Family Matters
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Parents and Children

What is the ideal relationship between parents and children? This relationship should be more severe, parents imposing their terms automatically, or should it be a friendship? In the latter case, if the child benefit from parents' indulgence and do something stupid? I know that the situation varies from case to case, but I speak in general. My husband and I get ready to be parents again, we want to adopt for the first time, and therefore we want more opinions. So, what do you think?

 

Smile 

 

 

Re: Parents and Children

  • To me it's the parents job to set boundaries and to give structure to a child's life. To give guidance and support.

    Friendship comes later. In fact it kind of skeeves me out when you see Mums desperately trying to be friends with their children/teens. Some parents almost seem scared to set boundaries for their kids.

    Boundaries should be set fairly, and with the best interests of the child at heart. They should be enforced consistently, fairly, and, when necessary, firmly.

    I read an analogy once that I quite liked. It was words to the effect of:

    Children like to have boundaries in their life. They will however, naturally push against boundaries because that is how they work out about consequences, their parent's consistency and begin to form their own sense of right and wrong.

    Creating boundaries for children is like putting them in a box. If you make the box too small then you will forever be battling over the smallest of things and not allowing your child to grow. If, however, you make the box too big then your child will push and push until they finally find the edge of the box.

     Of course I'm not a parent yet, so this is all just rhetoric at this point :-)

    Another quote I like is that "FAIR does not mean everyone getting the same. It means everyone getting what they need"

    So I apply that to parenting to mean that no two children will be the same. They will have their own strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. It might be fair to expect straight A grades from one of your children, but not necessarily from another child who is not academically inclined.

    Good luck. 

     

     

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • There is a book called "S.T.E.P." Systematic Training for Effective Parenting.  Its not avail at B&N b/c its from a course, but you can get it on half.com or ebay.

    There is an happy medium between too authoritairan and too leniant.  I think the best relationship is when a parent provides guidance and boundries, but there is respect going both ways.  For example, a parent shouldn't treat a child a way they wouldn't expect to be treated (hitting, yelling, saying "we're doing it this way b/c I said so.").  The point of the S.T.E.P book was that you teach a child to make their own choices.

    That being said, while I don't act like a teenager or try to be "cool" with my dd, I do want her to be able to come to me and talk about anything - even things that I am not "cool" with. 

     

  • I think a parent's job is to raise confident, successful offspring. How they go about that greatly varies on the child and the parents. I think it's a balance between setting limits and being their "friend".
    Mimi to May Babies: William Gabriel Martin '07, Morgan Ana Terese '10
    [IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/1z5lzrs.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://sedf.lilyslim.com/Npc2m8.png?4FFbS3Lm[/IMG]
  • Well, it varies by the age of the child and the parent.

    I have teenagers; my relationship with them is different now than it was when they were toddlers/elementary school kids.  The 'role' is to encourage, provide, instruct, assist, support, teach, watch, educate, help; in the quantities they require. I'm not so much my sons' friend, in what I consider the term, because the 'relationship we have is one sided if this were a 'friendship'. I'm their mother; I'm to see that they have all they need, that they are educated, prepared, loved, able to love others, have moral instruction, etc.  When they are adults, I hope very much that we will be good friends, closer to the common understanding of the word; but I don't ever want to have to rely on them for what they are entitled by right to rely on from me. Does that make sense?

     

     

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  • I agree with SueSue.

    I think parents should be parents. You don't have to be strict authoritarians, but you should command respect and you should NEVER be afraid to set boundaries because then your children 'won't like you'. Children need boundaries and limits to feel secure and safe, and to thrive. Children who do not have boundaries and limits are not going to thrive.

    image
    Are you serious???
  • Yeah...to many factors to answer this.

    It changes with the personaities of the child, the parents, and the respective ages/life stages.

    If my dad tried to be 'strict' with me now?  HA.  Hilarioius.  If he would have tried to be 'friends' with me in HS?  yeah...no.

