From the time they’re toddlers until they’re fully grown, kids are likely going to test their parents’ authority. This isn’t an attempt to take over control of the household, however much it may seem that way. It’s almost always a testing of boundaries and a search for reassurance that the parent is in control, and giving up that authority is bad news for everyone in the family. Check out this week’s video for more on why kids test the limits of their parents’ control and what you can do to maintain it without causing conflict.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video.
A few years ago, I was working with a couple who had a toddler and that toddler was not sleeping well and we were having discussion on what was working, what wasn’t working and really what we could do to fix the situation and this is a common, common theme that I’m seeing. That’s why I’m talking about it here today.
So we made a plan and I was gonna follow up with ’em the next day to see how they were doing and when I phoned, on their voicemail was the two of them, both the mom and the dad saying, we can’t come to the phone right now. We are the slaves of our son. Let’s call him Bill. Bill won’t let us come to the phone right now. Bill is in charge around here. So you’ll have to call back later.
Something like that and they were trying to be funny and I get it but it really, it really shined a light on the specific problem in that family and that was that they believed Bill, Billy, was the boss of the family. He was two, okay? I don’t know a lot of two year olds who are equipped with the skills to be the boss of a family and that, I think it’s tough being a parent right now. I think there’s a lot of pressure on parents to do the right, be the best and be the absolute all-star parent and that’s getting a little bit muddy because we’re translating that into being our children’s best buddies.
We don’t wanna upset our children. We don’t wanna make our children sad or angry. We want to give them all that we can give them or give them more than what we had when we were kids and the trouble with that is that that puts the child in the driver seat.
I don’t know a lot of children even my teenager who is equipped to be in the driver seat of the family or the boss of the family. So coming back to that couple, I had to have a discussion with them and said, listen, you are the boss, right? You are the driver, you are in charge.
Whatever sentence you wanna say about this, you are in charge of the family and so I wanna just challenge everybody or get you at least thinking about what’s going on in your family? Can you say with absolute confidence that you’re the boss, right, and I know that toddlers are tricky, right, because they’re so willful and they’re a little bit explosive with their emotions and it’s easy to upset them but make sure that you are not letting your fear stand in the way of being the parent, right?
I can remember teaching grade one, my very first year of teaching grade one and I had this little person in my class who was extremely challenging. His behavior was extremely challenging to say the least and I talked to my mentor about it and we were having a discussion.
She said, “Dana, it sounds like you’re scared of him. He’s six.”
And that really hit home with me that I was letting my fear stand in the way of being in charge of being the teacher of this student. I was giving him a little bit too much power over that and once I made that mindset shift and started realizing, hey, right, I’m the boss here, you are six, I know a few things, more than you do, that really changed the whole dynamic of our relationship and you know what, he actually started to get in line and listen better and follow rules better and all of it really clicked.
So that’s really a lesson I took into my future as a teacher and also my goals as a parent is to be loving and fun and all of that wonderful stuff but I can promise you if you asked all three of my children who is the boss, it’s me.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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