Parents Corner

Escalation Traps


Escalation traps are one of the most common types of parent traps, and involve ‘child escalation’ and ‘parent escalation’.

Child Escalation
When children want something and don’t get it, they can learn that by escalating in their behaviour or emotions (hitting, crying, whining, nagging) they can get what they want. For example, a child wants a lolly in the supermarket. Although you say ‘no’ the child gets louder and more demanding, and you give in to avoid the fuss and judgement from other people in the store.
What is your child learning from this?

Parent Escalation
When parents want something from their children they can escalate (nagging, shouting) to get the child to complete the task. For example, you want the child to switch off the computer and come to dinner. You ask several times and each time gets louder. You get to the point where you are screaming at your child, counting, or making threats and demands.
This is where the parent says “my child never listens to me”.
What is your child learning from this?

Combination Of Parent And Child Escalation
You can have a combination of child and parent escalation. The parent escalates in response to the child’s escalation, and fairly soon tempers are frayed, feelings are hurt, and nothing productive or helpful has been achieved.
What are you and your child learning from this?

Give clear, calm instructions. Stay calm, and follow through, so that your child knows that when you say ‘no’ you mean ‘no’ and when you want something done it gets done within a reasonable time frame without a fuss. And as always, continue to build a strong relationship with your child based on love, nurture and trust, because the strength of the relationship determines how much your child will listen and respond to you.

I am back to doing individual parenting work after several months away working in another program. If you are struggling with your parenting, it’s OK to ask for help (it’s free).

Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith (Family Worker)  Nepean Community + Neighbourhood Services

P: 47218520  E: FaceBook: Parenting in Penrith



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