A Bad Mother? No, Just Not an Overindulgent One

· February 26, 2016
Saying “no” to your children doesn’t make you a bad mother. It sets boundaries. It’s a way to teach them to value certain things.

Have you ever asked yourself if you’re a bad mother? You try every day to do the best for your children. You provide them with food, respond to their needs, play with them, teach them to walk, read and follow their dreams, as well as hold them close when they have nightmares or are afraid.

But how can you tell if everything you’re doing is right? When raising children, it’s unrealistic to try to be the perfect mother.

In fact, the goal is much more simple. You need to be present at every phase of your child’s life to provide support, encourage their independence and, of course, help them find happiness.

Another fact of life, however, is that you can’t give your children everything they want. Rather, you should give them what they need at any given time.

This means that, a lot of the time, you’ll find yourself having to say “no.” You use this word to set limits and do things that your child may not like. However, under no circumstances does refusing to overindulge your child make you a bad mother.

Let’s talk a little more about this interesting topic.

Not Indulging Your Child in These Cases Doesn’t Make You a Bad Mother

1. Tantrums

Perhaps your children are at that age where they start to demand things.

They want to play with your cell phone, have more dessert after dinner or get the same toys that their friends have. However, you’ve refused to gratify their wishes. That’s when your children react in a tantrum, sometimes even kicking and screaming.

You’re not a bad mother if you choose to ignore them. This is the best course of action you can take. If you  do the opposite, you’re reinforcing their wrong behavior, thus allowing them to believe that it’s serving a purpose.

A tantrum should always be ignored. It’s how your child learns to blackmail you, and you should never allow it.

See also: 5 Common Emotional Wounds from Childhood

2. Tasks

homework

If your children don’t learn to do simple tasks early on or meet their own daily needs, they’ll reach adulthood without independence and responsibility for themselves. This is a danger you should learn to correct from the beginning.

Refusing to tie their shoes or solve homework problems doesn’t make you a bad mother. Instead, it encourages your children to be more responsible. They might be upset at first. Chances are they’ll tell you they can’t, the problems are too hard to solve or they don’t know how.

But everything will be fine even if the bed gets made with a few (or more) wrinkles or they’ve made an error in their homework. The bottom line is that tomorrow they’ll try hard to do better. This way, they’ll learn that it feels good to be able to do things on their own without your help.

3. The Word “No”

Child psychologists tell us that the critical age when children start wanting to make their own decisions and challenge their parents is around eight years old. This is when they begin to understand basic concepts of justice, morality and respect.

It’s important that you make every effort to guide them in the appropriate manner. They need your love, support and daily guidance.

If you find yourself saying “no” more often than you like to your children, it doesn’t’ mean you’re a bad mother. You’re setting boundaries. This is how you teach them what they can and cannot do, as well as what’s expected of them at all times.

If today you don’t let your children play on the computer before they finish their homework, make sure you set that rule every day. If your rules aren’t consistent and what’s permitted today is forbidden tomorrow, your children won’t know what to expect.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” whenever necessary. However, always try to explain the reason for it in a way that they can understand.

Here are some examples:

  • “You can’t go outside to play until you finish your homework.”
  • “You’re too young to stay out at night.”
  • “You don’t get to have dessert when you don’t feel well enough to finish your dinner.”

We recommend reading: 10 Toxins That Harm Children

4. A Mother’s Presence

She's not a bad mother.

This is one of the biggest fears that a mother has. Of course, you want to spend every waking moment with your child, but due to long working hours and difficult schedules, it’s impossible for most people to pick their children up for lunch every day, for example.

Don’t worry. Not being with your children every second doesn’t make you a bad mother. It’s important, though, that the time you spend with them be filled with love and care.

When you’re at home with your children, make them your priority. Listen to everything they say, their worries and their offhand remarks. Make every second you do spend together worthwhile.

Children must grow up to understand that we all have responsibilities. You have to work, and they have school. It’s not easy to be together 24 hours a day, and it’s not necessary.

Children need to learn to stand up for themselves, always knowing that if they ever need you, you’ll be there in no time and with open arms.

  • Hsin, A., & Felfe, C. (2014). When Does Time Matter? Maternal Employment, Children’s Time With Parents, and Child Development. Demography. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-014-0334-5
  • Such, E., & Walker, R. (2004). Being responsible and responsible beings: Children’s understanding of responsibility. Children and Society. https://doi.org/10.1002/chi.795