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Are you "the boss" or "a part of the team"

  • When all is said and done I am the "boss"

    Votes: 32 52.5%
  • I am a part of my family team

    Votes: 29 47.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And if I may ask (whichever option you chose) - WHY?

Do you force yourself to be one or another because you believe it is best for your children? (As in "I don't really like being "the boss" but I have to because it is better fot the kids, OR "I don't really like being a part of the team and would like to be the "main decision maker", but I have to be a part of the team because I think it is better for the kids"

Are you afraid to be the other one? (As in if you answered "I am a part of the team" - are you afraid to "take charge"? Or if you answered "I am "the boss" - are you afraid to let go of control?)

Other?
 

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Okay, honestly to me it just seems the thing to do.
I guess its just what comes naturally here.

I expect my children and partner to care about me and respect my wants, needs, and wishes. I also expect there will be times when they don't. When this happens just expressing myself seems the thing to do most of the time. Communication of our wants, needs, feelings, etc is key. And alot of reading between the lines too. Reading each other's body language, facial expressions, and all of those nuances. Connecting and knowing each other and caring about each other. I want to respect my children and they want to respect me, they show this to me every day, that they care! I also expect my children to follow my lead because of the special role I play in their life. I know there will be times when they choose to go their own way and my response and feelings toward this will depend on the circumstances. At this young age if their life is in danger, or they are negatively affecting someone else or property I will intervene. I will assume positive intent and explain the danger or how they are affecting another or property, and yes I will expect them to listen and respond accordingly. If they don't, I will again assume positive intent and look for the reason while taking action to help them stay safe and not cause damage. Its not like this kind of thing happens constantly, but they have come up. Mostly I think just expecting my kids want to do the 'right' thing, the respectful thing, the acceptable thing, etc makes all the difference in the world for us living 'as a team'.
 

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Of course it's not as black and white as presented in the poll. I try to be a team member when things are going well and there is not an unmanageable amount of conflict. However, when all is said and done, I (and/or my dh) am the boss.

The reason? My children's responsibility is to themselves, they need to explore, they need to challenge, they need to learn. My responsibility is to balance all the needs of the family - every member has needs and I have to make decisions based on what would yield the most beneficial results even if some members don't get what they want. Someone has to make the tough decisions. That's why I get paid the big bucks.
 

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We are a team. Because I have been around longer (which is nothing more than timing if you really think about it) I have had the chance to learn/see/deal with things that my kids haven't yet (though the gap closes a bit as they age) so I am in a position of helping them navigate this world. I choose to do so as respectfully and kindly as I can, which is the way I would want someone to help me.
 

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My extra life experience puts me in the role of guide or facilitator. DC are authority over their bodies, wishes, needs, dreams, and karma in general. When my extra years of experience are needed, it's to help things run more smoothly, not to tell DC what to do.

If I may, though its not strickly on-topic, I'd like to share the turning point experience that prepared me for CL...

(warning: kinda graphic)

My first pregnancy was a miscarriage. I'm forever grateful to that little life who changed me, and prepared me for motherhood in such a big way.

When the bleeding started, I didn't know what the outcome would be - because it's impossible to know. There is no way to predict, no way to understand, no way to change... anything. No control whatsoever. Only waiting. And waiting. And more waiting. I lay in bed for 2 days. Being alone with your dying child (fetus, if you prefer) is profound. Naturally, I found myself praying that the child live. I thought that I would do anything - cut off my arms, go blind, anything - if it would save the baby.

But in the end, it can't be avoided that there is no way to do that. Nothing I could do would change what was happening. No matter how much I wanted to make it work out my way, or exert my wishes on the situation. Nothing. And after more waiting, hoping that sad fact would change... still nothing.

After a while of that utter hopelessness and feelings of failure, it struck me that what was happening in my body was not really my business. It's not my life ending, and not my karma. I mean, certainly I'm involved in a very intimate way. But still ultimately it was another life of another human - and not mine. I was a bystander in his life and death.

I greived.

I let go.

I cried.

And at the time I held the tiny dead baby in my hand, I was ready in some weird way to know that it was his time to go. But not mine. We were different with different purposes and reasons for exsisting. And most importantly of all, that his reasons were unknowable to me. And none of my business.

