Flexibility in your parenting can be very important. While most of us consider ourselves to be flexible, so much of parenting seems to require NOT being flexible, so let us consider how this could work.
Raising children seems to require that a parent has fixed rules that should not be compromised. So many issues, such as bedtime, homework, and the morning routine, require structure and consistency. Whether the home and these routines run smoothly or work at all depends on structure and parent consistency; however, it’s important to know that flexibility is not the absence of structure. Flexibility merely refers to being able to change your view, approach, and rules once in a while in relation to something your child would like. It reflects the ability to compromise here and there over the course of child rearing. Being flexible at times teaches reasonable compromise, and can even strengthen your relationship with your child.
A Flexible Household is a Functioning Household
Why is flexibility even important? There are several reasons to consider incorporating a little flexibility into your parenting.
- Child oppositional behavior (not listening and defiance) will lessen if you can be flexible once in a while.
- You will teach your child to problem solve and handle situations even when you are not around. Your child will learn that there is more than one way to do things. Your being flexible models this and teaches by example.
- Your relationship will be stronger, especially in the pre-teen and teen years, when your child wishes to exert more choices and preferences. Your child will come to you more often for help if he or she knows you are not always rigid about solutions.
An Exercise in Flexibility
Here are some easy steps to start you out on the path of being flexible:
Step 1: Choose something easy to start with for example food, clothing, or extracurricular activity choices.
Step 2: Identify what you really want.
Step 3: Identify what could be some flexible alternatives.
Step 1: My child wants to get a mohawk hair cut and I really don’t want him to.
Step 2: I want him to just get a regular hair cut.
Maybe he can get the haircut he wants in the summer.
Maybe he can get a longer mohawk style.
Maybe he can choose something else like a buzz cut or a spiked hair cut.
Now you try it!