I want everyone to like me. This means, I am sometimes too nice. I am a push-over. I give my toddler a choice between a red shirt and a blue shirt, she refuses. I offer her a pink dress. Big mistake. My girl is a Taurus. If I don’t develop a spine, that little bull is going to trample me. Then nobody wins.
Thankfully, I am aware of this parental vulnerability. I work to combat it. I read and re-read books and articles on how and why to set limits. (Book Recommendation: No: Why Kids–of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It by David Walsh.) I have asked my husband to tactfully point out when I waffle. In fact, he set a challenge for me today. Nora and I need to be waiting in the daycare parking lot by the time he pulls up to drive us home. Yesterday, I tried to pick my daughter up from school. I didn’t rush her out the door, as she was happily playing and we were waiting for my husband, but when it was time to go, she ignored me. Then my husband came in and we were out the door in about forty-five seconds. He wasn’t mean, there were no tears, only brief resistance. Nora knew he meant business and I didn’t.
Thankfully, my husband’s vulnerabilites and my own are complimentary. If I am the push-over, he leans toward over-enforcement. As long as we are both willing to work on our weaknesses, we are in a perfect position to assist one another. There was one week where it was my job to be the heavy. Whenever he was tempted to correct our daughter, he told me about it, and I had to do it. It was a good exercise for both of us, and allowed him some pure play time with Nora. Afterwards, I was better at enforcing limits and he was able to let go of some rules that weren’t serving us.
It’s worth questioning your default parenting style, and making sure it’s aligned with your parenting goals. If you find an area where you’re vulnerable, take the extra step and make a plan that will strengthen you as a parent.