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Did you ever read the book, Guess How Much I Love You to your kids? This has been a favorite in our house for forever, starting from the time I was pregnant with our first. Every night I sat in the rocking chair in the nursery and read it to the baby in utero.
However, this post is not completely about the book because this post is more a piece of mom advice that I wanted to pass along.
think know that a common struggle among moms is kids who are forever playing the comparison game. Often, they drag us in to the comparison game right along with them. When do they do this? I will give you an example of just how it happened in my house this morning, and it wasn’t the first time it has happened, either.
My son came to me complaining that his friends don’t have to do chores. He also told me that his friends get to have unlimited access to their electronic devices. I am imagining that if you’ve been a parent for any length of time, you’ve heard this same sort of thing.
Of course we all know that our kids’ perceptions of their friends’ lives are rarely completely accurate since their judgement is coming from a “the grass is always greener on the other side” standpoint.
We can all fall victim to this kind of thinking at times, can’t we? Furthermore, how do you handle this with your kids?
I have found a way that I feel really puts things into perspective for my kids. It is a way of demonstrating to them that I don’t give them rules to follow or require them to learn to be responsible in a variety of ways for no reason.
I continually remind my kids that my intention is not to limit them, and that contrary to the way it may seem to them at times, I am also not here to make their lives miserable. Instead, enforcing rules and requiring them to be responsible for themselves and in ways that benefit those around them teaches them to be independent, self-sufficient, and hardworking people who are important pieces of our family puzzle. In the future, they will be important parts of various puzzles throughout their lives whether it is through their work, their involvement in their community, or within their own family.
So in this situation, I choose to handle it in the following way.
When my son came to me complaining today, I said, “I am so glad that I love you enough to give you these rules and limitations. Through having these things in place, you are learning valuable skills that you will be able to apply throughout the rest of your life. I cannot speak about your friends’ mothers, I’m sure they love their kids, but I can say that it is because I love you that you are required to abide by these rules and to carry the responsibilities that we require of you. You’re welcome.”
While this may seem harsh to some, I really have a zero tolerance policy for my kids fostering a feeling of entitlement. If they feel that they shouldn’t have to do one thing or another, feel entitled to something, or as though they should get something, entitlement is at the root.
It is also quite common for me to remind my kids that I am not responsible for raising other kids. I am only responsible for raising them, and that we as their parents will continue to do that in the way that we feel is best as we are led by God to do so. I often tell them that if they agreed with everything I did when it came to parenting, I would be worried that I wasn’t doing my job.
The truth is, that most parents don’t like enforcing rules, having to nag our kids, or even having to discipline our kids, but it is a necessary part of being an intentional parent. If my kids have friends with parents who don’t lay down rules or enforce the rules they do lay down, I just don’t have to answer for them. It makes no difference to me because it doesn’t affect me, and I then point out that it doesn’t affect them, either.
If you are the kind of parent who is looking to raise hardworking and responsible children, loving them enough to give them limits and boundaries is simply a reality. This is just one example of how I do this, and hopefully you can gain some inspiration from it if it doesn’t matter to you what your kids’ friends have to do or not do. It’s rarely fun to be the bad guy, but it is necessary at times.
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Here’s the book in case you’re not familiar with it Guess How Much I Love You
There are times that we have to be the bad guy, but it is also important to make the time to be the cool mom.