One of the most common themes I hear from parents with unruly children is the fear of being labeled a “mean” parent. Here are few points that these parents don’t seem to understand:
- It is okay to set and enforce limits that upset your child.
- It is okay for your child to cry… and cry… and cry… and cry… when you set a limit that he or she dislikes.
- When your child makes statements such as, “I hate you,” they really mean, “I hate the fact that you have authority over me.”
Too many parents give in to their children because they are worried about being a “mean” parent. They become anxious and emotional when their children oppose the limits that have been set. As a result, these parents typically do whatever they can to pacify or appease their children. By appeasing their children these parents feel that they can avoid the dreaded label of “mean parent.”
What these parents don’t realize is that the truly “mean” parent is THE ONE WHO GIVES IN. These parents set their children up for future failure. Imagine what it must be like for the child who gets whatever he or she wants just by crying. How successful can these children be when they begin school, work, or a new relationship? These children fail to learn an important and essential trait called self-discipline. Without self-discipline these children will struggle through life. Mean parents are the ones that allow this to happen.
Here’s my take on it:
If your child is crying because he or she is afraid- be reassuring and understanding.
If your child is crying because he or she is hurt – be nurturing and compassionate.
If your child is crying because his or her feelings are hurt – be comforting and supportive.
If your child is crying because he or she doesn’t like the limits you have set… too bad!