Interview with a psychologist about childish whims and parental mistakes in the fight against them

A picture, when a child is crying and stomping with feet at the shelves with toys or with sweets, is quite common. Strange uncles and aunts try in vain to awaken the children’s conscience, or with understanding clap their tongue, writing off the child’s dissatisfaction for being ill-mannered and spoiled. 

Puzzled parents try to bring the capricious child into the senses by any means, often not understanding what caused the unexpected surge of emotions.

About why children are capricious and how to react to parents on children’s moods, the family psychologist Anna Berdnikova told.

What is a whim? What is the point adults usually put into this word?

In the conventional sense, whimsy is a whim or quirk. With respect to child behavior, this word usually refers to disobedience: the child is naughty – behaving badly from the point of view of the parent.

There is an opinion that spoiled children are capricious, to whom everything is allowed and there is nothing to deny. Is it really? 

This is not quite true. In families where children feel that they are loved and appreciated, they do not need to attract extra attention to vagaries. And then caprice can be situational.

Sometimes the parent expects the child to be whimsical: certain parental, not fully realized actions can provoke a child.

Sometimes you can hear on the playground: “Now I will say: it’s time to go home – hysteria will begin.” A minute later, mother calls the child home, the child arranges a hysterics, which ends only by forced means.

Why do children fuss? What are the main reasons? 

I am close to the theory of the American psychologist and teacher Rudolf Dreykurs. He suggests treating any bad behavior of the child as a way to find contact with us, because if children feel that they are understood, valued and loved – they are in contact with adults, then they do not need to arrange scenes and be ugly. The way that a child chooses, whose behavior does not suit the adults around him, Dreykurs sees as an erroneous goal that can be reoriented.

What mistakes are most often made by parents reacting to whims?

It is important to understand what is behind the childish whim, what he wants. Therefore, the mistake will be both stormy punishment and complete disregard, whimsy will require an individual approach in each case. A child of a parent who says: “I have a short conversation: as soon as I started to sour – march to my room!”, It remains only to regret.

How to respond to a demand if it is unenforceable or if the behavior of the child can carry a danger? 

In this case, the reaction must be categorical and unambiguous. The child will continue to be capricious if he feels the parent’s uncertainty in his statement, and also if the parent today prohibits what could have been yesterday. The child in this case will strive to “squeeze” his wish.

For example, yesterday my mother was busy and she allowed me to sit at the computer for three hours. And today she said: “20 minutes and that’s it! You’ll spoil your eyes! ” But yesterday, you could have been 3 hours – and your eyes are in place! The child is indignant and demands yesterday’s privileges. 

However, if the child tries to go out the window, the voice of the parent will not falter and the categorical sounding in it will turn the child away from attempts to repeat the maneuver.

What if the demands with tears, hysterics have already entered the child’s habit?

The easiest way out here is to contact a specialist. If this does not work for some reason, it is important to sit down and analyze your interaction with the child: to look at the situation in which the child most often behaves in such a way, after what words, actions. Is it possible to switch the child’s tantrum? How does it work out? Hysterics, which became a habit, is a stereotype of child behavior that helps to form an adult. If you understand how he does it, it becomes possible to abandon this unpleasant stereotype and form a new one.

Many parents cope with vagaries by ignoring them. Is this method effective?

This method is effective only as a removal of responsibility for children’s whims. “He is capricious – it’s his problem, let him do what he wants, he does his own thing.” Ignoring is detrimental to the development of trust between the child and the parent. If parents systematically ignore their capricious child, most likely there will not be close, warm, trusting relations between them.

Often parents feel embarrassed by the scenes that the child arranges in public. How to react in this case? 

The parent knows his child more than anyone else, so he can easily predict possible moods on this or that occasion. Based on this knowledge, you will fall into potentially capricious situations as little as possible. For example, if you know that your three-year-old can not pass by the window with New Year’s bright things, the easiest way is not to go past him with this display case. If the child still found himself near the ill-fated shop window, then he should be “withdrawn” as soon as possible and switched his attention. Educating the three-year-old willpower and self-control, as well as understanding that the mother can not buy him the whole store, is a thankless task.

The most common examples are the child refusing to go to sleep or to the kindergarten. What should parents do? 

The vagaries of children, manifested in the unwillingness to attend kindergarten, can be associated with an uncompleted process of adaptation. The child is capricious every time when it’s time to go to the kindergarten. This, oddly enough, the most “favorable” option: it allows the child to openly talk about what he does not like.

Parents can sympathize with him, say that they really feel sorry for him, when he is sad, parting with them, but “the world is so organized – moms and dads are working, and children go to kindergartens and schools.”

A child who openly protests against a kindergarten, most often adapts quite well, if the parents do not scold him, do not be ashamed, but express sympathy, support the baby, help him cope with the difficulties that stand in his way, remaining confident that the kindergarten is good choice for their child.

Laying a child to sleep largely depends on how the relationship with the child was built during the day, as late as the evening it was possible to extinguish the day’s excitement. And also from the tranquility and composure of the adult laying the baby to sleep. Even the quietest tale will not help lull the child, if it is told in a high, loud voice at a fast pace.

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