Good parenting does not revolve its decisions and processes around guilt. However, it’s very easy to get into some guilty thinking traps. Here’s how to avoid this issue altogether:
The cold hard fact remains, if you aren’t ever making your children mad, you’re bending over backwards to give them whatever they want.
Forbes says this,
“Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled.
So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what they really value and need.”
Since most mothers suffer from the guilt companion this can be tricky for us. There are situations in which we know we’ll disappoint our children, and that’s hard. I always want my children to be happy and smiling and cute. But you know what I’ve noticed?
When I start catering towards their moods, their moods becomes more volatile.
So, here are three ways to avoid the parent trap of guilt.
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1. Be firm on black and white issues.
There will be certain behaviors in your home that are absolute no-gos.
- slapping, or just plain ole’
…may fall into this category.
Once you’ve determined an appropriate consequences for these behaviors don’t be afraid to stick to them.
It may mean your child misses family dinner, an important event, or has to stay in their room for a while when everyone else is having fun.
Don’t let the guilt that they’re missing out take over your good sense.
Remind yourself they’re missing out because of their own choices.
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2. Balance long and short-term thinking.
I’m a long-term thinker so I tend to evaluate everything on how it affects the future.
One behavior is never isolated to me. You see, one behavior has the potential to become a bad habit that derails their life.
Dramatic I know, which is why I bounce things off my husband who is a short-term thinker.
For example: If you are entertaining house guests and your kids behave worse than normal, that week may not be the time to buckle down and get their behavior right again. In the short-term, it would make the week with family or friends less pleasant.
One week of abnormal routine won’t derail all the work you’ve put in previously. On the other hand, continuing a bad habit just because it makes life easier in the short-term (screen time every time you want them to leave you alone) will only prolong the situation and make it ultimately more difficult.
If you feel guilty for enforcing a negative consequence, think of the long-term benefits of good discipline and the long-term disadvantages of letting bad behavior go unchecked.
3. Don’t be manipulated by guilt or your kids.
Before anyone goes all “babies and toddlers and preschools are young and innocent they aren’t manipulating, they don’t know how” just hear me out…
Manipulation is basically acting in a certain way to get what you want, with malicious intent.
So, no, young children don’t usually manipulate out of bad morals or deceitfulness. They simply do what gets the results they want. A baby who cries because they know they’ll get held isn’t manipulating you, they are continuing a pattern that works for them.
Toddlers, preschoolers, younger children and most definitely teenagers learn to get what they want. As they grow up, they know what makes you feel guilty, makes you give in, and what lets them get away with things.
I want to encourage you when you’re fighting guilt because your kids feel deprived.
Start brainstorming rules to make your family life more peaceful, connected, and strong!
You’re a good mom. You like seeing your children happy. We all do. It’s great to like doing nice things for your kids. You want what’s best for them.
But, it’s okay if they aren’t always happy. It’s okay if you follow through with a negative consequence. It’s okay when they don’t get everything they want.
Just as a good CEO shouldn’t feel guilty making decisions for the best of their company, a good mother can’t feel guilty when making decisions for the best of her children.
While you’re at it, read these other posts from this series: