I used to think my children should do whatever I said whenever I said it. I had more power than them and wanted them to respect it or at least be fearful of it. Secretly, I also wanted the satisfaction of being able to control them. It felt satisfying in some way to wield power.
I had defined good parenting as being able to control children. However, I was constantly getting upset that I couldn’t control my children exactly the way I wanted. Any amount of hesitation or resistance on their part was a threat to me. I was insecure and couldn’t handle challenges to my authority. I couldn’t handle it emotionally, or skill-wise. I honestly didn’t know what to do.
Things weren’t going well. My insecure approach was causing problems and power struggles. I needed answers, but instead I asked myself some questions.
Get serious. Get quiet. Read these questions and FEEL into them. The answers will provide you with a gold mine of useful information.
1. What do I want from this, what is my real goal here?
2. Where will we end up if I keep doing things they way I am doing them?
3. How can I lead by example?
4. What motivates me? (How do I like to be treated? I wonder if that would motivate my kids too?)
The answers were very useful and have informed my parenting practice ever since. Power struggles are gone and mutually respect is the currency in our home.
What about for you? What would be your answers to these questions?
Great article to get us thinking. I thought that I was benefitting my kids by being strict and well, demanding. At the time I felt I was holding disciplined and focused ” do-ers”. I’ve definitely eased up alot and do my best to be respectful. That’s what I feel best doing, being respectful to my kids. They deserve that. I also realized i was projecting my bad day or worries onto them. I apologized and explained to them in ways they could ( hopefully) understand that parents dont know it all and moms and dads and adults in general make plenty of mistakes. Often. I think we do our best, as best as we are capable. And when we know better we do better. ( Maya Angelou)