Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Who's the boss?

Most of us believe, as parents, that as the adult in the relationship we know best. We believe that our children should obey us and do as we tell them.
When you tell them to do something and they drop what they are doing and do as you have told them, do you feel proud? If they don’t obey, do you get annoyed or frustrated? If your children don’t want what you’re having for dinner or they say they‘re not hungry, do you get annoyed?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then your focus is on what you want and not what they want or need.  These are not safety issues - it’s just what you want.  If you get angry or annoyed rather than give up what you want, then you must believe that what you want is more important than what your child wants.
In other words – my child must do what I want because I am the “boss”.  You might be saying to yourself, but I am the boss and just maybe there is a better way.
It’s important to remember that
·    it is our job as parents to teach and guide, that’s different than being the boss
·    our children are not here to live up to our expectations, we are their guides and mentors
·    our job is to support them in being all that they can be
Maybe getting our children to behave is good for us as parents but it is not necessarily good for our children.  It might make our lives easier but what does it do to them?
If we succeed in getting our children to do what we want and as a result our children form negative self-esteem beliefs, was it worth it in short term when the long-term cost are so high?
If our children conclude I’m not good enough, I’m powerless or what I want doesn’t matter - was it worth it?
Imagine for a second that you have invited friends over for dinner.  The doorbell rings and your guests are a few minutes late. You open the door and you say “Can’t you ever be on time? I told you to be here for 8 o’clock and you’ve kept us waiting – you’re so thoughtless”.
Then you sit down at the dinner table and your guest picks up his knife and fork to eat and you say to him, “Have you washed your hands? No… go and wash them right now.”
During the meal you pass the food to your guest and he says “No thanks, I don’t eat asparagus” and you reply, “well you should, it’s good for you.”
Would you actually ever speak to a friend like that? No, of course not! How would your friend feel if you did? Would they come to your home to eat again? I doubt it!
So why do we treat our children, the most precious gifts in our lives, in a way that we would never treat a friend?
So instead of looking at your children as if you own them, that they are yours to do with as you  wish – hold them as if they are precious gifts who were given to you for a short time to guide, love and empower. 

Over the next few weeks, notice when you are acting as the boss, being arbitrary and ask yourself if that action is producing a positive believe or a negative one.  What will your child conclude from the interaction? Will he think I am listened to,  I’m important  or will he think I’m unimportant, I don’t matter?
I would love to get some comments and feedback.  Thanks


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