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Overstepping or Under-stepping?

Updated on July 7, 2016

Letting them have some freedom.

When your kid is a youngster you obviously feel to have them on a short "leash", when they are young kids (around the ages of 5-7) you obviously wont be sending them on there way out the door, because they are much too young to be hanging around all by themselves, but as they get older you want to let the "leash" grow, and grow until you finely just have to let it go and let them start their own life and family. Usually you start out with, the first "play date" and see if they behave in another setting that isn't in your home and doesn't have you observing, and then you move to the next step, the sleep over, when you allow your child to go over to a friends house you will gain some trust with them, if they're good and if they don't behave you'll lose some amount of trust solely on what they did. As they get older you begin letting the "leash" grow and as the "leash" grows so does your child's independence, you will begin letting your children hang out other places, not in a home environment such as the mall, going on walks, the movies etc... But you always have to make them earn the privilege to go and do those activities with their friends and if they abuse the privilege you have to pull the "leash" back a bit and let them earn being able to go and hang out with friends outside of the house again. A good way is to have them do a chore before they leave or are able to go somewhere with their friends. This will aid you in making sure you aren't Overstepping or Under-stepping your role as a parent. In all this they will be building independence and they learn that they have to work things because things in life can't just be handed to them, they can, but then you usually end up with your children not behaving as well as they could have been.

Do you ever wonder if you may be Overstepping your role as a parent or if you may be Under-stepping.

Here's a few helpful tips to help better yourself as a parent. So that you aren't left wondering or worrying if you may be overstepping or under-stepping you boundaries as a parent. Believe me, there Are boundaries.

When you may be Overstepping in the parenting relm.

You may be having or think you have to constantly be trailing your children, when really they may just be doing something harmless. If you find yourself trying to watch your child's every move or constantly trying to read their texts or see who they call, you could be overstepping your role as a parent. If you don't let your child have that small taste of freedom when they are maturing, they may begin to want to have freedom so bad they'll begin sneaking around, and finding the friends that will lead your child into danger. When your child has found a friend/friends, and if you don't particularly like that friend, you cant just say "I don't like them, you can't be friends with them," you have to let your child have a chance to fgure out if they like them, because in most cases if you act like that, your child will usually be friends with them anyway, regardless if they even like them or not. Basically just to spite you. You have to trust your kids to do the right thing because once you become so overly invasive in your child's life they in most cases will become distant and a whole lot more secretive than if you would have been a more trusting parent to begin with. You have to earn trust just as your children have to earn trust with you. Because you cant just assume your child is doing something wrong, assuming and when you have a gut feeling are two different things. Assuming is to assume you must not have any trust with your kids and a gut feeling is your parenting intuition, you just feel as if something is wrong. And you know what, you've always got to go with your gut feeling.

When do you know when you have been under-stepping your role as a parent.

When being a parent there is always the need to feel like you must be your child's friend and you must refrain from being your child's friend as much as possible, when that line has been crossed there is a new bond that is formed, and usually your child's and your mind has changed, as far as what the rules are, such as if you had the curfew at 8:00 Pm and then as soon as you start your friendship with your child the curfew changes to 9:00 or 10:00PM. You just don't seem to be as aware as you used to be, with the safety of your child and you end up becoming more lenient. When you let your kid(s) do anything, stay out all night, party, not help out around the house, clean up after themselves, get away with things, steal, any of those things, then you know you are under-stepping your role as a parent, if you let your child do those things you are allowing them to believe you have no control over them whatsoever and its hard to gain that role back. You have to take control of the parent role as soon as you have your child, even when your kid has moved out and has their own family you will have the role as the parent, but at that time you also may have the friend role. Everything you do will effect your child's life, the way they behave and react to things in the "real world" and when you are under-stepping you are usually letting your kids have things at a low "price," you usually aren't making them work for things like, treats, watching T.V, hanging out with friends, mainly just the fun/entertainment type of things. When they don't work for things or earn them it makes them think they deserve things that they really don't and it will make it more difficult for them to work in the "real world".

When your teen doesn't come home, what do you do?

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Trust is key

You as a parent have to be as honest as you want your children to be. You've got to give them an honest answer if they are asking you questions, if you don't then you almost have no right to ask them to be honest in return. You've got to make sure you build the strongest bond with your child as early as possible and make sure you talk to your kids everyday and ask them how their day is and show them that you care. If a problem occurs in your home, make sure you talk about it a soon as you can, otherwise the problem will build and will most likely turn into a bigger problem, and problems just don't go away on their own you have to pay attention to them and correct them. The earlier you take care of the problem the less likely it is for the problem to just blow up.

New Life is a new opporunity.

As a parent you get the joy of of watching you child grow up and when watching your own children grow up you should be able to see what kind of behavior they have and if you've paid attention to your kids enough as they grow up, they seem to become predictable in some scene. So you are able to tell their moods and if something upsetting has happened to them and when you can do that you should be proud because if you can tell what your child may be feeling just by looking at them, then that means you've paid attention to them and that you've done a pretty good job raising your kids.

Confronting the Problem.

When you have multiple children there is often a time when your kids will begin to have a problem with each other and you have to work to pin point what the problem is and where it is coming from. When you reach the problem and if it is between your kids, you have to sit down with them one by one and then you have to sit with them together, in order to fix the problem. Otherwise in some cases your kids tend to lie about the situation when the other child isn't present. And if you only have one kid, and something isn't right you need to confront the problem quickly, otherwise sometimes your kid beginning to think they can get away with misbehaving/doing something they shouldn't be doing, and that goes for any amount of children you may have.

Making Sure You Don't Blow Up.

If one of your children comes to you and is letting you know that they have something to confess, and if you happen to be the type of person to start yelling when you hear bad news, there's a few tips to help you not do such a thing.

  1. Let your kid know before hand that they need to remove themselves from the room after they tell you, so that you have time to process the situation.
  2. Listen to the confession.
  3. Don't say a word to your child until they're done talking.
  4. Say "OK, thanks for being honest, and I need time to think now"
  5. Think about what they just told you, and when you have calmed down and are ready to talk to them then talk.

You never want to just fly off the handle and start yelling at your kid. Your kid isn't going to want to tell you anything if you just yell at them every time.

Don't Forget...

  • Pay attention
  • Talk to them
  • Don't let problems hang around. Fix them as soon as possible.
  • Don't overlook everything your child is doing.
  • Trust is the key to a good relationship with your kids
  • Show your kids you care

Be there.

Don't miss out on the joy of having children by being overly intrusive in your kids life or by even being too lenient, just have fun being a parent and you occasionally have to do the non fun things like confronting your kids if the behave poorly or if they aren't listening. You have an effect on your child's future and overstepping your boundaries as a parent won't help their future, and under-stepping won't either. But when you are right in between you'll have the joy of seeing them grow up and when they've grown up and started their own family you'll feel that you achieved something great and you'll have pride in raising your children.

I really hope this helped and maybe you'll thank me later and maybe not. But everyone has their own techniques and their own battles in their family dynamic. Just have fun being a parent and love your kids for the gift that they are.


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Parenting can be a difficult balancing act. There are so many problems that can occur. Your advice is sound. Thank you for writing!


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