CHILDREN NEED YOU TO BE IN CHARGE
And they need you to be involved. The dilemma, you can't do one without the other. Love seems like the easy part (most of the time) and discipline and structure seems like the chore. What Dr. Silberman calls your caring and guiding roles. It's easy to list the things your child needs from you as love, attention, support, understanding, help, your time. It's not so automatic to think of the other role you play; discipline, guidance, rules, your values.
In his book, "When Your Child is Difficult", Dr. Silberman lists the reasons why you should feel empowered with being assertive and not shy away for taking on the "executive role" as a parent.
There are real benefits to your kids for taking up the challenge. Kids need practice hearing the word "no". They need practice with tolerating their own feelings when they don't get what the want. And they need practice doing things for others or for the good of the family even if they don't get any reward. These things take practice. And getting that practice when they're younger may not be easiest, but its more manageable . Your child has less chance of having something go wrong when you're there to ensure they're safe. If your child is practicing hearing the word "no" at 15 years old, the stakes just got higher. You have less control over the outcomes when it's a teenager rather than a child.
Kids need to be appreciated. If your child's behavior is disruptive or difficult and it's not addressed, they lose. They lose other kid's appreciation and friendship and they lose other adults appreciation. Children who consistently have a negative and unappreciative world reflected back to them are more at risk for developing an antisocial attitude. Why not?, If everybody treats me badly, why should I treat them better? This is not what you want your young teen to be telling themselves just as they're beginning to move out into the world.
Kids need self-reliance. They need to have their parents expect something from them and then be able to meet those expectations. As kids grow their capacity to meet the demands of school, home, the playing field; they become less dependent on others to take care of them and build the self-reliance needed for adulthood.
Is discipline a struggle for you? How do you balance the need for love and the need for guidance?