Being a single mother, I feel like I’m always the “bad guy”. I am always the parent that has to discipline and tell children what they don’t want to hear. While I’m still the parent that does all of the other fun things that children love, I will always be the parent that has to tell them “no”. With this, always comes some sort of guilt. When there are 2 parents, they can take turns being the disciplinarian, but when you’re alone, it’s always you.
Whenever I have to let my children down or disappoint them by telling them no, I immediately start feeling guilty. I understand that kids need discipline and structure and I have no trouble doing so, but when it’s always my job, I can’t help but feel bad.
For example, when the kids are with their dad, they have fun and just pretty much hang out with him. But when they are with me, I have to be the one that makes them clean their room, do their chores, do their homework, etc., because they live with me and are with me the majority of the time.
There are times when I just want to say “don’t worry about reading time” or “don’t worry about cleaning your room” but these things have to get done. Kids need to be taught responsibility and they most certainly need discipline. My daughter actually told me that she basically has no rules at her dad’s house. That presents such a problem for me when she comes home because there are definitely rules at my home.
I’ve explained to the kids why I have rules and structure and why they have more responsibility at home with me. For the most part, they understand. My 10 year old told me that one weekend at her dad’s, she literally stayed up all night and came home very tired and sick from eating whatever she wanted the entire weekend. We discussed how that’s not healthy for her and she understood why I give her a bedtime, or why I feed her certain foods.
When you’re always the disciplinarian, there will always be that guilt of having to be the one who gives “bad news”. We want to make our children happy and we don’t want them to be upset with us. I’ve learned that kids are going to be unhappy with certain rules anyway. We can’t stop being the good parent in order to be the “fun” parent.
By explaining the need for the rules and why it’s important for structure, I feel as though the kids understand better. They see that I only want the best for them and that the rules that I have in place are for their own good. I understand that years ago, it was more “do it because I told you so”, but it doesn’t hurt to talk with your children and explain things to them.
Don’t ever feel bad for being a good parent. While we want our children to like us, we also want to make sure we are preparing them for life without us in a very difficult world.