Parenting is a lot of work. Generally our intentions are good, but sometimes when the tough times are taking their toll on us, we wish for an easy way out. When our children give us bad attitudes, it can be easy to pull out an old trick such as guilt trips to make them behave. It is often a quick way to shut them down and control their actions in a less obvious way. But is it a good idea? Definitely not… and here are some reasons why.
It Teaches Our Children the Wrong Way to Communicate
We all desire for our children to learn how to express themselves in a forthright but caring way. When we play the guilt card on our children, it takes away an opportunity for them to learn a better way to get their point across. When we use a guilt trip, they learn that this is an effective way to make people behave how they want, instead of sharing their concerns and talking it out.
Does anyone say, “My goal is to raise a manipulative child”? Of course not. But when we play the guilt card on our children, that is exactly what we are doing. Manipulation trains children to be both on the giving and receiving end of a controlling relationship. Do a favor to your children and the world, and avoid manipulation at all costs.
They Will Use It on You
Are guilt trips your secret weapon? If so, they will eventually become your child’s as well. Do you want to end up in a power struggle with your child over every little thing? Giving him or her a guilt trip is the quickest way to that undesirable outcome. If your desire is to raise a compassionate and honest child, be a compassionate and honest parent.
They Will Use It on Others
Part of our job as parents is to train our children in a way that will bring them emotional health. This ensures that they will become adults who can build healthy relationships. If we are throwing guilt trips at our children, they will have a very difficult time fostering healthy adult relationships in the future. It is harmful to our children, as well as their future partner, children, and friends. We owe it to our children to be a good example and never use this underhand tactic on them.
It Brings Negative Feelings to Our Children
When choosing our parenting methods, we want to make a point of using techniques that build our children up instead of tearing them down. When we play the guilt card on our children, it brings them feelings of guilt, distress, and anger that they cannot shake. These are the feelings that stick around and can wreak havoc in a child’s life.
They May Eventually Lose Empathy
When the guilt card has been played on someone again and again, the guilt it brings is so strong that they may eventually build up a wall to its effects. Almost like developing immunity against a disease, a child will build walls that prevent repeated pain. Although you may at first be able to control your child by guilt, it will eventually lose its power and you may end up with a child who lacks empathy.
Playing the guilt card on your child is simply the wrong move. Review the reasons to avoid it and choose a more positive means of communication today. You will be thankful you did.