Sunday, September 10, 2006

Article - The Brat Syndrome

“Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Poor child! So, no - cannot agree with that..… Moreover, if that is one tough kid you are dealing with, then, “poor rod

Seriously, though, parenting has never been and will never be an easy task. As far as jobs go, being a parent is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding one! However, until you yourself become a parent, you never can fully appreciate your parents and the kind of experiences you might have put them through.

As a mother, life is that much more…. everything! It is more complicated- more gratifying, more terrifying and more work. Parenting - especially for the mom, begins right from pregnancy. Yes, the responsibility of being a parent begins with conception. What you eat, how you look after yourself and your general emotional “well-being” - are all relayed to the foetus. That is how complex motherhood is.

Having gone through a great deal to establish the “mother” status, you are already headlong into the job of your life! Your foremost responsibility is to provide a safe and secure childhood for your child. Once you are well on your way into that, one concern - just one of the concerns that might face you, is the “brat-syndrome”. Toddlers with tantrums and children with occasional bursts of frustration do not necessarily mean that a brat is in the making.

You are sure to recognize a brat when you see one! However, it is more difficult to recognize it in your own child. It is unpleasant to realize and keep in mind that if your child is a brat, you are at least partially responsible. Having said that, (and the damage having been done) it must be pointed out that you will have to do something about your brat as he or she will certainly not “grow out of it”. In addition, here is another incentive to undo the damage done – it is an end to your frustration as well as all those tiresome and very sapping moments, a brat can cause.

Undoing the “brat-syndrome” is daunting to say the least. More importantly, the child actually suffers from being a brat; Being branded as one, for instance. Enduring snide remarks and being sidelined thanks to “brattish” behaviour. I have even known people who avoid socializing with parents as families because of their brat(s)! Nobody likes brats – deep down, not even the brat himself! Believe me, the child goes through a lot thanks to the stigma. Equally important to note is that the child has to make a great deal of adjustments to undo the brat status. Besides, how reasonable is it to expect the child to undo what you have (albeit unwittingly) done?

First of all, learning to say “No” will go a long way. The trick is to be firm and consistent about it. Easier said than done! Secondly, try not to hate yourself or feel sorry when the tears come. The child can sense your weakened mind! Thirdly, do not fuss over your child unnecessarily. Children need some independence and their own footing. A control-freak of a mother may do more damage than she thinks.

It is a fact that half the problem is solved once you have been enlightened about your child’s transformation into a brat. It is easier when you as a mom spot this early as, if you leave it to the child to evolve out of it naturally, there can be other psychological damages and bad memories in your spoilt-child-turned-knowing-teenager. He or she will find it difficult to live with or even shed the “brat” tiara!

Not for nothing was it said “Spoiled children rarely make happy adults”.

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