Yesterday my son said I was so mean.
I hear that a lot as we enter the pre-teens.
I am mean because I won't let him get pretzel bites, so mean I won't buy him a new video game, I am so mean because I yell at him in the morning to get ready. (Mind you yelling only comes into play after he lays back down in his bed and goes back to sleep.)
Truth is, to be a parent you have to be mean. If we let our children run around doing whatever they want who would they become?
Truth is we need to find a balance and any parent will tell you how hard that is. How hard it is to allow them to develop their own personality and still being a well structured child. My son won't play sports, was really good at guitar but quit, could have a great voice but doesn't want to take voice lessons, could be a great actor but refuses to take classes, could be a model but doesn't want to be the center of attention but as soon as he isn't the center of attention he gets loud.
So as a parent I am telling him to tone things down or he looses his video games, please clean his room or else he looses his video games, please, wait, I AM THE PARENT! As soon as you start the, if you don't do it you loose.... You become the briber.... How is that a strong relationship?
I am at the point now that I am rethinking of how to create a quieter home with an easier transition into responsibility. So we tried charts and loss and gain and everything. Now it comes down to, you are 11 this is what is expected of you. You are 12 this is what is expected of you.
So do I spoil my son, oh yah and through that I send mixed messages at time. I love him so much and he loves me, even if I am MEAN to him. We are working towards a more responsible young man, and each day is a challenge.
I fear for him that he will develop depression like I did as a teen or become distant from me and sometimes I try to hard to be fun. So in the end, how do you balance that? Truth is, each child is different, very different and you need to find what works for them.
Screwing up our kids, one day at a time. Yes I have started saving for the therapy bill.
Oh and there is no shame in going to therapy to make a more cohesive family relationship.
The biggest thing I can say to all parents, always admit when you are wrong to your children because in the end they will have an easier time to admit their faults. "I am sorry I yelled at you for spilling your milk, I know it wasn't your fault. I had asked you to stop playing with the cup and so I was feeling frustrated."
Be honest, be loving and talk to your children. Make sure they can tell you when they feel like there is something broken in the family. You may not be able to change it but you give them the strength to express themselves and you get the chance to explain why you have that rule. You never know you may be in a position of saying, "I don't know why that is a rule, we just did that in my household growing up." Just remember as a parent, the most important thing you can do for your children is teach them to deal with their emotions, deal with loss and cope with the changes in life they have to face. You get to teach them the things many of us were never taught to do, "deal with it."
The perpetually mean mother