I’m Your Mother… Not Your Friend

I’m Your Mother… Not Your Friend

By Tracy Madlener

I am a mom of two kids and I have been known to tell them that I am their mother, not their friend.  The first time I told my youngest that, her face crumpled and it hurt my heart to not give her a warm mommy hug, but she was being naughty and I was disciplining her.

On Discipline

Discipline… now there’s a word that needs the dust blown off and used more often!  I know I’m not the only one that has noticed the recent decline of quality parenting skills… am I wrong to say that out loud?  Discipline, training, instructing, a firm hand, strictness… I rarely see it anymore with today’s parenting and it makes me wonder if a future society will expect instant gratification, a trophy for their presence whether they participate or not, and an excuse to not take responsibility for every action that’s been made… good or bad.

There are many skills needed to be a good parent and discipline is a part of the arsenal used for good parenting.  Being a friend to a child puts the child at the parent level, but truly, should an eight year old be in the same position as an adult?  How can discipline be handed out when the child is on the same playing field as the grown ups?  It has to be a monarchy, not a democracy, when it comes to raising our kids.  If there is no parent to “parent”, then who is raising the future generation to become kind, thoughtful, and compassionate?

On Handling A Crying Child

Have you seen the upset, crying child who is immediately handed a juice box or crackers, maybe even a toy?  What about a child who is crying while having a temper tantrum?  I’ve seen the exact same response from parents for handling two completely different types of crying situations.  If the parent chooses instant gratification as a “go to” in the form of material objects or food with their unhappy child, the child will expect the same kind of treatment even as an adult, or worse yet, needing to eat or buy something for their unhappiness.

A soothing voice, and a hug will always calm a crying child.  As for the child having a screaming tantrum?  Don’t give in and stay firm.  The tantrum thrower shouldn’t be rewarded because mom is fed up and doesn’t want to deal with her little firecracker.  Discipline is expected for bad behavior and needs to be practiced whether the parent wants to or not.  It’s a part of the job description when signing up to become a good parent.

On Encouraging Kids to Excel and Not Just Show Up

A new trend that I’ve noticed with raising our kids is the, “Everybody Gets a Reward for Being There” trophy.  Whose brilliant idea was that and when did society decide that every child is equal on the playing field, the music hall, the dance studio or the art festival?  By giving every child a trophy, we are basically teaching those kids who are determined to practice on their skill that working hard doesn’t matter and the kids who don’t care about this skill, do nothing and still get something.

I don’t think it’s fair to those kids who work hard or even healthy for all involved for everyone to be rewarded just for being there.  Dedication and a good attitude deserve recognition and it gives others a goal to work for.  If we want to encourage the kids or raise morale, a team picnic or pizza party lets them know the value of being a part of something without needing to give a trophy for something that wasn’t earned.

On Excusing Kids’ Bad Behavior

And now my favorite lack of parenting skill… the excuse maker.  These parents make an excuse for every one of little Billy’s naughty antics.  “Ohhh, Billy never does this at home, it must be because we’re somewhere new…” and “Don’t all kids behave like that?  I mean Billy is just 6 years old and he doesn’t know better when he’s spitting on his sister…” one more for good measure “I promise!  Billy has never behaved like this with me before, it must be…” And all while continuing to watch Billy do his dirty deeds never once correcting him.  Billy will grow up one day and have an excuse for all his actions… good or bad.

Let’s guide this next generation to be thoughtful, compassionate, hard workers and be responsible for their actions.  I am a mother to my children and I do give them warm mommy hugs every chance I get and that’s not something a friend can ever give.

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  1. Casey Fahey says:

    Great article. Remember it is always easier to judge other parents (and other children) then ourselves and our children… Cheers!

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  1. […] I’m sharing a post by Tracy Madlener from Spicie.com called “I’m Your Mother… Not Your Friend” in which she offers her perspective on this as well. I found a portion in which she wrote the […]

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