Should children fear their parents?
Absolutely not. Fear and respect are two very different things, and when we confuse them, the loss for both children and the parents is immense.
When we fear something, we get the impulse to run from it or fight it.
I have no wish for my children to have either of these reactions at the thought of me or their father, I’m sure you wouldn’t too.
I do not wish them to ever want to run or hide from me in fear of my reaction, punishment or judgment. On the other hand, I do not want my children to expect an attack from me, so they feel the need to prepare themselves for confrontation or a power struggle.
Parenting is about love.
In times of hardship, parenting is about loving guidance.
The trouble happens when parents equate love to leniency and the lack of boundaries, consistency, and effort.
If I love my children, I wish them to grow up, learning to respect reasonable rules and boundaries. I want them to grow up to become responsible and compassionate adults, caring about themselves and others, being polite but assertive, trusting in their dreams but not be willing to walk over people in order to achieve these dreams.
If we do not want to raise entitled spoiled brats, we are the one who needs to set the boundaries for them and be firm and consistent while doing so.
The definition of consistency is simple, it is doing what you say you will do. As simple as it seems, it is probably the hardest thing for parents to follow. However, if we really understand how important consistency is for wellbeing of our children, stability of our family dynamic and keeping our children’s respect, we’d be much better at it.
Children should not fear their parents, but they should be taught to respect them and no one can teach them this except us, their parents.
Never wish your children to fear you.
If they fear you, they will not come to you.
If there is one thing your children should know clear as day, it is that always and no matter what, they can come to you and that they will be met with acceptance and love.
It is all a part of the journey. The important thing is to let ourselves enjoy the beauty of it, and letting our children enjoy it as well.