Intrusive parenting has been known to impact the growth of the child, and according to a recent study, the child's behavioral problems can also shape parenting, and result in over-controlling parents. As the child starts growing up and interacting with the world at large, parents are not the only source of influence in their lives.
The second year in a baby’s life is very crucial – it is considered a developmental period during which children undergo significant changes, including cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional changes. This period often referred to as the “terrible twos” is familiar to most parents. It is the time when children attempt to be more independent, and it can lead to behavioral problems such as temper tantrums.
Some 2-year-olds start externalizing unruly, rebellious, or aggressive behavior. These are mostly short-term but can also continue as the child gets older. A recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology collected data to understand how unruly behavior in kids impacts parenting. According to the researchers, “when children are defiant, aggressive, and disruptive, parents are likely to engage in a series of intrusive parenting practices to manage these behaviors, such as limiting children’s autonomous wishes, offering excessive directions, or disrupting children’s opportunities to practice efficient skills to regulate their externalizing behaviors.”
Though every parent wants to give the best possible start to their child, they need to understand that kids are born with their temperaments, personalities, and goals. Parents' primary job is to help the child interact with the world and prepare them for complete independence, not to try to push them down any specific path. Most parents deal with unruly behavior in a calm, firm manner. However, it becomes challenging, depending on the child’s personality. The recent study reports that when the child continues to exhibit noncompliant, aggressive behaviors, some parents tend to become frustrated and angry.
Thomas Phelan has described six types of childhood behavior that often tests parents' patience:
- Badgering – The child keeps requesting or nagging for something, which becomes tougher to handle when he does it pretty loudly in any public space.
- Intimidation – Children often use aggressive verbal attacks, involving temper tantrums to convince their parents.
- Threats – When upset, some kids start threatening their parents.
- Martyr tactics – Crying, making pouts, or not speaking to anyone for hours are all different techniques of making parents feel guilty for disciplining a child.
- Physical tactics – Child may start throwing objects, break things, or even run off. Mostly kids with limited language or vocabulary do this, but it's the worst of all.
- Butter up – Unlike the other tactics, sometimes children become sweet towards their parents to get what they want.
Children's behavior and parenting techniques influence each other – but as grownups, it’s our responsibility to deal with their disruptive behavior with more autonomous support and less disruptive and controlling behaviors, and only then, their pestering behavior may change in the future.