Ever had the feeling your child doesn’t like you? Don’t worry most parents and carers have at some time. Being disliked by your child is a healthy part of growing up and a sign (believe it or not) of good parenting.
Being in your child’s ‘bad books’ comes with the territory of good parenting as soon as they start to gain autonomy (the terrible twos). Any parent or carer who avoids enforcing rules or disciplining their child because they don’t want to incur their child’s displeasure will have their authority and respect severely diminished in the child’s eyes.
In the same vein, a word of warning, don’t ‘curry favour’ with your child in matters of behaviour. Obviously you will be loving and caring towards your child, but don’t try to ingratiate yourself by ignoring or endorsing bad behaviour. Your guidelines for good behaviour are essential and reasonable. Explain why you have asked your child to do something or have stopped them from doing something. That is sufficient.
Expect to be disliked sometimes by your child, and don’t take it personally. Enforcing boundaries is an integral part of successful parenting. It shows your child that you love and care for him or her enough to go out of your way to make sure they behave.
Foster carers often have children arrive who are out of control as it’s been easier to give in to or ignore unacceptable behaviour in the past. But that sends the child the message that the parent or carer can’t be bothered to enforce discipline and therefore doesn’t care.
Clear and consistent boundaries create a healthy loving and respectful environment in which the child will flourish and become a credit to their parents or carers. If you need a few extra strategies you may find my book Happy Kids helpful. You don’t have to buy the book unless you want to as it is available from most libraries.