Parenthood is one of the toughest things to deal with out there. Whether you have one kid or six, it’s the hardest job in the world. But it’s also one that, in recent years, has really fallen by the wayside.
Gone are the days of disciplining children. Gone are the days when little Johnny is super busted for failing his spelling test. Instead, we blame teachers, coaches, other parents, and other kids. It just can’t be his fault, we insist.
Sadly, it’s not his fault, but yours. You want the best for your kids. We all do. But ultimately your doting is costing them character, and that’s a big price to pay.
Here’s are seven things we absolutely need to stop doing as parents, lest we face the wrath of a bratty child.
1. No more negotiating.
You know the story. “Give me one more chance,” they beg. Maybe they want to go over to a friend’s house when they’re grounded. Or maybe you said you wouldn’t let them play with their Xbox until their chores were done, and here they are, still not done. Regardless of the situation, we make bargains with our kids, giving them more chances than we should. Mom and dad’s word should be final. Remember, you’re running a household, not a bazaar.
2. No more menus at meal time.
Unless your kid is paying the price for a five star meal, they don’t deserve the five star treatment. In recent times, picky eaters abound, and parents constantly make room for them. Not only does catering to your little one’s every whim create more work for you, but it teaches your kid that he or she doesn’t have to eat what’s put in front of them. They’re special. They deserve to have exactly what they want at every meal, right? If your kid is a picky eater, it’s completely your fault. Make it clear that whatever is put down in front of them is what they get, and stop worrying about them going hungry. They won’t.
3. No more forgetting your own needs.
Part of being a responsible parent is obviously supporting your kid’s activities and hobbies. But that doesn’t mean that you have to attend every recital. When you never miss a game or concert, you might be showing them that you’re dedicated and loving, but you’re also showing them that you don’t have your own needs and wishes. As much as it might seem like they are, our kids aren’t the center of the universe, and it’s good for them to learn that. So next time you have an offer to a girls night out, take it. Missing one game won’t hurt.
4. No more cleaning up after them.
Sometimes it seems like the lesser evil to just buckle and clean the kid’s room for them. After all, you’ve been telling them to clean it for a month, and it just grows more filthy by the day. But before you put on your gloves and tackle that disaster, remember the lesson you’re teaching them. If you clean for them now, they’re learning that their messes are inconsequential, because someone will just pick up after them. This one’s tough, but stay strong.
5. No more undermining teachers and coaches.
Teachers are reporting in increasing numbers how difficult it is to get any kind of work done when parents get in the way. In earlier years, a kid brought home a bad report card and it was her fault. But now, parents often rush to blame the teacher. There’s no way Kelsey would be an irresponsible student, after all.
Parents. Wake up. Your kid is a 10-year-old, not Ghandi. Even the best of kids are going to lie, procrastinate, or maybe not try every once in awhile. If your child’s teacher tells you that she hasn’t been doing her classwork, listen to them. On occasion you might have a terrible teacher, but most educators just want what’s best for the kids they teach, the same as you.
6. No more covering for them.
If you’re slaving away at the dishes while Bobby watches TV or plays Xbox, something’s wrong. Give your kids a responsibility to help keep up the household, and you’ll be teaching them discipline that will follow them the rest of their lives.
7. No more inconsistent parenting tactics.
You grounded Sam for a month, but it’s been 2 days and he’s driving you crazy. Or maybe he’s been really good the last couple of days and you just want to reward him for his good behavior. Before you think of ungrounding him, stop. Kids can smell weakness, and they know when you’re about to give in. If you’re not consistent with your punishments, he’ll learn that he’s above the rules. See how that works out in adult life.