At one time or another, almost all parents question their self-confidence. Parents want to be able to act decisively and confidently, but the influence of neighbors, friends and relatives, and what they will say can be very upsetting. Here’s an idea that may help.
Most decisions revolve around two categories—needs and wants—and it is important to determine which is which. Needs must be responded to in the interests of children’s development. Children need good nutrition, for example. Wants may be considered, but they may also be rejected in the interest of health, safety or family priorities.
So, while children need food, they may want only ice cream. Parents who feel obliged to satisfy all the wants of their child may discover they are harboring a little tyrant. Many parents are afraid of losing their children’s love if they deny them all they want—children do become frustrated and often angry when thwarted. Yet it is impossible to satisfy 100 percent without parents becoming irritated indignant.
A compromise is, first, to recognize the difference between needs and wants. Then if you can feel secure in your love for your child, you can accept the consequences of your decisions—without fearing your child’s reject or criticisms from relatives, friends or neighbors.