Brave Parenting: Being Too Soft | Teaching Self-Government

Brave Parenting: Being Too Soft


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Can parents actually be too soft?  Isn't love and affection always the answer?  If a parent isn't being soft aren't they being angry? 

I often have parents ask me about children who are really emotional.  They say things like, "...she is really sensitive."  or "...he has a tender heart." 

I know there are different personalities of children out there.  Some people are naturally more emotional than others, but most of our emotional responses to situations are actually learned.  This means sometime along the line a person chose to react a certain way to a situation and it worked.  Maybe a child cried once when they didn't get their way or didn't win a running race and the parent or other people present offered excessive sympathy or made it so everyone came out a winner to protect the child's feelings.  Overly protecting a child's feelings for one minute of happiness will create years and years of unhappiness in the future. 

<strong>Can You Actually Love A Child Into More Bad Behaviors?</strong>

I know this question sounds strange, but it is something worth looking at when we are talking about building the kind of atmosphere where a child is motivated to learn how to govern his own behaviors. 

When I go speak to people on thing I always emphasize is that "home should be the safest place to make mistakes."  This means home should be the kind of place where a child should never fear the wrath of his parents if a mistake is made or if a bad choice is decide.  Our children should be able to completely trust us and our emotions.  They need to know we are always loving, calm, and open to healthy communication. 

This is one of my foundational principles of parenting.  However, parents can cross over a parenting line which will make their life and their child's life much more emotional as well as ruin the safe feeling in the home.  There is a line between loving and encouraging your child and coddling them.  If your child is upset and you stop at nothing to comfort them and pity them then you may have crossed the line to the land of manipulation and unhappiness for all. 

All people, but especially children, have expectations and anxieties.  They hope for success and preferential treatment just like we do.  They want things to go their way and try to manipulate situations so this happens.  If this is not understood a parent can make a serious mistake which can affect the happiness of their child and the health of their parenting relationship for many years.

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