One thing to do to have a better relationship with my child

Over the last 10 years, I have tried very hard to have a good relationship with my children. But, as I reflect, I realised that there was one thing I could do to have a better relationship with my child.

a family of 5 sitting on a couch. Over the picture are the words: One thing to do to get a better relationship with your child. www.onedeterminedlife.com

What was holding me back

If you’re like me, you love to have control over things in your life. One of the things I love having control over is my children’s behaviour and the choices they make.

I want my children to choose the things that I would choose. Mainly, I want them to obey me and do as they are told.

I like total and complete obedience. I want my kids to obey me right away with no argument.
After having many confrontations with my daughter, I realised that having this expectation of my children made things more stressful around the house.

My focus was on complete obedience and not on my relationship with my child. I had to learn to let go of some control.

But I have learned that this mindset does not lead to a better relationship with my child.

When I stepped back, I realised that I was not happy trying to control my child’s behaviour.

Since I stopped trying to control the outcome, it has helped me in disciplining my children and has given me a better relationship with my child.

My children are strong and independent and have minds of their own. That means that when I have an idea, they don’t always agree with me and always seem to have a ”better” way or another plan.

Before I started letting go, I found myself in a constant battle with my kids. It was exhausting.

So I had to decide that having a good relationship with my kids was more important to me than having control over the outcome or the situation.

One thing to do to have a better relationship with my child

1. I had to change my thought process.

To help me change my thought process, I tried to incorporate these 2 things:

  1. why do you want it done this way? Is it really that important?
  2. my child maybe 7, but maybe her way is better and we could do it that way.

To change my behaviour, I had to change my thought process.

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My motivation:

This first thing I had to do was analyse my motivation. Why was it so important that they I had to have this done my way?

After some soul searching, I realised that I wanted to feel control over the outcome. I was afraid that if I did not have absolute obedience right away then I was not a good “Christian” mom.

Leaving room for my child to question me made me feel like I was letting her rule the house. I was letting my fear dictate my behaviour.

My realization

The next time my daughter questioned me or did not respond to me as I wanted, I actually listened.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT MY CHILD HAS ABSOLUTE CONTROL OR THAT SHE RULES THE HOUSE … But it does mean that I have become a bit more flexible. Let me give you an example.

I say something like: Please set the table. She responds: I am just finishing drawing a picture!

I have 2 choices

  • Get mad that I was not absolutely obeyed on the spot.
  • Let my child finish her task and have her come when she is done.

This way, my child has no choice in the task I am asking her to complete, but there is a choice of when she can do it. She has some flexibility.

This may seem like a simple example. But there were dozens of these small moments during the day. I wanted something done a certain way and would get frustrated when it was not done to my standard.

By letting go of some control and giving my child more flexibility greatly reduced the amount of time I spend reprimanding her. Not only that, but it gave her confidence that she does have good ideas, that I hear her, and that her opinion matters to me.

I find that by giving her that flexibility has also made her more willing to obey and has also resulted in her doing things around the house without me asking.

In the comments below, share how control affects your relationships. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

40 responses to “One thing to do to have a better relationship with my child”

  1. LuckyLoveLife Avatar
    LuckyLoveLife

    Ugh. I need to start loosening the reigns on my 15 yr-old. She is the oldest of my children and very independent but we have been arguing more than normal. Mostly over the same idea. She thinks I am too controlling. I haven’t allowed her to start dating so she has on a few occasions behind my back which makes me even more defensive and controlling. You’re right. It’s exhausting. In most areas of her life I trust her to make good choices, but in this one we can’t seem to come to an agreement in the middle. She wants it her way, with total control. We’ve tried mediating it out with a youth group leader that she admires but we made no progress.
    Hopefully soon lol.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      That’s a hard one. I don’t have great advice as my oldest is 8 and am not facing that issue yet. I hope you can find a solution soon

  2. Nita Avatar

    Hi!

    I loved reading your posts and have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award! Congrats! x

    http://mummywishes.com/mw-got-nominated-blogger-recognition-award/

  3. Tom Avatar

    It is one of the lessons I have learned and am still learning as my children continue to get older. Now that I have several grown adult children, it is very hard to see them make some not so good choices (or at least not good ones in my opinion). I am learning with my children to allow them to make some choices and learn from those choices. Sometimes their choice ended up being for the better, other times for the worse. It is important to have a good relationship with them, and not one of just dictatorship. Thanks for sharing.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      My children and still young and I am trying to learn these things now so that by the time the harder stuff comes around I have practice 🙂

  4. Yolanda Avatar
    Yolanda

    My children are grown now but I remember that I, too, was pretty controlling. Now, and mainly because of constant praying, I am learning how to let go and let God. Thank you for sharing this and God Bless!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s for sure easier to say than do. But I am learning to turn to God more and more.

