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.
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:
- why do you want it done this way? Is it really that important?
- 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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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.
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.