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June 25, 2013

I Stopped Parenting My Kids—Today

Image: Flickr/Ian Sane

Image: Flickr/Ian Sane

I’m done! This parenting thing, it is just too hard. I am declaring to the world, or at least to those that are reading this post, that, “I quit!” I have truly had enough of this whole process.

My decision is based upon logic, not emotion. I’ve thought long and hard about my decision and to tell you the truth, I’m happy with it. I’ve prayed about it and consulted others, and I have firmly settled on the option to surrender the role that I have assumed over the past five years. So for the sake of emphasis, let me repeat, “I am done parenting my kids!”
Here’s why…
I’ve tried to make sure that my kids are the people that want them to be. I’ve set out clear cut goals for them to follow, but they seem to reject them at times. I have created a pathway that would ensure their happiness and success, but at times they choose a course that I have not prescribed. I’ve taken the time to plan their schedules, including the activities that are the most beneficial to them, but they seem unappreciative. My kids just want to do what they want to do. All of this has left me feeling frustrated and a bit annoyed.
The Most Frustrating Thing
I feel frustrated at the fact that I have enforced consequences, but they don’t seem to be working. I’ve taken things, called all the time-outs that I have at my disposal, but my kids keep on making the same mistakes. I just don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how else to respond. It usually ends in some sort of blow up, with a lot of crying, screaming and pouting.
That’s why I’ve decided to quit—to stop parenting the way that I have been. I realized that the way I have been approaching the idea of parenting has contributed to my own unhappiness and resentment. I’ve been trying to control my kids. When that hasn’t worked, I’ve tried to coerce and even manipulate them so that they will do what I wanted them to do and be who I wanted them to be. It hasn’t been effective! As a matter of fact, it has driven us apart.
The Choice to Lead
As parents, we have been given the greatest leadership responsibility known to man. What kind of leaders do we want to be? I want to be the type of leader that invites my kids to follow me. Invite them, because of my actions, my demeanor and my calm. My desire is not to bark commands, but to inform my kids of their choices.
Great leaders set direction, but at the same time they realize that they may not always be followed. Our kids have to choose to follow us. Sometimes they elect to test the boundaries of life. They are doing this because they are seeking to understand the space around their lives. We can be intimidated by it, or we can accept it and choose to be the resource that can help our children navigate their way around their space.
Now, I am charting a new course for my parenting journey. One that focuses a lot more on me and my actions and less on my kids and their actions. No longer am I trying to dictate and make them live the dream that I have for their lives, but now I am appreciating the fact that their lives belong to them. I am their tour guide through life. This role allows me to witness the lives that they will choose to live.
I like parenting better this way. It actually helps me love and appreciate my kids even more.

One thought on “I Stopped Parenting My Kids—Today

  1. I recently ordered scream-free parenting, so I am hoping this post acts as a nice introduction to the book. I give my kids choices, but they are more like (1) go along with what I say or (2) the consequence for not choosing my path. Therefore, I am interested in learning about how to frame the choices and what the options can be. During the baby’s second nap time, my other children have to sit and watch a movie. My oldest daughter doesn’t like this idea, so we give her the choice to sit and read in her bed. This rarely helps anything at all.

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