Kids are incredibly inquisitive. They are always trying to master a skill, solve a problem, or create something new. They are entrepreneurs and they don’t even know it yet.
Most kids are also persistent to the point of driving everyone around them mad. And the negotiations! So. many. negotiations. These are skills that we can draw from as parents, and we must be cautious not to squash them out of our children.
It’s so easy to say, “because I said so” when our children question our directions. But what outcome does that type of authoritarian parenting produce? It creates lots of pissed off-ness, that’s what. Even worse, it may turn your offspring into submissive followers who never question authority. I know, this sounds extreme, but look at the world. What percentage of people are working in a job they hate under a boss they can’t stand (ding ding ding, we are!)? Do we want this for our kids? I, personally, would much rather my kids be happy. If that means working under someone else, that is totally fine. But I want my son to know that he is valued, and just because his boss is more “successful” or has more “authority” than him, doesn’t mean he has to be his or her door mat.
Won’t this type of parenting produce spoiled kids who want to shuck all the rules and become anarchists? Well, seeing as I’ve been a parent for less than five years, that is yet to be seen. It’s not logical that it would, though. Doesn’t respect beget respect? I know that I was parented from a polar opposite perspective, and I grew up not really giving a darn about most adults around me. I had to relearn how to think for myself after being brainwashed to think I didn’t know what I was doing or who I was because I was just a kid. I promised myself as a teenager that I would never do that to my own children. (Can someone cue the sappy, depressing music? Coldplay will do just fine.)
Lo’ and behold, absolutes don’t usually work out. I have many a time said, “because I said so.” Most of the time I apologize and explain the situation more appropriately to my four year old, but others, I’m not so on top of things. I’ve yelled. I’ve set expectations too high. I’ve threatened to take away every toy in the house out of pure frustration. But I always come back to my core beliefs (eventually), and that is that children matter. They deserve respect. You brought them into your world, and they should be welcome there.
Next time you have some time with them, try to observe the little creatures. They are truly amazing. And if you watch close enough, you just might learn some valuable entrepreneurial traits from them.