I thought that parents had to battle everything and never let the child win. After all, they are parents. They are right. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? That’s what my parents did. They are the only example I really have to go by.
Well…that is not always the best plan. Sometimes you have to let things slide. You don’t have to fight over everything and win over it all. That goes against everything I was taught, but it seems to be the best course of action. It is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way many times.
Weigh the Battles
Not every fight with your child is worth pushing for a win. Yes, if there is a fight, there is usually a good reason for it. (I stress the word “usually” here.) We don’t usually argue over nothing. Something is important to us or to them. They need to eat their vegetables, but do they have to eat two servings? A tattoo? How far does one fight over it?
Parenting can be a war, but some battles can be avoided and dealt with another day. Why? Because somethings are not that important.
Does It Have Eternal Consequences?
I very wise woman told me that her secret to parenting was to fight only when there were eternal consequences. Her teen got a tattoo against her wishes. I was shocked she didn’t punish them or have an all out fight. The tattoo did not have eternal consequences. She let her displeasure be known. There was a small grounding, but she didn’t push it. She picked her battles because she didn’t want to push her child away for good.
I adopted that philosophy. My oldest child fought about everything. I tell her to go right, and she goes left sixty times just to prove a point. Instead of fighting to win every time, I pulled back and weighed the battles. Did it have eternal consequences? If not, I would not lie about my displeasure, but I let her make her mistakes and the penalties that followed.
You might cringe when I said that. Well, it has worked out very well. My daughter and I have a much better relationship. She says that method reached her. It gave her direction and healed our broken relationship.
Think before you fight. What will your actions do for the future? What is worth fighting for? Is it worth putting a wedge in your relationship? Sometimes you just have to let things go.