It’s ok to be a parent to your kids. Really, as much fun as it would be to be their friend, we’re not and we shouldn’t try to be. We can have fun; play with our children, enjoy the things they think are special and still be ‘mom and dad’.
The formation of our children is our primary responsibility. We have a job to do and it is work. Some days are harder than others. If we don’t do the job now, they are the ones to miss out in the long run. We see our successes in our older ones, but we also see where we caved. The job we did becomes a part of them, the good with the not so good.
There are many different facets to parenting. Discipline is always the hardest to navigate. It is much easier to let things slide. It’s easy to address a situation and not give a consequence, but they learn from consequences. Discipline is different from punishment, consequences can be creative they don’t have to be harsh. The long-term results are worth it.
By giving a realistic framework to learn and grow within, kids feel safe and loved. Kids learn the valuable lesson that they can fail and recover. Sometimes the child who is acting out is really begging for you to ‘stop them and show them you love them’. Enforcing boundaries stops them when they cant do it themselves.
Our family lives on a busy road, we do not let our small children play out in the front of our house. Our older kids had the same rules and now are old enough to be out front if they wish. They understand and respect the dangers. The little ones though, it would be too easy for them to run into the street and get seriously hurt. The back yard has a fence. In the back, the ‘littles’ are safe to explore and run protected by slats of wood.
A wise man told us once that even with ‘the fence in place’, kids are always looking for the weak spot. Its our job to be ‘watcher of the fence’. We either allow them to push the fence out or we hold firm. Once the fence has shifted though, there’s no getting the fence back where it once was. When they’re ready for the fence to move, they respect and understand the territory. If the’re not ready, they could get hurt.
Discipline is healthy boundaries. We are drawing the line we have determined for their safety and developmental stage. We have all met an undisciplined adult with no boundaries right? Well, if they have no boundaries as an adult one could assume that there were few as a child. No one wants to raise a child that grows into the adult searching for someone to ‘love them enough to stop them’.
Some kids are harder than others. Especially those who don’t seem moved by a consequence, or the natural consequence we allow them to experience. We still strive to be consistent. Sometimes its easier said than done. But no effort ever goes wasted.
I Took A Piece Of Plastic Clay
I took a piece of plastic clay And idly fashioned it one day- And as my fingers pressed it, still It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past The bit of clay was hard at last. The form I gave it, still it bore, And I could change that form no more!
I took a piece of living clay, And gently fashioned it day by day, And molded with my power and art A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone: It was a man I looked upon. He still that early impress bore, And I could fashion it never more.