One of my pet peeves is parents who do not mind their children. As a parent, I am constantly watching my two-year old son when he is around other children. If he takes something that does not belong to him or pushes someone, I am quick to take care of the situation and apologize to the other child for what my son did to him or her. I avoid making excuses for my son’s behaviors.
At the mall, playground, and even at church, I’ve noticed some parents are off into another world- talking to their friend, texting on the phone, watching the sermon – with no clue what their child is doing. I have had to confront their other child who may have butted in front of my son on a ride, been up in my son’s face while he was eating his meal, or just yelling at my son to stop taking things. I ask myself –why aren’t they watching their son or daughter?
If you are going to be with your child, you need to watch them. Anything can happen. It’s easy just to drop them off some place and let them fend for themselves as long as your physical presence is there. Avoid getting another parent involved in disciplining or correcting your child.
I know some parents who want to be “friends” to their kids or to be the “cool parent” because they don’t want to upset them and have to deal with negative feelings. Moms and dads don’t want their kids to deal with frustration, hurt, pain, guilt, sadness, etc. because somehow it will too much for them to handle. Children need to deal with the full range of emotions. The reality is that life isn’t always going to be good or fair.
In addition to their protectiveness of their child’s feelings, some parents also avoid conflict at any cost and prefer to “give in”. Moms and dads don’t want to deal with the yelling and arguing. Consequently, the child takes advantage of their parents and manipulates them to get what they want.
A child needs a parent, not a friend, not a warm body laying around. They need someone who is watching them. Someone who sets rules and expectations. Someone who is going to consistently administer the consequences when they’ve made a bad choice. Someone who can say “no” with good reasons. Someone who can remain calm in the middle of the storm. Someone who is not going to give up on them. Someone who is going to do all this out of love and not feel guilty about it. In so many words, the children I see in counseling tell me this is what they really want from their parents. Kids will appreciate and respect them more – hands down.