Who get’s to choose?

May 12, 2012

We have a sunroom on the back of our house that we spend hours in. But Lily, our cat could spend her entire life out there.  Some days she begs to be let into the sunroom, picks out a spot and then sleeps for five or six hours without moving.

But then there was the frost warning.

We had just purchased some Impatiens, hadn’t gotten them in the ground yet when the  forecast called for a hard freeze.  So we took the plants and put them in sunroom.  Well, Lily likes to eat plants, which makes her sick, so we kept the door closed and simply told her “no.”  She wasn’t happy.  She was not at all happy.  But we kept the door closed.  We are not wanting to pay a high vet bill simply because we weren’t bright enough to keep out cat away from plans that might harm her.  That would not be wise.  And we really didn’t want Lily to get sick, with or without a visit to the vet.  So we made the decision regarding keeping the door to the sunroom closed.  It was our call, not Lily’s.  She doesn’t get to choose.

OK parents, do you see any correlations to your parenting technique here?  I am not going to preach (too much) but simply give a reminder that as parents we are tasked with telling out children “no”  from time-to-time for their own good!  They don’t always get to choose.

If we let Lily into the sunroom when there were plants available, she would eat them, get sick and maybe die.  The choices are not always that clear-cut for parenting, but the choices, the decisions still lies with parents.  

It’s in the job description. 

When your child asks to do something that you know is not good for them, the answer should be easy.  But there is so often equivocation, justification and self-flagellation when we simply try to make wise choices.  The role of parent is not to be good friends with our children, to give them whatever they want.  The main role is to teach them to make wise decisions, not fun decisions.  Parents serve as protectors and guides, certainly with love, with the intention to not only help children survive until adulthood, but to thrive because they have develop wisdom.

So when your child comes to you with a choice that seems untenable, you can upset them and tell them “no.”  Or you can let them eat the poison plants.

Your choice.

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