“Because I said so” should never be uttered from a parent’s lips to her child.
Especially if that parent is of the “do as I say, not as I do” variety. Kids deserve a reason and they can understand most reasons.
I’m not saying to try to reason with a two year old, but a four year old can understand he has to wait for a meal to cook. He may not like it and he may not exhibit the self-control you should expect from a fourteen year old. That is normal child development.
Actions speak so much louder than words.
If you teach “do as I say,” you’re setting yourself up for a rebellious child.
If your child sees you eat in the living room but she can’t? You’ve just confused her and she understands you don’t respect her.
If you sneak a cookie before dinner but won’t let your whining son have one? You’ve just confused him and disrespected him.
If you’re irritable and snappish but reprimand your child for the same tone of voice or even the same phrasing of words to her sibling? It’s confusing and disrespectful.
Don’t expect blind obedience.
This isn’t healthy. It’s brainwashing. You most likely have your child’s best interests at heart, but does that teacher, boyfriend, boss, or whoever they will find to obey in the future?
Teach your children to make wise decisions. Coach them on this journey of life to be kind and respectful to others. Give them opportunities to exhibit integrity. Not just a list of black and white rules to follow.
How to be an better parent:
- Lead by example. You as a parent have to do the right thing if you want your kids to follow.
- Eliminate arbitrary rules. Desire to say yes as much as possible and have the no’s mean no for everyone.
- Don’t use the Bible as a weapon. Most kids will just learn to hate it if you make them do copywork for punishment. Or if you quip Bible verses at them to remind them what they did wrong. There are ways to use the Bible as a heart training tool. Sit with them and discuss it together. Pray without shaming.
- Yelling and hitting is never an option. Use your big girl mama words to explain what the problem is. Never use your superior size and power to physically demean a child. It’s not a power struggle. Discuss with your child what should happen next time the issue arises. Offer grace.
- Exhibit integrity in all you do. Even those little white lies (we can’t afford cookies) or the typical societal pretending (Santa and the tooth fairy) can erode the parent-child relationship. It’s just easier to be honest. If your goal is not to buy cookies, explain that you’re eliminating processed foods and you can make a healthy alternative together. If you like the holiday traditions, teach the legends behind them and let the children decide if they want to pretend or not. Ours do!
Focus on the positive and find ways todo life together with your children. They will learn by watching you.