So do you share the load with your partner of supporting / challenging and being nice / mean to the kids, or does one of you do more of one than the other?
In terms of being a parent, if you are always challenging your kids, and being the tough one, it is a shame for you because they are less likely to be open and affectionate to you. But your partner, or another member of the family will fill the space and ensure that they do get some support. Remember, it goes vice versa, if you are overly supportive of your kids, you will find that someone else appears to be always unreasonably harsh.
The ideal, is to do a bit of both, and be both fun and disciplined, soft and harsh, nice and mean.
When you find that you are tipping the balance into more being more supportive or challenging, then you can find that if you just stop, your partner will automatically pick up the slack. For example, if you are finding yourself always telling the children off. You can either stop, and watch them do it automatically, or explain the effects to your partner and ask them to help. (I’ll talk about communication another time!).
When you feel guilty for the boundaries, rules, or just being bad tempered and grouchy, try to think of what they will gain from it. Responsibility, something to kick against, and an emotional intelligence of when people are not going to be open to their ideas or wants.
When you feel full of yourself for being so generous and kind to your child, think of the downsides, maybe a lack of independence, lack of financial responsibility and understanding, not wanting to experience things without you, or becoming over-reliant on you. It can even bias them against other members of the family and stop them from learning or gaining from interacting with them.
Ironically a child that has parents who over protect them at home will often end up bullied at school. Rather than kindly helping a child that appears ‘weaker’ than the rest, it is human nature to find them irritating and have a go; hence probably making them feel worse and weaker about themselves. So although you might have a sensitive child who needs gentle handling, remember to not be too over protective of them, as they will need to develop some strength of character when at school.
Do you think that you balance the support and challenge, or is it mainly one way for you? Need any hints and tips to tip the balance back to a more moderate approach? Disagree with me, or want further explanations? Let me know your thoughts.