It’s hard when you have to limit your kids—for any reason. Whether it’s health reasons or behavioral reasons, any time you have to tell your child that they can’t have something they want, you’re setting yourself up for a fight…or at least a little bit of a disagreement with some healthy resentment thrown in.
When you have to limit your child strictly or severely, it’s even harder.
You know it’s for the best. You know what the consequences are if you change your mind. Your asthmatic child, who has been sick off and on all winter, does not need to spend an entire afternoon at the mall if she has already started to wheeze. Your preservative-sensitive child does not need to eat those bright red Oreos that are being passed around at the class party. Your sensory-challenged child, who has serious behavior issues in unfamiliar settings, does not need to be away from you overnight.
You’ve tried these things. You know what the consequences are.
You still feel like the bad guy when you have to lay down the law.
Your child makes you feel like the bad guy. Church workers make you feel like the bad guy when you explain yet again that no, your child can not participate in the ice cream sundae party “just this once.” Other moms make you feel like the bad guy when you step in and forbid your child a treat or activity that theirs enjoy “all the time.”
You know it’s for the best…but that doesn’t stop the feeling of dread that rises in your chest when you need, once again, to enforce a rule that no one else has to have.
When you have to tell your child that they may choose only one sweet thing at a party, even though no one but you knows just how much of a stretch it is to allow that one.
When you turn off the television after an hour, even though it’s right in the middle of a game.
When you bring your child home early…or never allow them to go at all.
Hold your head high. Put your shoulders back. Stop apologizing.
This is your child. You know him better than anyone else. You know why those rules have been put in place, and what they are preventing everyone else from having to deal with. You have made the decisions that are right for your family, even when they aren’t easy.
Be proud of them.