As parents, we often aspire to raise kind-hearted, educated and well-mannered children. We don’t expect them to be perfect in every aspect, but on the other hand, none of us wants to be the parent of a rebellious child who does whatever they want, at home and in public. So, what happened in the world that so many feel that the power and control at home are no longer in their hands? How do children, even if they aren’t the greatest “masterminds," manage to manipulate us and control our lives? How, time and time again, do they prevent us from setting clear boundaries and establishing relationships in which we, with experience, knowledge, and authority navigate and direct and not them? If these problems sound familiar to you too and you’re looking for solutions, we have 9 smart and practical tips that can help you take back the power.
Showering your child with gifts is a nice and joyous thing, but the problem that you’ll soon discover is that if you don’t set boundaries, your child will soon develop a sense of "I deserve it" and demand more and more. This isn’t always easy to digest, but it should be clear: the more things we give a child without requiring them to do anything for it, the less they will appreciate and become more demanding and dependent. Therefore, as far as giving gifts, rewards and other treats that you may have been accustomed to giving your child, adopt a new rule: the less you behave, the more you will be required to contribute to the home, demonstrate good and responsible behavior before receiving the gift, and try to give them something of value and meaning.
Unfortunately, it’s not a rare sight today to see children being arrogant to their parents and treating them with disrespect, and some even dare to curse at and hit them. Needless to say, this is destructive behavior that deprives you of all the values of parental authority and respect that children are supposed to feel towards you. Children who speak insolently to their parents tend to suffer later from low self-esteem, poor interpersonal relationships, and even depression. If your child shows you even a hint of disrespect, don’t swallow it and try to be gentle so as not to aggravate the situation, rather put them in their place, be determined and clear that such behavior is unacceptable and can’t continue. It is important that you strive to create in your home and in your family unit a respectful, clean and fair environment for you and the child, and the journey to this goal begins with proper discipline and education.
Perhaps you know these types, the parents who "fix everything," who sometimes seem like the superheroes of the parenting world and those who are willing to do anything for their children should they just snap their fingers. It is necessary to understand that these parents, who fill every small whim of the children, have simply adopted a bad habit in which they "storm in" whenever possible and make sure to keep their kids away from any situation that will cause them discomfort. When they do this, they actually cause children to become dependent, depriving them of important opportunities to grow and learn from mistakes and thus create large gaps in their emotional development. Children of "fix-it" parents tend not to think twice before manipulating them. Therefore, in most cases, it’s best to let your child cope with frustrations and small problems that arise along the way on their own, and instead of fixing everything for them and running after them everywhere, push them to independently come up with ideas and find solutions to their problems.
Going straight to the previous tips, it is important that you understand that your child's want and desire for certain things can be an excellent starting point for you to impart on them important values such as ambition and creativity. Encourage your children to achieve the things they want on their own, help them set goals and act to achieve them, and observe how the process nourishes the child's hunger for success and fosters positive and healthy feelings of self-confidence and the ability to rely on themselves, their strength and their skills.
We all want to be involved in our child's world, and many also try becoming their child's best friends at the expense of their parental role. But there’s no way to avoid the basic fact that good parenting includes the ability to make decisions that are not necessarily popular in your child's eyes, both in the present and in the future. If you succumb to their frequent fits of rage or try to avoid confrontations in order to connect with them, you’re just laying the groundwork for even greater and deeper problems that will arise in the future. Don’t try to be friends with your child by rejecting your parental authority, and instead, show them that you have a spine and that you aren’t afraid to be disliked by them. Eventually, as they grow up and being understanding things, they will appreciate and respect you for this much more.
If there's one thing kids tend to think is that they can get away with bad behavior while you're away from home. The reason for this is clear, because too often when we are in public with our kids, we simply can’t control the situation, and are willing to do anything to calm their bad behavior and prevent embarrassing stares. Clearly, this isn’t a normal situation at all, and one of the practical ways to eradicate this phenomenon is to show your child how you expect them to behave in public and practicing it at home. For example, do not wait for the family reunion in a restaurant to try to teach your mischievous child how to sit at the table and eat politely, rather have them practice sitting at the table nicely during a family dinner.
As parents, we sometimes feel the need to explain ourselves to our children thinking that if they understand our thinking and the reason behind our actions they’ll be more accepting of them. However, the truth is that speeches, lectures and preaching to the child are simply ineffective. To properly educate your child and restore control to your own hands, it’s important that you take the role of coach and mentor, not preacher, and help your child learn new and better behaviors in practice. Put things that you think are important at the top of their priorities, rather than trying to convince them with your words to do it themselves. Leave the speeches and justifications behind and focus on developing and improving your child's skills with practice.
What’s done can’t be taken back, as they say, and even if you feel that you no longer have control over your child, you can’t give up. What you need to do now is "wipe the slate" and start from scratch, rethinking, how you formulate a clear list of rules that will change the child's perception. In the second stage, you have to present the rules to your child and ensure that they are enforced, and even if the child has become used to rules not being enforced, show him that things are going to be done differently. It’s likely that they’ll have a hard time at first, and they might amp up their bad behavior to try and break you, but you have to stake strong and keep to your rules!
It can take time to get them to completely stop the bad behaviors they’ve adopted, but remember that the more consistent you are in enforcing rules, and using disciplinary measures that will be taken if your child breaks them, the more positive the results will be. Even if you failed once and let your child get away with breaking a rule, don’t despair, put things aside and continue being consistent until you achieve the right and desired behavior and return the parental authority to your hands.
In the end, parenthood is something that requires not only tenderness and love, things that you can certainly give in abundance, but also the ability to lead and direct the child in the right way. The more confident and determined your decisions are, the more your child will value you, giving them a solid foundation that will help them develop self-respect, the ability to make informed decisions, and even succeed in future relationships. Invest in nurturing a home environment in which respect, consent, and acceptance of parental authority prevail, and empower your child with healthy habits and behaviors that will strengthen and mold them for the rest of their life.