As the holidays approach, parents feel obligated to satisfy the wishes of their children for expensive toys and gifts. Often they will overspend rather then see the disappointment on children's faces. This article offers some reassuring advice so relevant to this season. You can be a loving parent and say "no" to your children.
-Joyce Parker, Ph.D.
HOW TO BE A LOVING PARENT AND STILL SAY "NO"
By Malcom Miller, Ph.D.
Pressures on parents are great these days. Advertisements lure children and adolescents to expensive clothes and games. The internet, the influence of peers, and long working hours give parents less ability to monitor children. The question becomes "How can I be a good parent, have my children be happy and love me, but also be safe and respectful of themselves, others and ME?" Many times parents feel so ignored and helpless in regards to their children. Research has shown that children actually grow up to be very much like their parents. Children, including adolescents, watch parents and need them much more than parents recognize and appreciate. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that in the long run, parents need to be less fearful of the influence of the media, peers etc. since what they are taught at home is most important. The bad news is that what parents teach children at home will be most important! Kids are very sensitive to double standards, "Do as I say and not as I do", just doesn't work. When parents don't listen to their children or use physical force to control them, children typically learn not to listen and to use physical force to control others. And children who rarely hear "No!" from parents don't learn to control their behavior and curb extravagent wishes.
What can be done?
Dr. Miller is a psychotherapist in practice in Torrance and West Los Angeles. He is a member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network.
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