|My favorite photo of our three sons Mike, Chris, and Joel taken in 1998 on my 50th birthday.|
With little little kids we picked our fights. If a little one even looked like they might do something that might prove harmful to themselves or others it was boom!! Big and immediate repercussions! Yes, a swat or a smack if no didn't phase them. When they got older we took things away to get their attention and the big one was the threat of embarrassment and their belief that I was good for what I said I would do. Our big rule was not to ever reward bad behavior and to be consistent.
Not all children are alike and this was evident with our three sons. So different things worked with different personalities.
Being strict means more than saying yea and nay. Being strict is also keeping your home on a schedule. I can attest to the fact that your children will be happier and more successful (Even if they fight it.) if the family adheres to a schedule. It can even be a unique schedule.
For instance, my Father was in business for himself along with his partner my Uncle. This meant late hours and weekends Dad more often than not worked. He also drove a rural school bus. So he got up each weekday morning, drove the bus, can home and went to work, came back home and drove the bus route, came home from the bus route by 4PM and we ALL sat down for supper and ate. Then he went back to work then returned sometime after 9:30PM. My Dad was off every other Sunday and one weekend a month.
So, we were expected to make good grades, go to Church, do our chores, and mind our manners.
When I had children of my own I expected and got the same. It never occurred to me I was to be their best friend. I was their Mother. As the Mother it was my responsibility to see to it that they were well loved, clean, well behaved, and cared for. That I prepared for them good and nutritious meals. That I taught them life's truths as I believe them to be. To urge them to be good students and citizens and to get an education and prepare them for life.
The children always had a bedtime and went to bed on time. The same for meals. We sat down together at the table and ate dinner and talked about our days. Each day when the boys came home from school they got a snack and sat down at the dinning room table and finished their homework and had the snack BEFORE they were allowed to go outside and play.
When the boys were older and had drivers permits and went out they were not allowed to go out on school nights other than practices. They could go out 2 nights on the weekend. They had a curfew and were home on time or lost the keys and were grounded.
Children feel valued and secure when they have a schedule and know what to expect. If you pay attention and stress the importance of homework, good grades, and good citizenship it will be important to them.
We were never well to do, just average and they did not get everything they ever wanted. For big items like bikes and later cars. They were expected to save up their money and help pay for the special item. It has more value to them if they have to wait and help earn what they want.
The thought I want to leave with you because I KNOW you care or you would not have bothered about finding and reading this is; It is much much easier to be you child's friend, to say yes to everything, to give them everything as you are able. It is much easier to throw money at kids for every whim. But that is not being a good parent. Being a good parent is a lot of work. It is hard to say no, it is hard to make and enforce standards of behavior and rules about homework and friends. It is hard not to explain and discuss every single thing. But it is in my opinion a mistake to do so.
When you continue to make conversation on any subject with a child you are telling them the decision has not been made and it is still open to debate. Once you make the decision and explain the decision to them, as the grown up and the parent, that should be the end of it. If you handle it otherwise you open yourself up to all manner of TEACHING THEM OTHERWISE.
So be loving, kind, and firm. Stick to your guns. Run the household on whatever schedule works for your family, Feed them good food and lots of love and affection. Make your decisions, it is not up for a vote or debate, you are the parent. Explain the decision once and that is the end of it. Good luck my friends and God Bless you and yours.