This day in age many parents have traded their parental authority for permissive parenting, worrying only about their kids’ emotions.
Sometimes it seems confusing to know just how a mother should be…
On one hand, she wants to raise independent children. On the other hand, she wants her children to feel heard and accepted for who they are.
There are many expectations that she gives herself. Such as, not barking orders all day, not being to permissive, or running a lawless home. She wants to live and make decisions in the moment but also be wise at big picture thinking.
What is Parental Authority?
Sometimes I think we aren’t ever fully ready for the responsibility that being a mother gives us. I don’t necessarily want the buck to stop with me every time. We find ourself thinking, I don’t always want to make every decision.
Some may think “I like to let the kids do what they want… and hope it works our for the best.” Except, normally, that just doesn’t work.
As parents we are given authority over our children and our household. We are older, wiser, and more mature than our children. We understand cause and effect and sowing and reaping in ways they simply cannot.
For those reasons, we can’t shy away from our job…
Don’t send me hate mail yet, just work with me here…
So… how is being a mom (or a dad) like being a boss in a good way?
The Boss Covers
I worked in the marketing department for a Christian non-profit organization, and one of my duties was to send out the monthly newsletter to thousands of subscribers.
For one such newsletter, I interviewed a man from Africa. He claimed to be a bishop from Uganda, and went on to explain why he was furthering his training in the UK.
After the newsletter came out, my boss had quite a few people respond that he was not, in fact, a bishop at all. I had assumed he was telling the truth, but hadn’t fact checked. I was shame-faced before my boss for my lack of diligence. Do you know what he said?
Not “You’re fired, you stink, or you made us all look bad.”
Nope. He said, “Rachel, the buck stops with me and I approved your work before it went out. I’m not throwing you under the bus here, we’ll sort it out together.”
Like bosses, parents cover their children. They watch how they are learning, progressing, and where they thrive and don’t thrive.
They don’t leave the children thinking they must do it alone, fight battles alone, or face the world unsupported. Great parents help their children to feel they are free to shine and free to come in for refuge.
The Boss Empowers
Bosses generally have more experience, knowledge, and hands-on training than their employees. They can carry heavy loads, manage multiple things at once, and help keep the business or organization moving toward its goals.
A boss also empowers their employees in their growth…
To empower means to make someone stronger and more confident. A good boss does just this. Good parents do this too!
Furthermore, they praise milestones, progress, and successes. They help pick up those under them when they fail, struggle, or can’t see the way through.
The truth is…children naturally look up to their parents. Just like the saying goes- “they think that they hung the moon.”
This places parents in the perfect position to…
- Nurture self-confidence
- Build self-esteem
- Encourage them to rise to challenges
- Expect them to contribute
- Praise their efforts
Parental authority, like a boss…is not like running a dictatorship. In contradiction, parental authority is allowing the parent to be a child’s greatest champion.
The Boss Promotes
We are often unable to see our own abilities and strengths clearly. I often think I’m good at things when I’m not. Also, I think I’m hopeless at things where I’m not. Left to my own devices, I don’t know when I’m ready for a new challenge.
Bosses see growth in their employees and know who is capable of handling more weight and responsibility, and who isn’t. Parents practicing parental authority do the same.
If a child is left to rule the roost, they’ll promote themselves to President before they were even elected Mayor. Promotions and advancements are best left to those who are more mature.
Undoubtably, the consequence of letting your children make important decisions on their own will build false self-confidence and insecurity.
Parents have the privilege of seeing their children grow in self-control. Also, we have the ability to help them grow in wisdom and skill. These things take giving them ample opportunity to grow and mature in a healthy way.
The Boss Sees the Big Picture
Employees lower down on the ladder often question upper management’s decisions. They may say: “I wouldn’t do it that way” or put their own ideas in. Unfortunatly, They are only thinking about the bottom line.
The fact is, bosses see the big picture and make decisions accordingly. They have an aerial view.
For example, a helicopter above the freeway system they see the upcoming curves, accidents, and traffic jams. The employee below, in a Toyota Camry, is not able to get a full picture and make a wise decision based on all the facts.
Parental authority is seeing the big picture and making the important decision…
Want to know why? It’s simple! Children live and think in the now. That is okay. In fact, it is right.
It’s a blessing and joy to enter into the now with them! But, they shouldn’t be given reign to make important decisions when they simply aren’t able to understand the facts and consequences.
Teaching them consequences and how to see the big picture is our job as parents! But, to let them make decisions they are not equipped to make is not training, it’s negligence.
Parental Authority is a Blessing
So, while I know the relationship between a boss and an employee is fundamentally different from the relationship between a parent and child, I hope you get my point.
Here’s a few things to consider:
Children want to be in charge. That doesn’t mean they should be!
They will push the envelope against your authority. Developmentally, that is natural. It doesn’t mean you should absolve your role.
They challenge you because they want to know you are ultimately in control. That brings safety, not fear.
If you’ve noticed your home environment is slipping into one of chaos, disobedience, and rebellion… ask yourself these questions:
- Where have you perhaps given authority to your kids when they can’t actually handle it?
- Are they “wise in their own eyes?”
- Have they promoted themselves beyond their capabilities?
It’s not about being a dictator or everyone around. In contradiction, it’s about maintaining your position of leadership so you can allow your children to thrive.