Did you just end your day and realize your children determined almost everything you did? Do you feel like you are just spending your days serving your kids? I think all mom’s have been here! I know I have! As Mom’s, we easily get into the routine of doing what our kids want right when they ask. If they can’t find something, who do our kids expect to come right away and help them look? If they are thirsty or hungry they expect us to drop what we are doing and get what they want. Yes, we are Moms, and a big part of job is taking care of our family and giving them what they need. But there is a lot more to it than just waiting on them hand and foot.
As a Mom, I often spend a lot of our time cleaning up after my kids and doing things for them, because it seems easier, (and takes less time) to do just do things for them. But then I miss out on opportunities to teach them and train them to do things for themselves, so that they can learn some independence and responsibility. We all love our children and we just want them to be happy! However, I find the more I cater to my kids every need, the worse their attitudes get. The more I give in and do things for them, the more they expect me to do. The more I let them demand things of me, the more demanding my kids get. Our kids do not need us to just be their servant!
You are a Mom! Not a Servant!
Our kids need us to be their Mom!! Yes a Mom does a lot of serving, but by no means should Moms be servants to their kids! A servant as defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary, is “one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer.” A servant has no authority over who they are serving. If one is a servant, they are an employee and must follow the direction of the one who has authority over them. A servant serves when they are told to serve.
God says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1, ESV). Who has the authority there? God has given parents authority over their children! He has not given our children authority over us. God gave children parents to teach them, train them in how to live, show them what is right and wrong, and love them. Proverbs 6:22 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) Whether you homeschool, or send your kids to public or private school, you as a parent, are your kids teacher!
What I learned as a Kid
Kids need to be taught! They need to learn how to clean up after themselves. They can learn to wait patiently for things. At some point they can get their own drinks and snacks. They can learn to be kind to others and speak respectfully. I could go on and on! I don’t know about you, but I heard “no” a lot as a child. My brother, sisters and I had to clean up our toys, and do chores around the house. We were expected to be respectful, and kind to everyone. We were expected to do what our parents asked right away without whining or complaining. When we didn’t, there were consequences. This was the way our family operated. We loved and respected each other. I never thought my parents were strict or expected too much. I knew they loved and cared for us.
My parents are not perfect and we were not perfect children. But my parents took the time to teach and train us in what was right and wrong. They did not give us everything we wanted or do what we wanted them to right when we asked. I may not have always appreciated that as a kid. Now, I am and will be forever, grateful! I know I would be a unhappy mommy right now, if I hadn’t learned as a child, that you do not always get what you want right away or couldn’t do things for myself. Unfortunately, I see many young adults struggle with college or jobs because they expect things to be done for them, and are unable to follow direction from authority.
Our kids need to recognize that the world does not revolve solely around them and that they are not in charge of everything. If we make what our kids want more important than everything else, they will never learn to wait and respect what other people need. If we do everything for our kids they will never learn responsibility.
What I learned as a Parent
We as parents have to start by realizing that we have authority over our children. When our children are newborn babies you feed them as soon as they are hungry, change their diapers when it’s time, and hold them when they cry. This is what babies need. A newborn baby does pretty much dictate everything you do as a mom! However, at some point we need to make a change.
My son was still waking up to nurse every 2 hours almost every night even when he was almost 1 year old. Our doctor actually told us we could start slowing down with his nursing. He was growing well, and getting more than enough to eat! He advised us that most babies just get in the habit of waking up and wanting to nurse for comfort and that we could work on him going back to sleep without needing to eat every time.
That’s when we started to realize that it was time to stop letting our baby decide what was best for him. We needed to recognize that we had the authority and could teach our son to sleep through the night. He could be comforted and helped to go back to sleep without eating. We learned that sometimes what is best for your child may not make them happy in that moment, but that’s ok! Our job isn’t to make them happy of every moment of the day. Our responsibility as parents is to teach them and train them for success and happiness in their future! If we simply do everything our kids want and need to make them happy, we are setting them up for failure and disappointment in the future.
