I want to start off by saying the only reason I feel like I can speak to this is because it’s something I myself am living out as I speak. No throwing stones here, just encouragement and a “c’mon, let’s stand strong together.”
You know those moments. Your child asks you for something,
“Mom, can I have your phone?”
“No, you may not!”
“But Mom, I want it.”
“I said “no.”
You hand over the phone.
Your child just won the battle.
You think, they won this battle, but I will win the war.
This happens daily.
“Eat your supper.”
“I don’t like green beans.”
“Eat your green beans or no cookie.”
“Waaaah, I don’t like green beans. I don’t want to eat my green beans.”
“Fine, go play, but no cookies.”
10 minutes later…
“Can I have a cookie?”
“Ok, but next time you have to eat your dinner before you get dessert.”
They win the battle.
Not because your end goal in parenting is to always make your child happy and give them what they want. You actually have really good intentions for teaching your child to be patient and obedient and not grow up to be a whiner.
But you’re tired. Not just a little tired as in you didn’t sleep well last night. You’re exhausted. You haven’t slept through the night in a long time. In fact, you don’t even remember what it feels like to sleep all night long.
So giving in is easier than sticking to your word. Just make the whining stop.
And oh so quickly, our kids figure out that our words don’t hold much weight.
Because we don’t follow through with what we say.
We give in. We let them get their way.
And just like that, our kids rule the roost.
We’re not parents. We’re subjects ruled by tiny dictators.
You know what I’m talking about? I know what I’m talking about.
Because it’s easier to give in and temporarily stop the whining, instead of standing firm with what we’ve said.
I’m guilty. It’s been a battle in our house lately. Six year olds have strong wills and are PERSISTENT. Good golly. Someone give my girl a courtroom. She can wear down a witness in a matter of minutes.
But here’s an observance I’ve had. A LOT of parents do this. Give an answer to their kids, kids whine, parents give in, kids win.
Parents, we are creating self centered, spoiled little humans that think whining gets them anything they want.
It’s time to be parents of our word. If we say it, we stick to it. No means no. We need to start following through on what we say.
I’ve observed this behavior in parents for years (yes I’m putting this terrible behavior on the parents). Before I had kids and when my kids were little, I made mental notes of what I didn’t want to do and what I did want to do as a parent. This is what stood out to me the most. Parents who went back on their word, time and time again, and let their kids have their way.
The parents looked like fools and the kids were spoiled, self indulged brats. Sound harsh? You all know you know someone just like this.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just be a parent of your word. Follow through on what you say. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Oh wait, I think that’s Biblical.
But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’
Your kids will quickly learn that you mean what you say. When you say no, you mean no. The whining will subside. I promise.
You’re the parent, start acting like it. I know you’re tired. I’m tired too. But isn’t the pay out so worth it? Kids who are respectful, who don’t whine constantly and understand they are not in charge.
This parenting gig, it’s not for the faint of heart. But, oh what joy comes when we see the things we work so hard to instill in our kids actually work.
You’re doing a great job. Stay strong. Be a parent of your word and watch your kids settle down as they realize you mean what you say.