Teeth Brushing: Why Not To Threaten Your Child And What To Do Instead
Parenting is complicated. Parents have the task of teaching the child how to become a functioning member of society. That means teaching your child how to understand the concept of there being consequences to actions. It means teaching him or her the meaning of responsibility and accountability. And above all, it means teaching your child that teeth brushing is important! And you have any recollection of how rebellious you and/or your siblings once were so many years ago, surely you can empathize with your son or daughter’s not being thrilled every morning and evening.
Nonetheless, it’s still really important, yet not all that easy to pull of convincing your child to do. At the end of the day, brushing is boring and not as fun as playing video games or watching TV. This can be frustrating for any parent. It’s a natural reaction to feel frustration when you do something as a means of trying to help your child and he or she just couldn’t care less. And in our frustration, it’s easy to lose patience and try to achieve your end goal by any means necessary, which often involves some form of a threat to your child. In most cases, the threat is of some kind of consequences, like no bedtime reading time if the child doesn’t brush, or something to that effect. We’re here to tell you that that’s not the right course of action and this is why.
It ends up creating distance between you and your child
Sooner or later, your child will grow to resent you for holding that threat over his or her head. And eventually, your child will choose not to sit and listen to you read a bedtime story. Your child will communicate this decision by not brushing his or her teeth just to spite you. This breeds more rebellious behavior, which leads to more distance and eventually a power struggle. And where do you go from there when you know more threats will only exacerbate the situation?
You’ll lose out on a chance to spend important quality parent/child time together
Threatening to revoke from your child an activity that is meant to connect you to him or her can only be detrimental to your relationship in the long term. Whenever you feel the temptation to compel your child to do something you want him or her to do by taking away a privilege, especially when it’s something that strengthens your friendship and trust with the child, remember that even if you get the results you wanted for the moment, that it will end up revealing itself is merely a quick fix with long term negative consequences.
It teaches an unhealthy form of problem solving
If this is how you resolve your problems, imagine how your child will approach the various other obstacles he or she encounters later in life. Threats and force do not typically yield positive results in the real world. But if your child learns to resort to this format from an early age, he or she will have a tougher time maturing and learning more effective problem solving skills in his or her adolescent and adult years, which could lead to fewer social connections and professional opportunities.
What To Do Instead
Try to connect with your child and see things from his or her perspective. Acknowledge that brushing teeth is boring and that you understand that there are a million other better things your could be doing with his or her time (in reality it’s really only about two or three other things). Also, remember to remain calm. As soon as you lose your cool, you relinquish your ability to connect with your child on a basic level. From that point, it will be impossible to convince your child to brush on his or her own free will. And finally, don’t make a condescending order as an authoritarian figure, but rather an activity that you partake in. This allows you to set a positive example in your actions.
For more info on how to communicate with your children about their dental hygiene, contact the Pediatric Dental Associates at (201) 652-7020 and ask about their pediatric dentist Midland Park services.