If anyone thinks that raising is children is easy, they’re extremely misinformed. Every day is filled with difficult parenting decisions. Some parents choose to do everything for their children so that they never suffer from the results of their own actions. On the other hand, there are parents that allow their children to make bad decisions, and help them deal with the consequences of their own actions. It seems to me that parents everywhere are struggling with the same issues. Within the last week I have heard stories from both extremes of parenting.
One parent complained that her daughter forgot her backpack at home…again. When asked what she did about the situation, my friend said she took her daughter’s backpack to school for her…again. She’s upset because her daughter keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. And over and over again, my friend bails her daughter out by coming to the rescue for her. Her argument is a good one: “I don’t want to get bad grades on her homework, so I take it to her.” Although I love her, she’s what I like to call an enabler. I am of the belief that she should allow her daughter to go through the day of school without her backpack, get bad grades on homework, and then may begin to realize that there are consequences in life for being unorganized. If mom bails her out every time, she will never fully understand the consequences for her actions.
On the other hand, I have another friend that has completely the polar opposite. Every one of her children must do as she says, when she says it. She has an 18-year-old daughter that just decided to leave home because she could not deal with the fact that she was not allowed to make a mistake in her own home. For instance, she is not allowed to study while listening to music. My friend has another good argument: “She won’t get as good of a grade if she has too many distractions.” That may be true, but again, I argue that she should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. While I love her, I consider this friend to be a control freak. Sometimes we need to let go a little and let our children have some freedom (especially as they get older).
Finally, I have some friends who picked a nice middle ground this last week. Their son had three HUGE assignments that were due on the same day. He procrastinated even though they encouraged him to do the assignments. As a result, he was only able to complete one of the three assignments. He got to school, tried to do the project at the last-minute, and was caught. Not only did he get a zero on both assignments, but he got detention and had to deal with all the negative consequences that go along with making poor decisions.
My friends said it was extremely hard for them to watch him as he realized that he was not going to be able to complete the projects. They wanted to help him complete the assignments, but held firm, and let him suffer the consequences of his own action. They continued to love him through his mistakes. It wasn’t easy for any of them, but I feel as though he is going to be better off for it in the long run.
Every day we are forced to make difficult parenting decisions. Our main goal is to raise our children to be productive citizens later in life. So next time your child is making a poor decision, encourage them to make the right decision, but continue to love them after they ignore your advice and make a bad decision. It won’t be easy for anyone involved, but you’ll be glad you did. They will learn a valuable lesson about having consequences for their actions, but will continue to know that they have parents that love them even through their bad decisions.
- Inflexible, Unrealistic Parenting Rules Pressure Parents (tinystepsmommy.com)