I know this may come as a shock to you but kids are people too!!! They have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, motivations and turn offs, wants, needs and perspectives. They are just like us adults . . . the only difference is that they have less life experience and smaller bodies! It always amazes me when I see adults treat complete strangers nicer than they do their own kids. How does that make sense, really?
If you were in a grocery store and a complete stranger dropped an item on the ground would you smack them? Would you yell at them? Would you make a scene and insist they pick it up? Probably not because it would be embarrassing and rude, instead you would probably pick up the item think nothing of it, or you would ignore that the item was on the floor because it isn't your problem and keep on shopping. Yet how often do you see parents getting upset with their children for doing just that in the stores or at home on a daily basis?
How about if you were at work and you were working on an important project and your coworker kept interrupting you over and over again, would you yell at them? Would you threaten to lock them in their office? Would you tolerate the interruptions over and over again and put your career in jeopardy because you don't want to hurt their feelings? Or would you set aside a few minutes to answer your coworkers question or listen to their problem and then politely explain to them that while you would love to sit and chat all day you unfortunately don't have the time to do that so maybe after you finish up your project you could talk more. Yet how many times a day do you get upset and yell at your kids for interrupting your TV show, or your Facebook time, or reading a book? Things much less important than doing a major project at work and yet we are kinder to a person who may be in our life for a few years and never see them again than we are to our children who will be a part of our life for forever, how is that o.k.?
Think about how you would feel if every decision in your life was made by someone who was older than you and therefore had more authority on your physical and emotional needs and wants than you do? When you use the authoritarian parenting style that is exactly what you are doing . . . you are refusing to acknowledge that your child is capable of making their own choices and sometimes it is o.k. for your child to be their own boss - you just need to teach them how to do that by giving them opportunities and choices that are appropriate and show them the same respect we expect them to show us.
Now think about how you would feel if you really wanted your spouse/significant other to show some interest in your life and be an active participant in the conversations, frustrations, and wonders of your life. And sometimes when you didn't know what the best thing to do was they could be there to teach you and talk you through it instead of ignoring you or letting you figure it on your own? How would you feel if you asked your significant other to be your biggest cheerleader when it came to losing weight and help you stay strong and focused and the first few days they were great but eventually they got tired of your complaining about how hard it was so they stopped? How loved and appreciated would you feel? Well when you are a permissive parent that is exactly what you are doing to your children - you are letting them know that they are not worth your time, energy or dedication to teach them what they need to know in order to be successful in life. How is that o.k.?
Our children didn't ask for us to be their parents . . . BUT WE ASKED FOR THEM TO BE OUR CHILDREN! We have a responsibility to them that no one else on earth has, and that is to provide a safe, secure, and loving home where they are treated with love, kindness, and respect - even more than what we would give to a friend, a stranger, a boss, or a coworker. They are reliant on us to help them know how truly amazing they are and can be, it is our job as parents to raise our children to their highest potential and we cannot do that by giving up on our discipline plans, by using wooden spoons to motivate them, to teach them that they must be afraid of us in order for them to obey us. It is our job to teach them how to be obedient because it is the right thing to do, that it is o.k. to make mistakes, we all do, to teach them that they are part of a team and every player has a role and if one player isn't playing the team will fail.
We can only do those things if we acknowledge that our children are people just like us, but with smaller bodies and a brighter future and we respect them the same way we would respect another adult.
"Bernard Malamud once wrote, 'respect is what you have to have in order to get'" Active Parenting Now by Michael H. Popkin.
I challenge you to watch how you treat your children, people you brought into this life, compared to the adults in your life and make any adjustments that you need to make so you are treating your children better than the people who will be in our lives for a moment as opposed to a lifetime.