     

    The parent has one job--that is to help their child become a well-adjusted adult.  So what you do to prepare a kid for that at age 4 is different than at age 8 than at age 15 and at age 30.

  • IMO it should not be friendship (until they are adults).

    Parents should be strict, but it shouldn't be a flat out dictatorship. IMO if you do that, you won't raise kids who can think logically and understand the connection between actions and consequences. "Because I said so" doesn't help them learn WHY the bahvior shouldn't be done.

     

    But I'm not a mom yet, so what do I know? Mine is based on teaching.

  • I agree with pp that rules should have reasons and that children should be treated with respect.

    But does anyone else think that sometimes, "I am your mother, and you will do as I say" is actually ok. That children need to learn that you are the person who gets the final say.

    I know what people mean about you need your kids to understand why there are certain rules in place because you want them to understand about consequences and to be able to think for themselves. But I also think that they need to know there is a bottom line, whether they understand the rule or not.

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • image LovelyMissNikki:

    I agree with SueSue.

    I think parents should be parents. You don't have to be strict authoritarians, but you should command respect and you should NEVER be afraid to set boundaries because then your children 'won't like you'. Children need boundaries and limits to feel secure and safe, and to thrive. Children who do not have boundaries and limits are not going to thrive.

    Agreed.  I forget who said it but someone once said that if your child doesn't say "I hate you" at least once in your life then you aren't doing your job as a parent. 

  • image KateLouise:

    I agree with pp that rules should have reasons and that children should be treated with respect.

    But does anyone else think that sometimes, "I am your mother, and you will do as I say" is actually ok. That children need to learn that you are the person who gets the final say.

    I know what people mean about you need your kids to understand why there are certain rules in place because you want them to understand about consequences and to be able to think for themselves. But I also think that they need to know there is a bottom line, whether they understand the rule or not.

     

    I'm not saying you should debate with the kid. But leaving it at "I am your mother...." doesn't teach them anything long term. There are times when you have to have them simply do it because of time constraints, but you should always go back (IMO) and explain why so they know for the future.

  • You are talking about different parenting styles - authoritative, authoritarian, permissive/laissez-faire. 

    The best outcomes for children are consistently authoritarian.  It seems too strict or permissive create unhappy, poorly adjusted adults.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Not a parent yet, so my perspective comes from teaching experiences more than anything-

    In the short-term a parent's job is to keep a child safe, fed, sheltered, and steering them to age-appropriate behavior.  In the long-term, to raise a child who doesn't "need" them as an adult- a child who progressively and age-appropriately is able to work out problems him/ herself, to handle disagreements productively, to handle their emotions maturely, to make wise decisions, etc.  

    I think the ideal relationship has to change based on the child's age- a teenager shouldn't be needing your assistance as much as a toddler, and an older child can handle and understand more reasoning and explanations than a younger child.  As an example- if I was grocery shopping with a younger teen and s/he wanted to know why I wouldn't buy Captain Fruity Sugar 3,000 Calorie Snax, I would take the time to turn over the box and explain how much sugar or whatnot was in it, compared to how much our bodies need every day, and about making healthy choices.  With a child that age, we could have a discussion about choices and what other foods were sweet and snacky but were better choices.  If I was grocery shopping with a preschool aged child who wanted the same thing, I would simply tell her no, I wouldn't buy it because it wasn't healthy.  My approach might be more open with the teen and more authoritative with the preschooler, but in both cases, it's with an eye to what the child can understand and what s/he needs to learn.

  • I think about this a lot, as do all parents I presume.  I have come to the conclusion that each family generation's ideal is a flip flop of the generation that raised them's ideal.  For example: My parents didn't get the privacy that they desired growing up.  They therefore prized privacy and gave my sisters and I a little too much space, that was mistintrepeted as disinterest in our lives.  Now, as a result I will probably recreate the enviroment that my parents wanted to free us from as a means of overcompenesation.

