It's Okay If He Doesn't Like You
FINALLY! You can stop feeling guilty for not giving into your son...
As you look toward the school year ending (it'll be here before you know it!), you may be just frazzled enough to begin relaxing the homework routine or allowing just those few extra minutes of screen time - because you’re tired, and school’s almost out, and, hey, summer is coming.
Wait. Summer is coming?
If you’re like many parents that I’ve coached over the years - one of your highest priorities is to stay connected to your boy and build a close relationship that will last into his adulthood. Seems pretty easy to do when your son is little and relies on you for everything. But as he grows and expresses his own mind, he may have other priorities than just keeping you happy. Ouch.
We want our kids to like us, right?
At the same time that we are doing so much to make sure they like us, I also hear parents complaining about how entitled their kids are, how it’s impossible to get them to help around the house, and, well, don’t even get started on the negotiation that happens every single minute over screen time!
And still… We want our kids to like us!
So, we settle.
We negotiate with ourselves (even more than with them).
We tell ourselves, “It’s just this one time.” “It’s just because he’s been sick.” “His friends have been mean to him, so just this once…”
And soon, we feel out of control and uncomfortable...and angry...at them.
But, more honestly, we're angry with ourselves because we didn’t hold the line when we could have and probably should have. In order for us to hold the line - WE have to be okay with spending some time on the other side of it - the side of being disliked, hated, reviled, ridiculed, and embarrassed by our kids. Ouch.
When we put the emphasis on wanting our kids to like us - we lose out on opportunities.
First and foremost, we miss the opportunity to swim in our own discomfort. Who knew that would be a thing that could be good for us?! But when we can be uncomfortable within our own skin, we are more likely to find the strength to show up for them when they face their own uncertainties. When we can be okay with discomfort, it means we don’t NEED to have to have our kids like us all the time! Hallelujah - and that means FREEDOM!
Now we can be free when he says, “I’m bored!”
Free to respond -- or not.
Free to let HIM figure out what he wants to do, build, read, or bake.
Now we can be free when he says, “I don’t want to play with my baby brother any more!”
Free to respond or not.
Free to let them work it out or free to split them up and see how long it takes before they are begging to play together again.
Now we can be free when he says, “Pllllllease just let me finish this level or I’ll lose all of my game!”
Free to respond or not.
Free to let him “hate” you when the timer goes off because that’s what you’ve decided on ahead of time and your Negotiation Department is closed.
Sure, we want our kids to like us!
More importantly, we want our kids to LOVE us.
And that means we’ve given them firm boundaries, kind guidance, and a good strong NO when they need it - all along the way.
Now that you know, you can be like so many parents who’ve gone before you…When he says, “I’m bored!” or “I’m sick of playing with my brother,” you can say: GO OUTSIDE! And even though our own parents didn’t have to wrestle with the screen-monster, you’ve got the answer to all of his whining and pleading for more screen time: GO OUTSIDE!
And, maybe, just maybe, you might gently and lovingly lock the door behind you, knowing he’ll be out for hours digging, creating, and doing, or just staring at a tiny bug or the big wide blue sky.
And when he is an adult and looks back on his unhurried days, he’ll like you (and love you) all the more.
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