Parenting is not an easy job. Perhaps one of the more difficult things a parent must do is to decide what battles to fight.
The first rule of the road is to only tackle issues that are truly important. I (Kendra) remember when I decided that arguing over what to wear to church was not important. As long as the child was dressed within acceptable parameters, Sunday-best was not necessary.
As you consider if it’s a battle worth fighting be certain to examine your motives. In the example above, I wanted to be sure I looked like a great mom. “Bad-Plaid” would not do the trick. Sunday-best made ME look better. Yikes!
In addition to that sad, self-serving motive, at times parents will choose to fight the battle because they are angry or frustrated. The frustration might be with the child and it might have a different cause like a disturbance at work or conflict with your in-laws.
Setting boundaries and giving consequences should not be motivated by a parent’s anger or frustration. Examine your motives.
When you’re feeling some of those negative emotions it might help is to talk about the situation with your spouse. You can feel free to vent in that setting. Then when emotions are under control, you can confront your child.
Don’t avoid the confrontation if the child’s behavior is inappropriate. If you do, the problem will likely continue and could escalate. In addition you may find your frustration increasing leading you to passive aggressive behavior.
When these unemotional discussions are necessary, you always have the option to draw the child into the process of discovering a solution to the problem. Contributing to the solution can help the child “buy in” to the change.
You can hear John and Kendra’s interview on Austin Hill in the Morning below: