Nowadays, there are a million things parents have to worry about to be a "good" parent, so it feels like no matter what you do with your children, you're doing something wrong.
The truth is, there are many excellent methods of parenting. It just depends on what works for your children and your family.
However, there is one method some parents think work, but it actually only makes things worse for your family: leading with fear.
You shouldn't be teaching your children to be afraid of you. Here's why:
Fear is the fastest way to compliance, but it leaves invisible scars
When parents want the fastest, most immediate and mind-searing method, they use fear. But what they forget, is how impressionable young children can be. Children are naturally going to be afraid of adults twice their size, hovering over them with an angry voice.
When you take advantage of that, you inflict invisible wounds that your child will hold onto for a long time. Soon enough, you won't have to threaten them as they'll imagine up the threats themselves; and maybe that seems beneficial for you, but think of it like this: Your child will always be afraid of you.
It teaches them the wrong motives
When you teach your child through fear, it limits their understanding of why they should be doing something.
For example, when you tell them to apologize to their sibling "or else," what does it teach them about apologizing? They don't really understand the importance of it; they're just doing it because you threatened them.
How will they carry this throughout their life? Will they understand how to sincerely apologize? If you teach children why they're doing something, it may take a little more time, but it's a healthy quality they'll be able to carry with them as they grow up.
As they grow older, fear turns into defensiveness
Your child will become less afraid as they grow older. They'll develop an attitude, a need for independence and a physical strength that makes grown-ups seem less threatening.
When you try to fight by inflicting fear, they will turn defensive instead of submissive. They will begin to fight back; and this applies to other authorities, not just you.
It inflicts countless mental and emotional damages
When children are raised to be afraid of their parents, their home becomes a place of stress, anxiety and depression. When children have enough factors to deal with outside their home, it is crucial that their home is an environment where they can relax, unwind and feel safe. If they can never feel comfortable, they'll constantly feel stressed and insecure.
The first thing to understand when you decide to cut fear from your home is that your children aren't always going to be as compliant as you would like.
One of the best ways to help children to be compliant is to encourage them and praise their work. When they feel that their work is appreciated and noticed, they're more likely to want to do something - and to do a good job at it.
Another tip is to explain why you do or don't want them to do something.
Expressing your concern will help them understand your love for them. If you explain that you don't want them to do something because you're "concerned they're going to get hurt," they might still be a little annoyed that you don't want them to do it, but they're much more likely to respect you and appreciate you in the long run.
What are some of your favorite, loving parenting methods when you're trying to get your child to cooperate?
Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.