At the end of it, you’ll wish you fought less with your kids. You’ll wish you made less of an issue of things, and of fewer things. Nobody looks back on their lives or their kids’ lives and thinks: I’m so glad we got in all those arguments.I’m glad I was so hard on them.
You know this.
Ok, so today, how long can you go?
How long can you go without chiding your kids about this or that? Without making remarks about your teenager’s choices? Without reminding your young son or daughter to stop dragging their feet, leaning on the table, leaving their things laying about?
If we were to see a recording—or worse, a tabulation—of our interactions with our children, of the number of times we say ‘No’, we would be appalled. Am I really that negative? Do I really get on them that much? Yes, you are. Yes, you do. And it’s painful to both you—them as the recipient and you as the loving parent who wonders why the two of you aren’t closer, why they are so withdrawn, why there is so much tension.
This is not to say that you should throw your parenting rulebook out the window, that your home should be a free for all where the kids set their own rules, do whatever they want, whenever they want. The point is that there is a time and a place to correct behavior or discuss the house rules—and it’s not all the time or any place.
So today, see how long you can go. See if you can make sure that the majority of your interactions are not critical. Try to stop bothering them about so much piddly crap. It doesn’t matter now, and it definitely won’t matter years from now when you’re all reflecting back on your lives together.
You’ll both be happier for it.