How to Prevent Your Child from Becoming a People Pleaser – Ideas and Advice

Ask Right questions to Your Kid

Prevent Your Child from Becoming a People Pleaser

“C’mon kid, behave as your mom says or she will be angry!” blurted my husband.

I was pretty annoyed, obviously. Not because he commented on my anger. I was annoyed because I do not want to make my kid behave because of my anger. As a mother I do not want to raise a kid who thinks that pleasing mom or any other person on the world is a sure trick to survive. I had read somewhere that people pleasing attitude crops from parent-pleasing behavior. When kids think that they can maintain the sanity of the family members by behaving as they please, they can certainly attract people at large in the same manner. Let’s learn what people pleasing attitude is and how to avoid our kids becoming people pleasers.

“Never seek to please anyone. Seek to evolve thyself.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

We as parents want our kids to bloom like flowers, to identify their strengths and make their dreams happen. In a bid to please others, our kids are losing their unique identities and creativity.

What is People Pleasing Behavior?

Imagine this – your kid is reciting all the poems that he remembers while you are busy cooking. However, when you clap for a poem that you like, he infers that mom will pay attention only when a certain poem is recited. So, next time, when you are busy, he starts singing your favourite poem to attract your attention. While this is common, it is quite difficult to change this basic human conduct. We listen to those radio channels that play our favourite music, visit those eateries where waiter understands our tastes, talk to those friends who agree with our viewpoint and so on and so forth. Kids are little humans – they seek attention just like us, in fact, more than us at times. In short, all this is people pleasing – the radio channel, waiter at the eatery, friends agreeing to us and kids who behave as we desire.

How Does People Pleasing Behavior Arise?

When we talk about kids, they love to be in an environment where people listen to them, all the time. Even kids who talk less want to be heard – we talk because someone is listening to us – we do not want to talk to the walls. While most of the times, we talk sense, kids on the other hand talk in their creative language. They imagine things and they want to communicate this to us. If they find something funny for the first time – they want to share their happiness with us. And if we are not available to them in this situation, they try to seek our attention by behaving in a way that pleases us.

Why Are Parents Not Available to Their Kids?

While some parents are not available to their kids unknowingly, there are some who do not want to. When I am busy doing the laundry, my toddler often calls for me. At times, I ignore her as I think she is just calling for the sake of it. However, when I do attend her, she hugs me and says that she was missing me. I realize my mistake.

Parents, like me, are not able to judge the signs and feelings of their kids, at times. There are many parents who are already burdened with their chores that it becomes difficult for them to understand the requirements of their kids. Then there is a section of parents who are not able to relate to their kids for one or the other reason. Such parenting may result in people-pleasing behavior. Parents who are preoccupied with their own life give way to people pleasing attitude in their children. When their parents are not available to them, they try to please aunts and uncles that they meet. When such people or even strangers affirm to the kids’ behavior, the kids feel belongingness. They try to please other people in the same manner, next time when they meet them. And such recurrent behavior becomes a norm rather than an exception.

How Anger Gives Rise to People Pleasing Attitude?

People Pleaser

Have you behaved in a particular way so that something that you do not like can be avoided? Many times, right! With kids, it is the same. While we do not want to be late for movies to avoid missing the beginning, kids avoid being their real self to escape a spoiled environment in their home. While this may sound weird to you, it is very true. Kids are angels – they do not like hatred or anger in any form. The moment I tell my toddler that I will not talk to you, she is upset. She is continually checking with me for another hour or so whether I am still angry with her. Children do not prefer living in an environment with negative vibes of anger, hate or constant cribbing. They are little saints who desire their share of peace in their own way.

Many households are rife with easy anger. Members here are like volcanoes that can erupt at any point in time. When kids realize this, they want to do everything that can avoid such eruption. They try to behave in a manner that pleases their parents. If you force your kid to eat and be angry if he does not, he will stuff his belly on your insistence. However, his decision-making ability goes for a toss. Next time, he doesn’t know whether he likes a certain food or whether he is hungry. He eats just to avoid you being angry. Henceforth, their decisions are based on the possible responses and reactions of their parents.

What is the Innate Behavior of a Child?

Innate behavior is one that comes instinctively and is not learned over a period of time. Behavior that is dependent on the pleasure of other people is not genuine. Children should not bid to become people pleasers. Have you come across a kid who is the favourite of the teachers in school? You must have. In fact, I had tried to find out why some teachers like that kid in spite of the reason that he is not so bright. While I was not aware of psychology at that time, I certainly do now. The kid used to behave as teachers wanted him too – he was the quintessential ‘good boy’ that every ma’am desires in her class.

