Your Child Is “More Scared” Of You

A family of three generations is about to have dinner at a restaurant. While Grandfather, grandmother, Dad and baby wait for a table, Mum and daughter go to another shop to get something.

When they return, Mum and daughter find that everyone has been seated at a table. There was one empty seat between Dad and Grandfather and another empty seat beside baby. Seeing this arrangement, Mum tells daughter to sit between Dad and Grandfather while Mum sits next to baby. This way, Mum can attend to baby while Dad can attend to daughter. 

Grandmother sees this and says, “Dad and Mum should exchange seats.” Everyone looks at her, curious and asks why. “Because daughter is more scared of Mum,” she replied with a smile.

Grandfather chides grandmother for the comment while Dad says that the seating arrangement makes no difference. Through grunted teeth, Mum remarks, “She’s scared of both of us.”

Instantly, Mum knew she had given the wrong answer, not because she is worried that grandmother is offended, but because she knows that daughter is not scared of either parent and should not be. Mum has the better answer in her mind – “She is not scared of either of us. She listens to our instructions the same way.” But Mum decides not to say anything so that dinner will not be ruined.

Would you be offended if someone told you that your child obeys you because she is scared of you? Would you be offended if someone brands you as the parent that your child is more afraid of than your spouse?

I would. Why?

Because I parent my children with love. And my children are not scared of me. I discipline them when need be but I shower them with lots of hugs and kisses. Why should or would my children be scared of me?

I would take offense, because my husband and I do not believe in either one of us always being the good cop or the bad cop. We believe in taking turns to discipline our children. Whoever catches our children in a situation that needs correction will be the one to discipline. At the end of the day, we hug and kiss our children and tell them how much we love them, no matter how nice or naughty they were earlier in the day.

Why do people think that children listen to and obey instructions because they are scared of the one who gives instructions? Why do people think that children only obey out of fear? 

I for sure do not want my children to obey out of fear. I want them to obey my instructions because they respect me, and that my instructions are for keeping them safe. I want them to obey because my instructions come with the intent of love, not fear.

Before anyone makes a comment about someone else’s child obeying because they are “scared” of the parent, please think about what you are implying. It is not funny to tell someone that his or her child is more scared of him or her.

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