More Cool to be the "Uncool" Parent?
There’s a certain expected behavior that comes with being a parent. You must be tough but kind and friendly yet cold when necessary. Too much of one and not enough of the other can lend you to either being the “mean parent” or the “cool parent”. Striking a balance of them both is a highwire act that even the most skilled trapeze artists find difficult to perform.
I myself have had some parenting identity issues lately. I opened up about them and exposed myself. And while that in itself was frightening, I caught a look as to what my kids might be thinking and feeling as I blur the lines between being their friend and being their mom.
Discovering that your kids may not be listening to you because they find you a pushover and easy to manipulate is difficult to accept. When it happens you find yourself wrestling with the need to gain control over the situation by toughening up and wanting desperately to remain the likeable parent or the easygoing one.
I mentioned that it’s not going to be easy for me to find my balance again, especially when I’ve been knocked so far off course. I realize that I’ve let it happen so it’s in my best interest and the kids’ that I get things back in control again.
In keeping with the open dialogue that I love having between the kids and me, I’ve decided that it might be easiest for me to ask them if they feel that my friendliness or easy going attitude is license to ignore and disobey me. I’ve also decided that in order for me to gain control, I need to reiterate what I expect of them; what is considered acceptable behavior toward me and any other adult authority figure in their lives and the consequences for not behaving the way they are expected.
Yes, this is going to be a tough battle and I expect some bumps along the way. However, I also expect that my kids have grown to love being able to talk openly with me as much as I have with them and they’ll want that to continue. If that’s the case, then hopefully we can come to an understanding about our roles with each other and how it’s important for them to respect and honor their parents and other adults.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject though, what do you think of being the “cool parent”? Does being the cool parent create problems or keep kids closely connected to mom or dad?