Parenting is hard. There, I’ve said it, and I will repeat it. Parenting is hard. Sometimes you are just exhausted, and you let things slip; sometimes you are so busy taking pride in the cute/smart/fabulous antics of your kids that you just forget who you are and what you are supposed to do.
Stop it. Stop forgetting to be a parent. A key memo to you is DO NOT TOLERATE ANY RUDENESS.
Rudeness can come in many different shapes and forms. It can be silent, and it can be loud. It can be in words or in expressions. And once it is overlooked, it becomes harder and harder to control it’s ugly appearance.
When a child is young, we are watching everything he or she does. “Please” and “Thank You” are requested and received, and it is understood that there will be no hair pulling, arm pinching or throwing toys. Most often this behavior is caught and corrected.
With age comes a feeling of power, so a child will try to test the boundaries. You call the kids for dinner, and there is no response until the third request. You ask them to clean up their rooms or walk the dog and the eyeballs roll or they disappear.
Worse yet, you turn down a request (invite a friend/spend the night out/go to the movies) and they look at you and say, “You are so mean,” and go in the bedroom and slam the door.
You are conflicted. You think, “Well, when I was a kid I went through a time when I did not like my parents, either.” So you breathe a sigh and walk the dog yourself. Or you simply ignore the action and go about your business.
Stop it! Stop forgetting to be a parent. I gave you the memo: DO NOT TOLERATE ANY RUDENESS.
Or it will get worse. Last week I was in the mall in Banana Republic. There was a mother and her teenaged daughter (15-16) in the dressing room next to mine. The conversation went something like this:
Mom: “Here are some jeans; try them on.”
Girl: “Really? You think I would wear these?”
Mom: “Well, come out and pick out the ones you like. You know you need new jeans.”
Girl: “You know the ones I like are at Nordstrom. Those are the ones you will never buy for me. You always say they cost too much money. I hate the ones you pick out.”
Mom: “Ok, Ok, maybe next time we go shopping we can get those but this time just pick some that are in the budget.”
Girl: “The only way I’ll do that is if you let Emily and Janet spend the night tomorrow night.”
Mom: “Ok, Ok. Let’s just get some new jeans and let’s get out of here.”
Yes, that is really how the conversation flowed. Mom’s shoulders slumped as she went to the register, and her daughter just headed out the door. When rudeness is overlooked early on, it just gets worse.
Your children should not hold you hostage. Love them; have fun with them; enjoy them. Rudeness does not belong in your relationship.
Remember that starting early – and sticking to it – is the key. Otherwise that could be you in the dressing room at Banana Republic.
Feeling stuck? Call me at 615-500-2643, and let’s talk about it.
Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / mandygodbehear