    That all said, I don't think it is appropriate to be a friend during a child's formative years.  Your kid should have other friends in their lives but they shouldn't seek out other parents.  When children don't have complete control of their lives, there should be some consistency to help them  feel in control. I am still new to parenting, but my toddler finds comfort from routine.  She knows what is going to happen and when by a repeated order.  I imagine that consistency comes from discipline and understood expectations as teenagers. 

  • Ummm. . what's up with your profile pic? 
  • IMO, parents can't be friends with their kids until they're adults.  I think that parents of young kids and teens should parent with loving boundaries.  No need to be overbearing and controlling, but I think a great way to raise kids it to lead by example. 
  • image KateLouise:

    I agree with pp that rules should have reasons and that children should be treated with respect.

    But does anyone else think that sometimes, "I am your mother, and you will do as I say" is actually ok. That children need to learn that you are the person who gets the final say.

    I know what people mean about you need your kids to understand why there are certain rules in place because you want them to understand about consequences and to be able to think for themselves. But I also think that they need to know there is a bottom line, whether they understand the rule or not.

    I agree. There are certain things you will not be able to reason with a child over.

    It really depends on their age, obviously but I think too many parents spend time explaining every last detail to their child and expecting some kind of light bulb to go off and the kid to magically agree. I'm sorry but that kind of wheedling will not work with a three year old crying for a new truck throughout the aisle of Target.

    I think a parent's role is raise their children to be responsible adults, to show them how to deal with their emotions, self control, to teach them to make wise decisions, to have compassion and be self aware. You cannot do that if you are their friend, if you give them whatever they like whenever they like or live your life as if they are the only think that matters.

    Of course you love your child and want what's best for them. But giving them everything does nothing but raise self centered children with entitlement issues.

    But there is a balance.



    Click me, click me!
    image
  • I think also a lot of people make the mistake of thinking children are like small adults with all the reasoning capabilities and understanding of an adult.

    They are not. I've lost count of the number of times that teens at my school have parroted the jokes on breakfast radio, no matter how inappropriate. Is it ok to ask your teacher if they had sex this morning, just because it was asked on the radio? No.

    Also kids who try and argue or debate a rule with absolutely no respect.

    I don't mind a kid coming to me and saying, "I think such and such is unfair because..." Sometimes I will admit I made a mistake because sometimes I do, and sometimes the kid has a really fair point. There is a time and a place and respectful way to do this however.

    Some kids though just think they get to argue because the world is all about them.

    eg. A class is doing a test. One kid finishes early. I offer them some paper to write or draw with, or some puzzles to do while they wait. 

    The kid starts getting noisy. I tell them to be quiet. Reply, "why should I, I've finished" Answer,"because it's not about you"

    The above is a classic example of where yes I'm happy to explain that the rest of the class are working and deserve quiet and respect. By the child not simply accepting my authority and arguing, I am having to make more noise simply to appease the child's, "you have to justify everything to me" attitude. 

    So I try and teach my students that they are right to want to understand things and to discuss a rule/punishment where they think it is unfair. However, there is a time and a place and that a disrespectful attitude won't get them anywhere. 

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • image IrishBrideND:

    I'm not saying you should debate with the kid. But leaving it at "I am your mother...." doesn't teach them anything long term. There are times when you have to have them simply do it because of time constraints, but you should always go back (IMO) and explain why so they know for the future.

     

    Yeah, I'm not going to try to explain to my two year old why bedtime is when it is or the concept of electricity when he tries to stick a penny in the sockets. I feel the explaination of "I said so" is adequate enough in some cases.  

    Mimi to May Babies: William Gabriel Martin '07, Morgan Ana Terese '10
    [IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/1z5lzrs.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://sedf.lilyslim.com/Npc2m8.png?4FFbS3Lm[/IMG]
  • image KateLouise:

    So I try and teach my students that they are right to want to understand things and to discuss a rule/punishment where they think it is unfair. However, there is a time and a place and that a disrespectful attitude won't get them anywhere. 

