5 Problems with Being a Pushover Parent

Maria Teijeiro / Getty Images

Being a pushover certainly makes parenting easier in the short-term. You can make your child happy, escape a meltdown, and get through the day without a battle. But in the long-term, it causes a lot more problems. Here are a few of the problems you’ll experience from being a pushover:

1. Your Child Won’t Take You Seriously

If you say, “No, we can’t get ice cream today,” but after a few minutes of whining and begging you give in, you’ve shown that you’re not a parent of your word.

Over time, your child will learn that he doesn’t have to take you seriously. He’ll begin to view your warnings as empty threats and he’ll disregard whatever you have to say.

Mean what you say and say what you mean if you want your child to view you as credible. It’s important for your child to know that you’re really going to do what you’ve set out to do.

2. Bad Behavior is Reinforced

Each time you give in to your child - whether it’s because you feel guilty or because you can’t tolerate the fall out of saying no – you reinforce misbehavior. When your child cries because you said he can’t have another cookie, and you give in, you’ve taught him that crying is an excellent way to get what he wants.

It’s important for kids to realize that misbehavior isn’t effective. Otherwise, bad behavior will only get worse. Show your child that you won’t give in to temper tantrumswhining, or declarations that, “You’re the meanest Mom ever!”

3. Good Cop/Bad Cop Scenarios

Often, when one parent is the pushover, the other parent compensates by becoming overly strict. This can set you up for one parent being the good cop and the other being the bad cop. It can lead to a lot of arguing for parents and a lot of confusion and frustration for kids.

Work together with your partner to parent as a team. It’s important for your child to see that both of you are backing one another up and reinforcing the rules in a similar fashion. Spend some time talking about how to address behavior problems without your child around.

4. Breaking the Cycle is Tough

If you’re used to being a pushover, breaking the cycle is hard to do. Behavior problems are likely to get worse before they get better. When you try to stand your ground, your child will call your bluff at first, so you’ll need to be prepared to stand firm. Develop a plan to help you deal with behavior problems that are likely to arise when you don’t give in.

5. Kids Don’t Want to be in Charge

Although your child may behave bossy, and he may say he wants to make the rules, kids don’t actually want to be in charge. In fact, kids who don’t feel like their parents have everything under control are likely to experience anxiety. And when you can’t set clear limits and healthy boundaries, your child will question your ability to keep him safe.

Show your child that when you set a limit, like, “No riding your bike past that tree,” that you’ll make sure he follows that rule.

If you constantly bend the rules, or don’t provide consequences when those rules get broken, your child may lack confidence that you’ll take the necessary steps to keep him safe.

Continue Reading