Kevin Leman in Have a New Teenager by Friday – not that I need a new teenager by Friday or anything…totally reading this for entertainment purposes only – talks about three kinds of parenting styles. I’m paraphrasing here, but there’s the ‘whatever you want, baby’ kind of parent; the ‘it’s my way or the highway’ kind of parent; and then there’s the parent who strikes the balance, acknowledging that every person in the family is equal but has different roles.
I have to admit that I’ve leaned a tad more towards being the kind of mom who could be manipulated, whose heart strings could be tugged just so and then I’d give in to whatever the request of the moment was. I have justified this behavior of mine because of my guilt regarding what my kids are currently going through.
But I’ve noticed something shift in me this month. I’ve had crisis upon crisis befall my little life and I have not had the emotional energy that I typically would’ve had to parent. The interesting thing, though, is that I noticed that I didn’t fall further into my default mode but instead realized that if I weren’t careful, I could lose the war with my kids.
So I ironically became firmer – in my resolve, in my no’s, in my choosing not to engage in round-and-round arguments that go nowhere. My no’s remained no’s these past few weeks. My ‘that’s your decision, but then you will deal with the consequences’ came quicker and more calmly from my lips.
I haven’t picked a child up from school who has called twice, not really needing to be picked up. I walked into school, in my pajamas, to get the dean to escort a child into school who was refusing to go. I didn’t write a speech for a child who decided it didn’t need to be done, and when the speech teacher emailed saying this student would be getting a zero out of two hundred points, I replied simply, “I support whatever you need to do.” I didn’t hand over another five bucks for a hot lunch when a child said the lunch that was already packed had been in the refrigerator too long (it wasn’t) and therefore was inedible (it wasn’t).
I’ve berated myself for years for being a pushover. But as it turns out, when the rubber meets the road, I can go toe to toe with any child of mine, remembering that, oh yeah, I am the mom.
And ladies, so are you.
If this post helped you, “Moving On as a Christian Single Mom” is for you, found here.