Can we stay up and watch … ?


Why do we have to go to bed?

So that you will be rested in the morning.

Can we have some chocolate?

No, it’s time for bed.

Can we read one more book?

No. It’s time to go to bed.

Just call me The Enforcer. I don’t like saying no. It’s what I do as a parent. It comes with the territory. Too many yeses could lead to a lack of discipline. A lack of discipline could lead to a lack of drive. A lack of drive could lead to Simone and Nadia never growing up and leaving the house. And we want them to grow up and leave the house.

On any given day, I say “no” early and often. They need to hear the word. They need to know they can’t have everything they want when they want it.

That said, I am a softy compared to my parents. They wouldn’t even entertain the conversation above.  Maybe that’s why some consider today’s parents downright wimpy. Parenting is hard work. There’s no pay. In fact, Ken and I are in negative figures. You can’t even bank on appreciation, because it may never come. So, many parents compromise and compromise and compromise. Before they know it, they don’t have any control. Others get tired of doing hand-to-hand combat with their children. I fully accept that every child is different and has different needs, but I am determined to be THE parent.

Being the parent will look differently as Simone and Nadia grow up. Right now, it means going to bed at a decent hour. What about you? What do you have to enforce? Be sure to tell us the ages of your children.


2 thoughts to “On Being THE Parent

  • Beth

    Hear,hear. You are doing the right thing! I cringe when I see parents making empty threats, repeating ad nauseum, “If you do that one more time …” Too many parents cave, I think, because of their own insecurities. Perhaps they fear losing their kids’ love. Or they’re afraid of their frustration–and anger. And, let’s face it, saying yes is much easier than saying no.Your column took me back a few decades. (OK–my kids are 42 and 40) Discipline, setting boundaries, and consistency pay off. Hang in! I’m betting that the gratitude you think you may never get verbally will come back to you when your daughters are mothers who discipline their children in similar fashion.

  • gini

    Funny I was reading the May Ebony article about mixed race issues and was literally reading your essay feeling the most close in opinion to you…when my 4 year old came down yet again from upstairs with her sweet face to ‘talk to me’ when I have to enforce the no and bedtime – NOW. I am so glad to have found your blog and website.

Comments are closed.