Carol Wood
Who’s in charge at your house?
By Carol C. Wood
Founder & CEO, Total Learning Concepts, Inc.

As a parent, are you sometimes afraid you will make your children angry with you if you discipline them and/or require responsible, respectful behaviors?  Are you worried you may cause them emotional harm if you hold them to your expectations and require certain behaviors?  Do any of your children refuse to do homework, study for tests, attend after school tutorial sessions, and/or earn grades lower than his or her abilities? Have your children taken charge of your home?

If your answers are yes to any of these questions and you want to regain control, please continue reading the following principles to put into practice, which should prove helpful.

1) Practice calm, conscious, confident parenting.

2) Practice the self discipline necessary to remain emotionally balanced in response to your children’s behavior.

3) Change things in small degrees because you can only improve your responses to your children’s behavior a little at a time.

4) Take note of your children’s misbehavior without immediately reacting, unless an immediate real danger exists.

5) Take a good look at your parenting anger and parenting fears because these emotional states indicate there is work you need to do on your own self.

6) Learn how to be firm without being emotional.

7)  Communicate your children’s appropriate boundaries by consistently demonstrating respectful, responsible self discipline yourself, clearly communicating exactly the behavior you expect and you disallow, and follow through with consequences when patience and words do not work.

8)  Be observant and learn how to talk to your children so they will listen.

9)  Do not use harsh, angry criticism towards your children because this does not work.  It lowers their expectations of themselves, lowers their self-confidence, and it fuels their fears, rebellion, and defensiveness, all resulting in even worse behaviors and attitudes.

10)  Do not fight with your children. Fighting does not work because when you engage in a frustrating power struggle with them, you will lose your own power and authority.

11) Do not do too much for your children to protect them from life’s challenges.  Sometimes children learn more by dealing with events without your help and by you remaining uninvolved.

12) Remember children learn to behave in the ways that get them what they want.  If you give them what they desire when they have been bossy and demanding, you have taught them that these traits satisfy their desires and they will disrespect others.

13) Remember that when children’s bad behavior goes without consequences, it causes them to feel confused about what is expected of them and they may even doubt that they are truly cared about and interpret your leniency as apathy.

14) Develop emotional strength by remaining patient and composed when your children express hurt and angry feelings. You cannot teach your children self control when you are losing your own.

A few years ago I heard a minister, Dr. Bill Blanchard, present five important points on parenting.  

He taught that when parents demonstrate affirmation, acceptance, appreciation, availability, and affection towards their children, it fosters in them a sense of authenticity, security, significance, importance, and lovability, respectively.  He also taught that when parents have only rules in their homes and no relationship with their children, this could lead to rebellion.

Take charge in your homes as parents, while at the same time developing a relationship with your children.  Set an example they can model of responsible, respectful, and accountable behaviors, which will enable them to develop these same positive traits and become more confident and successful as students in the classroom.  Your children will then also likely carry these same positive character qualities into their adult lives!

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