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Exercise Parental Control without Becoming a Victim or a Tyrant

By Winsome Coutts

Perhaps the most confusing topic where good parenting is concerned is the subject of discipline.
Even the word sounds offensive to some of us.
We don’t want our children to run roughshod over us and others, but we fear that if we discipline them wrong we will scar them, mar their self-confidence, or impose on their personal freedom.
What’s a conscientious parent to do?

While parents a few generations ago often erred in the direction of too much control, modern parents tend to err in the direction of not exerting enough of it. We should not tolerate disrespectful talk from our kids, or be afraid to set legitimate limits on their activities. Neither should we hesitate to require they shoulder their share of family responsibilities, including chores, cleaning their room or finishing homework before starting play.

To allow a child to run riot in the household is not to exercise respect for yourself. It’s valuing your child’s freedom and pleasure over your own. In a balanced, happy household, every family member’s freedom and enjoyment are valued and respected, not one person’s over another’s. When you become a doormat, a whipping post, or a servant to your kid, you harm him by teaching that the world exists to do his tyrannical bidding. That develops a self-centered, bullying attitude in a young person. Much better to set limits and require behavior that shows respect. This cultures a child’s heart to be appreciative, kind and sensitive to others.

Setting limits and insisting on respectful words, tone and body language does not necessitate yelling on your part or fighting with your child. Simply define the new rules, and explain what the consequences will be for breaking them. Do the explaining before the rule is broken, so your child knows what to expect. Make the punishment fit the offense. It should not be mean or excessive, but neither should it be so wimpy that it makes no impression on your child. Define and explain the new consequences, and then, above all, enforce them. If you promise a certain action in response to an act by your child, then wimp out on fulfilling it, you give your kid every cause to disrespect you and to be angry. Such inconsistent parental behavior teaches a child that the world is an inconsistent place, that consequences don’t really exist for bad behavior, and that they can get away with whatever mischief they want.

Is it any wonder that kids with wimpy parenting wind up playing with drugs and other dangers? Why should they believe what we tell them about drugs and sex if we’ve never followed through on anything we’ve told them?

Children want their parents to set limits and enforce them, however much they outwardly rail against authority. Limits create a safe haven around a child, a secure place they understand. Limits tell them the world is reliable and consistent, that acting in a certain way yields predicable results.

It is not being tyrannical to set limits. It is lovingly protecting your child. Set the rules and calmly enforce them with predetermined consequences. Peace and harmony will reward your consistent efforts.

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Winsome Coutts is the passion behind the new self help authority site, www.4lifeselfhelp.com. She is a lifelong student of personal development, meditation and goal setting. In the pursuit of her own dreams, she has created www.4lifeselfhelp.com as a tool to help others find success and happiness along with resources to live an abundant life.

Visit www.4lifeselfhelp.com today to take advantage of their resource library, free articles, resource tools and guidance.

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