I hadn't really understood that before. I kinda knew it, but I didn't know it until then.

He gave me a tremendous gift. It set me on a path to finding my way as a mother who knows my place - as opposed to a mother who seeks to put her children in their places. My place is as a guide, councellor, and mentor when needed. But I got a fast lesson that those roles are easily reversed - by a child that was never even born. One with no life experience at all.

How can I definitively direct my children when I don't know their reasons for existing? How can I lead (in the strick sense) when I don't know where they are going?

So we are a team, learning and teaching, and we tackle things with everyone's input. Because I just never know if it might be my turn to learn.

.
 

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To answer the latter question, no I'm not really afraid of taking charge. But it never turns out well, and always bites me in the a** if I try it.

DS is very good about reminding me that he is to be respected.

And I remind as needed, though it's not very often, that I am to be respected too.

Not feared. Not indulged. Not giving undue authority. Just respected as a person.

.
 

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For the most part dd and I function as a team, but there are times when I do have to make a decision that she cannot make or I need to enforce a rule for safety reasons mostly, but sometimes for sanity reasons.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Aira
Because I just never know if it might be my turn to learn.
This is profound. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you aira.

That made me get even closer to internalizing and understanding.

I know you made peace with yourself about it, but I still would like to offer a
 

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Thank you, Irina.


I've never written about that experience before (though I've talked about it with a couple of people), but it just felt like the right time/cyberplace. I hope it helps those who are thinking about this stuff to hear how another mama reached these conclusions IRL...
 

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Wow, Aira I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story with us.

I voted that we are a team. My husband and my daughter's needs and wants come equal to mine, though being human it doesn't mean I am always jumping for joy about it when it differs from my agenda. I honor it though, I respect it, we always strive to find mutually agreeable solutions and so far have succeeded overall. The key is mutually agreeable solutions. It doesn't mean "all jumping for joy with every single choice solutions"....but I am not saying I am a martyr. I am just saying that when I choose to put my needs and wants on hold or modify them for the sake of family harmony, or my husband does, we recognize and embrace that it is a conscious choice to do so, and feel content in that decision. Even our daughter, who is only nearly 14 months seems to get it, or some aspect of it anyway.

Sometimes we do make decisions for her by default because she is so young, so at this young age we use protesting from her (or not) as our gauge -- for instance, if I choose her meal (she is only a toddler), she can choose to eat it or not because she only knows limited signs for food and can't really say "I'd prefer falafel mama"... (or whatever). We always provide foods we know she has liked in the past too. I still see those as mutually agreeable solutions which will become full choices the more she can communicate.
 

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Aira -- that was beautiful and heart wrenching.

I was planning to post that I consider myself a facilatitator, and Aira beat me to it. I can't really select either option in the poll. Growing children is a lot like growing gardens -- you can't really boss a tomato plant into producing healthy fruit! LOL. But at the same time, you do have a responsisiblity to till, and fertilize, water, make sure the sunlight is adequate, etc.

Sports analogies and war analogies do not work well for me when I think about my parenting style. "Team" is not a word I would choose.
 

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I am the boss. But not totally black and white like that. I do give lots of choices, I do negotiate up to a point. My dd1 is very challenging and high-needs. Has been from birth. She needs a lot of structure and guidance but that doesn't mean she has to ask for permission to do everything either. I would love for us to be a team but she's not mature enough yet. I am afraid that she will make decisions that will hurt herself and others as has happened in the past. I tell her not to do something and she will do it anyway to test me, and someone will get hurt. She's starting to learn and trust me and things are getting better. When she acts grown up, I treat her as a grown-up girl, she gets more choices, more responsibility. When she acts like a toddler, I give her about the same choices as a toddler.