Kids should be refrained from becoming people pleasers. Instead, they should be trained to follow their heart. They should be groomed to disagree with other people and take the route less often travelled. Many kids are not good decision makers. One of the reasons for this is their parents’ attitude. Some parents do not allow their kids to take decisions – whether they want to play, eat, roam around or even shit. They have to do what their parents want them to do.

Instead of this, ask frequent questions to your kids and make them learn the skill of decision making. “What colour do you want to wear today?” or “Are you hungry – what do you want to eat today?” I know that these are tricky questions. They would want to wear their favourite party dress and eat some junk food, most of the times. However, you need to make them aware why a party dress cannot be worn to the play and why a certain food is not healthy every time. Children are quite creative. Listen to their creative and interesting answers and groom their ability to think.

Cultivate the Skills of Decision Making

Instead of deciding based on the likes and desires of other people, kids should be taught to make decisions based on the experiences and learning. While this cannot be inculcated suddenly, this comes gradually with conscious parenting. Balance your parenting with authority and love. Remember you had made some promises to your unborn child. You might have, certainly. Read more about parenting and how can you bring about a positive change in your kid. Be available for your kids at the right time. However, do not forget to make them independent too.

Choose the Right Words

Ask Right questions to Your Kid

Take your kids as mass media – you need to be politically correct in front of the kids or they will hook on to the wrong words that you chose. While it is okay to praise them for something good that they did, do not use the same praiseworthy words for the average things they do. Kids being kids will not be able to make out the difference between the two. Although you want to make your children feel confident about themselves yet you do not want to make them people pleasers.

At times, when I am busy reading newspapers, my kid tries to draw my attention by doing something. She says, “Look mom! I drew an elephant’. Without even lifting my nose dipped into the paper, I say, “Excellent, girl!” She may or may not notice that you have not seen. For her, the round that she drew becomes a real elephant. And if someone corrects her in the future, she might feel bad for it. Even the kids know that they are not the best every time. Hence, you need to try to be on the same page as theirs.

Not Everyone will Praise your Kids

While you praise your kids for minutest of achievements, not everyone will do that. Just as mentioned in the subject above, you need to choose the right words. The thing is that not everyone will be good to your children in this world. You need to groom your children to accept failures and move on. They should know how to accept criticism. You need to help your kids to understand that the confidence they gained should be a measuring factor for success rather than appreciation by others.

Avoid Convenience Parenting

Gradually, many parents have started resorting to convenience parenting. Such parents do not think long term repercussions or benefits of their actions. Their behavior is to feel good for the time being. If I am angry about something wrong that my kid did, he would express in the same manner. Hence, parents should have some plan for parenting – it should be a long-term one. While you can please your kids by making them watch YouTube while you work, you cannot make them happy for a long term. Develop a plan that cultivates good habits in them so that they behave well without you telling them.

When I asked my daughter to hand me over some veggies, she denied. I told her that this is a help that I need. After a few minutes, she came running to the kitchen and helped me. I did not force her to do the task – she did it on her own. I was not angry or ordered her. This worked. However, whenever I have forced her to do something, she has never followed my orders. You need to take out some extra time for this. Take proactive steps to make yours a responsible kid. If you have ever read Calvin and Hobbes, you would realize how some parents make their kids do things to develop character and habits that will make them a good human being.

Ask Right Questions to Your Kid

Whether it is important or not your kid needs to be heard when they have something to say. However, you also need to make them talk. Whether or not you are with them, ask them how their day was, what important thing they did, what was that that they did not like, etc. This will make them feel desired and even you will be able to understand their psyche. However, with teenagers, you need to ask questions in a manner that it does not sound to be intrusive.

Do Not Be People-Pleasers Yourself

Children learn from our behavior. Most of the traits they exhibit are from their parents or the people around them. Hence, it is required that we behave in a certain manner. If we as parents are people pleasers, our kids will turn out to be same. While we should be polite and gentle, we should also be able to stand up for ourselves. Instead of resorting to herd mentality, we should take the right stand in situations and events that require us to. When faced with a problem, let your child learn from you that it is not okay to accept the wrong. If you just crib and complain all the time without taking any action, your child gets the wrong signals. Stand up and speak up for yourself, at least for your kids.

