The goal: Keep the child happy. (seems good)
The trend: Be the child’s best pal. (sounds pleasant)
BUT…the reality is relationship without rules breeds resentment.
Here are the top 6 ways to increase bitterness in a child’s heart by being his all time best Chum.
The best bud parent:
1. is over-indulgent: Says yes to every material item and whim under the sun. The child never has to earn anything and doesn’t experience the chance to say, “Yes I worked for that.”
2. is unable to make a decision: An indecisive parent says, “I don’t know. What do you want? “ It’s okay to have an opinion. Indecision makes a parent appear weak. Kids need a strong leader who knows when to say yes and when to say no.
3. rescues and make excuses: Lack of ownership, accountable, and responsibility occur when mom or dad jumps in to save the day. The child wants opportunities to show himself he is able to handle adversity. This is a confidence booster. Instead of rescuing, ask your child if he wants your help. If he does want assistance ask, “How can I help you?”
4. pleads and begs: A child does not want a wimpy, whiny, push-over parent. [Tweet “A child does not want a wimpy, whiny, push-over parent.”]The one who whimpers, “Please, please, please take out the garbage.” or cries “Oh can’t you help me…I’m soooo tired.” (wahwahwah). State what is needed or expected and when it is to be accomplished. Come for a place of strength. Be the MOM!
5. plays favorites: Nothing increases resentment and sibling rivalry faster than a parent who favors one child over the other. Find a connection with and an appreciation for each child.
6. is permissive: The question in the child’s mind that begins to take shape when No isn’t present is, “Don’t you care?” The child’s feeling of security bottoms out.
Here are four more ways resentment seeps into a child’s heart:
7. is absent: Either emotionally unreachable or physically distant. Close the gap with some relationship builders. Show interest in your kiddo’s life. Put down the phone. Show up the his events. Be your kid’s biggest fan!
8. is uniformed: Be in the know. Remember your child’s friend’s names, be able to name of his favorite band or singer, know what is his go-to fast food. Be a student of your child. Talk about his interests and activities.
9. punishes harshly: Seething anger happens when punishment goes too far. Be careful to avoid delivering consequences when angry.
10. punishes wrongly: If you accuse your child of wrong doing, be accurate. One time my husband and I accused our son of intentionally omitting some important information. As it turned out, we were wrong. He’s forgiven us, but he sure hasn’t forgotten the incident. (I still feel horrible about it)
Resentment is built over time , with repeated patterns. I confess, I have done a number of these over the years. It isn’t good, I know. I also know I am not perfect. And I am able to up my game and learn how to be the best parent I can be for my child. I don’t want resentment to be part of my family equation. I want a relationship with my kids that lasts a lifetime.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Lori Wildenberg, mom of four, is available for parent coaching/consulting and would love to speak at your next event! Find out more by heading over to Lori’s website