She is starting to try harder to act responsible so she gets more choices. She recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels. I let her go around on our cul-de-sac. When she was steady enough and good at starting, steering, and braking, I let her ride up and down the street and I rode next to her. We got to a four way stop and I said stop here. She immediately did. Then we went on. At another street she did not stop and I told her she needs to trust me to stay safe. I explained why she needs to stop and why she needs to listen to me until she's grown up enough to ride by herself in a few years. Then we turned around and went home and we did not go on any more long bike rides for two days until I felt she was ready to listen. When she is older she will know the traffic and safety rules. But for now I ride next to her and tell her when to stop and when to turn, and if she doesn't listen she has to go home. That is an analogy of my parenting. I'm sure she would love to be free and ride where she wants but my job is to keep her safe. When we go to the school yard she can ride where she wants because there are fences to keep her safe.

My dd2 is more easy-going and we cooperate a lot better and she is more reasonable in listening to the "why's" and making choices between two or three things. My 2yo throws less tantrums than my 5yo, whines less, is able to self entertain better. For each child I have a parenting style that works. My relationship with both of them is very good and there's lots of love that goes around. I think my 5yo is more secure with the rules and boundaries but my 2yo would find it oppressive.

My dh has played a role in being extremely inconsistent with 5yo as far as consequences after warnings. He will let her do things after an apology even after he has told her the consequence (about 10 times over) and she still chooses to do it. This escalates into yelling and anger and "why doesn't she listen to me?"

We can be friends with our children, but we must be parents first. Make sure they are safe, know right from wrong in their hearts, make the right decisions, are kind and responsible people. Only if all those things are achieved can you be an equal to your child in all things. Probably about the time they pass into adulthood.
 

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I suppose I am "the boss" when it comes down to it, but it has more to do with my philosophy about my child's abilities developmentally, than the fact that I don't think they're "worthy of respect".

I personally believe that while my children are entirely entitled and welcome to have their own opinions and feelings about things, and express them, that as young children they (by their lack of life experience, knowledge, and reasoning abilities) do not have the ability to see the big picture about some things, and by virtue of that I'm not comfortable with them making all decisions about their life. It's not that I don't respect them, I do. I value them, I love them. I let them make *some* decisions about their life. I just do not believe that they are capable of adequately reasoning and seeing all sides of all issues and making a rational decision about all of them.

I am "the boss" inasmuch as I sometimes make decisions for my child. BUT, I am NOT "the boss" because I feel like I must make my children obey me and become anything or act any certain way. I think there's a big difference in the intent behind WHY a parent makes decisions for their children which makes it difficult to make it a black and white distinction between "boss" or "not".
 

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I am a fully fledged team member with executive decision making abilities. :fireman <-- this is me with my decision making hat on!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The4OfUs
I suppose I am "the boss" when it comes down to it, but it has more to do with my philosophy about my child's abilities developmentally, than the fact that I don't think they're "worthy of respect".

yeah that
:

although I don't know that I would even say i am the boss. in the end my dh has final say (generally speaking we act as a team but if it camne down to it. . . ).

I still consider us a team but even good teams have a coach or team captin or someone with the experiance and know how to organize everyone and keep things moving smoothly.
 

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I'd say I'm the boss, but I'm the boss at work, too, and it doesn't mean ordering people around. I'm the final authority when a decision needs to be made, and I provide guidance to my subordinates, but I am also a team member and I pull my own weight.
 

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OK, well since this is under Gentle Discipline I will assume the question had to do with being the boss of the kids more than just in the house in general.

I am for sure the authority when it comes to dd. I think the reason it happened like that is because 1.) both DH and my mother were the boss of the kids so it sort of came natural, and 2.) I read all the books, talk to other moms, do research, etc. so I pass onto him what I think we should do and what book I'm reading now and what I think about what it says and changes I think we should make, etc. I am also the one home with dd 24-7 so I think it just works well that way.

I think I am in charge of the house too, but as far as decisions about our family (things bigger than what's for dinner) then I think decisions are made together.
 

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Like the previous person, I also assume this means my relationship to the kids as opposed to my relationship with my significant other.

I could not pick either choice -- my answer is "both." In some ways, I am part of team -- we work together, we share mutual respect, we listen to each other, we help each other, we emphasize teamwork. In other ways -- as the adult responsible for their health, safety and well-being -- I have to be the boss. Different situations call for me to wear different hats with my children -- and I try to be clear to them why and when I change hats.
 
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