Modern parents can make you nostalgic for bygone eras.

There was a time when children went outside to play and basically did not see their mother for a solid 8 hours, except when she made them a nutritious bologna sandwich on white bread, which was wolfed down before running back out the door.

For the most part, parents didn’t bother with you or your stuff. From about five years of age on, you were mostly left alone.

There was no hovering or desire to understand what happened outside. (“Ok, Jimmy pushed you.  That’s too bad.  You probably deserved it,” was the level of psychological support you received.)

In contrast, self-conscious and very involved parenting is the rule these days.

Self-conscious parenting is revealed in the way parents speak to their child:

  • “Now, Hayden…you know that is not your indoor voice, is it Hayden?” (While Hayden runs around the café yelling.)
  • “Remember Lloyd, please do not run ahead, okay? (Lloyd has already blown off his mom, running down the store aisle.)
  • “Luna, please don’t use you your whining voice.” (Your whining voice???)
  • “Emma, where are your listening ears?” (Hmmm???”)
  • “Grant, don’t you think it is time we started our homework?” (Wait, you have homework too?)
  • Dutton, I think it is time we went to bed, isn’t it?” (We??)
  • It’s time for us to brush our teeth, Ava?  (“Our teeth?”)

Compliance between the parent and child can be complicated by many variables affecting the outcome.  A big one is how the message is sent.

Very often the sender of the message (i.e., the parent) is sending a weak, low-level message/command that conveys insecurity and is likely to be ignored.

In attempts to be nice and overly measured  while worrying about the child’s psychological well-being or  “self-esteem,” the message is not clear or direct enough.

Takeaway Point

In line with the above reference to the way things were in other parent eras, if you don’t know this dated term, “mollycoddling” you may want to look it up.

Then do the opposite!!!

For more on Parent-Child dynamics, check out my latest book:  Beyond the Power Struggle:  A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids