There are those of us that are parents, those of us that have been parents, and those that are still waiting to be parents. One way or another we can all sympathize with one another at some given time since the act of having, raising, and loving our children is in fact a chore that we take upon ourselves. Yet it is a chore that we do so gladly many times because we choose to, and because we want to. Kids aren’t easy, as any parent would gladly tell you. Anyone thinking of having them shouldn’t think twice, but they should know that they will never be fully prepared for what is come. You can save until your bank account has more in it then you’d ever need. You can wrap the interior of your house in bubble wrap, and you can buy out the nearest Babies R Us by gathering all the things you’ll need. But you still won’t be ready.
Children are nature’s open challenge to those that dare to have them. They are wonderful, they are adorable, and they give us a chance to be better than we’ve ever been in our lives. But make no mistake, they are bound to become little people at one point. And what do human beings do as they grow and learn? That’s right, they challenge the world they live in through exploration and curiosity-driven invasion. At some point you might feel as though your house has been invaded by a small, anxious terrorist whose main goal is to do anything and everything you tell them not to. The moment they learn to talk is the moment they learn to TALK BACK, and thus the real trials begin. You can catch a crawling child and you can even avoid allowing a toddler to damage themselves too badly as they wobble around on their little sausage-like legs. But a toddler that can talk? This is where the rails tend to come off for some people.
Shall I explain?
You are the parent, not the friend.
One immutable fact that you’ll need to hold close at all times is that your kids might not like you at one point in their lives, and that’s fine. You’ll have to be hard eventually, perhaps even mean at times depending on how your kid decides to react to your rules, but that’s normal. Children will always rebel, it’s in their nature and it’s how they learn at times. If you’re inordinately lucky they’ll accept your word and your rules and you won’t have much of a problem. But one thing for certain is that you need to lay down the boundaries very early in life on who is in charge.
Being the parent doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with your kids. You’re their mom or dad after all, not the prison warden. You aren’t their keeper, you’re their parent, and as such you can have a good time so long as the roles aren’t confused. The moment you become their friend instead of their parent is when you’ve lost control, and getting it back is extremely difficult. Once children lose sight of who is in charge in the household it’s very tough to get them to see you as an authority figure again. This is why being the parent instead of the friend can’t be stressed enough. They might not like it, you might not even like it, but it’s up to the parent to take charge, not the kids.
Keep your cool, even when it’s not easy to do so.
Kids are going to push you, it’s their natural inclination and how they come to find out just where the boundaries are. In some ways it’s like a blind person trying to discover where the road is versus the sidewalk at times, they might be able to guess but the boundaries don’t become clear until they step over them. Kids will continue to push their limits no matter if they find that boundary as, guess what, it’s a part of how they grow. Some kids will push harder than others and some might even take it far enough that you’ll find yourself breathing heavily and trying to refrain from having a meltdown right then and there. It’s not easy, but you need to at least try and keep a cool head and avoid being too harsh with children, no matter what they do.
It’s tough, believe me I know, but taking a moment to chill out and assess the situation rather than diving in and getting angry at every little problem can produce much better results. Yelling and carrying on with your children is a good way to show them the wrong way to behave in a given situation, as they will take this to mean that yelling at people when they are troubled is the solution. Take a moment, calm yourself, and then, before any punishment is doled out, at least try to talk to your kid. That way you can explain just why they’re about to get sent to the corner or ground for a couple of weeks in a calm and reasonable fashion.
Remember, your child is watching you as their example for EVERYTHING.
It doesn’t matter if they emulate what they see on TV, well it does, but not in the long run since your kids are constantly getting their cues from you as well as anything or anyone else they happen to see. Since you are the first teacher they’ll ever have you are responsible for a good chunk of their behavior. How they react to and interact with others has a lot to do with what they observe from you. As the parent you need to learn to keep your cool in most situations and explain to your child why you say and do certain things and why they’re good or bad.
Children are like sponges, as you’ve probably heard, and they’ll absorb everything they see, hear, and experience throughout their lives. It’s a constant chore to make certain that they learn how to interact and cope with society in a reasonable manner, and to do this you, the parent, need to let your child know what will be expected and why. You’re the parent, not the buddy, not the friend, but the one that will teach them what they need to know along the way as they grow. Once it’s established that your will and words are to be obeyed and followed, then you can work on a friendship.