I had to reaffirm some rules this weekend. It was not fun, but it was necessary.
My husband and I have long contended over parenting styles. I am more relaxed, I have more of an emotional approach. He is more rigid, more structure based. Our differences are all based on our individual personalities and beliefs, but also on what kind of parenting worked for us best. I am working on my firmness and follow through. He is attempting to be a bit more relaxed and not quite so rigid. We are all works in progress.
So, at times, my kiddos will push the boundaries and limits I have provided to them. My youngest lost her use of a cell phone because of poor choices with social media. We are currently in month almost 3 of her not having her phone back because she has yet to show me that she deserves it back through her choices and behavior. But keeping it from her is killing me! I hate her not haivng what she wants, but I have to remind myself constantly that this is good for her. That I am providing her with clear expectations and consequences and I am allowing her to make the choice of how long her phone is gone. I do remind her that she is the one in control of how long her phone is gone and that I am not budging on what my expectations are for her to earn it back. I’m expecting she will get her phone back in a week or two because she is improving.
When my kids got their cellphones, I made them all sign a contract with very clear expectations, do’s and don’ts, and requirements that came with them having access to cellphones. Some of those expectations are all authority figures have the ability to check the phone at all times, that we have access to all social media, and that they can not block us or lock us out of anything on their phones. Thisis to make sure they are not getting themselves into potentially dangerous ar risky situations that could harm them or others. My son decided to block me on a certain social media site. After repeated attempts to access said page, I had to remind him of who pays for his phone, how old he is, and that I am not doing this to embarrass him or cause issues, but to keep an eye out and to make sure he is safe. And I also reminded him that he signed a contract and he needed to abide by that. He gave me access…albeit begrudgingly. All of the teenage sullen looks were received last night. It was unpleasant, but necessary. He needed to be reminded that I am his parent, his authority figure, and even though he lives with his grandparents, that does not negate the fact that I am still his mother and he has to listen and obey.
I love my kids…but I am not their friend. I give them the boundaries and rules that I do to keep them safe. To help them learn how to work with others and to teach them how to behave in a way that is socailly acceptable, regardless of who they are with at the time. But staying firm witth them is hard…so keeping my mantra of “I am not their friend, I am their mother” going in my mind as I parent, as I discipline, as I spend quality time with them is what is going to help keep me strong in my decisions and firm in my boundaries.