The Blog

Why You Don’t Want To Be Your Child’s Best Friend

young women and girls with tablet pcA friend of mine has a preteen daughter. They are joined at the hip, and the mother lets her stay up late and watch movies that aren’t appropriate for her age and lets her wear clothes that are too revealing. She allows her to eat lots of junk food and buys her whatever she wants. She rarely says no to anything. Her excuse? She claims they are like best friends and they can talk about everything from boys to makeup.

While it’s great to have a close and open relationship in which your child feels comfortable enough to tell you what’s happening in her life, letting her do whatever she wants with no boundaries or guidelines is a recipe for disaster, especially when she gets to the teen years and there are very real dangers out there that she needs to be protected from.

Parents of young kids, I’m talking to you too! I run across many parents of toddlers and preschoolers who are setting up the same dynamic: they let things slide, don’t enforce routines and let their child get away with things they shouldn’t, all because they just want their kid to like them.

It’s understandable. Everyone wants to be liked. It’s no fun having to deal with a child who’s mad at you because you had to lay down the law. It would be so much more fun if you could just say yes to the extra dessert and later bedtime and one more movie, but sadly, you have a job to do. And that job is raising those kids to be responsible, healthy adults.

Giving in to your child’s every whim can feel good in the short term. It brings you together and makes you feel close and bonded, and it feels nice to make your child happy. But have you ever noticed those kids at the birthday parties with the really permissive parents who let them have as much cake as they want and don’t correct them when they tear open the birthday girl’s presents without permission? They are often the kids that end up having tantrums when the sugar kicks in and, worst of all, they are the kids that other kids end up not wanting to be around.

Unfortunately, if you’re doing your job right, your kids are going to be downright furious at you sometimes. They are going to roll their eyes and stomp their feet and slam their doors (which you will promptly tell them is not okay).

But ultimately, they will someday thank you, because they will have learned self-regulation with food and they will have learned to have healthy sleep habits and they will have learned how to treat other people with respect.

When you give in to your child, you are not respecting yourself or your child’s need to learn how to behave, so this can eat away at your own sense of self-worth. Children learn how to treat other people from how you let them treat you.

This does not mean you have to always be the big meanie disciplinarian. Laugh and play and have fun with your child, by all means. Go ahead and take her out for a special treat, go on a spontaneous outing to the park, let her have an extra cookie once in awhile. It’s okay to relax the rules on special occasions, as long as she is very clear that there are rules and she is expected to follow them.

The systems and routines you set up in your home and the expectations you set about behavior will help guide your child and nurture him to be the best person he can be. Stick to them and you’ll be giving your child the gift of a lifetime.

KTM box white background (4)If you’re looking for a complete “action plan” for dealing with common discipline problems in children aged 2 – 12, click here now to check out Kids: The Manual. Comprehensive strategies to eliminate fighting, whining, not listening, rude behavior, and much more!

Baby Not Sleeping Through The Night?

Get One-On-One Help!

Yes, The Sleep Sense™ Program is a great Do-It-Yourself guide for solving your baby or toddler’s sleep problems!

But if you’re looking for full-service, one-on-one help, I’m here to help!

The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
If you’re going to let me help you with something as precious as your child’s sleep, you probably want to know a little bit about who I am and exactly how I think...

Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

  • Free Baby Sleep Class: Tip #2

    Welcome to Tip #2 of my free baby sleep class! If you missed Tip…

    View Post
  • Free Baby Sleep Class: Tip #3

    Welcome to Tip #3 of my free baby sleep class! If you missed Tip…

    View Post
  • Free Baby Sleep Class: Tip #4

    Welcome to Tip #4 of my free baby sleep class! If you missed Tip…

    View Post

Client Testimonials