Are you undermining your authority?
We have said it before and we will say it again, you are a parent not a friend.
Friends are equals who switch off making decisions and give each other lots of leeway when it comes to making decisions. That is not your job. It is up to you to make final decisions and to guide good choices. You have authority and you need to maintain it.
3 ways you are undermining your authority
Yelling doesn’t work. People yell when they have lost control of their emotions and the situation. Kids know this and don’t react well. Younger kids tend to become afraid because they are not used to seeing their parent lose control and older kids tend to start yelling back. Either way, you have lost authority in this situation, which means whatever message you are trying to get through to your kids isn’t going to get to them.
Yes, as kids grow older you need to offer them more opportunities to be independent and make their own choices, but ultimately, you still need to be in control. You need to decide when your child is negotiating for the right reasons and when they are doing it to manipulate you. Kids are smart and they will try to talk themselves out of things they don’t want to do. If you give into this manipulation too often, you will lose authority and respect. Pick your battles wisely. Not everything is worth fighting over, but sometimes you need to put your foot down.
Rescuing your child from dangerous situations is, obviously, something you need to do, but you can’t always rescue them from difficult situations. It is not easy to tell your kids they need to stick to their commitments when they are desperately begging to get out of them, but you have to sometimes. By constantly rescuing your kids from challenging situations, you are setting them up for failure as adults. You are teaching them that they can quit when things get hard and you are also sending a negative message – that you don’t believe they can succeed. If your kids can’t count on you to believe in them, they lose a lot of respect for you.
There is no doubt maintaining authority with your child is hard, especially if your relationship is struggling, but in the long term being authoritative is healthier for you and your child. You will be keeping your child safe now and teaching them how to be mature, responsible adults in the future.
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