All in All

I am sure that you are a good parent and doing quite well. Just some tweaks here and there will ensure that your kids blossom into lovely flowers. Like this, even you need to assure yourself that parenting is not rocket science – it comes from the gut. Follow your heart and do what seems right to you. And in the end, I just want to say that teach your kids that “Not everyone is not going to like you and that’s okay! Right.” Healthy Parenting to you!

Know How to Protect Your Child from Abuse Right from the Beginning

Protect Your Child

It feels sorry to hear and read about so many gross incidents happening to kids all around the world. Even infants have not been left untouched from such things. My parents had not thought about such things during our upbringing. The reason for this might be either ignorance or even the fact that the world was a better place to live in at that time. It still is, however, some things have changed.

Every parent wants to make the surroundings of their kids safe and secure. Some parents do not even expose their children to the news on child abuse, let alone teach them what abuse is. However, as parents it is our responsibility to make our kids strong and independent. They should be tough enough to escape from such situations and even save other individuals from the same.

How to Begin the Subject of Child Abuse

You have protected your child from several things, right from day one. Talking about child abuse and teaching them how to save themselves from it might seem difficult to you. However, you need to teach them about bad touch and good touch as soon as they seem to understand. And if you think that the age of understanding is age seven, then you are wrong. It is as early as age two. Bad touch and good touch are basics. Think about infants who could not escape out of such situations but a two year old can, if the toddler knows what is good and what is bad.

Further, you need to have good ears. You need to listen to everything what your kid tells you. As a mother of toddler, I very well understand that your child keeps on talking the entire day. How can one listen to everything what he says? However, it is your responsibility to have good pair of ears. You need to make them feel that you listen to. Make a conversation with your kids. Make them know that you are always there for them. This security that they feel with you is the starting point of preventing such abusive incidents.

How to Prevent Abuse in Case of Toddlers (Age 2-4)

prevent child abuse

Every age brings with it a new set of challenges. And kids between age two to four are quite delicate for this subject. Your onus is to begin teaching them about strangers; bad touch and good touch and let them know that you are there for them. Listen to their stories and look for suspicious things.

Right from the beginning, you need to use the right language for vagina and penis. While some parents completely avoid talking about private parts, you need not be one of them. This is the time to educate them about private parts and private area. Your child should know that besides parents and health provider, no one (and by no one means no one) can touch her/him there. Your child needs to be vocal when somebody does that. He/she child needs to tell you if somebody touches her inappropriately. With toddlers, bath time is an appropriate time to talk about these things. They are practically free that time and are ready to listen.

Many kids do not want to talk to new people, in spite of you talking to such people. They do not feel the security. You need not force them to talk to people who they think are strangers. You can inform such friends or relatives that your kid will warm up gradually. Some strangers have a habit of pulling the cheeks of kids, saying that they are cute. If your child does not like such things, do not force him to like it. Inform the person in presence of your child that your child is not comfortable when strangers touch him. Be a safe haven for your child. Express this to your child on a regular basis.

Whenever she feels scared or worried, she can always come to you. You will listen to her. Never avoid the curious questions of your kids. If you are not able to answer questions about sexuality, please search for age appropriate answers on the internet. If you do not answer your kids, they will learn about it from other sources, which may not be right.

How to Prevent Abuse in Case of Children (Age 5-9)

child abuse in 5-9years

You need to be supportive for your child. If your child does not like handshakes, hugs and kisses even from elders in family, you need to express this by telling them that your child is not ready for a hug at present.

Your language should be such that your relatives get the message in a subtle manner and even your child understands that you are there for him or her. Further, do not let guilt override your emotions if, God forbids, something happens to your kids. Firstly, let the kid know that it is not his fault, be it son or daughter. Do not differentiate between genders. This also means that never tell your daughter that she needs to be extra cautious. It will only make her weak emotionally.

How to Prevent Abuse in Case of Teens

prevent abuse in case of teens

It is quite difficult to make teenagers understand. Many teens think that they know more than their parents and nothing wrong can happen to them. At times, they even feel more comfortable with friends rather than parents and relatives. For teens, you need to make them aware of abusive incidents happening all round the world. You need not scare them but just talk to them regarding this. Choose an appropriate time for this. Timing is quite important to talk about such things. Make them aware that strangers pretend to be someone else on the internet. They need to be cautious when online. Teens often face peer pressure when it comes to dating, smoking and other activities. Inform your kids about the difference between right and wrong things. Your teen might feel irritated when you talk about this. But, you can keep the information precise and interesting.

