With the advent of mobile connectivity, it is no surprise that more and more parents are challenged by discipline and power struggles in their relationships with their children. And while it has always been true that parents and children encounter power imbalances, the intensity of the power imbalance for the modern parent-child dynamic is deeper than what previous generations have experienced. When it is possible to believe that you can simply “google” anything you need to know, the role of the parent, educator, coach and benevolent deity is displaced to the side – in the peanut gallery of the realm of heart and mind. There is great confusion between knowledge (which doesn’t care) and wisdom (which comes from the heart of God).
Peggy Lee is a Rocklin mom of four, ranging in ages from five to 30 years, who wrote a book called, Spoiled: Fresh Ideas for Parenting the Entitled Child at Any Age, which offers practical insights about parenting entitled children at any age. Her insights come from personal experience and what she witnessed through her financial planning practice, wherein entitlement shows up as the opposite of being responsible. She noticed that most of the financial issues were relationship issues as parents assumed ownership for the lives that belong to their children; and more importantly, the children had surrendered their ownership of their lot in life to their parents.
Lee spoke at St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church last week on the topic of discipline and power issues for parenting. One of the most helpful tips she offers the modern parent, who is often dealing with very worldly, “smarty-pants” youth who believe they already know it all, is to use the “Oh” method in responding to manipulation and disrespect. “Do not react to your child provoking you,” she said. “When your child begins to criticize you and list all the reasons why every other parent is better than you for being more permissive, just say ‘oh’, and calmly maintain your ground.” Lee wants parents to understand your child needs to be able to test the limits of what is right and just; so expect them to challenge you and don’t let it rattle you.
The trick to restoring the power balance is to not give up your power as the parent in the first place. “You have the power. Your children want it, and if you give it to them they will not be able to use it for their own good,” she said, citing that her research found this modern generation who have been provided the most that any previous generations of youth, are actually the least happy and do not feel loved.
Examiner tip for parents: Consider that God’s love is real. It is the Spirit and the authority in each of us wanting to connect with the intellect and will of our children. So when dealing with discipline issues, ask yourself, “Am I seeking control over my child, or seeking to teach my child self control.” The authenticity our children are wired to seek is the latter.
For more help with parenting in the social network, go to: Reviving parenthood