Who is really in charge: You or your child?

January 27th, 2016 Posted by Misc No Comment yet


Leah Speer

posted in Mom Stories

I recently turned to some friends for advice on my son and his love for video games and YouTube videos about video games. I ended my plea for help with the following: “I would like to completely take away the YouTube videos…Forever! But, I want to do it without being a mean & terrible mom–ripping away something he loves?”

Photo Credit: Leah Speer

Photo Credit: Leah Speer

A caring and informative friend sent me the link to the article, “Parents: You’re not doing your job. Sincerely, expert and author Leonard Sax” that quite bluntly reminded me that it’s okay not to be the “good cop” all of the time. I’m a mom first, not a best friend. After all, I am the one in charge…not my children. No big surprise there, but easier said than skillfully executed!

Reading through this article abounding with advice from family physician, psychologist and author of the book “The Collapse of Parenting,” Leonard Sax shares numerous solutions for creating a family built out of respectful authority.

Photo Credit: Leah Speer

Photo Credit: Leah Speer

Most of his advice was right in line with how my husband and I parent, but just not as consistently as we should. We do have family dinners together and it’s something we’re trying to do more of in 2016. I’d say right now we’re at the dinner table together about three nights per week. Though with our boys ages 6 and 7, it’s more of a debate on “how much more do we have to eat to be done?” and a constant “sit down!” from us, than it is delightful conversation about their day at school. Sax shares, “the children were less likely to internalize problems such as anxiety or externalize problems…and they develop good nutrition habits” with each meal the family has together.

Screen time was another main point of Sax in this article. …which was exactly what I needed to read right now: No screens in the bedroom and limit how they are used.

Sax also wrote an article titled “Why kids today are out of shape, disrespectful – and in charge” which really hit home. I was the mom seven years ago reading articles about raising up your toddler and how important it is to provide them choices and including them in decision making. While I do have good kids, they can get mouthy and disrespectful at times and it’s not going to get any better until we parent like we’re in charge.

For us, this will start with saying “no” to YouTube videos and limiting screen time to the recommended 30 minutes/weekday and two hours on the weekend. When he gets upset, I’m going to remind myself that it’s for his benefit and he’s too young to know what’s good for him. Reading, after all, is better!  Maybe he’ll be mad at me for a day, maybe it’ll be a week. But, he’ll get over it and ultimately grow up to be a better, more respectful well-balanced human.

Photo Credit: Leah Speer

Photo Credit: Leah Speer


How do you monitor screen time with your child?

For more stories you can relate to―driving home the beauty that you’re not alone in this crazy world of motherhood—check out “Pour Me Some Wine: A Toast to the Mama Sisterhood” co-written by Leah Speer and Trina Epp. Follow Leah @mommoisseurs on Twitter and on Facebook.

Feature image credit: Ashley Richardson

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