Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m a mom of two young children and I’ve noticed parents can’t say “no” to their kids or tell them what’s right from wrong.
One parent said to me, when I asked her if her daughter could have some cookies I made, “Well, let me ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea before dinner to have cookies.”
Her daughter said, “Yes, Mommy, I’ll only eat two so I can still eat my dinner.”
Her mom said, “She’s learning to think for herself.” I almost choked. The daughter didn’t learn anything except that she has power over her mom.
My kids looked surprised, as if to say, “She has a choice?”
Don’t get me wrong. I give my kids a choice in simple things, like letting them pick which of two outfits they want to wear.
Parents say their kids are so creative by putting any top together with any pants. What happens when those same kids are bullied for wearing weird combinations?
Of course, I’m not just talking about style. I’m talking about parents who won’t set boundaries. There are other serious issues that require a clear-cut understanding of right and wrong.
I don’t think parents want to tell their kids what to do because they’re afraid their kids won’t like them. Since when did parents become people-pleasers to their kids?
You have observed a few important social tragedies.
Many parents are having a hard time parenting. Just a few thoughts:
Parents need to exercise authority in order to teach children and keep them safe.
Children learn how to be safe emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually through boundaries set by parents.
Parents are the experts who teach children what’s best for them.
Children need to be taught that there are absolutes in this life. It’s good for parents to demonstrate this by saying: stop, don’t, no, yes, and so on.
Parents teach children what’s best for them by example.
Children need strong parents who share their God-given wisdom, talents, and love by being definitive, not wishy-washy.
Strong parents teach kids how to define themselves.
Instead of being a shuttle service from one extracurricular activity to another, parents can spend time together with their kids, doing things such as having dinner together every night and communicating well.
Stop doing all the work for your kids and teach them the value of having a good work ethic.
And stop being a people-pleaser, especially to your kids.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri