Do you have a kiddo who acts as if he’s the boss? Really, he’s scared.
Children crave safety.
Part of what allows him (or her) to feel safe is consistent dependable rules. If those rules are based upon your values and priorities as a family, even better.
Imagine if you cave each time you set a boundary or rule… guess who becomes the (psychologically-speaking) alpha of your family? How scary is that for a 4-year-old or a 9-year-old to feel like have more power in the home than the adult responsible for them physically, emotionally, financially, etc.? That’s a major brain-squeeze for a child.
STEP 1: Create your rules based on what type of human you’re trying to raise. Compassionate? Considerate? Kind? Respectful? Creative? What traits and qualities do YOU value most? Let’s call them MVTs (Most Valuable Traits).
STEP 2: Communicate your MVTs… ALL OF THE TIME. Model the traits, compliment them whenever you see them, talk about WHY you think these are such valuable qualities, etc.
STEP 3: When your child shows traits clearly NOT on your MVT list, be clear, firm, and unapologetic about the consequences. You will be inconvenienced. Yes. However, it is part of the cost of having awesome children in your life and I promise it will be worth it. It will not be easy at first…. especially if this is a new way of parenting for you.
Remember, you’re the boss. Say you make a rule about device usage. First, explain WHY you’ve made this rule and HOW it relates to one of your MVTs. If the rule is broken or ignored, you must be willing to remove the toy or game. This part is key. I know it is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. And, nobody would never ever hear a child whine, “But, mom pleeeeeeease!”
So, what qualities do you want to instill in your children? Unless you’re thinking selfish, obnoxious, impatient, and disrespectful, then you gotta stand firm!
Maybe you’ve had difficulty being the boss in the past…How do you show them you’re serious now?
Try donating a toy or a device “to someone who will appreciate it more” or, “someone who will respect their parents’ rules”. Really do this once every six months, and I’ll bet your child will listen up the next time you set a limit or make a rule they don’t like. (Super head-strong kiddo? You may need to do it weekly.)
This will allow you to take back your alpha role in the family. And, it’ll allow your child to feel safe knowing YOU are the boss and you’re now confident in that role.
I’m serious. If you don’t try it, I will take your Netflix subscription away! I’m kidding. Actually, if you don’t try it, you might find your life becomes an endless battle of wills. Exhausting, am I right?
You can do this. I believe in you.