What that child needs is a good scolding!
How often have you thought or said that? Scolding children is a well-used parenting strategy, but unfortunately, it is not usually the most effective way to shape your child’s character and prepare them for adulthood.
The word “scold” means to remonstrate with or rebuke (someone) angrily. Parents use it when they are frustrated and quite simply, it is a way that parents vent their anger when their kids provoke them.
“A good scolding” may make the parents feel that they have done something to remedy their child’s behavior. They’ve raised their voice, they’ve vented their frustration, and they most definitely have let their child know that their behavior was wrong or unacceptable, but in the end, what has the child learned, other than the fact that they don’t want to get Mom or Dad angry? You may think that the child has learned their lesson, but all they’ve really learned is not to get caught.
Scolding stirs up an emotional reaction in your child: hurt, anger, fear, shame and humiliation. As parents, our goal should be to stir up positive emotions that motivate your kids to the right behavior, not negative emotions that cause them to avoid getting caught.
What’s Better Than Scolding?
Next time you are tempted to vent your frustration in the form of scolding, take a deep breath and try this STRONG strategy:
Seek to Understand. Hear their side of the story before you respond.
Take Time to Listen. Listen to their feelings and opinions without critiquing or judging.
Respond Instead of React. What you say in anger when you react and what you say when you take the time to think it through will most likely be two different things.
Outlook Adjustment. Keep the bigger picture in mind as you parent. What does your child need to learn in this situation that will help them later in life?
Navigate a Breather. Step away from the situation or take a time out to give yourself time to calm down and think through your response.
Give Yourself Grace. When you do make mistakes–and you WILL–ask forgiveness and then forgive yourself.
Ultimately, the most damaging result of scolding is shame. Children are afraid and are humiliated when scolded. They blame themselves and think “I’m a bad kid. It’s all my fault.” When kids are shamed constantly, they can develop emotional disorders, mental illness, and addictive behaviors later in life. Scoldings can be emotionally damaging to children, especially severe ones. The risks of that parenting strategy far outweigh the benefits.
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