Does it sometimes feel like your kids have you wrapped around their little finger? As I write this, I find myself nodding emphatically – only this morning, my son badgered me incessantly about wanting a chocolate chip brioche, and I was so stressed about getting his shoes on for the school run that I agreed to it, despite our usual “no snacks before 10am” mandate.
My son, who’s four, still drinks milk before bedtime – and often wakes up during the night for it, too. I want it to stop, but I don’t know how – not without us all getting a lot less sleep.
And I’m not alone in letting my kids occasionally call the shots. One mum told me her children are so used to her singing them a goodnight lullaby, that when she went away for the weekend they kicked off; refusing to settle down for the person looking after them and demanding she FaceTime them to belt it out.
Ask any parent: all we want is an easy life. But every time we find ourselves ‘giving in’ to our kids, we worry, blame ourselves, feel a huge sense of mum guilt and panic we’re in danger of raising little monsters.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits – we’re human. “It’s often a case of ‘short term gain, long term pain’,” author and parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi tells HuffPost UK. “If we’re tired, stressed or overwhelmed, we go with a parenting tactic that solves things quickly. But there comes a time when you realise this is not actually the right way to go longer term – and you need to move on.”
Kids like familiarity and routine, says Dr Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide – and that’s fine, but if you get into a rigid routine then kids aren’t able to be flexible and adaptable, which is vital for their development and future learning. “How to deal with...