Parents typically have to deal with any number of disagreements with their child in everyday life, especially during the pre-school or teenage years. These conflicts often revolve around power struggles, during which the child will shout, cry, beg, complain, or overreact in some way. Even though parents may love their children more than anything in the world, they might sometimes wish they had never given life to another human being in the first place.
According to the author, however, it is possible to build a healthy relationship with our children, and raise them in a positive and constructive way, while encouraging them to develop independent social skills. A mistake many parents make is to confuse discipline with punishment. As a result, children develop a self-defence mechanism whereby, instead of learning from their ‘mistake’, they focus all their energy on avoiding future punishment.
The author maintains that all children really need is to feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Parents should avoid simply demanding obedience from their children, and have to recognise their needs and safeguard their dignity.
When a child misbehaves, it is often the result of unmet needs, whether it be for attention, control, or power. If children feel that these needs are not being met, they may start behaving badly, in order to get what they want.
A child who feels ignored or neglected will make a point of getting their parent’s attention. By understanding the underlying causes of their misbehaviour, parents are able to respond effectively, meeting the child’s needs and helping them to feel heard and valued.