A controversial mum and parenting expert has revealed that parents shouldn’t be punishing bad behaviour, but instead ‘rewarding it’.
Roma Norriss, a parenting consultant from Somerset, believes it is more effective to give children your attention, instead of chastising them.
Mum to her son, 15, daughter, 12 and two stepsons, 16 and 12, [not named for privacy reasons], preaches giving children all the attention they ask for.
By punishing children for their bad behaviour, she claims parents are making the problem worse, with it often having a negative effect on the child’s mental health.
“Instead of punishing children for their behaviour, it’s more effective in the long run (and better for their mental health) if you can just give them what they need,” Roma told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“Spoiler alert: this is usually attention.
“You quite often hear people say “They’re just doing it for attention” – yes they are! So give them attention!
“A toddler who strikes out at playgroup is likely stressed by either the social or sensory input (or from their morning at home if there’s stress there).
“A tween who talks back may feel hurt or frightened by being lectured.
“A teenager who doesn’t come home when they agreed to is likely feeling quite far away from their parent emotionally.
“Punishing these stressed, hurt, scared or withdrawn kids is only going to further their feelings of disconnection and in turn exacerbate the problem.”
For Roma, the best thing to do when your child is acting out is to cover them with love.
Despite looking like you are rewarding their behaviour, she claims you are helping them to recover and encouraging communication in a loving environment.
She said: “If we can bring them in closer – scoop up the toddler, throw a ball with the tween, take the teenager out to a movie – all the while pouring on our love and acceptance, you can expect a child to rebalance themselves and for their behaviour to improve.
“We are building on our relationship with them and communicating that they are loved, safe and welcome.”
She has been criticised by other parents, saying that reinforcing these attitudes will encourage them further, however, she says this simply isn’t true.
She added: “Children’s behaviour genuinely comes from a place of innocence.
“Teachers know that if they help the ‘disruptive’ kid in their class to access learning they will no longer act out.
“This is not to say that we don’t have any boundaries.
“You wouldn’t let the toddler continue hitting, the tween to sustain their backchat or leave the teen to roam.
“But limits don’t have to be brought through threat, blame or scolding- even rewards or bribes are part of a more coercive parenting style.
“A simple ‘Oops, come here you’ to the toddler, or ‘That’s quite enough of that, wanna go play ball’ to the tween will suffice.”