Why do children tend to give mom a harder time than they give dad? Is it dad’s deeper voice or his physically larger frame? Does the promise of safety, security, and unconditional love biologically hardwired between mom and child somehow blur the lines between empathy and discipline, between tolerance and intolerance? Whatever it is, whether consciously or unconsciously, children are typically more respectful and obedient with their father than they are with their mother.
Encourage Good Habits & Discourage Bad Habits
Address back talk, disobedience, and inappropriate tone-of-voice; there are no excuses for any of those behaviors. Have age-appropriate conversations about respect, especially how to use manners, proper tone, and short, simple responses. Young children should consistently say, “Please” and “Thank you.” Foster and reinforce good habits while cautioning them against and protecting them from bad habits.
A Father’s Influence
Fathers have profound influence; children are always watching dad, absorbing everything they see. On a deeply elemental level, kids understand dad’s energy towards mom; they internalize tenderness or harshness, calmness or volatility, respect or disrespect. For better or worse, children tend to imitate the attitudes, words, and behaviors they witness from their father. One of dad’s most important duties is to instill in his children that disrespectful or disobedient attitudes, words, or behaviors—towards mom or anyone else—are completely unacceptable.
Don’t Yell & Scream (Especially in Front of the Children)
When parents yell and scream at each other, young children may not fully understand what is happening—they just see the two most important people in their lives at each other’s throats. As primary caregivers, mom and dad are the most influential forces in our kids’ lives; demonstrations of aggressively argumentative behaviors convey that these actions are normal and appropriate. If dad is baiting us into an argument, exercise the self-discipline to respectfully (and subtly) say, “Let’s not fight in front of the kids, let’s pick this conversation back up when we have more privacy.”
The Fifth Commandment
From the moment we start life on Earth, we are guarded by the most powerful of all the angels—our mother. If so fortunate to still have their mom, children are obligated to show her the honor that she deserves. In Exodus 20:12, the Bible says, “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Discuss Parenting Strategies with Dad
It takes two parents to properly raise a child. No parent is perfect. We have meetings at work to ensure that as individuals, our organization is working together as a team towards our collective mission. Why shouldn’t mom and dad get together periodically to help each other, whether that’s listening to a particular challenge or collaborating respectfully to shed light on each other’s blind spots?
Reflect on this anonymous note from a mother; share it with the kids to remind them of our unconditional love, and more subtly, their responsibility to reciprocate this love with respect, “I gave birth to you, but you came with no instructions. All I knew was that I loved you long before I ever saw you. You are my child, my life, my dreams for tomorrow. I will always love you and there is nothing that could ever destroy my love for you. I know I make mistakes and for that I am sorry, I do the best I can with what I know. Everything I do for you, I do from love.”
“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
—Ephesians 6:2-3 NLT
Love is important, but it is respect that is the key to your son’s heart. They never outgrow their need for respect.
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If mom does her job right and raises her son with self-esteem, support, and wisdom, he will become the man she knows he was meant to be. As he grows up, the boy who needs her will simultaneously pushes her away.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.