My husband and I instilled what we call “healthy fear” in our boys – they knew if they misbehaved, didn’t listen or were rude that there would be consequences. I was always considered “old-fashioned” as a parent. I didn’t take the easy way with bribes or TV and video games, and my mom would say “your way is harder, but it’s the right way.”
I taught them to respect their elders, hold open a door for the person behind them and to not be aggressive with dates. They earned at least a portion of the money for the things they wanted that weren’t necessities. They had chores to do and were encouraged to bring their friends to our house so that we knew what was going on. I was a stay-at-home mom and had lots of fun with them, but I was NEVER their “friend.”
My boys are grown adults now, ages 22 and 26. Strangers and friends always say what good, polite, smart and interesting young men they both are, and I couldn’t be prouder. This is my reward for doing the hard work early on, teaching and disciplining them when they were young. That made the teenage years bearable as they grew and tested the limits. You can’t spoil them rotten and let them get away with murder when they are little and then expect them to listen to you once they’re as tall as you are. Taking charge of disciplining them when necessary was tough, but the sense of pride I have in those two fine young men is of greater value to me than any material possession or career I might have had.
I’m An Old-Fashioned Parent
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