Can I rant here for a moment? (I’m just being polite though, because I’m going to do it anyway.) Do you sometimes wonder why your kid is doing something you don’t really want him to? Do you cave in to his demands too often because it’s easy? Do you know who your child’s parent is?!
No one’s perfect and we’ve all had to stop and ask: “Who is the parent here?” Especially when we realize we’re getting suckered into something that we didn’t agree to in the first place. It could be signing your child up for too many activities simply because you don’t want to say no, or letting them watch an R-rated movie because all their friends are doing it.
Moms, we really need to take back the reins and remember who’s in charge. I know it’s hard work and not always convenient, and who really wants to have a huge debate with their child about getting an Instagram account after they keep nagging and you’re juggling a million other things? But caving in and agreeing to what they want just because we don’t have time to tackle the issue with them is not an option! It’s the easy road, and most times we’ll regret taking that shortcut.
So, what can we do to take back control and become the official parent again? Here’s how.
Don’t be your child’s best friend.
When you treat your child like a friend, you’re telling her that she is your peer, and that her power is equal to yours. You are not her confidante – you are her parent – and it’s your job to care for her well-being and be the primary decision-maker when she is young. As moms, we must be strong and confident leaders who protect, guide and teach. We also need to model good decision-making, teach kindness and gratitude, and offer consistency in daily life (all things she won’t get regularly from her friends), so she feels safe and grounded, and ready to navigate life, whatever it brings.
Learn to say “no.”
Adults often have difficulty saying “no” to their peers, let alone their children, so practice using it in many different situations, whenever you can – and start now! Children need to feel disappointment and defeat sometimes or they will grow up to expect everything to go their way all the time. Saying no builds character, ingenuity and resilience.
Be a rules enforcer.
Rules and boundaries give children a sense of security and let them know where they fit in to the bigger picture. Limits help to ground adolescents at a time in their lives when they crave guidance. Children need to know what is expected of them and that a code of conduct is in place for their family, and it really does pay to be a rules mom.
Don’t do everything for your kids.
We love our kids and growing up can be difficult, so we often swoop in to lend a hand or pave the way, but this can be to their detriment. If we are always there to catch their mistakes or fix their peer problems, they will never learn how to tackle these life roadblocks on their own.
There’s no doubt, child rearing is hard work, but taking back control is important for you, as a parent, and in raising healthy, respectful and well-mannered children. Next time you feel yourself being pulled into your child’s vortex, ask yourself, who’s the parent?!
By Kristen Wint