Parenting Rules SMASHED! Research Suggests Arguing in Front of Your Kids Could Actually Do Them Good. but the 'No Arguing' Rule Isn't the Only One That Needs Breaking, Says Psychologist Emma Kenny

The Mirror (London, England), December 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Parenting Rules SMASHED! Research Suggests Arguing in Front of Your Kids Could Actually Do Them Good. but the 'No Arguing' Rule Isn't the Only One That Needs Breaking, Says Psychologist Emma Kenny


Byline: Emma Kenny

PARENTING is full of wellworn sayings and beliefs - from trying to keep a lid on arguments with your other half in front of the kids, to never going back on your word.

However sticking to these 'rules' can sometimes do more harm than good.

Research from Washington State University shows that when adults suppress their emotions in front of children, it can be as stressful as witnessing a full-blown row.

Emma Kenny, child psychologist and regular fixture on ITV's This Morning, says it's time to ditch the rules and listen to your instincts instead.

"Intuition is often excellent but it's easy to get confused by conflicting advice about what makes a great parent," she says.

Here she gives her verdict on the most popular parenting rules.

COMPILED BY ELIZABETH ARCHER

CHILDREN

'Don't argue in front of your kids'

Of course, having ferocious rows in front of children can be frightening for them and should be avoided.

But suppressing your emotions could be just as bad.

Children are incredibly well-tuned to how other people are feeling.

If they sense adults in the room are angry but they don't know why, children can worry the anger is actually being directed towards them.

They may also think they aren't allowed to talk about difficult issues.

The key is to strike a healthy balance.

It's OK to have conflict, as long as it's constructive and you can explain to your children why you feel the way you do.

Verdict: BREAK IT

'Always treat children equally'

It's essential children know they're loved equally by their parents. If they feel abandoned or rejected, it can seriously damage how they see themselves.

If you know you don't treat your children equally, you need to change how you act so they don't grow up feeling you didn't love them as much.

It doesn't matter if you're spending more time with one than the other, as long as you explain why, and make sure they know you love them just as much.

An easy way to show children you love them is to give compliments. Research by robotics company Anki showed 72% of children feel less anxious when they receive a compliment, especially when it comes from their parents.

Verdict: KEEP IT

'Never go back on your word'

No adult can honestly say they never go back on their word. Instead, allow yourself to make occasional mistakes and be honest about the reasons why with your children.

It's important to show kids that it's alright to change your mind, as long as you take responsibility for your decisions and apologise if you've upset anyone in the process.

Verdict: BREAK IT

'Protect children from difficult events'

As a parent, you're hard-wired to protect your children. However, it is also very important to be honest with them.

While of course it's not a good idea to expose them to unnecessary trauma, you have to allow children to see both the good and bad in the world as this equips them with resilience.

Make sure that if children have access to smart technology and the internet, parental controls are in place.

But when major events occur, such as a terrorist attack, encourage your kids to talk to you about it.

Children will hear and see things that aren't nice.

So instead of trying to shield them from everything, allow them to experience the world with you holding their hand.

Verdict: BREAK IT

GROWN-UP CHILDREN

'Avoid being the bank of mum and dad'

For this generation of children and young adults, it's going to be hard for parents to avoid lending money. …

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