Last year, I wrote a post about the 8 worst ways to treat your kids. I get comments on my posts – some of them support my views, while some of them disagree or challenge the ideas I write about – and this post was no different. You probably know that bloggers love comments, but it may be surprising to you that bloggers absolutely love the challenging ones, because they create even more opportunities to write their opinions.
Recently, I received a comment from Sandie, a mother who thought my top 8 tips were “out of line”.
I started writing back, but then I realized it probably needed a bit more attention, so here is Sandie’s comment and my reply. Enjoy!
Lecture, don’t punish them, don’t tell them what to do?!!!
Hello, I’m their parent not their friend!
It is my job to mold them into becoming a contributing member in our society! It’s my job to punish them so they know what consequences are, just like in the real world called LIFE!!!
Nagging is a reminder that they haven’t done what they need to get done. If they do it right away, I don’t have to nag. It’s like having a job when they are older. Except their boss isn’t going to nag them, they’ll just FIRE THEM!!!
I find your advice is way out line. Kids who have discipline feel loved. Kids who have consequences learn that they need to be accountable for their actions.
You guys are way off base!
I have great children and I’m proud of who they are.
I do not suggest you become your kids’ friend, but I disagree that being their parent means you should nag, lecture, punish and tell them what to do.
If you get what you want for or from your kids by nagging, lecturing, punishing and telling them what to do and you still think they are great kids, you must be doing something that works well for you and I sure hope it works well for your kids too. However…
My philosophy is:
- Instead of nagging, you can direct
- Instead of lecturing, you can teach
- Instead of punishing, you can motivate
- Instead of telling them what to do, you can be a role model and lead the way
I believe you and I view parenting from two opposite sides of motivation: you seem to think kids get their motivation externally and I believe this is based on fear/pain and parents should be helping their kids build internal motivation based on pleasure.
For me, parenting is not really a job. It is more like a mission. Bringing kids into the world so that society gets contributing members, although important, is not my highest priority. I do not get up in the morning and say, “Dear society, I am at your service. How can I use my kids to serve you today?” They are young human beings, they are MY kids, and not bees in a colony of millions feeding the queen.
I think that life’s punishments are far more meaningful than Mom and Dad’s punishments. There are plenty of them in life and no kid needs their parents to create artificial reasons for them to feel life is painful.
Do your kids say you nag when you tell them how much you love them and how wonderful and awesome they are? I think not.
Nagging is an attachment problem. People nag when they are so attached to the outcome they cannot accept any other option. It is another name for being closed-minded.
Bosses come and go, but what you feel and think about yourself and what motivates you to get up in the morning and do things is always inside you. Your kids will carry the motivation you teach them for the rest of their life.
Telling kids they need to do things so that when they grow up their boss does not fire them is fear-based, external motivation. It sentences them to a life of fear while they work and will likely make them compromise their values out of that fear and feel worthless and helpless.
Teaching them instead that by doing things with love, passion, understanding and responsibility, they will easily get any job in the world is happy, internal motivation.
I would rather my kids think that when they are responsible, understanding, accepting and follow a set of values based on love, it will make them tolerant towards your kids when they come to work for them.
I advocate setting clear rules and boundaries that make kids feel safe, but I disagree that parents’ job description includes external disciple.
Kids who are disciplined by others grow up to obey and comply.
Kids who follow clear and fair rules grow up to trust themselves, take charge of their own destiny and treat everybody with respect.