Who is the leader of your family? Is it you, your spouse, your parents, your children, or is it you?
- Who decides what the family eats (everyone)?
- Who does the laundry?
- Who decides what the kids wear?
- Who decides on the activities?
- Who decides on the chores being done?
- Who decides when potty training is happening?
- Who does the dishes?
- Who cooks meals?
- Who controls screen time?
- Who decides what to watch on TV?
- Who decides on discipline?
- Who decides when discipline should be applied?
- Who decides on bedtime?
- Who decides if naps should be taken?
- Who puts away toys?
- Who takes control of temper tantrums?
- Who says "no"?
- Who says "yes"?
- Who is in control of conversations?
If you answered me,honestly, and you're a parent then congratulations you are the leader of your family. If you answered anybody else for more than 50% then THAT person is the one in control even if it is your child. Remember, to be honest, then think if it really is you or someone else due to not eating, not going to bed when asked, not picking up toys, running away from the table, talking over other family members.....
I know that the newest trends of parenting is giving your children a say, and I think it is important that children have SOME control but your children need to feel safe, and that if anything happens they need to know that YOU are the leader, and that you are in control. Clear expectations for your children is something they need, and even want (though they don't know it).
Try to remember you childhood and think of all the good things, even though you didn't like them at the time, your parents did that helped to form you. It is our job, as parents, to set our children up for success not just happiness and what makes them happy. As an adult we all know that our lives aren't all lollipops, rainbows, and everything that makes us happy. We have tons of stuff we have to do that we don't want to do. We have consequences when we make bad decisions.
It is up to us, as caregivers, to love our children through the tough times but teaching them limits. Encourage them to do the very best they can, assisting them to take on more than they think they can accomplish, but ALSO what consequences are for bad choices. That temper tantrums don't pay off. That if you cry because you don't get something you want or that you have to do something you don't want to do still won't get you what you want.
If a child doesn't want to go to bed and you decide that you don't want to fight with them, because that may be what will happen, fine, let them stay up but you watch what you want to watch; this is adult time. It is okay for them to understand that if they stay up that you've spent the entire day doing their stuff but night time is your time. If you reward bad behaviour then crying and temper tantrums will always continue because you cave and let them do what they want.
Remember, as an adult, if temper tantrums could get you that raise, get you that job, keep you employed though your job performance is subpar then you'd be teaching your children to succeed. But that isn't life, and yes, you can't be ridiculous and demand things from you children that is beyond what they can do but your children can understand a lot more than you give them credit.
Childhood is supposed to be full of fun, fantasy, play and a lot of it BUT it is also about doing chores, not talking over adults, not doing everything you want when you want, disrespecting adults or siblings. But you can't wait to lead your family and children to success when they turn 16...it's too late by then to set limits. They've grown to know that when you set limits they aren't going to stick. A lot of arguments are going to ensue. Creating successful adults doesn't start when the kids reach High School or later.
Parenting is difficult but just letting your children do what they want and be in control of everything in the family is not helping them achieve a successful adulthood. Give your children the gift of knowing how to set good boundaries by giving them boundaries and sticking to them. Don't be afraid to be the leader of your family. Children need, want, and deserve direction from their parents. You can do it. It's ridiculously hard but trust me your children will love you for it later.
My mom was one of the worst moms EVER but she did teach me about boundaries, consequences, respect for elders, teachers and who is the leader of our family. I appreciated my mom's leadership and that I could rely on her. Let's not forget that as new parenting trends arise, and discipline becomes a naughty word. It isn't. If I get pulled over by a police officer for speeding a temper tantrum isn't going to change his mind and the consequential ticket that follows is and should be expected.