Psychologist Mikhail Labkovsky on parenting: Don’t decide for children what they want


The most famous and expensive psychologist in Russia with 30 years of work experience advises: in order to raise a self-confident child, learn to live the way you want! Woman’s Day attended a lecture by the master of child psychology and wrote down the most interesting things for you.

About your self-confidence and how it affects the child

Surely you dream that your children know what they want – a very important quality for life, since it is a matter of self-confidence, high self-esteem, the right choice of work, family, friends, etc. How to teach this to a child? Not if you do not know how to realize your desires.

Mikhail Labkovsky is the most expensive psychologist in Russia

My generation’s parents never asked: “What do you want for breakfast or lunch? What clothes should you choose? ” Usually, what mother cooked, we ate. The key words for us were “necessary” and “right”. Therefore, when I grew up, I began to ask myself: what do I really want? And I realized that I didn’t know the answer.

And so many of us – we are used to living by automatically repeating parental scenarios, and this is a big problem, because the only way to live our life happily is to live it the way we want it.

Children under 5-8 years old develop by analogy with their parents – this is how the whole animal world works. That is, you are an example for him.

You may ask: how do you learn to understand your desires? Start small – with everyday little things. And sooner or later you will understand what you want to do. Ask yourself: what kind of curd do you like? Once you find the answer, move on. For example, you got up in the morning – and do not eat what is in the refrigerator or prepared in advance if you do not want to eat it. Better go to a cafe, and in the evening buy yourself what you really love.

In the store, buy what you really like, not what is being sold on sale. And, dressing in the morning, choose the clothes that you like.

There is one important problem with self-doubt – this is ambivalence, when you are torn apart by multidirectional desires: for example, at the same time eat and lose weight, sleep and watch TV, and also have a lot of money and not work.

This is the psychology of neurotics: such people are in a state of internal conflict all the time, their life is not going the way they want, there are always supposedly circumstances that interfere … It is necessary to get out of this vicious circle, perhaps with the help of a psychologist.

Such people do not respect their choice, they can be quickly persuaded, and their motivation changes quickly. What to do about it? Whether it’s right or wrong, try to do what you want to do. If you make any decision, try not to spill it along the way and bring it to the end! The exception is force majeure.

Another advice to doubters: you need to ask fewer questions to others.

My favorite example is a women’s fitting room in a store: you can see such women right away! Do not call the saleswomen or husband and do not ask them if the thing suits you or not. If you don’t understand yourself, stand still and think at least until the store closes, but the decision should be yours! It’s hard and unusual, but in no other way.

As for other people who want something from you (and our world is so arranged that everyone needs something from each other), you must proceed from what you want yourself. If the person’s desire coincides with yours, you can agree, but do not do anything to the detriment of yourself or your will!

Here’s a tough example: you have small children who need attention, and you came home from work, you are very tired and do not want to play with them at all. If you do go to play, then you do it not because of a feeling of love, but because of a feeling of guilt. Children feel this very well! It is much better to tell the child: “I am tired today, let’s play tomorrow.” And the child will understand that his mother is playing with him, because she really likes to do it, and not because she should feel like a good mother.

About children’s independence

Roughly speaking, there are two doctrines for caring for babies: one says that the baby should be fed by the hour, and the other that food should be given when he wants to. Many people choose to feed by the hour because it is convenient – everyone wants to live and sleep. But even this nuance is fundamental from the point of view of the formation of the child’s own desires. Children, of course, need to regulate their food, but within the framework of proper nutrition, you can ask: “What do you want for breakfast?” Or when you go to the store with your child: “I have 1500 rubles, we want to buy you shorts and a T-shirt. Choose them yourself. “

The idea that parents know better than children what they need is rotten, they don’t know anything at all! Those kids, whom the parents, of their choice, send to all kinds of sections, also do not understand then what they want. And besides, they do not know how to manage their own time, since they simply do not have it. Children should be left on their own for 2 hours a day to learn to occupy themselves and think about what they want.

