Nothing more frustrating to see then the absentee parent trying to make up for lost time with a child by jamming the kid up with activities, presents or money to ease the pain. I wish I could jump in and tell them how 15 quality minutes of their valuable time could make a real difference.
There is another problem that I see though with even worse consequences. The pleaser parent-the cushion your fall-never going to let you feel pain–will do as you say (or scream)parent.
People need to understand this one idea; kids want structure and boundaries. They crave a strong figure in their lives and will quickly show amazing ability to conform when they realize the rules are set in stone and the consequences are coming no matter what. Consequences can be positive or negative but they must be consistent to the behavior. The consequence should be natural and logical to the behavior and the issuing of the consequence should happen in the same voice tone whether a positive or negative consequence is being given. For example, if Johnny turns his home stereo up to 25, when you agreed on 20, a natural and logical consequence may be to take away his stereo privileges for 1 day with a chance to earn back 1/2 day if he follows your instructions the rest of the day.
No matter what you do, or how you do it, let it make sense! The worst parenting occurs when a 6 year old is ruling the house by verbally dominating the parents, or a teenager bullies their way through each day in the house. The tail is wagging the dog here, it should not be this way. One position I held as an administrator for an alternative school for expelled children, required me to survey the students to find out what the kids want. Do they want boundaries, rules and regulations? What do you think?
Here is the answer; a resounding YES! Some 88% of middle and high school students who were surveyed without their identity being known said that they wish they had been given set boundaries while growing up. The were hungry for the security that comes with these boundaries, and the peace that comes with knowing that someone is in control of things. Think of it like this- as adults, how would we feel if we got on the highway one day and a new sign appeared that read like this-
NO SPEED LIMIT! DRIVE AS YOU PLEASE!
In all honesty most of us would be scared out of our minds! The crazy drivers that we would face, the uncertainty of the journey, the lack of structure would leave us questioning our ability to go on. It is no different for the children, so how much more do they need the structure? Very much!
Don’t be the parent who wins the best buddy award for your efforts to please them. It is ok for your child to be mad at you sometimes, to be pouting and moody Much better then enabling them by being a cushion for every fall and pretending life has no hurts. Keep things real, and you will produce real results!