…¬†and you are not their slave

As parents, you are under more and more pressure to praise every move your child makes. Making your children feel ‘good’ has become a goal to your own detriment.

The happiness of children is making parents feel anxious as children have increasingly become the centre of the family universe. Praise is lavished for the most fundamental of actions such as manners, sharing, cleaning up, cooperation and listening. Surely these actions should be expected as the norm instead of celebrated as amazing?

Worried about tantrums or resistance, parents put aside their own needs and the needs of the home, work and significant adult relationships to keep children happy, stimulated or entertained. Perhaps once this happy child Nirvana is achieved, parents believe they will be free to get what they need?

The likelihood is that being a slave to your children will wear you out. You could end up feeling resentful or taken for granted when the reality is that you’ve set this wheel in motion because you love your children and want them to be happy. This is a wonderful intention however a child’s happiness should not be at the expense of others. It is important to remind yourself that, as parents/mentors/leaders, you are responsible for teaching your children about balance, equity and responsibility.

Is this you?

  • You feel anxious if your child becomes upset
  • The tantrums and demands aren’t worth it so you crumble
  • Children constantly stop you doing what needs to be done
  • You never have time for yourself
  • Your adult relationship is suffering from lack of time and connection
  • If children develop an inflated sense of entitlement without empathy or care for others, they can enter the community without the skills needed for respectful relationships. These children expect everyone to comply when he or she say ‘jump’ and they believe that his or her existence is more important than others. Does this expectation ultimately benefit their community?

Think back to your own childhood –

  • Who was important in your family – how did that make you feel?
  • How was responsibility shared?
  • What did you learn from being given some responsibility?
  • What did you discover when you were left to your own devices?
  • What would you have gained if you got everything you wanted, whenever you wanted it?

Family is a reflection of the wider community. If you set aside too many of your needs for children, you may give them a distorted sense of their significance in the family instead of showing them they are an important PART.

Instead of treating your child like royalty, imagine them as a fully functioning member of their community and demonstrate this by taking care of your own needs and valuing the time you put into all areas of your family life as much as you value your children.

Implement ‘We’ thinking instead of ‘Me’ thinking, and be a slave no more.