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Parenting - How Much 'Control' Is Healthy?

Aug 17, 2007
As parents we do need to be the ones in control when it comes to our children as we are the ones responsible for their safety and well being among other important things such as how to be independant and how to make good decisions.

However, is it good parenting to try and control every little details of our children's lives? For example does it really matter if your child wears green striped pants with a blue spotted shirt? If we are going somewhere more formal or somewhere special then yes I would prefer that my son wear clothes that somewhat match, but if we are just relaxing at home or just making a trip to the local store I let him pick his own clothes as long as they are weather appropriate. Yes I get some rather funny looks but it's more important that he is empowered by making his own choices.

Does it really matter if his room is immaculately clean and tidy every single day? I'd say no, but we do have a rule that everything must be put away neat and tiday at least once per week before we go out on the weekend. This is never a problem.

When it comes down to doing an arts and crafts project you need to be prepared to throw out the directions sometimes. If their imagination takes them to a different place than the directions then so what. Most of the time you are doing arts and crafts for them to have fun anyway, so why stifle them and make it less fun. My son wanted to make a mask so I got all the necessary stuff and as it turns out he decided to make fort out of cardboard, glue and ice cream sticks. Going with the flow instead of trying to control every single situation is going to make for a happier child and happier 'less-stressed' parent.

My son also likes to help me cook breakfast, his favorite part is cracking the eggs. Sometimes they land on the floor but oh well, he will eventually get better at it especially if I don't berate him and continue to let him help me. This encouragement and making our time together 'fun' makes all the difference in our relationship.

Basically what I am saying is you cannot expect perfection from your children, nor should you. It just not going to happen. They need to practice the skills you are teaching them and sometimes they will make mistakes and we should allow them to do so. I'm not saying that if they are being naughty that you shouldn't take control and apply appropriate discipline, but if they are making mistakes because they are trying to learn, then a little encouragement and patience will go a long way.

We also all want to teach our children to be independent and sometimes they are going to show their independence a little too strongly for our tastes. This is very confronting as a parent but it's important to realize that it's OK to be in disagreement with our children and we should encourage their free and independant thinking. After all being a parent and being in control does not mean you have to "win" every single 'battle'.

Remember that your children are forever watching everything you do and say and as challenging as it may be it times, it is vital that we treat them how we would like them to treat us and everyone else in the community. Ultimately, our actions speak louder than our words and the most importantly action we can show our children every day is how to 'love'.
About the Author
James Thomas is the creator of http://www.free-parenting-tip.blogspot.com a popular parenting resource for new and 'seasoned' parents from all around the world.
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