A Parent’s Bill of Rights, Part 2

As parents, we have the right to a drug-free environment, and so do our kids. We have the right to ask any person to leave our home, including our own children. It is not negotiable when someone insists they be allowed to be loaded in your home. You have the right to express your feelings. Unexpressed feelings, whether they are an embarrassment to your child or not (especially your teenagers), tend to putrefy or cause illness.

Kids want to know their parents are in control, so feelings of anger can be channeled appropriately but still expressed. We are role models for our kids. Some parents may have been told that anger is not OK, or not to tell your child that you love them in a public place. We can evaluate what our belief system is and how it may have affected us as we were growing up ourselves. It is never too late for a happy childhood, nor is it too late to change beliefs that don’t serve us in a positive way. Kids and parents need to express their love to each other as often as possible — even in public.

Although it is desirable to be consistent, there are times when circumstances change. Your child may appeal to the consistency rule by stating, “But you said…” This is not the time for a lengthy justification. Just clearly state your current position. Unless, in fact, it is time to change the rules together as a family because your child is getting older. The rules stay the same unless new ones have been created and agreed upon. I think it is wise to have both parties sign an agreement. This does two things. Number one, it holds all parties accountable, and two, it teaches kids about reality. Soon they will be on their own, and the real world has limits, boundaries and consequences. Holding ourselves accountable makes for integrity and self-confidence. This is a great tool to assist them on their path to adulthood. The rules and consequences that were created by you, or the family, can be reiterated when there is a challenging situation. No changing of rules in midstream. Wishy washy parents can set themselves up to be walked on and have their authority minimized or discounted by their kids.

Explaining and attempting to be logical and rational about the decisions we make with kids, seldom works. Our kids will either ignore the logic or argue with you into exhaustion. We all know how stressful that can be. We either fall into the trap of compliance or give in to their wishes, or we maintain our ground at all cost in order to teach them lessons about how life works.

We do not have to explain away to the point of submission and stress. They know the rules, and so do we. If they are in doubt about the rules that were already negotiated, show them where they signed on the dotted line.

When kids have limits and guidelines to live by, they feel secure…even when they try to change the system.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 11:55 am and is filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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