     

    I agree with that completely and I do the same. I think people (including the PP right above this post) misunderstood my point.

     

    For example, in terms of an electric outlet, I'd probably say something about it hurting or "ouch". They should absolutely accept that when I say "no" I mean "no" and thats enough, but I'll also (at least I hope) tell them why.

  • image IrishBrideND:
    image KateLouise:

    So I try and teach my students that they are right to want to understand things and to discuss a rule/punishment where they think it is unfair. However, there is a time and a place and that a disrespectful attitude won't get them anywhere. 

     

    I agree with that completely and I do the same. I think people (including the PP right above this post) misunderstood my point.

     

    For example, in terms of an electric outlet, I'd probably say something about it hurting or "ouch". They should absolutely accept that when I say "no" I mean "no" and thats enough, but I'll also (at least I hope) tell them why.

     

     I understood your point I just disagree :)  

    Mimi to May Babies: William Gabriel Martin '07, Morgan Ana Terese '10
    [IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/1z5lzrs.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://sedf.lilyslim.com/Npc2m8.png?4FFbS3Lm[/IMG]
  • ok well I never suggested explaining the concept of electricity.

     

    but anyway.

  • image IrishBrideND:

    ok well I never suggested explaining the concept of electricity.

     

    but anyway.

    Where did I say you did? You said that you feel that children deserve an explaination other than "because I'm the parent" or any such variation. I was using that as an example. Albeit, it was a bad one. I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. I disagree that children always need a reason other than "I said so".
    Mimi to May Babies: William Gabriel Martin '07, Morgan Ana Terese '10
    [IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/1z5lzrs.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://sedf.lilyslim.com/Npc2m8.png?4FFbS3Lm[/IMG]
  • image mrstarawalsh:
    image IrishBrideND:

    ok well I never suggested explaining the concept of electricity.

     

    but anyway.

    Where did I say you did? You said that you feel that children deserve an explaination other than "because I'm the parent" or any such variation. I was using that as an example. Albeit, it was a bad one. I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. I disagree that children always need a reason other than "I said so".

     

    gotcha. You took it to such an extreme, thats why I thought you misunderstood me. A simple "ouchie" is all I meant...not explaining complex things to little kids.

  • Don't be your kids' friend.  There are lots of people out there to be their friends.  They only have you to be their parents, to set boundaries and help them to shape their characters and become self-reliant, decent adults.

    I think there are still boundaries in a parent/child relationship, even as adults, that shouldn't be crossed.  My major example is marital issues -- one of my friends is constantly being put in the middle of his parents' marital problems.  They both call him up and b!tch about the other to him, and it's very stressful and very painful to him.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • I don't think that being your child's friend in any way implies not setting boundaries or giving the child everything he/she wants.  I certainly have boundaries with my adult friends and don't give them everything they want.

    I am not a believer in authoritarian parenting styles.  I don't think children need to learn to do as their parents say because the parents are authority figures.  I believe that the behavior you use on your child will shape the way he/she interacts with others throughout his/her life, so I think that the most important thing is that those interactions are based on mutual respect and caring.  I think it is vital that children learn good decision making skills, and I think those are best developed through practice rather than being told what to do.  I think it's important for children to learn to stand up for themselves and that just because a person is in a position of authority doesn't mean that person is always right. 

    Of course, it's also a parent's job to provide for the child's general well-being and overall education, so there need to be some rules and boundaries, but I will do my best to make sure my children understand why these rules and boundaries have been set up to serve their best interests, and that they aren't just because I'm the mom and get to inflict my will whatever it is.  I believe that parenting needs to be based on hierarchies of actualization (where you use your position of wisdom and experience to help your child achieve his/her own potential), rather than hierarchies of domination (child needs to learn I'm the boss so that I can control him/her to do the right thing). 

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