  5. Joanna Avatar

    The not listening and not obeying are really hard for me. I need to work on finding the middle ground with my kids where they actually want to listen to what I am saying and I don’t have to get frustrated in order for that to happen.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      your right, its very hard to figure out and I find the balance changes wth each child.

  6. Kori Avatar

    This is so true!! It has taken me a very long time to learn to let go of the control with my daughter. Great post!!

  7. Lauren Avatar

    I can relate to this.. It was very important to me to let my child make choices and share opinions.. but now that he is almost 9 I sometimes regret it! Ha! I am like, “Not everything is a debate!” But you bring up good points. 🙂

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I have the same thoughts as well. I just say, I don’t want to fight about this, then drop it 😉

  8. Logan Avatar

    This is a really great point and I’ve never even thought to sit back and let them make their own decisions and ask them questions about why they chose that way over my way. I am definitely going to try it today!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I hope it goes well! Let me know if that helps

  9. Gina B Avatar

    Yea, once you realize that you can never FORCE someone to do something, it changes everything. Parenting is very humbling in that way! The upside is that it teaches us first hand that control is an illusion. And don’t beat yourself up. I failed at this very thing this morning with my 11 year old. It happens!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I love hearing the truth of parenting and life, it’s hard but amazing at the same time!! 11! You’ll have to send me tips 😉

  10. Candy Avatar

    Don’t beat yourself up over this mistake. We start off choosing and making all decisions for them. Hard to let go

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I make mistakes every day, but try to let those go as well and focus on the good parts. Thanks for the encouragement.

  11. Leah Avatar

    I just wrote a book about this kind of thing! It’s tough to be a parent but easily the hardest part is letting go of the idea that we know best all the time!!! God bless you Mama <3

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Letting go is so hard!! Best of luck with your book. What is it called?

  12. Sharon McLaughlin MD FACS Avatar
    Sharon McLaughlin MD FACS

    It is hard to get the children to change but you can change yourself and how you deal with them. I liked your post, parenting can be frustrating at times.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I find the easiest way to “change” a child is by showing them the behaviour I expect from them. So often I don’t model great behaviour and then wonder why they don’t act the way I want 😉

  13. Edith Avatar

    This is so helpful. I love control too and it can be devastating when that falls apart. The way you sorted this out is neat. Thank God for His grace and thank you for sharing. Pinned and tweeted.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Thank you so much for sharing!! Letting go on control is so hard and something I work on every day.

  14. Kira Avatar

    I am totally going to have these issues! My daughter is only 19 months, but already showing signs of being strong willed, and I do tend to think things should be done my way. I am saving this for future reference.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      All my kids are stringed willed and it easier to let them have their way in a few things then have to go to war on all things!! Best of luck with your daughter.

  15. Debbie Savage Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am so glad I found you. This is very special and I can’t wait for my three babes to come home and practice this.
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Congrats on 3 babies!! I wish you all the best!

  16. Lisa | The Merry Momma Avatar

    This was really interesting! I can so relate to the fear of being too permissive and enabling them to rule the house. But you’re right that having too many power struggles is exhausting and hurts the relationship.
    One thing that I learned from a Positive Parenting Solutions class was that power struggles pop up because sooooo much of a kid’s life is dictated and controlled by other people. They are looking for a little power of their own. She suggested giving them choices and letting them make little decisions whenever possible (while still maintaining order and authority) to give them a little “power.” It helps with my toddler!
    Great post!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I totally agree!! I love giving my kids “choices” and letting do some things on their own and learn good or bad natural consequences to what they picked. Life is e best teacher and sometimes we just have to get out of the way

  17. Sabrina Avatar

    Good points, I am working on teaching my kids to “disagree appropriately” so that we balance them having a voice with still being respectful and obedient.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      That is such a hard thing!! I hope you find a good balance.

  18. Kathryn | Fashionably Frank Avatar

    I love this! I feel like far too many parents refuse to listen to their kids as equal humans. While they don’t need to be “cool” or act like their best friend, it’s important they treat them with respect. In the instance of your daughter drawing a picture before setting the table, you’re so right to exercise flexibility and give her a chance to finish the task. This is a great article for all parents!

    xo Kathryn
    http://www.fashionablyfrank.com

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s just one example. I tried to show the balance between having authority in my house but also giving my kids flexibility.

  19. Norine Avatar

    I love how you talk about changing your thought process and letting go of control. My youngest is 16 and these are great things to keep in mind. Thank you for sharing!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Week my kids are 1,4 and 7 so I hope that these things can also help older kids! I’m just trying to build a solid foundation.

      1. Selpher Richard Avatar

        This has really encouraged me in Africa

  20. Delroy Pierre Avatar
    Delroy Pierre

    One valuable lesson that I learnt with my own child and as a teacher was that children can only be guided. Their life is their own.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I have very strong willed children so I find guidance is working so much better then expecting total complete obedience.

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