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Who is in charge?

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Without any doubt, you are. You and your partner, if there is one. There is not one solid argument for letting the children do whatever they want or let them be in control. This is not parenting.

When children are born, they know nothing. They cannot talk, they are not socialized, they do not know rules, etc.

  • It is your job to teach this to your children.
  • It is your job to be a role model.
  • It is your job to explain things.
  • It is your job getting them socialized.
  • It is your job to set boundaries.
  • And so on.

You cannot give young persons who do not know anything, who do not know what safe / allowed / social behavior, etcetera is, be in charge. It would be the same if a new employee takes over the company. Maybe you think this would be funny and this will never happen. But unexperienced children controlling a household does happen often. It is wrong. Those children decide what they do, they eat whatever and when they want, they go to bed when it suits them, etcetera also.

Parents who think letting them do whatever they want, because this is good for them, are very very wrong. If parents give their children complete freedom, it is because of the fear of leading or not having a clue what to do. It is softness from the parents. It looks easy, let the children do whatever they want. So you do not have to take action or step in and use the excuse "It is good for them". But I can assure you, children will start misbehaving if you do not control them. If children get the freedom to do whatever they want, they take it off course. That is the human nature. If there would be no police anymore, society would slowly go down to complete chaos. Some will start. Go a bit further. More will follow.

Problems because of not having control over children, will be during their growing up at home and when they fly out. If a child is used to do whatever it wants, it will do this also during its teen time and the adult life. Those kids will have the attitude of "nobody is going to tell me what to do." This is because how they were raised. These children will derail for sure.

There are two wrong forms of parenting. One is as just described, letting children do whatever they want. This is not parenting; this is not doing anything. The opposite is controlling children to the extreme:

  • They are not allowed anything.
  • They are not allowed to disagree.
  • They are not allowed to have mind of their own.
  • They are on slave level.

Parents are dominating, is also wrong. Those will for instance not be capable of running their own business when they are adults. They are used to obeying and following. Being in charge is NOT the same as dominating. Being in charge is good. Dominating is bad.

The right way of parenting is somewhere in the middle between dominating and allowing everything. And it is called being in charge. Parents are in charge. Parents respect children. Children have an amount of freedom they can handle.

Children do not decide what borders they have; parents set the borders. If a child gets older with more responsibilities, you can widen the borders. This is leading and the only right way of parenting. In other words letting them grow slowly to independent adulthood, when they start their own life.

If you already have children, this is the way to improve it. If you give them no freedom or too much, you have to change your attitude because it is not good for the children. And that is what parenting is about. Once again, you are raising them towards independency. Yes, the four year old is going to be an adult one day. Your job is preparing them for that. This has to be the attitude when they are born.

If you are not in control, you need to get back in control. This is your first job. They have to obey. For instance doing chores. There will be resistance, but you keep pressure on this. Not by force, but by explaining chores are a part of family life and mom and dad will have less to do and will have more time to play with the children.

As soon as they are accepting you are in control (again), and not before this, you can widen the borders. Step by step. You give them more freedom; they cannot take it by themselves. Give them more leash or whatever you want to call it. For instance they can vacuum the living room, when it best suits them. But they have to do it. If this goes wrong, set the borders back and they have to do it when you ask them. Yes, ask, do not tell.

If you are too dominate, you have to loosen up. Dominating is wrong. No, the children will not walk all over you, if you do it the right way. If you ask them to do shores, you can put mental pressure on them until they do it. But not by ordering. Make them feel guilty by something like "Does mom has to it for you?" If the child says yes, keep the pressure until he or she volunteers. Say "are you not a part of this family."

Do not be afraid of children who are getting independent. Children need to be independent if they leave your home. That is your job as parent. Prepare them for their adulthood. They are allowed to disagree on many topics. They are not copies of you. If teens and adults do not have a mind of their own, parents did something very wrong.

A good parent is capable of discussing things with children. A good parent is capable of admitting being wrong towards a child. This is not softness, it is strength. Allowing them to have a mind of their own.

So, you have to be in control of your children. If not, you will have many problems and you will damage your children. If you are not in control, you cannot widen the borders, because there are no borders anymore.

The children are in charge is like letting a blind person drive a car. It goes wrong for sure. Children cannot be in charge. They are not ready for this. If you don't know how to do this, start thinking how you can be in control again. Abuse is not an option. Abuse means you are dong things wrong. You have to put yourself back in the driving seat. It is for any age. Parents are leaders, teachers, role models but also friends. So, "the children can do whatever they want", is very wrong. 

If you are not in control, your house will be chaos. If you are too dominate, you will also have a lot of tension in your family life, because children do not want to be dominated. They fight it. If they accept the dominance, you have damaged them, because their self esteem is broken now. They go in the direction of slaves.

So once again, the right way of parenting is somewhere in the middle between no control and dominating.

The main rule is, parents are in charge and you give them the freedom they can handle. You should give them more freedom when they grow up, because they get older. Yes, you give them the freedom. You allow them more space if it is the right time. And enjoy it, if they handle it well. If a child can stand up for him or herself in a decent way, you are doing the right things.

If you do it the right way, you will have very few problems with your children and your children will like you. Believe it or not, children want rules, but no child wants to be treated like a slave. Would you?

I know, changing is hard, because you are used to a certain approach or you grew up with a certain way of parenting. You shouldn't do it your parents way. You shouldn't do it your way. You should do it the best way. So think about it what I have said. Put yourself in the shoes of your children. How would you like to be treated? Keep in mind, what you feel and what your children are feeling, is the same.