How can we teach them?
I think the first step is that we have to recognize that we can determine what is best for our kids and what they need. Think about what you want for your kids in the future. How do you want your kids to talk to you and other people now and when they are adults? What kind of behavior do you want to see from your children. Then recognize that you have the authority to enforce that. No, it’s not always easy, and doesn’t always feel good when you have to punish your kids or tell them no.
Then we have to make a choice to stop taking the easy way out with our kids. I know I’ve done this way too often. It is easier in the moment to give your kids something else that they will like better for dinner, rather than make them eat what you have given them. Sometimes, I would prefer to pick up my kids toys real quick, instead of calling them over to force them clean up their mess. Also, it is always much easier to just give a 2 year old what they want than deal with the crying screaming fit that seems to follow almost every time you tell them no. However, taking the easy way out only teaches our kids that they are really in charge, and they don’t really have to listen and respect us as parents.
So start saying “no” to your kids when you need to. If they are able to get themselves a drink or a snack when they ask you, let them do it. When they want you to do something for them, and you are busy, it’s ok to tell your kids, “I will help you, in a few minutes when I’ve finished…”. When you are talking with your husband, and your kids come running to tell you 5,000 things, do not allow your kids to interrupt your conversation. We tell our kids (probably everyday), “If it’s not an emergency (meaning no one is hurt or bleeding), you can wait.”
We talk to our kids and tell them often that we want to listen to them, and what they have to say is important to us, but it is rude and disrespectful to interrupt a conversation. When there is a stopping point my conversation I make a point to listen to what my kids want to tell me, so that they will know what they have to say is important to me.
One of the most important standards in our house is to speak and ask for things politely and respectfully. There is a difference between your child saying, “Mom, can I have a drink please?” and “Mom, I want a drink.”. One is a polite question the other is a demand. Kids will be very demanding if allowed. It is not always easy, but it is vital to train your kids to speak respectfully and politely to you. You will feel a lot more like a mom and less like a servant when your kids are asking with please and saying thank you! Know that your kids are not the authority and should not make demands of you. Make them ask nicely. It takes some training but, the results are worth it!
A few tips
Be consistent with whatever it is you are trying to teach them.
It won’t mean anything to them if you make them ask nicely, saying please and thank you, one day and forget to remind them the next.
It doesn’t matter how long the battle goes, just don’t give up and make sure you win.
My Mom always told us when we had kids, make sure you don’t let them win. If we give in and just give our kids what they want you better believe they will keep doing whatever it takes to get what they want. They will then see that they are really in charge of the house.
Don’t dwell on the hard days!
Some days will be hard. (Especially when you have toddlers!) You may feel like all you did was tell your kids no, and punish them for disobeying. But look for the good things, and be encouraged that you are loving your children by disciplining them.
Know that they will get it, and it will get easier.
It has been so exciting to see my older boys remember things we have taught them on their own. They are starting to clean up their toys themselves. My older boy will jump in to help unload the dishwasher. My middle son often voluntarily brings out their laundry. Even my little 2 year old will often say please and thank without always having to be reminding!
My mom told me often as I got older and was starting a family, that being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but also the most rewarding! This is so true! It is a 24/7 job to care for, teach, and love our children! It is exhausting and takes a strength, patience, wisdom, and love only God can give us! However, it is possible. Recognize that God will give you everything you need. You can raise children in our world today that are kind, caring, respectful, responsible, and work hard. You can raise children that will become strong and independent adults that love and follow God and are kind to people! I have seen it!
We are just starting to see the fruits of our labor with our kids. It is so rewarding to see your kids taking to heart what you are teaching them, making good decisions, and choosing to be helpful and kind to everyone. As hard as it is, it is worth it! Train and discipline your kids! Recognize your authority and be their Mom, not just their servant! Yes there will be hard days, but every sacrifice you make will be worth it for you and your children’s future!
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