As I discussed in my last post, there are many times I want to be a permissive parent, but I know that realistically, I can’t be. I take comfort in what the Ezzos have taught me and aside from a few minor tweaks I could make, I know that I am the parent I want to be.
How about you? Are you the parent you want to be? Do you enjoy your children? Do other people enjoy your children?
I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on our parenting every now and then. Understand the characteristics of permissiveness vs. legalism. Think about both the big picture and your day-to-day lives.
Ask yourself about your children:
- Do they seem happy and content or argumentative and stressed out?
- Are they learning everything you’d like them to learn?
- Are they responsible and independent, or do they rely on you too much?
- Do they respect your authority or consistently talk back and defy you?
- When you think of your children 5-10 years from now, do you like what you see?
Ask yourself about yourself:
- Do you enjoy being around your children?
- Do you take every opportunity to be away from them (or turn on the TV)?
- Are you happy and content around them, or are you a stressed-out yeller?
- Do other people think you’re too strict or too permissive?
- Do you take the time to teach them what you want them to learn?
- Do you do so happily and lovingly, or do you do nothing but lecture, guilt and nag?
- Are you able to command respect, or do you avoid taking a position of authority?
- Do you put in the work it takes to train your children? Do you realize that it takes work?
- Do you blame your child for his misdeeds, or do you look to yourself first?
- Do you have a plan for what to do when things go sideways?
- Are you able to balance discipline with love, encouragement and fun?
These are just a few questions you can ask yourself. If you don’t like the answers, do what it takes to become the parent you want to be. Parenting starts with parents. So if you don’t like what you see, you have the power to change.
Do it now before it’s too late. As trite as this sounds, our children grow up too fast. It would be sad to look back 10 years from now and realize that you didn’t enjoy 80% of those years. Vow to yourself that you will enjoy your children and become the parent it takes to get yourselves there. I can’t think of anything more important. So do whatever it takes.