5 Steps to be a Boss to your Child
As a parent, if you aren’t seen as an authoritative figure in the family, the position of power can change hands swiftly between you and your kids. In the absence of any authority figure who corrects them when they are wrong and commands discipline from them, it might lead to them regularly acting out, engage in risky actions, or growing up to be extremely dominating and narcissistic individuals. Ultimately, it will be too late to amend their misdirected ways, and you will develop feelings of antipathy toward them. As a parent, you should always give your kids a feeling that you are in charge; else they might fill in the vacant spot and cause complete havoc.
What exactly it means to be the boss of your child?
One of the essential roles of being the boss of the family is to set boundaries for your children. Parents have to limit-setters on their children and create rules of their household by means of consequences and answerability. A little discipline and guideline go a long way in developing the character of children. Along with this ‘limit-setting’ role of a parent, the other important role to assume is the educator role, where it is essential for a parent to educate their children on the correct way to go about things, especially when they have made a mistake. Thirdly, parents have to assume the trainer role, where you always motivate your child to perform and do better, like the coach of a sports team motivates his players to be better all the time. All these three roles combine to make the perfect version of a parent that is necessary for your child to shape his character.
Following are some proven and researched ways you can be the boss of your child, albeit in a caring way.
Believe in your own authority. Your child needs to sense the authority and strength in you, which will make them feel safe and sound. You should believe in your aptitude to make certain decisions about daily habits like sleep time, permitted television time in the morning hours, food habits, play-time, etc., and ensure that your child heeds to them. You should not lose your temper and start yelling at your children when they don’t listen to you and should never be reduced to tears in front of them out of sheer frustration and lack of control. Else, your kid will definitely feel that you don’t have a grip on circumstances.
Select Your Zone of Struggle
Another simple way is separating the zones of struggle into three groups: red light, yellow light, and green light. For example, red light is for non-negotiable tasks like wearing a safety belt, holding your hand on the road, and going to bed at a particular time. Yellow light is for things where kids can have a little bit of flexibility like bathing time, having proper meals, and brushing teeth. And then there’s green light: It hardly matters whether their clothes match or they are taking three toys instead of four to the restaurant, right? The parents should respond as per the categories of their zones of struggle.
Tips for the Guilty Working Parent
Almost all parents experience some form of guilt regarding their parenting skills and tend to wonder whether they are doing the right thing for their children. Going to work provides for a healthy break from children and also allows you to pursue your dreams and aspirations – but it also complicates matters. We always face a load of expectations, not just from work and home, but also from extended family, friends, and other commitments – no wonder we at times feel that we are falling short, and that is exactly when the guilt sets in. -It is essential to understand that children only need ‘good enough’ and ‘happy’ parents and not parents who hover around them all the time. Also, there are significant positives for children who see their -parents’ work, children view working parents as good role models, and this helps them foster independence at an early age. -Ensure to come up with rituals or home routines that you will prioritize at any cost. Some examples are, being home for bedtime on certain nights, a movie night with the kids during weekends, or a family activity on certain days. -Select your priorities with the school your child attends. As you are busy with office/work and may not be able to attend all of the school events, enquire with each child which events they feel are most important for you to attend. You can also work out a schedule with your partner, where each of you can take turns to take the children to school at least one day a week. -Ensure to schedule time during the weekends to keep up with the assignments/tests from school. -Train your kids to solve their problems themselves instead of giving them advice about what to do. When you are short on time, it is often easier to sort things around yourself, but enabling children to create possible solutions for their problems and letting them try those out, provides children with a sense of agency and control over their own lives.
Only Give Accepted Options
It is necessary to give your child choices so they should not feel like they aren’t always being bossed around, but the options need to be restricted. The frontal portion of a kid’s brain, the section of the brain that mediates, obstructs, constructs, and processes, is not completely developed, and your job is to help them in making decisions. So, when it comes to preferences, they have to be recognized choices: for example, “You can buy the toy-train or a new crayon box.” In this way, it aids them to think, but within the well-known limitations set by you.
Don’t Expect a Lot
Few parents give their children exposure to too many choices. They have to understand that while kids can make certain relatively simple decisions like what they would like to do on their birthday, they cannot make complex decisions like whether it would be ok to opt-out of a family get-together. Another classic example is not asking if your kid wants to do his homework; it is asking him when he will do his homework.
Parents can go one step ahead to curb any potential uncertain attitude shown by their children by “requesting good intentions.” This technique works well with stubborn kids, for whom everything is about commitment. “For example, when you are about to go watch a movie with your kids, you can always say, “We are going to the cinema hall, and this is the behavior I’m looking out for. How can I help you get there?” Parents should talk about situations ahead of time and mitigate any unruly behaviors, keeping in mind that they should only be convincing situations.
Fulfill Needs, Not demands
Influence their demands by giving them more than they need. For example, if a child needs that you should put their coat and shoes on for them, do it beforehand, despite the fact that they can do it on their own. One can even surprise their kid by cooking their favorite meal even before they ask for it. While being a ‘boss’ to your child might seem a little harsh, it is imperative that your child grows up in an environment where he understands the limits and consequences of his actions. This seed of discipline and comprehending authority needs to be sown in children from a very early age so that they become good, law-abiding citizens in the future who do not ever think of crossing any lines with respect to personal or societal actions.