Parents Make A Big Mistake When They Let Their Kids Call The Shots

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yelling kid

I love my kids more than anything but let me be clear- my husband and I are unquestionably in charge. We listen to our kids and their opinions. They know that we value their point-of-view and will hear them out as long as they are being reasonable. We have open discussions with them where they are able to express their feelings but in the end, my husband and I have the final say with most things and our kids know it. I have noticed over the years that this is truly not the case with all parents. I overhear things that amaze me- parents deferring to their children for things that children should not be deciding. It is not like that in my household and it never will be. If I let my kids call the shots, all hell would break loose. My husband and I are in charge. And we will be as long as they live with us.

I am really confused by the kind of parenting that puts the kid in the driver’s seat but it seems to be a growing trend of parents not wanting to be the bad guy. I have talked to other moms before that say things like “well, we wanted to leave the house earlier so we wouldn’t be late but Snowflake wouldn’t go until Ninja Turtles was over! Tee hee hee!” Uhhh….what? You mean, your first grader just made a decision to the detriment of the whole family and you just….let him? As though you had no say? That is a minor example. I have heard of parents overhauling entire vacations because the destination did not please their offspring. I’m sorry, but once your kids grow up and work for a living, they will have the privilege of choosing the locale for all of their vacations. I simply cannot understand this kind of parenting where every day is a carnival and their kids demand (and get) their way most of the time. I did not sign on to this parenting thing so I could be their best friend and make all of their dreams come true. I am trying to raise responsible citizens who know right from wrong. If we happen to be friends, great. If not, I won’t lose sleep over it.

This is not to say that I think good parenting is all about power plays. I don’t lord over my children and boss them around. I just try my very best to maintain order and not raise spoiled children and I find that the best way to do that is to make sure they know who’s the boss. To be honest, times where my husband and I have been a little lax either out of pure laziness or because the situation at hand is not of much consequence I can see the anxiety in their eyes- kids really do seem to like order and predictability along with expectations and reasonable discipline. They need it to feel secure. I know I felt that way growing up- there was something reassuring about my parents and their confidence that their way was the way we would be going. It lifted a stress from me to know that they would set limits and make sure I was doing everything the right way. I see it now in my own kids, no question.

Look, everyone has to do what works for their family but I can see what kind of kids come out of families where the parents give 17 options for dinner every night and let the kids decide. Where the parents never tell their child to cut the shit when they act like a jerk at baseball practice. Where the parents blame the teacher when their child misbehaves instead of letting the kid know they need to shape up. These kids grow up with little sense of right and wrong and a huge sense of entitlement and Speshul Snoflache Syndrome. We do our kids no favors by letting them make every decision and call every shot. They want us to be the parents and I think that is the way to go.

(Image: Belinda Pretorious)