But I catch myself at times (when I am frustrated or tired) engaging my children as peers rather than as children. I am fond of telling other parents when referring to my kiddos that I don't “negotiate with terrorists." But I do. I consult them rather than parent them. This article, which includes an interview with noted family physician and psychologist Dr. Leonard Sax, reminds me that I have to stop doing that and trust myself more as a parent. My parents were amazing. I know what good parenting looks like.
Parenting is a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy. Now, sure, there are times when choice and a voice are appropriate and productive, but there is nothing wrong with saying, "Because I'm your father/mother and I said so." It has become an often repeated phrase in our house in the last few years, and I am not apologizing for it. We don't have to justify our decisions to our children. They are not our peers and some decisions are not theirs to make, such as what they eat for dinner, when they get to use the iPad, and where they go to school. Those are my decisions as a parent. Whether they know it or not, children crave firm boundaries and clear directions. It helps them to feel safe and enables them to learn. Oh, and it helps them to be happy, smart, and motivated, too.