Stop giving into the demands
Stop giving into the demands, especially if they are backed by violence and threats, don’t give in…instead give what is needed.
How often have you watched a child ask for something (your child or one you know), perhaps it is to win a game or the next new toy? The child does not win the game or get the toy? What happened next? Some children will accept it and carry on with life, knowing that while it isn’t fun to not get what you want, it is also very normal and a part of life.
Other children can go to an extreme and be demanding, threatening and violent until they get what they want. In fact even after they get what they thought they wanted they can still erupt in violence. This makes some adults want to give the child what they want to make them feel better, to make life easier. It also makes life temporarily easier. To hopefully stop they violence.
This the adult often learns is not an answer that lasts, giving into the threats and violence actually creates an unhealthy circle of behaviour. Child kicks off for a sweet. Adult gives sweet. Child stops behaviour. Adult is happy as child is happy. Child then wants another sweet. What happens? The child learns that to get a sweet they must first kick off. Sweet = anger. Upset parent = sweet. This then repeats.
I am not talking about the use of sweets to help a child regulate their emotions, or the tools we use to parent. I am talking about the cycle of trying to fill a need with the wrong thing, it will never ever make a change or make the child feel better, it will instead continue the negative cycle of behaviour. How do you stop this negative cycle of behaviour? Don’t give in, investigate instead!
Are they trying to fill a hole that feels empty? Are they trying to forget pain and trauma? Is their self esteem so low that they are unable to bounce back from a loss? Do they only think you love them if you show it with gifts? Do they simply not have the tools to understand how to ask for what they want? Is there a trigger to the behaviour? What feeling are they experiencing? When you look at the emotion they are trying to heal or forget, when you see the need they are trying to fill, then this then needs to be your focus, give them what they need, not what they are demanding.
Get in there with your therapeutic parenting and use of PACE. Fill the needs of the child, build a healthy attachment. There are things you can do to stop this negative cycle of behaviour once you look at what they are really asking for, they want help and not the next win or the next new toy.
Our children don’t need to get everything they want in life. They do need attachment, emotional regulation and the ability to understand why they feel the way they do. They are unable to see or meet their own needs, this is our job. It is our job to see why they are struggling and then to come in and help them with their need. We simply can’t do this if we continue to feed the negative cycles of behaviour. Don’t feed the violence, don’t give in, instead give what is needed.