If you are one of those parents grappling with the question of whether too much love has spoilt your child, you are not alone. While love is supposed to be unconditional, kids need some disciplining too. The problem arises when you equate love with ‘no rules and regulations’.
Your child/ren do not know the right from wrong, or where the lines are. If they push your buttons, you need to tell them ‘calmly’ to back off. This is also love.
Attachment parenting is not equal to spoiling
Your kid sleeps next to you when you see other kids of the same age sleeping in their own cots. You feed your kid when other kids are trying to feed themselves. Baby-wearing, long-term breastfeeding, etc are given as bad examples of attachment parenting. They are not. Once the basic needs of the tiny human are met at all times (and no doubt, your physical and mental costs), they will become more resilient and happier humans.
Love to get loved in return
If the kid gets too much love, s/he is born to believe that love is unconditional. And that’s what they give back to the world. Constant hugs, smiles and affirmative sentences turn them into a confident human being. They cannot understand your wit or sarcasm but they can understand your touch and actions. Make a positive connection with them through your positive actions.
Discipline but with love
Disciplining by instilling fear does not work in the long run. Make your kid understand the consequences of his/her actions by talking nicely to them. Be assured that they will not understand it in the first go. Only repeating it again, lovingly, will drive the point home. Scaring the kid or screaming at the kid will only result in them not listening to you or appreciating/taking your advice as they grow up.
Love means patience
As a working mother, this is so far my most difficult challenge, and as I hear from my stay-at-home friends, it is not any easy for them either. You want everything to be done on time, in a manner that leads to minimum mess or stress. But it is not possible. In fact, it is impossible, especially with a younger child. To be patient when your kid makes a mess while eating, to love and cherish each moment of it is definitely difficult but not impossible. Try giving your kid another chance. If they are given another chance today, they will not be scared or embarrassed about their failures tomorrow.
One expects unconditional love but deters when it comes to our kids. We tell our kids, ‘I am not happy with you for doing so and so’ or ‘if you do so, I will love you more’, without giving a thought of what impact it makes on young minds. They then come back to us as, ‘if you buy me a toy, I will love you more’ or ‘if you don’t buy me that candy, I will hate you.’ Remember, if your love is conditional, so will be theirs. Pick your words carefully, pick words that nourish their mind and soul.
So, just keep giving those hugs and smiling at your little human! Cheers!
Ananya is a Delhi-based working mother. The strategies listed here have been tested by her personally on her now five-year-old son.
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