Excerpt from "Parenting Without a Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood"
Who’s in Control of the Canoe?
"The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children."
Edward, Duke of Windsor 1957
It’s amazing to me how many young families I encounter where it is apparent that the child is in charge. When my cousin had her first child, she and her husband gave in to their toddler all the time. The child even dictated when they went somewhere, where they went, and how long they stayed. What’s wrong with this picture?
All kids need guidance and kind discipline, and they need to know you are in charge. Believe it or not, it makes a child more secure if they know what to expect. Parents need to establish routines and guidelines. This will help your child maneuver through his daily life if he knows what is expected of him. Liken your child to a boat that is tethered. If a storm comes along and the boat isn’t securely tethered, it will go adrift. Who knows where it will end up? Your child, likewise, needs to have his bearings because if he is allowed too much freedom and does what he wants all the time, he will actually be floundering. This may well show up as bad behavior, talking back, and general disrespect.
Who’s in Control Checklist:
- Are you making the rules?
- Is there a routine in your household most days?
- Do you expect respect and give respect?
- Have you established appropriate consequences for disobedience, misbehavior, disrespect, and rules being broken? Parents need to consider possible scenarios for children ahead of time so that when a situation arises, you are able to calmly deal with your child and her poor behavior and give the appropriate consequence.
Parenting Without a Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood
Authored by Kristin Fitch and Sharon Pierce McCullough