A reference guide for those difficult moments
Being The Kindergarten Cop (or parents of girls of age 5-7 years)
Be it a determined toddler, sweet tween or a stubborn teenager, parents all over the world agree that it takes more tactics and efforts to handle their daughters as compared to sons. On the same note, as children, daughters are more responsive and emotionally attached to their parents. If you are such a parent who is having difficulty raising your daughter, don’t worry. This guide is meant to help parents just like you in Taking Care of your daughters.
Understanding your daughter
The girls of this age have crossed the toddler phase and step out in the social life. The school offers new friendships and learning atmosphere. The main problem that parents phase at this time are:
Problem: Temper Tantrums
Girls of all ages do it, but right now, we are talking about the 5 to 7 years old, who have begun showing anger more often and using tantrum as a way to get things done her way. Many parents don’t realize that by giving in, they are making this behaviour stronger with every passing day! Kids of this age have not developed a mature thinking and long term consequences of bad behaviour is something they don’t understand yet. Instead, they are hell-bent to get what they want, using every trick in their book to get it. As a parent, it becomes your duty to put off the spark before it turns into a wildfire. Here is how:
• Ignorance is the best policy: A child who shows anger most of the time, gets something out of it. Often, to avoid further irritation, parents give in to their children’s demands. This gives these kids the idea that the power rests in their hands and they can get whatever they want. All that is required to fulfill their wish is a temper tantrum and the parents would bow down sooner or later. Your weapon against this blackmailing is ignorance. When you do not fuel this behaviour with reaction or talking back, the anger dies out. Do not try to pacify or reason out with your child. Such a reaction will further increase the tantrums. What you should do is stay calm and busy yourself with some other work. You can stay in the room because your sudden absence may frighten the child, but do not react to the child in any way. On the other hand, when your child calms down and is ready to communicate normally, reward her with your attention.
Problem: Clingy Behaviour
Young girls often cling to their primary caregiver (usually mothers) and find it very difficult to do anything on their own. Most of the times, mothers cannot do even a single thing without a little girl clinging to their leg. Such clingy children make their parents feel frustrated and controlled because they cannot opt out of it. If your little girl is exhibiting the same signs, there are things you can do to make her more independent. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
• Do not discourage clingy behaviour with punishment or anger: Being clingy is a result of anxiety and fear. If your little girl is clinging on to you, she may be feeling scared, when she is on her own. If you punish this behaviour, she may not have the courage to seek your support in the future. Instead, try to comfort her and make her feel at ease.
• Do not sneak away from home: If your child is clingy and feels afraid when you are not around, do not in any case, sneak away. I know it is easier to avoid the situation rather than face it, but the consequence of this action is far worse than if you prepare your child for a goodbye and reassure her that you will be back in an hour (or soon).
• Reward independent behaviour: If your little girl spends an afternoon playing in her room, reward her with something that she enjoys. When your child sees that you love what she did, she will begin to do more of it. On the other hand, if such steps towards independence are ignored or worse, discouraged, your daughter will not learn to stay happy in her own company.
If you have seen a child who wouldn’t get off from a swing in a park despite her mother’s tearful pleadings, you have encountered a stubborn kid. These willful children are sometimes really difficult to handle and some days can be pure disasters. If you have a child who wouldn’t listen to anything you say, do not cave in but use these simple techniques to your advantage:
• Understand that there’s a fine line between being stubborn and being strong willed: As a parent, it should be your duty to help your child become strong willed and not stubborn. Having said that, it is not uncommon to see people getting confused over these two entirely different human characteristics. A stubborn child is one who refuses to listen to anyone but herself, whereas a strong willed girl would not back down in the heat of the moment.
• Treat all of your kids equally: If you are in the habit of letting your stubborn kid run the show, then you are raising trouble right inside your house. Treat all of your children equally and do not bend the rules to save yourself from the efforts required to deal with your strong headed child.
• Lessons of give and take: Make sure that you teach the lessons of give and take to your stubborn daughter. You can offer a walk to her favourite shop if she gives up the Playstation for her siblings or have her wait for her chance on the swing with other kids. Make her feel that it is okay to let go of one thing for the other.
• Hear her out: Don’t ignore your girl just because she’s being bull headed. Sometimes, even the most stubborn people have something right to say. But you can know this only when you hear what she has to say. So, make sure that you hear her out her opinion. Many a times, all that a child wants is to be heard and behaves in an irrational manner to get attention.
Your girls may be having other issues like childhood crush, too much media exposure or competition at school. Whatever it is, make sure that the communication between you and your little girl doesn’t suffer because of it.
Have you faced such problems with your kids? Why not make a mention of it here?
As many parents (including mine) will tell you, raising a girl is a reward in itself, and no problem is as big as the joy of seeing a little girl transform into a beautiful and responsible woman. Yes, this is the joy of having a daughter!