“Children are living in many different kinds of families and households,” wrote Bella DePaulo, PhD. “Many are living with one parent, or with cohabiting parents, or with stepparents or grandparents, to name just a few of the most popular permutations. “Family” is a many-splendored thing and it can take all sorts of shapes and sizes.”
I am a father of three boys ages 7, 14, and 17. Since all of them are of the same gender, I figured out there’s nothing much to do regarding taking care of them. “Good parenting is not rocket science—and it shouldn’t require 50,000 books to help parents understand what is required,” wrote Suzanne Gelb, PhD, JD. “As a parent, your job can be quite simple. To care for your child, as you would care for yourself.”
After my wife and I got divorced, I assumed that all of them need almost the same things so I thought I would care less. But, I was wrong. Though all of them are boys, each of them requires individual attention. As I continue to practice the same parenting style over and over again, my boys started to complain. They accused me of slowly damaging their mental health with my parenting style.
I’m Treating Everyone As A Kid
My teenagers are complaining about how I treat them as a kid. Well, I think I have an excuse for that. I am a single father. But who am I kidding? It’s not a valid reason to treat your kids with immaturity. I always thought that my teenage boys are like their younger brother who needs protection all the time. Since I get to decide for the little one, I thought I have the right to rule for the rest of the two. I guess when you are dealing with children of different ages, there’s got to be a boundary on how much you should get involved.
I Don’t Give Them Enough Choices
In my defense, I am trying to give them limited access to what they should and shouldn’t do. It’s not like I am stopping them from doing anything, it is just that I want them to focus on deciding on things one at a time. In all honesty, boys are typically hard to handle. They somehow have this feeling of entitlement. That they can do almost anything. However, I don’t want that kind of mentality on my kids. As much as possible, I want them to look after their weakness and try to learn from it.
I Always Say “No”
Kate Alcamo, LCMFT, said, “Saying “no” tells your child what not to do, but does it teach them what you want them to do instead? The answer is—you guessed it—no. You want to both set the boundary and teach the behavior you want to see.”
The reason why I don’t agree on much of everything they ask me is that I don’t entirely see the benefits of their life choices. Why? Because for me, they are only kids. I admit I am against things that are new to my kids’ world. I want my boys to stay right where they need to and become the person I want them to be. So for me, always saying “no” is a sacrifice I make to keep them away from the potential danger of things they are not familiar with.
I know I can never be a mother to my kids. But I never knew that my parenting style could slowly hurt them. I was blinded by the idea that I am doing everything for them without knowing that I’m genuinely the one destroying their overall mental and emotional well-being. I treat everyone as a kid; I always say “no,” and I don’t give my kids enough choices. Though it’s not an excuse, the only reason I can think of doing those things is that I’m their father.