No one ever said parenting was easy. It can be a stressful, grueling, and thankless job even when you’re doing it right. And if you make the mistake that so many parents do by transferring parental power over to the kids, things can go downhill fast.
But there’s good news to be heard. Even if it’s gotten to the point where your kids are in charge, it’s never too late to turn it around and set things right.
If you think your kids may be ruling the roost, continue reading to uncover the warning signs and what you can do to remedy the situation.
15 Do You Often Feel Disrespected?
Are you routinely embarrassed by the way your child treats you, talks to you and/or acts around you? If so, then something definitely needs to change. As the parent, it is up to you to put a stop to this behavior by laying out the specific rules and imposing appropriate consequences when limits are crossed.
No matter what your children do or say, it’s important to note that no kids actually want a parent they can easily push around. As a matter of fact, in most cases, kids who are permitted to get away with this type of behavior suffer from poor peer relations as well as low self-esteem.
14 Are You Afraid of Your Child's Reactions?
Do you often base your decisions on what you feel will best satisfy your child rather than because it’s the right thing to do? If you answered yes, then rest assured you are not alone. This parenting shortcut only puts off the inevitable which sooner or later you will have to deal with anyway. So you may as well nip the problem in the bud.
It is up to you to make the decision to take control within the parent/child relationship and then follow through. Kids challenging parental authority is a normal part of childhood. However, it’s your job as the parent to respond to these challenges appropriately and let your child know that you are the boss--not them.
Even if their behavior catches you off guard and upsets you, it’s imperative that you remain calm and swiftly deal with issues as soon as they arise.
13 Do You Regularly Bribe Your Child?
Parenting through bribery and making threats is not effective as these practices often lead to power struggles. When it comes to motivating certain kids, they may appear to work, but often not for the right reasons. As a result, bribing and threatening your child can create a disconnect between the two of you.
12 Does Your Child Seem Unhappy?
Is nothing ever good enough for your kid? Are they seemingly always discontented by the situation at hand? Oftentimes, it seems that the more you bend over backward to make your child happy, the unhappier they become. If this is the case, then it’s probably time for you to get off this exhausting and thankless hamster wheel and make some different choices in helping combat your child’s unhappiness.
First off, make sure there’s no clear and apparent reason for their discontent. Is there a chance they are just having an off day or are tired or hungry? If not, then it may be time to practice some healthy, detached parenting. Take a step back and look at the situation again. Do not immerse yourself in trying to appease your child and make everything better for them. Simply, spell out what is acceptable behavior and what is not, explain consequences and follow through when needed.
Give your child a chance to come to terms with their own emotions and deal with them accordingly. Otherwise, there is the very real possibility that they will grow into adults who have no clue how to manage their emotions or behavior and expect others to solve their problems.
11 Is Your Child Bossy?
In every family, there needs to be a hierarchy with the boss on top. And if the boss is not a parent, then chances are, one of the kids will attempt to fill the role.
While it is normal for kids to assume some leadership roles within a family as they grow and mature, there’s nothing natural about one kid calling all the family shots. It’s up to you, the parent, to devise a plan in order to regain control of your family before it’s too late.
10 Is Your Child Overly Dependent?
Is your child overly dependent on you for things they are perfectly capable of handling on their own? Give your kid the benefit of the doubt. Nudge them outside their comfort zone from time to time so they can stand on their own two feet and actually feel pride in themselves when they succeed. Even some things seemingly insignificant like learning to load the dishwasher, sort laundry, or making purchases on their own can be a big deal for kids.
If you insist on taking care of everything for them because it’s easier or quicker or because you believe they can’t handle it, you are not only creating spoiled little monsters, you are also not allowing them to succeed and bask in pride at their own accomplishments.
9 Do You Feel Overwhelmed?
It’s completely normal for parents to sometimes feel stressed and exhausted. Add to this the fact that parenting sometimes leaves little wiggle room for me-time. Giving in to your kids’ demands may seem like a quick and easy answer to solving these dilemmas, but it’s not.
As the leader and role model of your family, it’s important that you take steps to create a clear-cut family structure that involves rules, boundaries, limits, and consequences. Once you do this, a positive routine will inevitably be established that will make it easier for you to find time for yourself and enjoy the time you have with your kids.
8 Recognize the Insidious Nature of Transferring Power to Your Child
It starts with a baby’s inflexibility, eventually turns into a toddler’s temper tantrums and before you know it, your tween is calling the shots in the household.
Especially if you are aware that you’re not typically the take-charge type, this transfer of power from parent to child may have been something that has slowly built from the beginning. It’s not until now that you are realizing the extent of the problem you are facing.
