In every sport there are the opponents, teammates, spectators, and coaches. Imagine your life as a sporting event. What role do you play? Are you the opponent, teammate, spectator, or coach?
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you likely know what the answer should be, but let’s examine them all.
When it is the parent’s job to monitor the child’s actions, attitudes, and beliefs, it is far too easy to become the child’s opponent. In many ways, you have differing attitudes and goals. With opposing viewpoints, you become the opponent.
Particularly in power struggles, specifically a “battle of wills,” it is easy for the parent to take on an opposing stance, thus becoming the opponent.
My husband and I have fallen into this trap, establishing an attitude of “us vs. them” or “parents vs. children” in our home. Do not become your child’s opponent. You will quickly find yourselves at odds, and you stack the deck against yourselves. Coming to an agreement on attitudes and beliefs with a child who sees you as his opponent is difficult to say the least.
The Ezzos and I take a very firm stance that not only is the child not to be the center of the home, but more than this, the child is not to stand on equal footing with the parent. The child is not the parent’s friend or peer. Parents must hold a position of authority over the child. Parents must avoid establishing a democracy in the home.
As your child’s teammate, you are not his opponent, but you lack the authority to guide and direct his actions and attitudes. Imagine two teammates on a soccer field. They work together toward the same objective, passing the ball between each other to get the ball in the net. But neither player has the authority to direct the other’s actions.
No professional sporting even can exist without its fans. But let me assure you, there are no spectators in the sport of parenting. Children need parents to actively participate in their lives, not stand back and watch. I have discussed the importance of preventing behavior problems in our children. If you act as a spectator, you are essentially waiting to see how your child will behave. You are then left to deal with behavior problems after they happen. If you find yourself in a spectator role, stand up and join the game.
If this was your guess, you’re right. You want to be your child’s coach. You are your child’s teacher, even after you have sent him off to school. You hold authority over your child to train him, teach him, hold him to a standard (hopefully a high one), set limits, redirect or correct him when problems arise, stand in support of the child, and offer encouragement and praise where it’s due.
Evaluate your role
Take a minute to step back and evaluate your role in the game of life. If you see yourself as your child’s opponent, teammate, or spectator, take that as your cue to work on your relationship. Change your course and do all that you can to solidify your position as your child’s coach in life.