Parents who use dominance and threats without explanation to get their children to do what they want will probably succeed. Fear works – but only in the short-term.
However, there are several long-term negative results that often occur:
1. The children lose respect for their parents.
2. They learn to hide things from their parents and will not bring up questions or problems for discussion as they know that their parents are not willing to engage in a dialogue, preferring black-and-white direction and instructions.
3. They do not learn critical thinking, which involves looking at the pros and cons in a given situation. Nor do they learn to think with complexity about the mysteries of the world.
4. They may become victims of other domineering people, such as controlling spouses, employers, and social groups. Peer pressure also becomes a problem with kids who are strictly controlled.
While it takes more effort to have a reasonable discussion with reasonable explanations, it helps your children develop thinking skills of their own.
Beware, however, of the other extreme of explaining too much. Parents cannot expect their children to be happy with every rule or task they are asked to do. Children are unlikely to jump with joy and say, “Yes, I’d love to clean the kitchen!”
Yet, with respectful discussion, their spirits won’t be suppressed, and their thinking won’t be stifled. In the end they will respect you more for it.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD