Here’s my dirty little secret: Pushover parenting made my life easier at times. Let’s stop right there. I said “at times,” but the end result was a disaster! I have two little girls, and while I want them to be happy, my pushover parenting came at a cost. My lack of discipline, inconsistency, and poor boundaries caused me unnecessary grief. The result was two children who didn’t take me seriously, came across as entitled, and caused embarrassing moments in public. I realized soon enough that I had to take my power back. Simple changes like saying what I mean and meaning what I say have turned my once out-of-control home into a sanctuary where my kids feel secure.
Every pushover parent has their reasoning; mine was guilt and sheer exhaustion. I’m a single mother who works and goes to school, and discipline felt overwhelming. I shamefully admit to thinking that cutting my kids a break was easier than dealing with the drama. I know now where I went wrong, and it began with not really meaning what I say. If I say there will be consequences and don’t follow through, then Mom’s a liar. If they throw a fit and I eventually give in, they learn that poor behavior earns rewards.
These days, they’ll tell you that when I say “No,” I mean it! They don’t have to like it, but they do have to respect it. Don’t get me wrong – when I first began saying “No” and sticking to it, there was backlash. But eventually, my girls came to realize that my word was golden.
Another observation I made was that kids need boundaries to help them feel secure. If I’ve communicated my feelings and set a boundary, my girls realize I’m not the bad guy. I’m their mother, and my ultimate job is to protect them. My protection comes in the form of a firmer bedtime and saying “No” to junk food. My protection also means saying “No” to friends who’ve become a bad influence. I make education the number one priority, which sometimes means Saturday homework. As a result, my children are happier, healthier, and better behaved.
Taking back your power means being able to say “No.” It means following through with boundaries that you set and not giving in, even if giving in makes your life easier. Taking back your power means never reinforcing bad behavior. Pushover parenting is a cycle that, when broken, leads to healthier, happier, and more respectful kids, which makes them better adults in the future – and hopefully leads to even better grandchildren! Take back your power and show your children who’s boss, because at the end of the day, they’ll love you for it!