Each child should receive from the adults caring for them, 6 Entitlements. These are things that children need (not want), and they can only get from their parents or caregivers. Their access to these entitlements should have nothing to do with how they’re behaving; they do not need to be earned. These are a child’s needs, and as such we’re obligated to provide them (it also so happens that we are legally required to do so).
6: Safety (physical and emotional)
While these all may seem obvious, the issue of safety is of particular concern. In this area we are talking about both physical safety and emotional safety. Physical safety is obvious: wear a jacket when it’s cold, don’t talk to strangers, put your helmet on while you’re riding your bike, don’t go over the speed limit while you’re driving.
Emotional safety is maybe less intuitive. It essentially speaks to the issue of how children experience their parents. Essentially, parents should be predictable to their children. There should be no big surprises in the way that we respond to them. Essentially, we should be boring. Additionally, we should be able to provide containment for a child’s ever-expanding behavioral repertoire. Safe, healthy containment for children makes them feel safer (Read: not necessarily happier).
Lastly, our children shouldn’t be afraid of us; that means no yelling and no hitting. I encourage parents to approach yelling as that thing we do when we run out of effective things to do. The only time yelling is appropriate is if our children are in danger – “Watch out, there’s a car coming!!!!!”
If these entitlements are needs, then everything else is a want, or a privilege. More on that later.