"It's my job to pay the bills around here - what else do you expect from me?!"
"You are 13 years old - You are on your own!"
"You CAN get away with this in this house.....it's our home and there are NO CONSEQUENCES here...but you WON'T be able to get away with this in the real world!"
"You don't have a choice - it's my house you... and you will do as I say!"
"Why is my kid acting like this - aren't they supposed to learn how to obey in school?"
If you have ever said one of these statement, this article is for you.
Parents, without you, your kids would be lost. Your children need you.
They need you for so much more than food, shelter and clothing.
And with screens everywhere we turn, modern kids need their parents more than ever.
Allow me to help you see through the murky waters and understand what your children really need from you..
Presence: the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.
Presence means simply being with your child: Looking them in the eye. Holding them. Playing a board game. Quietly sitting with them as they tell you about their day. Being present with your mind, your body and your soul.
Being present means - no necessarily having the answers, nor having the perfect words, but simply sitting with them as they hurt, feel, talk or wonder.
Presence isn't just driving them to their ball game...or even going to their ball game..presence is sitting with them and talking about their ball game over a post-game sandwich.
Presence is jumping on the trampoline with your 7 year old...Going to the mall with your teenage daughter...Talking about a favorite movie with your teenage son...Asking your 18-year old how their personal life is going.
Presence is relationship.
Presence is life.
The real world is filled with boundaries:
Speed limit is 65.
One trip to the salad bad.
Don't drink and drive.
Don't sexually harass others.
Pay your taxes by April 15.
Teaching boundaries is a parent's job. Kids need to know where they can and cannot go, and that rules exists everywhere.
If parents don't teach and enforce boundaries, they are teaching their children that adults in the real world will not enforce boundaries either.
This is dangerous!
Your children need boundaries in the home. If they don't learn boundaries from you, who will they learn them from?
Mentoring is my favorite synonym for parenting. The best parents see themselves as mentors.
The best mentors use a mixture of teaching verbal wisdom AND modeling wise behavior.
Some modern parents don't understand that ALL children need mentoring. These parents just expect that with some little league sports, some schooling, a few good friends and the occasional vacation, that their kids will end up mature....wow- they are wrong.
Kids need adults they can look up to...and follow.
If your son or daughter is acting out it means two things...
1) They are normal.
2) They need mentoring from you. They need a parent to help them to live a wise life and live within the boundaries created for them.
Children are not robots.
Children are not bonsai trees...or Pay-Doh
Children are not clones of their parents.
Children are unique individuals who have one-of-kind thoughts, talents, beliefs and passions.
Parents should celebrate this...not hinder it.
When we tell our children what to do, or use the popular parenting practice "Command and Control" (which I teach about in my free parenting class) we don't give our children personal choice...and freedom of choice is always good. Kids need it.
Now, of course I am not talking about the freedom to do drugs as a teen, cross the street by yourself as a 5 year old, or drop out of school at age 11...But I am talking about freedom of choice.
We want our children to FEEL FREE...and powerful.
All humans want to feel free to be who they are. Follow their passions. Feel like they are in control of their own lives. (If they don't feel like, kids may act out...argue...whine...withdraw..or lie.)
And yes, this freedom of personal choice includes the freedom to make BOTH good and bad choices.
But Sean what if, in my child's freedom, they make poor choices? Break our House Rules? Are you saying I should allow them to make poor choices?
Yes I am.
Then, you provide....
Discipline is not a bad word. It's a beautiful word. A powerful word.
And when it's done well, discipline is a life-changing, bonding experience for the people involved.
Good natural, discipline builds character, forges integrity, fosters self-control and teaches wisdom.
If you are not giving your children discipline or natural consequences, you are holding them back from an opportunity to grow, mature and become a better version of themselves.
Furthemore, just like the world is full of boundaries,the world is full of discipline.
Adults are commonly disciplined at work, by the government and by businesses. Late fines. Tickets. Job repreminds. Fees. Etc...
If you don't teach your children the purpose, the normality, and the honor of discipline, then who will?
Founder and Family Coach