Why it is time for parents to Grow up

The other day I was reading

an article called “The collapse of Parenting: why it is time for parents to grow Up!”. I found it a fascinating read and actually found myself agreeing a lot with the author. When I was a child, I feared my dad. He was a total autocrat and I remember once, when he called my name, I responded with “Ummm”. He made me practice saying “Yes Daddy” every time my name was called. For the next decade of my life, to my name being called by him, I would respond “Yes Daddy”. Many of us, may have had similar military upbringings where we were, if not scared of our dads, at least respectful of how to speak to the man of the house and have had a lot of ego struggles as a result.

Today, many of us parents, in our quest to swing away from authoritarian rule, have we become ‘push over’ parents? Have we swung to the other extreme? We are almost scared to tell our children what to do- Instead, we coax and cajole giving them choices. We read parenting books that tell us ”Don’t tell your kids what to do- Instead ask them- do you want to eat peas or carrots?”. Since we have some unpleasant memories of our authoritarian childhoods, we see this as a pleasant way of raising our children. But the author says, that children however, sometimes just do not have the mental ability to process a lot of things. They feel secure when they are told what to do by a capable adult. Parents are wimping out of making decisions for fear of being considered a dictator, she says. While it is ok to give kids choices in simple things like what clothes to wear, when it comes to important decisions like how much sleep, what kind of food to eat, whether they need cell phones or not, parents have to step in and made decisions for the children.

Today many of us bribe our children to do what we tell them to do. If you do this, I will let you watch TV for 30 minutes (Soooooo guilty of this one !!). Quickly children realise that they could get a few things done by being whiny or cranky and negotiate a lot of things. Some children have become the boss of the parents and run the house with their tantrums and bad behaviour!! They demand for things and behave unpleasantly when they don’t get them!

It is a fine line for the parents of this generation to walk between being respectful, but at the same time laying down the rules. They want to be respected not feared; they want to be loved not just obeyed and in this internal conflict they sometimes drop the ball. The author says that parents need to stop being namby pamby, grow up and be the adult in the house! She quotes studies which show that children of authoritative parents tend to be less depressed, anxious or addicted to substances. So the next time you find yourself laying down the rule in your house, don’t feel bad – Celebrate! You have done your job!

 

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