Just You Wait Until….

I was on a trip recently with my church and was riding on a full bus for this trip, along with my 13 year old son.  On this trip was a woman I had just met and her 3 kids.  The oldest appearing to be 8, and the youngest about 4.  They were tolerable on the bus, not always listening and following their mother’s directions but overall tolerable.  But one  thing I noticed that really bothered me was the way in which she would try to gain control of them.  Instead of disciplining them herself, and giving them a consequence for their actions when they blatantly were not listening (which happened quite a bit) she would instead say something to the effect of, “Just wait til your father hears about this.”  OR “When we arrive your father will be hearing about this.”  Now, I am all for sharing with your spouse what your kids are up too…. he should of course be made aware, but this is different, this is using the spouse to strike some kind of fear into your child that will then make them behave because they are afraid of what will happen if that parent finds out.  

First I want to address the obvious… I am not a professional anything… the things I am about to say, and have said, are simply my opinion and you should take it as such.  Just an opinion.  With that being said, I have to mention how crazy this method of parenting seems to me.    Always putting the discipline off on another parent (or even sometimes) when you are the one in the situation in the moment, only tells your child that you have zero authority and they don’t need to follow your directions.  What you have to say isn’t important at all, and they shouldn’t care.  I am well aware that this isn’t the case for every single kid, but it certainly can happen and I don’t understand why you would want to risk that.  

I also don’t understand why you would want your spouse/partner to be regarded as someone your child constantly fears.  Those phrases are always intended to strike some kind of fear into the child to “straighten up” their behavior, and I can only imagine that doing that provides the possibility for your child to not only feel an unhealthy level of fear for that parent (I am all for a healthy level of fear, don’t get me wrong) which can lead to the child not wanting to share their life with them.
I suppose in the end though, the biggest problem I have with this style of parenting is that it shows no self confidence to handle these moments on your own.  You have to demonstrate some form of gusto, some type of confidence when parenting.  Your kids need to know that you can not only handle them, but whatever else life throws at you.  You are their only example, especially at a young age like that, in regards to how a wife handles things, how a mom handles things, which then leads to how they should handle life.  

Again, this is all just my opinion, and I realize that what I have voiced doesn’t apply to everyone who chooses to parent this way.  It is simply an observation that I have made, and I think it is something people should consider when they decide to go this route.