What is the easiest way to get your child to come running after you? Threaten your child with “If you don’t come – I am leaving without you!
When children don’t want to accompany us when we need to leave a place – we immediately threaten to leave without them.
We do it when it is time to go home from the park. We do it when it is time to leave the mall. We do it when it is time to say good-bye at a birthday party. We do it all the time.
What do children learn when we say “If you don’t come – I am leaving without you”
When we threaten children like this – they learn that leaving or going away or abandoning another person who loves you is the easiest way to exercise power and control.
When we threaten children like this – they learn that threatening to go away is the easiest way to frighten or rather terrify someone who loves you.
They learn that threatening to go away – and pretending to go away is the easiest way to emotionally blackmail someone who loves you. It is the most effective way of bringing the other person down to his knees. It is the easiest way to make the other person do what he doesn’t want to do.
It is a lesson that we teach children early.
This lesson in walking away to terrify them that children learn from us – is the same lesson that makes them choose to run away from home when they encounter any kind of opposition or difference of opinion. Because they know that if they run away – if they leave – their parents will be so desperate to have them back that they will quickly say “yes” to just anything.
Is this what we want to teach our children?
Do we want to teach our children that escaping from our problems is the only way to face life? Do we want to teach our children that the love of loved ones should be taken advantage of by threatening and emotional blackmail.
Let us stop saying “ If you don’t come I am leaving without you” Let us try to instill courage in our children to stay and face the challenges and problems that life throws at them. Let us teach them to stay and strive for and achieve what they think they deserve.
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