Don’t obsess about the past. Just do what you can to take charge in the here and now and make the changes necessary for your family to move forward in a healthy and positive way.
7 Know the Difference Between Empowered and Entitled Kids
Entitled kids want everything their way all of the time. They have trouble being flexible, understanding and sympathetic. They expect their demands to always be met and have a meltdown when things don’t work out for them. As a result, they end up growing up to become inflexible and often unsympathetic demanding adults.
Empowered kids are more in control of their emotions and behaviors. They tend to be flexible and patient individuals who accept that there are consequences for their behaviors.
In order to empower your children, be sure to nurture their unique qualities. Set a positive example for them to follow in life by practicing what you preach and creating an environment for them with boundaries and appropriate consequences when limits are crossed. Allow your child to handle responsibilities appropriate for their age and maturity level. Help instill them with a sense of gratitude. And when necessary, allow them to face the music.
6 Set Appropriate Limits
Living and thriving in a loving and respectful family environment requires structure and limits. Think about what your personal values are in terms of appropriate behavior, respect and boundaries. Once you are clear on these, it’s your job to explain these expectations to your children; don’t just assume they’ll figure it out on their own.
It’s also important to ensure you are communicating with your child effectively and positively--not simply yelling or threatening them. Don’t get discouraged by any setbacks you may face along the way. If you are taking steps to regain parental power, it won’t necessarily be a quick and simple process.
5 Allow Your Child to Face Consequences
Facing the music is a necessary and integral part of life. The sooner your child understands that actions have consequences which can sometimes be negative, the better prepared they will be for life. That means they need to be held accountable for their behavior.
Stand strong by knowing that no matter how your child initially responds to the consequences you dole out, you are doing right by them and by your family. As long as you are consistent in your expectations and the ensuing consequences, your child will eventually come to know the routine and life will become more predictable and enjoyable where your kids are concerned.
4 Understand the Importance of Saying "No"
Especially when your child is a baby or toddler, there is no room for negotiating with them. You are their parent and “no” means “no”. Young children don’t always know what’s best for them which is why it’s your job to create boundaries that keep them safe and secure.
As your toddler grows and develops into a little person, you may start to feel like you are constantly admonishing and uttering the word “no”. The sooner you realize that there are many ways to mean “no” without actually saying it, the sooner both you and your child can enjoy each other’s company instead of engaging in a power struggle.
For example, your kid is tossing their toys around. Instead of yelling at them to cut it out, look for a ball together and then head outside for some outdoor throwing and bouncing. If your child wants a treat, instead of simply shutting them down, tell them they can have one as soon as they have finished dinner.
It is only natural that as your child matures, they will attempt to push the limits. If they want something that you aren’t prepared to give them such as more freedom or a later curfew, ask them to convince you before you make your decision. By making this suggestion, you are providing your child with an opportunity to practice and learn an effective form of communication that will come in handy all their lives. That doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” but you never know--maybe you’ll see things from their perspective and agree with them in the end.
3 You Are Not Your Child's Friend
This isn’t high school - it’s not your job to be your child’s BFF. In fact, a parent’s relationship to their child is way more complex than a friendship. Trying to be more of a friend to your child than a parent will not make them like or respect you. In fact, the opposite will happen because if anything, they will be confused by this dynamic which can result in emotional and behavioral issues down the road.
When you treat your child like a friend, you are instilling them with the false sense that they are your peer or equal. This will make it impossible to set important limits and boundaries as well as to enforce appropriate consequences when necessary.
That said, hanging out with your kids and enjoying their company is a healthy part of parenting. As long as you relate to one another as parent and child and not as friends.
2 Toss Guilt out the Window
Easier said than done as most parents feel some level of guilt no matter what. It’s important that you don’t let guilt color your instincts and allow you to stray from the proper parenting path. If what you are doing is in your child’s best interest, then push the guilt to the wayside.
If you are having trouble sticking to your guns, keep your ultimate goal in mind and rest assured that you are doing what is necessary for the well-being of your child as well as your family. It’s normal to experience some setbacks at first, especially if your child has been ruling the roost for a while now. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for your child to get the hang of the new routine and understand their role within it.
1 Stay Connected to Your Children
It’s much easier to enjoy your children and feel rewarded as a parent when you are connected to them and appreciate them for the individuals they are. Just because you are taking back the role of the parent within your family dynamic, it does not mean you cannot enjoy your children’s company. In fact, the sooner you re-establish your parental role, the sooner you will be able to actually enjoy your children. And once your children learn to accept their role within the family hierarchy, they will better be able to relate to you as well.