5 Situations When We Ask Our Children to Take Sides but We Shouldn’t…

Pregnancy and Kids | | Expert Author , Child Psychologist & Relationship Counselor
Updated On: July 18, 2022
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Children are cute, they are adorable, they are innocent and well they are also sometimes play actors in a drama staged by the adults. They are so often subjected to so many of our whims and fancies that we often end up treating them like puppets. Mothers dress their baby boys as girls when they long for a girl child, fathers see their sons as extensions of their own individual selves and keep pushing them to excel in everything, from studies to sports. What one must keep in mind is that children are vulnerable and they are impressionable. Therefore, it is vital for parents to keep five rules in mind while dealing with children. We should never ask our children to take sides.

5 Situations when we tell children to take sides

It is totally unfair but we do this often. Sometimes not even realising what kind of impact our behaviour has on our children. But here’s the eye-opener. Read on to know if you have been making this mistake. If yes, then it’s not late to make amends.

1. Whom do you love?

This phrase sounds good in a song, but in real life, it’s unfair to ask the child this question. Mother and father are two halves of the same coin. There is no differentiation between them. They are equal partners of the same project – their child. They have equal responsibilities, have to give equal attention to detail, shower equal amount of love and therefore the child loves each of them equally. As a parent, it is our duty to lovingly teach our child to love and respect both parents and not just one over the other.

Children love and respect both parents
Children love and respect both parents

2. Taking sides during arguments

Parents are human beings. They too have arguments, disagreements, temper tantrums and screaming matches with each other. It is part and parcel of being married. It is unfair to ask your children to take sides during an argument.

A simple statement like, “Papa never gives us time’ don’t you think that is wrong?” or “Mama is more interested in her make-up and shopping than cooking or taking care of you!”, can permanently leave an impression of the parent being irresponsible towards the family in the child’s mind.

Children should not be forced to take sides during arguments
Children should not be forced to take sides during arguments

3.Comparing with one parent

Parents are equal in the journey of parenting. The educational qualifications, career positions, social standing might vary; but that applies to them as individuals; not as parents. As parents, both mother and father are equally responsible, equally qualified and equally caring. So never compare one parent with the other. This applies to even comparisons between other parents. Each individual’s parenting styles differ, so no two parents can be compared. Parenting is not a competition.

All parents are equal
All parents are equal

4. Choosing one parent over the other

Just like how one cannot compare between parents, choosing between parents is also not possible. If the child loves both parents equally, respects both parents equally; then how can he/she choose one parent over the other? Never ask your child to take sides in an argument, disagreement or in an important decision. Always remember that you are both in this together, not as contenders but as partners. Respect that partnership and show your children that partnership.

5. Negative bribing

“If you say you love Papa, then I will not buy this for you” or “I know you love Mama more than me, so why should I do this for you” or “If you say you love me more than Daddy, I will take you to the park”.

Simple things, or so it may seem. But truthfully, this is negative bribing and this is only going to give your child a wrong message.

He/she will know that if he/she needs something from you, all that needs to be done is to say that you are loved more than the other parent. You are installing a negative thought process in your child and this is going to affect his/her development and personality.

Children are very observant 
Children are very observant

While there are many more ways to nurture your child and bring the best out of his/her personality; what is important to remember is that children are impressionable and they learn from what they observe. So set the best example for them and be a positive, compassionate and honest parent.

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