Are you a my kids are my everything parent?
I’ve heard parents say on many occasions that my kids are my everything. It’s a funny little phrase but it appears often and I wonder how many people actually sit down for a moment and think what it really means.
A case in point, I read an article that brought it in to focus the other day by John Rosemond, a renowned parenting speaker in the US. He wrote an article titled, “Your kids should not be most important in the family,’ which you might argue is the antithesis of the my kids are my everything parent. The article argued that having a family heirachy where the children where not ‘everything’ was important to the proper development of children and that families without one in which children’s needs and wants took a priority role created entitlement.
So does being a my kids are my everything parent create entitlement?
So is he right? Does making your children the most important people in your family lead to producing entitled brats or is that perhaps too simplistic? My take on it is that for many people their children are the most important people in their family. That’s a matter of biology but where I agree with Mr. Rosemond is that while it might be ok to have your child as your priority, it is not ok either to tell or show them.
Hang on, you’re probably saying. Surely I should show my child every day that they are the most important person on the planet to me? And doesn’t that mean as a parent I should act in a way that my kids are my everything? Actually no, you shouldn’t. Because it is that attitude that does lead directly to entitlement and entitlement can run the gambit of kids just generally being unpleasant to having expectations that don’t fit with reality, which the cartoon above does a great job of representing.
Think of it this way. If you are talking to your husband or significant other and you allow your child to interrupt you send a message which says that their conversation is more important than the one you are having. Now, if they are standing there having fallen over with a dripping head wound, of course you would stop your conversation because their need for medical care and cuddles supersede your need for a conversation.
Who is running the parenting ship?
It’s the same for virtually ever aspect of life and it’s why I’m constantly confounded when parenting experts suggest that children should be all consuming. I’ve read one book by Alfie Kohn called ‘Unconditional Parenting’ where he suggests that you should allow your child as much self determination as possible. As an example, instead of dictating when it’s bathtime for your three year old, you should give your child a choice of when they’d like to have bath time. Ok, but is that really realistic?
As a parent you know what you have to accomplish each day. There’s work, there’s household stuff, there is paying the bills and buying the groceries. All of these things take time and you’ve been on the planet long enough to have figured out what fits best where.
You know for instance that kids get tired after having played all day, that they’re naturally covered in food after a meal. That’s when a bath makes sense. It doesn’t make sense for a child to determine their bath time because they depend on you to help them. But the bigger point is this, they should not be allowed to determine what you do with your time because it shows that their wants supersede your needs.
You need for life to work in a certain way is simply because of practicalities and those practicalities are based on experience. They child may want something different but that’s because they are only seeing things from their point of view and have no understanding of adult constraints. So what it comes down to is clearly a case of heirachy and the bottom line is your needs supersede theirs.
You can be a my kids are my everything parent but just shush, don’t tell them or show them. It can be your little secret. Do you want resilient children? Check out this article on resilience that has been posted on numerous sites. https://anniethenanny.ca/a-parents-guide-to-building-resilience/