As your kids get older, its easy to forget all those ‘reminders to self’ you gave yourself when you were growing up. Your own mother would nag you incessantly, or not allow you to go out and do something and you thought she was a heathen. She just didn’t understand. So you told yourself that when you became a mother, you were never, (and you meant NEVER) going to cause a big fuss about the state of your child’s room, the clothes they wear or worry about their choice in friends. You were going to be a cool parent, liberal and remember exactly what it is like to be a kid.
So. How is that Working for You?
Here you are some years later and you have turned into the epitome of the nagging parent. Your child wants to sleep in until 10am, and you begin accusing them that they have wasted the day away! Or, they come downstairs for breakfast, lounge on the couch and you hit the roof because they haven’t made their bed in a week. Or, their cell phone rings at the dinner table and you snatch it from them and hang up on their best friend annoyed that they would bring the device to the table. Suddenly, you have become that mother, that person who is annoying and strict, completely unreasonable and constantly mad at his or her children? Your child feels like they cannot do anything right, and you are so darn used to their missteps that you begin to assume they are mis-stepping before you even know what is going on. Are you too strict with your daughter?
As your children grow up, so do your ideals about parenting. Since you have been through all of the phases of life that your children are going through you are able to see the potential for danger much more easily than your child is. And, years and years of being with your child, have caused you to become less than patient with them probably because you know their faults as well as their strengths so well. This complacency that parents and children feel with one another, can lead to nagging. And whether you admit it or not, children are an easy target for parental bad moods. So you nag. And you warn them, and you are constantly on their backs making yourself like the wicked witch of the west.
And worse, according to surveys taken by Parents magazine, parents are notably and admittedly harder on their daughters than they are on their sons. Especially during the teen years. One study even showed that parents are able to overlook misdeameanor activities of their sons in academics, behavior and socially whereas they are not when it comes to their daughters. The sexually driven inequality of rules and expectations are driven by social expectations and of course, the degrees of perceived ‘trouble’ that girls can get into as opposed to boys. Women have always been held to a higher standard when it comes to social behaviors and this standard is still true to today. Consider the scenario where a female boss who is extremely shrewd in the office is seen as a ‘bitch’ whereas the male boss would be seen as having an extreme business sense.
Truth is, parenting is a lot about learning how to start over each and every day. Whether you have a daughter or son, you must be able to set down some rules and limits, boundaries and expectations that they are familiar with. Additionally, according to the website Netmumms.com, parents of daughters must become familiar with their inherent habit of criticizing their daughters more than they do their sons. And according to psychotherapist Crissy Duff moms especially need to be careful how much they criticize and discipline their daughters. She believes that while strict and conscientious methods of parenting are smart ways of parenting girls, it is important not to pass down their feelings of disapproval over every little thing onto their daughters, which frequently leads grown women to see themselves as unworthy.
When it comes to daughters and sons, of course parents parent differently. If you find that you are constantly nagging your daughter about the little things, and are making rules and setting up consequences, or saying NO based on your own fears rather than on reasonable exhibits of your daughters behavior, you need to lighten up. And also remember that some things in life just aren’t worth all the trouble. Who cares if your daughter’s bed is not made? Who really cares if your daughter wants to paint a blue stripe in their hair? By being too strict about the little things and not allowing your daughter to be herself and find her identity, you are making her more likely to rebel against the rules in your household that do matter. Most child psychologists would ask that parents pick their battles, and learn to compromise standards and expectations so children can understand what is important in life and what is not!
Parenting should not be about driven by the sex of your child. And your parenting should foster development as your child grows. The more times they prove themselves responsible, the more you should be able to let go of the slack and give them more freedoms. Base your rules on your child’s parenting rather than on your own fears and by all means, try to be equal.