The child grows up, and if you ask him for all sorts of reasons what he would like, then everything will be fine with his desires. And then, by the age of 15-16, he will begin to understand what he wants to do next. Of course, he may be wrong, but that’s okay. You don’t need to force anyone to enter a university either: he will unlearn for 5 years, and then he will live with an unloved profession all his life!

Ask him questions, be interested in his hobbies, give pocket money – and he will really understand what he wants.

How to recognize a child’s talents

I want to say right away that a child is not obliged to learn anything before school! Advance development is about nothing at all. At this age, a child can only do something in a playful way and only when he himself wants it.

They sent the child to a circle or section, and after a while he became bored? Don’t rape him. And the fact that you feel sorry for the time spent is your problem.

Psychologists believe that a stable interest in any occupation in children appears only after 12 years. You, as parents, can propose to him, and he will choose.

Whether a child has talent or not is his life. If he has abilities, and he wants to realize them, then so be it, and nothing can interfere!

Many people think: if my baby has an ability for something, it needs to be developed. Actually – don’t! He has his own life, and you don’t have to live for him. A child should want to draw, and the ability to create pictures beautifully does not mean anything in itself, many can have it. Music, painting, literature, medicine – in these areas you can achieve something only by feeling the need for them!

Of course, any mother is sad to see how her son does not want to develop his obvious talent. And the Japanese say that a beautiful flower does not have to be picked, you can just look at it and walk by. And we cannot accept the situation and say: “You are drawing cool, well done” – and move on.

How to get a child to help around the house

When a small child sees how mom and dad are doing something around the house, then, of course, he wants to join. And if you tell him: “Go away, don’t bother!” (after all, he will break more dishes than he will wash), then do not be surprised when your 15-year-old son does not wash the cup after him. Therefore, if a child takes the initiative, he must always be supported.

You can offer to participate in a common cause. But then there were no appeals to the conscience: “Shame on you, my mother is struggling alone.” As the ancients noticed long ago: conscience and guilt are needed only in order to rule people.

If a parent is relaxed and enjoying life, then his life is very simple. For example, a mother loves to wash dishes and can wash them for the child. But if she doesn’t feel like messing around at the sink, then she doesn’t have to wash the dishes for her offspring. But he wants to eat from a clean cup, they tell him: “I don’t like the dirty one, go wash after you!” It’s much more progressive and more effective than having rules in your head.

Do not force an older child to be a nanny for a younger one if he does not want to. Remember: no matter how old he is, he wants to be a child. When you say, “You are an adult, big,” you create jealousy for the baby. Firstly, the elder begins to think that his childhood is over, and secondly, that he is simply not loved.

By the way, on a note, how to make friends with children: brothers and sisters are very close when you punish them together!

Yes, sometimes they happen for no serious reason, out of the blue. Children at some point begin to understand that the world does not belong to them. This can happen, for example, when the mother puts him in her crib instead of leaving him to sleep with her.

Those kids who, due to various circumstances, did not go through this period, are “stuck”, they are seriously experiencing their failures, unfulfilled desires – this causes them strong hysteria. The nervous system loosens. And parents often, on the contrary, increase the child’s sensitivity threshold when they raise their voice to him. First, never respond to screams, just leave the room. The child must understand that until he calms down, the conversation will not go further. Say calmly: “I understand what you are going through now, but let’s calm down and we’ll talk.” And leave the premises, because the child needs an audience for hysteria.

Secondly, when you want to punish a baby, you don’t have to make a brutal expression on your face. You have to go up to him, smiling broadly, hug him and say: “I love you, nothing personal at all, but we agreed, so now I am doing this.” Initially, the child needs to set a condition, explain the cause-and-effect relationship, and then, if he violates his agreements, he will be punished for this, but without screaming and scandals.

If you are unshakable and firmly on your own, then the baby will play by your rules.

I am often asked about gadgets – how many hours a day can a child play with him? 1,5 hours – on weekdays, 4 hours – on weekends, and this time includes doing homework at the computer. And so – until adulthood. And this should be the rule without exception. Turn off Wi-Fi at home, pick up gadgets when your child is alone at home, and give them away when you get home – there are many options.

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