With the pressures that come with being a parent, it’s easy to fall into common parenting traps. Parent traps are specific ways you act or speak with your child or partner, or even how you treat yourself that can get in the way of your parenting goals. We all fall into traps at least once in awhile, but being aware of the more common traps can help minimize their impact.
Toddlers and young children fill our lives with equal parts love and frustration. They constantly make messes, spill their snacks and drinks, and are capable of displaying epic upsets in the middle of the grocery store.
Parents who respond to messes, upsets, and challenging behavior with negative correction tend to fall into the “Criticism” Trap. Are there times when you are impatient and angry, and everything you say to your child is negative?
Yelling threats like “Do it now or you’ll be in trouble!” or shouting “Clean up your toys now!” can result in anger, frustration, and sadness for both you and your child. When negative correction is used too often, power struggles can arise and no one really wins with power struggles. Using preventative measures can go a long way in reducing the amount of negative interactions you have with your child:
- Create routines and clear expectations: clean up toys before screen time, snacks only at the dining room table. . .
- Remember to use logical consequences, such as toys go away for a certain amount of time if they aren’t cleaned up.
- Take note of the positive: “Thanks for putting some of your trains away. Let’s pick up the rest of them together.”
The next time your toddler dumps their crackers on the floor, take a deep breath, think before you react, and find a calm way to communicate with them. “Crackers are for eating! Let’s clean them up now.”
To learn about the other parenting traps and to read the full article, visit lanekids.org.