Things have been a little messy inside my head and in an effort to clear it all out and put it in some semblance of order, I’m gonna start writing to try and make sense of all the thoughts I have. Most of this will be in regards to how I parent and raise my kids. Some will deal with Special Needs Kids, some with Anxiety but I find that having to write it out concisely helps me to package up the million thoughts running around in my brain. Please feel free to ask questions or to share your own thoughts on the matters. I’d love to dialogue about these issues.
It’s often difficult for us, as adults, to make a call and then go back on it. We often view those scenarios as allowing the child to get their way or to dictate the situation.
I’d love to offer a different viewpoint.
Your authority is as strong and irrefutable as you believe it is; and as you stand in it.
I believe that too often we parent, teach or lead from a viewpoint of fear. Fear that those under us will no longer accept our authority and then we will have to fight twice as hard to get it back, if it’s even possible. That understanding assumes that my authority is fallible.
Now, I don’t have authority everywhere in the world…… But I do have authority over my domain…..and the only way I can lose it, is if I abdicate that authority.
I used to think that if I told my kids something and then changed my mind, that it would undermine my authority and that I would lose all sense of control because they would feel they could do whatever they wanted by whining more and wearing me down.
They‘ve been whining at me all day and by late afternoon, my instinct is to just say no to everything. Finally one of them asks, can we have popsicle and go outside to play.
I say NO, because it feels like rewarding them for their bad attitudes and actions; and it’s so much effort to get them all ready and to drag all their crap out of the garage. I say no because its my first instinct after a tough morning and I am exhausted from their constant efforts. Even more whining and squabbling ensues…..
I pause and think about it for a moment and decide, The popsicle is liquid that they need (well, maybe not the sugar). The mess will be outside (YAY) and they really need to get outside and burn off some energy. In the end, we will all be happier.
So, I say, go get your shoes and coats on…..they say YAY! and that’s the end of it! They play and come in refreshed and I’ve had a moment to regroup and its all good.
Is my authority undermined because I changed my mind, NOT A CHANCE!
Are my kids going to continue to try to whine at me to get their way? ABSOLUTELY
Are the two connected? MAYBE BUT…….
Have I lost or damaged my position of AUTHORITY? NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST
Most likely, they are going to continue to whine in the future because that’s their immature attempt to gain control over a situation and get a favorable (for them) outcome. Their immaturity has a huge selfish, self-centered component to it. It’s my job to show them other methods and ways, to ask for what they want.
I’m not a fan of whining and will often stop the whining and ask my kids to try asking in a different voice and see how that changes things for them. I don’t get upset that they are whining, but I continue to train and reinforce the acceptable behavior. I tie so many of my parenting ideologies back into real world situations, because that’s what I’m raising these ones to do.
I’m raising my children to be respectable and respectful, contributing members of society.
They shouldn’t whine at their boss or teacher. They shouldn’t squabble with their fellow employees or students. I have the privilege of working them through these situations in a safe space and giving them lots of opportunity to practise, so they grow up and it becomes first nature to be respectful.
My entire parenting style is based on respect. I want to be treated respectfully. I will treat you with respect. My desire is to train young children into adults who are respectful of others and who’s very being, draws respect back to them.
I want to model how to react when you are not treated with respect; and to teach that a lack of respect shown towards you does not give you to right to match the level of disrespect and dish it back.
Knowing who I am and the position of authority I hold,
within my family, is a game changer.
Yes it’s possible that someone might challenge my authority or be disrespectful but their words, thought, or actions don’t change the reality of my authority.
….their words, thoughts or actions don’t change the reality….
I’ve shared this “nugget” with my kids for years. Just because someone says something to you or about you doesn’t make it true or real; and you get to decide the power that those words have over you.
For Example, if Judah calls Josiah stupid, does that make Josiah stupid????
Nope! Let’s change the word stupid for something ridiculous like a cupcake head……..
If Judah says that Josiah has a cupcake head, does that make it true?? Does he all of the sudden have a cupcake shaped head???
Nope! Here’s another example, if Judah says that Josiah has green eyes, does that change the fact that Josiah’s eyes are brown?
NOPE! So a child yelling at me that I’m not in charge, doesn’t diminish my authority. It’s most likely an indicator that he or she is feeling out of control, desperately wanting to regain some form of personal control and often needing some help to process some overwhelming feelings and emotions.
Words and/or actions don’t necessarily change the reality, especially when it comes to your authority.
I’m the mom (and therefore I have authority within my family), regardless of whether my kids want to live within the boundaries that I’ve set for them, or not.
If I decide to change my mind about something that I had previously decided, that does not make me weak. In fact, I believe it’s exactly the opposite. There is an incredible strength in openly admitting that you’ve made a decision that needs to change. By doing so, you are modelling to those under your authority that it’s okay to rethink something and come up with a better plan. It shows them what transparency and openness,(especially in a position of authority) looks like. It models that its okay to not be perfect. It shows them that mistakes will happen; and how to own your choices and change them if necessary. It shows them that not everything is black and white; and that sometimes you need to reevaluate for the grey situations.
It’s ever so challenging to bypass the thoughts that whisper……
“They’re gonna think they can run all over you. They are going to think you are
weak and that they can change your mind by whining and wearing you down.”
It takes courage and strength to say to your kids, your students or your employees…….
“Okay, just a moment, I’ve thought this through and I think we are going to do it this other way. Which I know is the opposite of what I just said but this is why it will work better to do it this way……..”
Kids and Teens, especially, can see through people. If you make a call and are sticking to a previous decision even though it doesn’t make sense; and you’re doing it because you fear losing the appearance of control. They can see it. They can sense it. And THAT undermines you more than anything.
Model Humility. Model Imperfection. Model Flexibility.
Model Communication. Model Respect.
The Key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are,
what you are about and what you value. – Stephen R. Covey