I Want My Kids To Fear Me!
When I was growing up, I was scared of my parents. And that was a good thing. It was not a trembling fear. They were involved parents and I knew I could always talk to them. But I had a deep fear of displeasing them. That was a powerful influence in my life. I also knew they were not going to hold back the discipline if I got out of line. That was equally powerful in keeping me in line.
You may find this hard to believe, but when I was in school I was a chatterbox with class clown tendencies. But there was nothing more powerful than a teacher saying, “I’m going to call your mother,” for me to straighten right up. And fast. These days, if you mention telling a parent to these kids, they barely blink.
That’s no good.
Kids need to have a healthy fear and respect for authority, including other adults, teachers and policemen. Let’s face it, a healthy fear is an everyday part of life. It’s why we don’t run red lights. When we speed, we fear getting caught by police. We don’t cheat on our taxes (much) for fear of being caught and penalized by the IRS. Fear of consequences is an ever-present dynamic in our world.
So why are so many kids fearless of parents and other authority figures? It seems like every tween and teen has a bad case of the I-don’t-give- a-F****s.
This is dangerous stuff. And parents who don’t instill a healthy fear in their kids are doing a grave disservice.
The other fear, that I like, ok love is their fear that I am absolutely crazy. Unpredictable. There is nothing scarier than crazy and unpredictable. I started this lesson early. When the kids were younger, I would always threaten that if they didn’t eat their food and veggies properly that I would have to put them back on my breast for feeding so I could make sure they were getting proper nutrition. I warned that I would have to show up at the school cafeteria and pop out my boob for them at lunchtime. Of course, they know nothing of lactation science and this was really impossible. But this always made them clear their veggies. Quick. But one week, my son was testing me, I think. Three dinners went by that he didn’t clear his veggies. The next day I showed up at school at lunchtime smiling. My son, 6-years old at the time, was shocked. I calmly explained, while looking around for a perfect spot, that I was there to breastfeed him because I was very worried that he was not getting enough nutrition this week. You can imagine the shock and panic on his face. And that of his classmates. As I began to fidget with pulling up my shirt, and asking his classmates to please move over so I could sit down, he burst into all sorts of promises about eating his food from now on and begging and pleading with me to not pull up my shirt. It was really hard not to laugh.
He still tells that story today and he always finishes it with, “Mom is crazy!”
The other week, my tween daughter decided not to break some school rules with some classmates. When I asked her why she didn’t join in she said, “Are you kidding? If the school called you, I’d be in big trouble. I told them my mom would kill me!”
If your kids don’t fear you (in a good way) and think you’re capable of “crazy,” you might want to rethink your parenting game plan. I’m just sayin’.