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September 12, 2014

Use the Force?

Image: Flickr/Jonathan Cohen

Image: Flickr/Jonathan Cohen

“Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short lived.” (Abraham Lincoln)

From time to time parents find themselves asking, “What do I really want most for my children?” Usually, the answer has something to do with them becoming happy, well-adjusted, confident, kind, self-sufficient adults. This, of course, is no small thing. They don’t always make choices to lead to that kind of life. They sometimes make choices that could lead them down a road to ruin. It’s in those moments, when we see them headed down the wrong path, that we’re most tempted to intervene — sometimes forcefully.

The problem is: If you are going to guide your children into a positive adult life, you’ll need a great relationship with them. And a great relationship cannot be based on the use of force. Force may get compliance in the short term, but it inevitably results in a loss of respect and trust in the long run.

So, think long and hard before you resort to brute force with your children. It often comes across as a desperate move, and your kids can smell that from a mile away.

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