Remember that euphemism and metaphor do not work. Bird and bees is the thing of past now. With so much information around, teens already know about this. Tell your teens that you love them and make them realize this. Tell them that if someone misbehaves with them, it would not be their fault. They can always talk to you about such things. And that you will not reprimand them. With teens, it is necessary that you need to monitor their gadgets and devices. Porn is easily available these days and you need to find out ways to block the sources. Take the help of an expert to manage the controls. Further, you need to ask your friend / relative (with whom your teen is close) to make small talk on a regular basis. During such conversations, your teen can open up and reveal his/her emotions.

How to Prevent Abuse at School/Daycare

prevent abuse at school

While searching for a school for your kid, do not only pay attention to the teaching methods and activities, you need to also check the infrastructure. The washrooms should not be secluded and in the open. They should be close enough to the classrooms or under the supervision of an attendant. The classrooms should have a window. Teachers should welcome surprise view by parents through such windows. The buses that ferry the kid need to at least have one attendant. This is the age of CCTV cameras; such places should be under surveillance to make things easier for parents. Background reference check should be made mandatory for every working member of the facility.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse

Things you can do to prevent child abuse

You cannot keep your child under the wraps. Your kid will eventually grow up and go to different places – play area, kindergarten, school and even independent play dates. While you cannot accompany your kid every time, you can at least make sure that the child is safe and secure.

Encourage kids to talk to you – some kids talk and some do not want to. They are either reserved, not much talkative or might feel that you are not interested in their conversations. Whatever is the case, ask your kids to talk to you! When they return from school, ask them about their day, who their friends are, how do teachers behave and such things. When they question you about some situations, take some time and then answer them.

Create awareness – as a parent, you need to be informed about happenings around the world. Yes, facts and figures matter. The criminals’ face and identification also matters. Do not be scared by the figures and become overprotective. Just grasp in the information and look for events in the life of your child. If you find something wrong, discuss it with your kid.

Spot the Red Flags – it is very difficult for a kid to talk about abusive incidents, even when they are emotionally strong. Hence, the onus lies on you to look for anything amiss. If they are scared of a person, ask them the reason for the same. Whenever your child narrates an incident, listen to him and ask appropriate questions. Check for physical signs like blood spots in the genital area, urinary infection or the like. Even look for behavioral changes like irritation, aloofness, bedwetting and the like. The signs mentioned here may not necessarily point out to sexual abuse, but you need to stay aware of such things.

Be aware of your child’s whereabouts – keep a tap on the location of your kid. You should know where he is, whom he is with and what is the purpose. Even if your kid is at play-dates, make sure that you trust the parents and relatives of your baby’s friends. People around you should be trustworthy, especially around your kid.

Not just strangers, but even known people can be dangerous – this is the most important thing to be taught. Your kid should not trust anyone blindly. Talk to your kids about such things and whether did he encounter ‘bad touch’ by someone. You need to check your kids’ friendship with adults. Kids are not aware about purposeful friendships. Check with your kids and know all about the friendship.

Actions to be Taken in Case of Child Abuse

Child abuse may not be sexual or physical, it might even be emotional. So, as a parent you need to understand whether your child has faced any of this. If yes, you need not panic and ask someone your child is close to, to investigate it further. Sometimes kids do not open up to parents in such cases. Some parents are not ready to even accept that the abuse has taken place. Such parents should believe their kids and delve deeper. Make your child know that it is not his or her fault. And that you are always there for him/ her.

If the abuse is major, you need to report it to concerned authorities to take action against the wrong-doer. If your kid says that the wrong-doer is someone known to you, do not deny the fact. Your kid might be right and you might not have been able to spot the irrational behavior. The next step is to find the right therapy. If you think that therapy will bring the case out in the open, then you are wrong. Find a trusted therapist for your kid who makes both you and your kid feel comfortable.

And in the End

Whether or not your child has been through abuse, you need to make sure that your child feels loved by you. Unconditional love is the most required thing by kids of all ages. Support in every form heals all kinds of situations your kid has been through. Come across as a good listener.

And while you think that your kid will be hurt all his life due to such incidents, then you are wrong. It might be difficult for you to forget, but you can always make your kids forget it. Do not talk about it frequently. If your kid does, make him know that it is a thing of past and it has made him only strong. Do not bury the topic or over-indulge him in activities. Instead, let your child free. Let him unfurl like a flower – naturally and on his own. Remember that there is nothing that love cannot solve.