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How to control naughty children?

Saturday, 18 January 2003
Answered by: S. Anandalakshmy
Consultant in Child Development & Education

Chennai
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Q. I am a 28 yrs old married woman having two children aged 6 and 2 yrs. I am fed up with their mischief and often scold them harshly and sometimes I even beat them. Later, I feel very bad as I dont want to scold them but I lose my temper very fast. At their age they are bound to be mischievous and I am scared that due to my harsh behaviour I just might harm them. Please advise me how I can maintain my cool, be more understanding and yet be able to control them?

A.  I am glad that you have realized that your being angry and unduly strict with your children of 6 and 2 years, may be harmful to them. Perhaps you are under stress yourself, carrying a lot of household responsibility. I would like to suggest that you take up Yoga, particularly Pranayam, as well as meditation. Do this gradually for a few minutes a day and over the next few months, without being angry with yourself for needing to do this. However, as we all know, children who are bright, will also be naughty. As a parent, I am sure that you would be worried if the children were too quiet and well behaved. Also remember that if you beat them or shout at them they can also learn to hit back (and may do so some years later).They love you and want your approval, so any instruction given gently and tenderly is more effective. Please do not get frustrated because they are not perfect. No human being is perfect. Play with them and laugh with them. When they see that you enjoy being with them and sharing your time, they will cooperate with your rules. Read out or tell them stories and sing to them and with them. Also talk seriously, sometimes, of what you expect in their behaviour, especially to the 6 year old. If possible, let the father also take part in all activities. As a well known poet has said, our children are given to us in trust, to look after and to bring up; we do not own them. They are not our property. You will never have another opportunity to see them growing up. These years of their childhood are very valuable. So learn to enjoy your parenting tasks. Please do not hesitate to write again, if you need to.

A.  I am glad that you have realized that your being angry and unduly strict with your children of 6 and 2 years, may be harmful to them. Perhaps you are under stress yourself, carrying a lot of household responsibility. I would like to suggest that you take up Yoga, particularly Pranayam, as well as meditation. Do this gradually for a few minutes a day and over the next few months, without being angry with yourself for needing to do this. However, as we all know, children who are bright, will also be naughty. As a parent, I am sure that you would be worried if the children were too quiet and well behaved. Also remember that if you beat them or shout at them they can also learn to hit back (and may do so some years later).They love you and want your approval, so any instruction given gently and tenderly is more effective. Please do not get frustrated because they are not perfect. No human being is perfect. Play with them and laugh with them. When they see that you enjoy being with them and sharing your time, they will cooperate with your rules. Read out or tell them stories and sing to them and with them. Also talk seriously, sometimes, of what you expect in their behaviour, especially to the 6 year old. If possible, let the father also take part in all activities. As a well known poet has said, our children are given to us in trust, to look after and to bring up; we do not own them. They are not our property. You will never have another opportunity to see them growing up. These years of their childhood are very valuable. So learn to enjoy your parenting tasks. Please do not hesitate to write again, if you need to.

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