What are you teaching your children? What are you NOT teaching your children? Do you even take parenting seriously?
Many people have children knowing that they aren't parent material. Many people have children for their own selfish reasons. Many people have children and they know darn well that they can’t afford to take care of them. Many people have children to try to save a relationship. Many people have children because they feel pressured to do so. Many people have children “just because.”
If you’re a parent, ask yourself:
· Do my children disrespect me
· Have my children ever hit me
· Do my children have control over me and the household
· Is my child/children a bully
· Do they not respect themselves or others
· Do my children NOT get along with others
· Do my children steal from me
· Does my child/children get bad grades in school
· Does my child/children have low self-esteem
If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then you may want to keep on reading. You may or may not be ready to accept what I’m about to say, but I ask that you give it some time to sink in. NOBODY likes to feel like they've failed at parenting, but the truth is, we aren't perfect. We don’t always get it right, but we do have an obligation to teach, discipline, correct, nurture, and support our children. They need our guidance so that they will have a better chance at growing up to be overall good people.
When children are young, some parents blow off unacceptable behavior. You allow your kids to talk back and totally disrespect you. You allow them to get away with hitting. You bribe your children with material things, just so they’ll do what you want them to do. You try so hard to be their friend that you forget that you’re their parent first. You overlook their not-so-good behavior. You make excuses for why they do the things that they do. You don’t hold your children accountable for the choices that they make. They don’t listen or follow rules. And your children have an “I don’t care” attitude.
I know that’s a lot to take in, but for some of you reading this, it’s the truth. And sometimes hearing and facing the truth can sting, and YES, even hurt. But I challenge you to really take a look at your parenting style. What kind of things do you say and do around your children? Are you truly setting an example? What can you change and/or do better? What is your parenting style doing for your children? Can you honestly say that you’re proud of who your children are? And most importantly, can you say with all honesty that YOU’RE a good parent? Remember: Good parenting has nothing to do with what we buy our children or what we do for them. Real parenting goes way further than that. It’s NOT material. You can’t buy their love or respect.
You can give a child EVERYTHING, and they can still give you hell and mistreat you.
If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to take the steps to make a change. Your children may go against you at first, but stand firm. You have to lay down some ground rules and stick to it. No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up and don’t give in! Your children are acting out because you have allowed this to go on for far too long. Maybe you’re trying to make up for something, but letting your children get away with this kind of behavior is NOT acceptable.
You are the parent! Don’t allow your children to even think that they have control over you. You’ve got to dig deep within your soul and find the strength to take control and get your house in order. Imagine the peace that you will have! Imagine how peaceful your household will be in general. Imagine your life in harmony. Just imagine!
I don’t want you to feel sorry for yourself either. I need you to do what it is you have to do. Things may not be what you want them to be at this moment, and you have to be willing to accept that. Accept it and move forward. Reflect on how you got here and what you can do differently now. Make up in your mind what you’re not willing to accept anymore.
Your children do NOT have a right to disrespect you in any kind of way. Don’t make excuses.
If you have done all that you can possibly do, don’t be ashamed to try counseling and/or reach out to somebody that you feel could impact the situation in a positive manner. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help.
I’ll leave you with these tips:
· Communicate, communicate, communicate.
· Listen. Listen carefully.
· Show love. Genuine love.
· Encourage. Don’t be negative and discouraging.
· Spend quality time with your children.
· Show them that you appreciate them.
· Set good examples for them to follow. They are watching you. They don’t miss anything.
· Don’t be SO busy that they feel ignored and/or unimportant. Find a good balance.
It’s going to take work, a lot of work. But I’m sure you’d agree that your family is worth it. Your family is worth the fight.
Don’t be afraid to invite change into your lives. The New Year is right around the corner. Do yourself a favor and start the process now!
- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)