Coping Strategies for the Pushover Parent

Hi! I’m Pepper, and I’m a pushover parent.  Yes, I’m starting to practice my spiel for when I begin attending one of those support groups- which will hopefully culminate in a night of unabashed alcoholic frenzy. 

I used to be in denial, thinking that my daughter’s behavior was acceptable, but eventually I realized that, without a doubt, I am a pushover mom.  My little girl is precocious, adorable, sweet, but at times she does treat me like a doormat.  And I oblige.  I tumble and fall just to give her what her heart desires.  When she gets fussy, I cave in. 

All hope is not lost, though.  There may not be any support group- yet- for this problem, but there are some things you can do, if you happen to be a fellow pushover parent.

Stay calm.  I know that’s easier said than done when your kid is having one of his or her episodes, but you really must try to be calm.  When children sense anger or anxiety in your voice, facial expressions, or body language, they turn a deaf ear to what you say.  Instead of listening, they end up feeling scared or angry.  You have to calmly and firmly state what they are doing wrong.  When you yell at the top of your voice, it distracts your kid from the actual misconduct.

Be consistent.  Whoever said that rules were made to be broken definitely has a screw loose- or just wants to be on the cover of the January 2012 issue of Playboy.   Any child would be confused if one day, it’s not okay to watch TV while having dinner, and the next day it’s perfectly alright.  Stick to your rules, however difficult it may seem. 

Enforce consequences.  As a parent, your job is to reward your kids when they obey you and punish them when they don’t.  Instead of making idle threats, try sticking to more reasonable consequences that are fair enough.  You can give you kid an additional chore as “punishment”, or probably cut down his TV-viewing time by an hour.  Try not to bribe your kid into obeying you, but be sure to praise him when he does.

Remember that each time you give in to your kid’s demands, you make the work much harder for yourself.  You’re only digging a deeper hole to bury yourself in.  Just stay calm and consistent, and sooner or later, your child will respond in the way you want him to.

Teach Your Kids Respect

Respect begets respect. You more or less get from people what you give them. If you show other people respect, most likely they’ll do the same to you. It’s one of life’s important lessons which we just have to keep ramming down our children’s throats. Respect is such a big word which could be quite difficult for a young kid to digest. The challenge now lies in how we parents can chop it down to bite-size chunks, small enough for the average preschooler to understand and apply to everyday life. What simple lessons in respect can we teach them?

Use the magic words. When your kid turns 3 or 4, you can start teaching him to say “Please” and “Thank You”. If he uses these magic words often enough, they soon become a habit which will stick to him like a moth to a flame.

Don’t interrupt. Remind your kids not to but in when you are speaking with another adult. Sure he can bug you as you watch Ferris Beuller’s Day Off for the nth time, but not when you’re discussing something important with someone.

Be nice to the lady at the supermarket checkout counter. Same goes for the mailman and that guy who drives the ice cream truck. Tell your kid to treat people with respect, whether they have a five-figure salary or earn their keep on a daily basis. It may be their job to provide some sort of service, but they still very much deserve pleasantries from your kid. Ask your kid to talk to them nicely.

Remember your table manners. The dining table is the perfect place to practice respect for others. Make your child get used to saying “Excuse me!” if he has to get up and leave the table while others are still finishing their meal. Remind him not to talk when his mouth is full, and not to verbalize his disgust if he’s not a huge fan of lima beans.

Practice makes perfect, so let’s be relentless in our pursuit at training our kids to be stewards of respect. There should be absolutely no room for rudeness in your home.

Now this is my cue to sing R-E-S-P-E-C-T in my best Aretha Franklin impression…

When Your Kid Is The Bully

You can still vividly remember that day when you first dropped off your kid at school.  He was clinging to you like compression hosiery to a woman’s leg.  He was holding on to you for dear life, while wiping away the tears trickling down his chubby cheeks. 

Fast forward to today, you receive a call from his school guidance counselor, giving you not-so-pleasant news that your boy has just punched another kid in the nose.  You feel your entire world cave in as you try to make sense of that incredulous thing you’ve just heard.  Your precious kid has turned into something you’ve never dreamed of- a bully. [Read more…]

How to Teach your Kids Honesty

However which way you turn the tables, honesty really still IS the best policy.  It’s the root of all things good.  Honesty is the manifestation of a pure heart, because when one is honest, he has a conscience which knows how to effectively discern right from wrong.  The honest person finds that deceiving other people is as uncomfortable as a wedgie on a hot summer day.  [Read more…]

Hell Hath No Fury Like That Of A Child Scorned

My 5-year old daughter has just recently learned a new skill, but it’s something I’m not at all proud of.  She has mastered the art of pushing my buttons.  On more than one occasion, I find myself wanting to scream my head off and shave my head out of sheer frustration and exhaustion from having to deal with my daughter’s temper. [Read more…]

4 Reasons Your Child Won’t Listen To You

Kids, and even grown-ups, have this uncanny ability to filter out things they don’t want to hear. Oftentimes though, it’s not so much about what you say as it is about how your say it. But why exactly do our children give us the deaf ear whenever we have to say something really important?

  1. They’re in the middle of a game. Be it a garage basketball game or a Wii game they’re wrapped up in, kids don’t like being interrupted. Wouldn’t you just hate being disturbed while you’re in the throes of fun? [Read more…]

Top 5 Signs Your Kid Is Addicted To Video Games

In this fast-paced world, we can do almost anything with the few clicks of a button.  What’s truly amazing is how our kids, who are barely out of their toddler years, are turning out to be much more tech-savvy than we are.  Yes, the technology bug has indeed bitten them real bad.  Do you sometimes ask yourself if you should send your kids to a Videoholics Anonymous meeting?  How do we know that your child is starting to get addicted to video games? [Read more…]

When Parents Get Angry

A watched pot never boils, but when it does, handle it carefully, lest it spills over and scalds your arm.  An irate mom can be just as hazardous when she tends to helplessly boil over after her kids do something to get on her nerves. 

No matter how much we love our kids, sometimes we just can’t help but lash out at them.  That anger may have been triggered by something unacceptable they’ve done, but we parents must realize that losing our temper in front of our kids can be detrimental to their overall well-being.  Studies show that parents who express a lot of anger in front of their kids end up [Read more…]

The importance of quiet time for kids

I can’t blame you if you sometimes think that they might have been dumped here by aliens from a distant planet.  Kids are so hyper that it often baffles us as to where they get all their energy from.  They seem like overcharged machines which never get tired running and moving about.

We parents must realize that although it’s amusing to see our kids having fun engaging in active physical play, they too need some downtime.  [Read more…]

Sleep. Believe. Survive.

Putting our little tyke down for an afternoon nap has always proven to be a power struggle. We do everything to coerce, while they do what they can to resist. It could almost pass for an episode of the reality show Survivor. The goal is to outwit, outplay and outlast our little one.

Most kids outgrow the need for afternoon naps when they reach preschool age, [Read more…]