“How do I get my daughter / son to clean their room?”
“How do I get my kids to stop fighting?”
“How do I get my child to do their homework and stop chatting on the internet?”
Do you notice a pattern from these common questions parents ask? It is “how do I control my child to do what I want or to fulfill my expectations.” Control is the main focus rather than, “How do I improve the parent-child relationship?”
I believe control is an appropriate main focus when training an animal because your goal is for them to become dependent and respond to your commands not to become independent thinkers.
The questions to ask yourself then become, “Are you teaching your children how to think about their life and how to make healthy decisions OR are you demanding that they spend most of their time responding to your needs?”
To find the answer, ask yourself these questions; “How many minutes a day do I spend listening to my child so they can learn how to explore their beliefs and feelings and think about possible ways to solve their struggles? How many minutes a day do I tell them what to do, get annoyed or frustrated with their behavior or, without meaning to, criticize them?” Are you primarily teaching them how to think for themselves or how to follow orders?
Fear of their children suffering has taken over and has become the basis for many parental decisions. I often get asked “If I don’t tell them what to do, how will they make good decisions?” I believe the underlying message I am hearing is, I don’t have confidence in my child. I’m afraid s/he will make mistakes and I don’t want her to suffer because I love my child so much. I will suffer along with them and that’s too painful.
We all have tremendous inner strength to draw upon. BE by your children as they struggle so they feel your confidence which will bolster their own confidence. Confronting challenges, struggling, and winning or losing are part of life. Don’t let your fear and need for control take away your kids opportunities to build their inner resiliency.
Have confidence that they are your children and that you show through your life how to become the master of obstacles. If you’re not sure how to master challenges, find out how.
©2013 Cynthia Klein has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with dads, moms and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the magazine Parenting on the Peninsula. Contact Cynthia at bridges 2 understanding, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or call 650. 341.0779.