Avoid The Talk‐Persuade‐Argue‐Yell‐Hit Syndrome

Source: ParentMagic Newsletter, Jan 2010

Many adults enter parenthood with visions of “picture perfect” children. They imagine a warm and loving home, as well as respectful and polite kids, all eagerly doing whatever is asked with only an occasional explanation from Mom or Dad.

As a veteran parent, you know this is not reality. But many parents have the idea that kids are just smaller versions of adults: reasonable and unselfish. This is the “Little Adult Assumption.” Moms and Dads who embrace this myth often prefer the “modern method” of discipline—talking and reasoning. Unfortunately, many times words and reasons alone prove unsuccessful. Sometimes they have no impact at all, and then parent and child fall into the trap known as the Talk‐Persuade‐Argue‐Yell‐Hit Syndrome.

This tragic sequence results from the very best of parental intentions. Your child is doing something you don’t like. You tell her to stop. She continues her misbehavior, so you try persuading her to see things your way. When persuasion fails, you start arguing. When arguing is not successful, you yell. Yelling fails, so—feeling there is nothing left to do— some parents turn to hitting. The two biggest parenting mistakes—too much talking and too much emotion—trigger the Talk‐Persuade‐Argue‐Yell‐Hit Syndrome.

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