Obedient Children

cape cod
East Sandwich, Mass 6:00am

How important is it to have obedient children?

I spend a lot of time with my kids. And currently on vacation we are spending more than a lot of time together. Which is all good—we tend to have a great time with intermitent meltdowns due to the usual mix of exhaustion and hunger. But whenever I am forced to deal with the reality of my children in a public sphere or around groups of people, I am confronted by an amazing conundrum— I want them to be strong willed and free spirited and able to think and act for themselves in a positive manner. But I also want them to behave and do as I say.

It can seem impossible to have it both ways. Treating your child with a certain amount of respect gives them a voice in the way their lives are lived. It is exciting to see a child develop a sense of self that knows what they want and can even articulate why. It makes “Eat the food I made for you because that’s the way it is”, a much more difficult proposition to pull off. “Because I said so”, which was my parents mantra and worked well (or so it seemed), doesn’t really cut it with my kids.

Which makes me happy and is a pain in the neck. On one level you would think that the attempts I am making at respectful parenting would pay off now and my kids would engage in a healthy dialogue, wherein we came to a mutual understanding and resolution concerning whichever of the million daily conflicts we are arbitrating. But instead I have to have faith that I am making an investment on future earnings—they are just children who need to be children and make me crazy.

Let’s hope it works out in the end.