Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fear Factor

Yesterday on the way home from picking up my youngest we had a little incident, that left me perplexed initially.

My daughter was whining, as is usually the case after a long day – and finally to appease her, I offered her a bottle of water. She snatched the bottle out of my hand and I said, “Give it back; don’t snatch.”
She immediately said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know my hand was going to snatch it…,” and starts to cry.
I said, “How could you not know your hand is going to snatch? You control your hand…it’s OK; just don’t snatch when someone is giving something to you.”

I thought it was over, as I was now listening to music and singing. I soon realize she’s still crying.
“Why are you still crying?” DRUMROLL……”I’m afraid of you!” Incredulous I replied, “You’re afraid of me!”
I must say, her response stopped me in my tracks – who wants their child to be afraid of them?

I told her she doesn’t need to be afraid of me, but she’s not perfect and it’s my job as a parent to correct her when she does something wrong. I know my tone isn’t always loving (and this is something I’ll work on till I die), but correction is necessary. I said, “If I didn’t correct you, you would be like those bratty children that no one wants to be around. As it’s not pleasant for you, it’s not for me either. This is how God is with us – when we do something wrong, he has to correct/discipline us so that we can grow; if not we’ll continue doing the same thing over and over again.”

She understood my explanation.

Initially I was taken aback by the fear factor, but the more I thought about it the more appropriate it seemed. Fear is necessary but it’s not the basis of the relationship; if fear makes a child obedient, so be it. As a child grows, they recognize that you don’t need to be fearful, but to be respectful because as a parent you have demonstrated to them over time that you have their best interest at heart.

Disclaimer – If you’re abusing your children in any form, that’s a warranted, yet totally inappropriate fear on the child’s part. Please seek help if this is the case.


1 comment:

  1. while tutoring, one of my students told me he was scared of me; i was taken aback like you were with your daughter. it seems like the fear reactions we saw in our situations are the child's way of saying "i don't want to let you down because you do do a lot for me and i really want to make you happy." this makes your child's statement about not knowing what her hand was gonna do all the more understandable. if it's anything i'm learning in tutoring, teaching and being an uncle, it's that some ppl (not just kids) definitely have a hard time bringing their body under submission. more power to you and your daughter as it sounds like your daughter really appreciates what you do for her even though she or her hand are a little anxious sometimes.

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