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.

About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

Catch me on G+.


  1. Enforcing consequences is crucial when it comes to discipline. If kids know that they will be punished (either through time out or a privilege being taken away) they are more inclined to follow.

    By the way, congratulations in being a featured member of vB!

  2. All good advice…not looking forward to these days when my song gets older!

  3. Pepper,
    There is great advice here! I’ve watched so many parents give into their kids over the years, to the point that as the kids get older, no one can stand to be around them. It doesn’t do the kids any service to supply them with their every whim.
    Thanks for this great post!
    Congrats on being a Featured Member of vB!

  4. Great post! This is such a good reminder as my daughter dives head first in to 2-some. Congrats on being a vB Featured Member!

  5. Hi Pepper!
    Great post! I, too, am heading into the age 2 zone, and this was really helpful! Congrats on vB status:)

  6. great advice! I told myself I would be a stick-to-the-book parent – I guess every parent has those thoughts BEFORE they have children. It’s a different story once they get here. I try to stick with the routine, but I fall behind sometimes.

    I’m stopping by from voiceBoks by the way :) Glad I came!

  7. Great tips! :) Consistency is definitely key.

  8. Great advise for sure! Especially with today’s sucky parents. Have you read my blog to see how I handle the kids? They hate me…

    • I love reading your blog, Sharon. I admire how you’re able to inject humor into everything. I wish I had your perspective.

  9. I Love Your Comment On My site ! Anna

  10. I can only pray I don’t turn into one of these kind of parents. I have worked in daycare for over 5 years, and I have watched so many kids get run over by their parents at pick up and drop off times, and every time it happens I tell myself, “that won’t be me”. But who knows…my baby girl is only 3 months old :)

  11. My husband has a gift for turning stressful situations into a funny, lighthearted rescue! Humor is a big help too!

  12. Good advice:) My kids have a little list of rules and consequences hanging up (just like I have in my classrooms when I’m teaching:) – I found it worked really well – we made the rules together, read through the consequences and always have it there as a reminder (and I always praise them when they remember – which they love:)
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kristina :)

  13. Starting early is really important. I teach teens, and when parents try to begin boundaries at that point, it’s too late.

  14. I was a pushover mom with my son. I am determined to do better with my daughter. It’s like I get a do over. Thanks for the advice.

  15. Thank you for the reminders! Somehow it’s the little stuff that has to be done every single darn day that I tend to slip up on.

  16. Samantha Bangayan says

    This is a great list, Pepper! Sometimes, it takes a list to remind us that we don’t need to be overwhelmed and that there’s a clear solution. You’re setting a great example for so many! =)

  17. You know, this all sounds simple enough reading it as you have it written here… but when it comes to doing it, I don’t know if I stand a chance. There is something far superior to kryptonite contained in a little girl’s lower lip, don’t you think? For when she sticks it out in a tiny pout face… well, I am going to need a blindfold. ;-)

    Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one dealing with this.

    Pushover Dad

    • Haha, you couldn’t be more right about a girl’s lower lip being stronger than kryptonite :). You just can’t say no to that :)

  18. Hello Pepper,

    I first posted on your blog several months ago and you replied with among other things a question as to wether l had a blog of my own…. well today l started one and today its live….. although it still needs a bit of work and a whole lot of tidying up.

    ( I hope my blog is working as it should lol ) Anyways l intend to keep visiting yours and posting my replies when ever l get a chance.

    Coming to your site and reading is quite enjoyable and l do love replying when ever l feel l have something worth while to say or an opinion which l cant keep to myself.

    I chose this topic to reply to simply because this afternoon my 7 year old step daughter came home from her dads and immediately my misses (the 7 years mum) has let the rules go flying out the window.

    Our situation is made more difficult because my partner has two parents who seem to spoil the 7 year old at every opportunity and it happened again this afternoon. ( But that’s another story )

    We have been having a lot of behaviour problems with the 7 year old, nothing serious…. just very frustrating and disrespectful behaviours. I will list the issues,

    * Not listening
    * Back Chatting
    * Telling Fibs
    * Disobeying
    * Not Eating Dinner
    * Fiddling Around While At Dinner Table
    * Having To Be Told Several Times To Pack Up Toys

    The list goes on……

    Anyways upon reading your post, l agree with the 3 x headings
    (1) Stay Calm –> I must admit l am having trouble with that one, only because l cant seem to stay calm when l see the 7 year old walking all over her mum and not suffering the consequences of her poor behaviour.

    (2) Be Consistant –> This is the one that my partner has the trouble with, she is consistant for the best part of a day or two and by the third day we are back to “sqaure one again”

    When l try to tell my partner to be consistant it usually ends up in us two having an argument….

    (3) Enforce Consequences –> my response is virtually the same as for the “Be Consistant”

    Anyways, l do 100% agree with your 3 x points, the problem is that in our household and l assume in many many other households it is far easier said than done….. for a range of different reasons.

    Ok good luck to one and all with the discipline in your individual households, take care and bye for now, from Pete.

    P.S. if anyone wants to visit my rather “average” blog you are all very very welcome, but l must pre warn you that my blog is a “Typical” Aussie blog where l tend to be very laid back and not to good at applying rules, so there is a fair chance that there might be a few “naughty” words here and there…… I know l have all ready let the ” F ” Bomb go and l have only written 3 x posts so far.

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