Bad Cop or Good Cop?

March 26, 2017 No Comments by Tess Aisthorpe

Parenting isn’t an extracurricular activity. It’s not something you elect to do just when you feel like it or because you enjoy it. No one can tell what parenting is going to be like.

Whether you planned to have children or if they came as surprises, they are yours & you are a parent, plain & simple.

There are times when you might imagine what your life would be like if you’d made some different choices along the way…..we all have those moments. But, alas, you wake up the next day & you still have to parent. They are your children & your responsibility, until they don’t need you anymore.

Until then, even when you don’t want to, even when you become frustrated, when they drive you to the brink of sanity, when you question your parenting ability, when you cannot read one more story or think of one more answer to the question “But why?”…..you are their parent, their caregiver, authority & discipline, protector, taxi service, bank, entertainment provider & most importantly, their role model. To your child, you are their whole world – you are every answer, you are always available, you find everything that’s lost – you are the constant in their ever changing life.

There are no perfect parents, & all kids can be difficult & challenging. We all make choices & as parents we need to make better ones, as our children watch on & learn. We don’t get it right all the time & you might feel bad for saying “No”, or enforcing a rule or boundary…..but you don’t need to be guilty for this, or feel that you need to give in to everything they want.

So many children we see & meet, demand, expect & unfortunately get everything they want from parents who have lost sight of their responsibilities to build strong, resilient, respectful & independent little humans. It’s the end result of giving kids everything they want.

Tough love is really being called for, but we’ve got a generation of parents who are much less inclined to do this. Entitlement among children is out of control. Eager to deliver the perfect childhood, parents are emotionally and materially indulging their children. Boundaries are rarely enforced and consequences aren’t imposed by parents who want to be their child’s friend. Kids who grow up expecting attention and success are so accustomed to getting what they want that they don’t know how to cope when they don’t.

No parent likes seeing their child upset but now we’re going overboard in our search to please our kids. Yet kids these days rarely have to go without – we can give them so much, kids now see it as their right rather than a privilege. Have you forgotten that with rights come responsibilities? But when that entitled expectation is reinforced with no boundaries, it can become really unhealthy and negative.

We see some parents compensate for their own childhood, indulging their children the way they feel they weren’t. Others are making enormous sacrifices for their kids because they want to be the favourite parent. As said above your role as a parent is to be a protector, model and teacher. And a large part of that teaching involves demonstrating good judgment and making smart decisions. Kids need to learn how to make the right choices in life. And the place they learn it best (or worst) is in the home.

The burning desire to be a “cool” parent can lead to trouble. We have seen evidence in our own eyes that parents are allowing kids to drink alcohol in their home, and even bought the alcohol. Their reasoning? They wanted to be seen as the cool parent and a hero in their kids’ eyes.

Less drastic examples of poor parenting patterns are failure to enforce bedtimes and routines, feeding them whatever the child wants but not actually needs,or buying all the latest tech gadgets without responsible monitoring. You get the picture. These “cool parents” have never grown up. Deep inside, they fear growing old. Their actions are self-serving. Not only are they damaging their kids, they are setting themselves up for failure as parents, or worse.

What are we really teaching & showing our children…..? We need to be consistent in teaching that all decisions have consequences, and behaviors and actions have accountability.

By empowering our kids with boundaries, rules & expectations , we give them the no-how to think independently, to choose wisely, to educate themselves, & to ask questions.

Parents need to quit being afraid of denying their kids things that may not be in their best interest.

The end result may not be why you expected.