Gaslighting is not the same as manipulating, as it goes to greater extents. Namely, the ideal definition of gaslighting would be manipulating someone to an extent of questioning their sanity and convincing them none of what they think or do is true.
So, gaslighting is an upsetting term to be marked with, but countless parents worldwide are doing it with even being aware of it. As a matter of fact, both protection and discipline need to be distributed equally, and sometimes it is of utmost importance to look at both behaviors so that you can determine how much of which to use.
Parents are not literally trying to drive their children crazy and question their own sanity, but they do force them to wonder whether or not their feelings and viewpoints are in place.
10 Common Examples of Parental Gaslighting
- Lying your children in order to prevent them from doing something or encourage them to do something you want
- Telling the child that everything is fine, even when everything is falling apart
- Telling the children they shouldn’t be crying about anything
- Making the child scared so that they could heed your advice
- Forcing the child to eat even when they aren’t hungry
- Forcing a child to follow a specific religion
- Telling them that their passion is trivial
- Telling them to avoid questioning authority figures or elderly individuals
- Telling them to never talk to strangers
- Telling them that something is supposed to make them feel a specific emotion
10 Ways to Avoid Parental Gaslighting
1. Don’t forbid tantrums
Never yell or tell your child to stop crying in order to intimidate them. You need to let them handle these types of events so that they can deal with them as adults later on. If you intervene, you are only making things worse.
2. Allow emotional expression in general
If you are encouraging your child to articulate their words but not demonstrate them, you are preventing them from both learning and growing mentally.
3. Allow crying
Not letting your child cry prevents them from expressing genuine emotions when they grow and become adults.
4. Be a good example
Needless to say, every parent has to be a good example, no matter how hard it is. You need to teach your child of the importance of compassion and empathy, and this is done best by setting a good example and through your own actions.
5. Allow a genuine decision-making
Preventing your child from making their own decisions will reflect in their future, in terms of making them unable to make wise decisions later on.
6. Don’t fix everything
By trying to fix everything, even when you are doing it with best intentions, you are disabling your child by making them unable to solve their own problems.
7. Don’t stipulate conditions
Ultimatums like paying their education only if it is the one you chose restricts children`s mental development and strength.
8. Don’t manipulate
Manipulating your child and telling them what to do only prevents them from growing and learning. Inceptives of any kind are not recommended!
9. Give the benefit of the doubt more often
When the consequences are trivial, let your child doubt and make their own decision. By doing so you allow them to learn more quickly and much easier.
10. Maintain integrity
Last but not least, you should attempt to convey what you want to express precisely and as precisely understand what your child is trying to express. Never pretend or act falsely in order to win them on your side! Appreciate their experiences, respect their decisions and try to help them strengthen their judgment and long self-esteem.