A parents struggle from the moment they have their child is between wanting to ensure their child loves (and even likes) them and enforcing rules that will set the basis for their child to have values and morals that will steer them through life. We have to balance giving them freedom whilst still ensuring their safety. There are no set rules about when a child has the maturity and intelligence to take on additional responsibilities, we just have to use our gut feel as to what is right for our child at that time. Sometimes that means that your kids won’t like you, but hopefully they will respect that you make decisions in their best interests. At the end of the day, we aren’t here to be their friends; we are their parents and have to take that responsibility seriously.
Kids will always play the “You’re so strict! My friends’ mums let them do x,y,z” card and more often than not it isn’t actually the case. Rather, the kids are all bullying their parents into thinking that they are the only ones not allowing their kids freedom. Often if you just talk with the other parents, you will find out that they share a common concern to you.
Years ago I saw a poem called ‘I Loved You Enough’ and it struck a chord with me. I would like to share it with all those parents who have kids who think they are too strict:
I LOVED YOU ENOUGH
By Erma Bombeck
I Loved You Enough….to ask where you were going,
with whom, and what time you would be home.
I Loved You Enough….to insist that you save
your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we
could afford to buy one for you.
I Loved You Enough…. to be silent and let
you discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I Loved You Enough….to make you take a Milky Way
back to thedrugstore (with a bite out of it)
and tell the clerk,”I stole this yesterday and
want to pay for it.”
I Loved You Enough….to stand over you for
two hours while you cleaned your room,
a job that would have taken 15 minutes.
I Loved You Enough….to let you see anger, disappointment
and tears in my eyes.
Children must learn that their parents aren’t perfect.
I Loved You Enough….to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the penalties
were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all,
I Loved You Enough….
to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.
Those were the most difficult battles of all.
I’m glad I won them, because in the end,
you won, too.
When our kids are adults and are capable of looking after themselves, maybe then I can be their friend, but for now I’m just a Mother who loves her kids and regardless of whether they like it or not, I love them enough to be stricter than they want me to be and I hope that in the future they will thank me for caring, keeping them safe and raising them to be good people.
(Photo courtesy of photostock, freedigitalphotos.net)