Empowered not Overpowering
I was chatting with a dad the other day who shared his concerns about how differently he and his wife parent their three year old daughter.
He works long hours and when he comes home he lets his daughter get away with things that are outside the boundaries that his wife has established. He tells me that when his wife objects he says "How can I refuse my little girl? She's my princess."
He has a big heart and he loves his little daughter, but this is permissive parenting - it's a short-term strategy. In the long term his daughter may find that not everyone wants to meet her needs. By teaching her that she can win her own way he is denying her the opportunity to learn to self-manage, to experience delayed gratification and to learn appropriate boundaries.
As she grows she may not learn to meet or respect other people's needs, but may seek to meet her own, even at the cost of other people's boundaries. They're not qualities that potential friends will be attracted to! In his adoration of his daughter he is setting her up to have potentially difficult relationships.
One of our roles as parents is to say 'no' to our children. As tempting as it is to be their friend, they need a parent, not another bezzy. Enforcing well thought-through boundaries isn't the absence of love it's the presence of love (and the absence of personal indulgence).
So whether your children are:
pushing for more screen time
resisting age-appropriate chores
asking for alternative options at mealtimes
resisting a family activity
pushing the limits at bedtime
...when you're saying 'no' because your boundaries are fair and age-appropriate you are building stability and emotional health into your child. Even whilst they're having their tantrum they will be learning from your strong gentle boundary. This is how they will learn how to put appropriate boundaries in their own lives...
That's a long term strategy.
"Start when they're cute - so they stay that way." Jim Fay, author.
only 9 days to go until the book is released: