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Enabling and Resenting

Parents want the best for their children. They envision the best for their children as being that their child obeys, respects, learns, and in general follows the right path. When this vision goes awry and the parent’s fantasy about their life and their child’s life gets shattered, the parents try countless tactics such as reward, punishment, lecturing, manipulating, threatening, and everything in between. Unfortunately, most of these tactics have very little long-term effects with difficult children.

In the midst of these parenting strategies, parents have a hard time setting boundaries and allowing their child to simply fail. Parents will protect them from one set of consequences and then interject their own consequences. Often the parents do so much work to protect their child from the consequences of their actions, while spending even more effort creating consequences that are just right. This would be all fine and well except that parents without realizing it develop resentments that end up being more damaging than any life lesson or consequence would have been. For example stop making your life and everyone else’s life miserable day after day trying to get them to do their homework because you are afraid they will get kicked of their sports team or have to repeat a class. At some point it is enabling and unhealthy to put that much effort into their academics. Often suffering the natural consequence of their behaviors and decisions have more lasting effects and positive results for the future.

Stop enabling your children and stepping in front of consequences you don’t want to see them experience. Instead, walk alongside them and don’t let them feel alone as they pick themselves up. Resenting the unrecognized work you have put in to parenting damages your influence, your relationship with your children, and often your marriage. Remember that your influence comes from what you model, the healthy boundaries you set, the lessons that are not said over and over again, and in demonstrating happiness in the life you are leading.

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