moment, when he feels anger, suffering, disappointment, and let him experience these feelings of security. We should be able to hold firmly course, even if the storm of emotions sweeping over our offspring to the head. So go ahead, let yourself be free and get rid of your fear look in the eyes of a child "bad guy". Safely treat the current dissatisfaction with your child — and, I assure you, history will be favorable to you.

When I was 14, my father seemed so stupid that I could barely tolerate his presence near. When I turned 21, I was amazed at how much my old man was able to learn in seven years.



Notes therapist

1. The parent is a benevolent dictator. The rules allow the child to feel safe.

2. Do not let your child emotionally overwhelm you. In emotionally unstable parents raise emotionally fragile children.

3. The child who received too much power, often experiencing this discomfort.

4. Trying to satisfy every whim of the child, you may grow out of it the egocentric, unable to cope with life's difficulties.

5. Imagine what future awaits the child who never was punished for bad behavior and the result never learned to take responsibility for their actions. You would like to deal with a man when he becomes an adult?

6. If you tell your child, "once More will do so — and I..." — do what you promised. Perseverance and ability to bring the case to the end necessary for maintaining emotional tranquillity of the child and your own mental health.

7. Remember the main goal — to grow from a child good man. Regularly repeat the mantra: "you hate me Now — thank me later".

8. Talk less, narrow space of choice, choose simple wording. In this case the smaller the better.

9. Saying "no" implies it is "no".

10. Use the technique of "inverted" Torg: the more the child argues, the less gets. It works better than magic spells.published

© Robin Berman. "To indulge is impossible to control. How to raise a happy child"

P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©

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