Being a dad is serious business. I have learned that it’s not for the faint of heart. Some times you have to lay down the law, to guide your kids in the right direction. The problem is that I really don’t want to punish any of my kids, I’m sure you feel the same way. Once the kids realize this, they will use it to their advantage, that’s when they will try to play you. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. You can use the following three steps to stay one step ahead of your kids, in the long run both your kids and you will be happy that you did.
- The first, and I think probably most important thing that you can do is always, always. did I say always? Always follow through. As parents, we just can’t allow some things, especially if it’s a safety issue. I remember when Day was a toddler and even when she was older, it was very important for her to come to me if I called her. I could be warning her of a car, some glass on the sidewalk, a strange dog or even a strange person. Whatever the reason, there were times when I needed her to stop immediately and see what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, when we were out she was always within arms reach of me, but kids are very quick. My main point is you have to set limits, tell them what the consequences will be if go outside the limits and follow through if they break the rules. I’ve used this same format with all my kids regardless of their age. Also be sure to remember that this also applies when you tell them that you are going to do something for them, For instance, if you told your son you were going to take him to the park. Follow through, this is very important, you don’t want your kids to start to see your words, as being unreliable.
- The next thing, is we must set limits. Children and teenagers love consistency and they generally understand the need for limits. They probably wouldn’t say it like that though. Kids need to know that you love them. One concrete way you show them that you love them, is by not becoming a piece of milk toast when a challenge from your kids comes up. It’s never to late to start being a consistent parent, but the younger your kids are the better. There is no one size fits all approach, when it come to disciplining kids or teenagers, you must know your child. If you don’t know them, and believe me there are plenty of times I feel as if I don’t know my daughter. Go to them, talk with them, and get reacquainted. There is also a flip side to this, two sides of the same coin. which brings me to my third point.
- Thirdly you must be willing to stretch the limits. Parenting is not an exact science. As parents we are the brains of this operation/family but don’t forget our kids have brains also. They are not little copies of us, they are not, “mini me’s,” they are individuals. They are growing and learning all the time. As they mature, we must extend their boundaries, and stretch the limits that we put on them. This is why it is important to always talk with your kid. The communication between the two of you, plus your observation of their behavior is the only way for you to know how or when to relax rules. This stuff is never set in stone, the basic rules don’t change much, but on another level, sometimes kids will be up past bedtime, or maybe, they might want the keys to the car.
Well, there you have it . These principles are not perfect, but if you use them wisely, they will come in handy. Until next time, God bless and keep you and your family.