Dr. Dan Kindlon, child psychologist and author observes,

“Many parents today identify with being young and have trouble assuming the mantle of authority.”

Dr. Kindlon is referring to parents who have abdicated the throne. More accurately stated, these parents have given authority to their children. Kids are consulted about everything from the dinner menu to vacation spots.  Many children have no household responsibilities.  They are used to getting what they want when they want it and any other idea is completely foreign to them.

These children haven’t seized control, adults who love them and mean well have given it to them. Why? Part of the shift may have been in reaction to what today’s parents consider the ironclad rules enforced by their parents.  Guilt is another explanation for this change.

Another possibility is the parent who is stressed and chooses the path of least resistance because of sheer exhaustion. With both parents working, there might be a greater hesitancy to enforce basic rules of behavior and suffer the potential conflict.Some parents fear being viewed as the “bad guy” if they enforce rules in the family.

The problems with a child-run household are many.  A child who controls the household has a very warped view of reality.  They will NOT always be the one in charge or always get to have things their way.  This is reality.

It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their children to handle disappointment & frustration. An interesting research result – teens who rated their parents as “too lenient” were at greater risk for eating disorders, underachievement, steroid use, & permissive attitudes toward sex.

Take away?
Setting and enforcing limits is easier when kids are young, but it is NEVER too late.  Remember it will be a gradual process…setting boundaries and consequences.  Do you love your kids enough to maintain loving control?

What responsibilities have you given your kids?