ABOUT THE BOOK -
EXCERPT FROM THE PARENTING GUIDANCE SECTION
Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me?
WHEN CHILDREN EXPECT TOO MUCH SAY AND CONTROL
Popular child-rearing guidance has swung from
the authoritarian “do it because I said so” approach of
forty-plus years ago to one that encourages parents to
raise their children to have a great deal of say, promising
that this approach builds children’s self-esteem.
However, in many families, children have been given
too much say and control, starting when the child is
too young to make decisions – for example, asking a
two-and-a-half-year-old what restaurant he wants to
go to. By the time children are school age, many parents,
having used this approach with the best of intentions,
continue down this path to avoid their child’s emotional
meltdowns, and theirs as well, even though they’re not
happy with the results. Children who are given too much
say will resist what they need to learn from parents,
teachers, and others. Instead of being strengthened,
children’s self-esteem is diminished when their demand
for control and their defiance make us frustrated and
annoyed with them.
If our kids donít believe they should listen to us and
they argue, negotiate, and become furious with us when
we donít let them have their way, we may not know how
our parenting approach has contributed to their defiant
behavior. We may not want to admit Ė even to ourselves
Ė that we need to change our approach. We donít want
to just keep our fingers crossed that our children will
grow out of this behavior. We need to know what to do.
When parents have let their preschooler regularly
choose the restaurant, the route to drive him to school,
or the order of the parentsí errands, this lays the groundwork
for their elementary school child to expect to be
a major decision-maker in the family and to be treated
as an equal by the parents. Parents say that they would
never have talked to their parents the way their children
speak to them.
If your five- to eight-year-old believes he should have
a lot of decision-making power in the family and gets
annoyed and obnoxious when you donít let him have
his way, itís not too late to make the changes that will
teach him why he canít be the boss of himself or of the
family. Letís take this a piece at a time. This is what this book is all about.