Children In Charge: How "Modern" Parenting is Hiding an Ugly Pattern of No-Boundaries and Parental Burnout

There’s an epidemic in the world, and your child could very well be an unwitting participant.

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It’s an epidemic of children who run their homes.

These children have their parents wrapped so tightly around their fingers that they never want for anything - and I don’t mean in regard to toys or material things.

I mean children whose parents protect them from everything negative - often at the expense of themselves. Whose parents fight their battles, prevent their consequences, and keep them insulated in a bubble of positivity and happiness… often at the expense of themselves.

Because it seems to be the belief that as soon as we have a child, our own needs as individuals no longer exist.

We don’t need space, we never get to go out, we don’t get grouchy, and we certainly don’t mind taking on the additional work of managing little lives.

There’s an epidemic of parents who seemingly live to play chauffeur and maid and chef and professional organizer and fixer.

And these parents live with the guilt every single day of all their child’s mistakes - and they take on the responsibility to fix them, too.

There’s no criticism, no correction. No boundaries.

Children are running the show in many homes… and it’s a pattern that’s as harmful to children as the alternative…

Your Child Should NOT Be The One In Control… But That’s What You’re Allowing Them To Be

Growing up, children were treated much differently than we treat our children today… all under the guise of giving them better than we had.

We were told to be seen and not heard, that we didn’t have opinions or desires, and that we were brought into this world and could easily be taken out.

We grew up in households where we had no power, no autonomy, and no respect thrown our way.

Girl Begging for a toy

And now, we’ve swung the pendulum so far to the other side that we outwardly act as if we no longer have needs as individuals - and our entire lives revolve around making sure our children don’t suffer the same way we did.

And that means that we manage every aspect of our child’s life to prevent them feeling as alone as we did growing up.

This shows up in catering to their every need:

  • Remembering their projects for them
  • Doing all the household chores without expecting them to participate
  • Buying them whatever they want, even replacing toys they’ve broken
  • Allowing them to choose their own schedule and bedtime
  • Not enforcing rules that we actually think we should have
  • Fixing their mistakes without allowing them to experience the consequences
  • Solving school or friend group problems without their involvement
  • Keeping them out of trouble when they misbehave
  • And the list goes on and on…

Parents who allow their children to control things in this way are trying to shield their children from what they consider the harsh realities of life for as long as possible.

To give them a completely carefree childhood that is absent any conflict, strife, pain, frustration, or any other negative emotion you can think of.

And I want to ask you this: Is that the best move for your child?

Will your child thrive when she doesn’t have to remember her science project, or he isn’t responsible for contributing to your family in a meaningful way?

Is it the best thing for your child to be waited on hand and foot instead of being expected to learn self-sufficiency?

And even more… is it the best thing for your entire family to cater to the whims of what you may refer to as a pint-sized dictator?

When you stop treating your child as a future adult, you shift the balance of power in your household.

He’s running things now. She’s the one in charge.

In fact, you’re putting yourself in the same powerless position that you grew up in - only this time, it’s your kid who’s running the show.

You’re turning yourself into your child’s servant instead of a trusted expert who can show them the ropes to this whole “living” thing.

You’re handing the reins to a child who’s not developmentally, emotionally, or intellectually ready to handle them.

And while it feels good to be the person that gives your child everything you wanted when you were growing up… it’s not your job to give them everything they want.

It’s your job to give them what they need.

Being Your Child’s Hero Robs Them Of Opportunity

This may sound harsh, but here are some realities:

Your 6-year-old does not need your help getting dressed in the morning.
Your 14-year-old can pack her own lunch.
Your 8-year-old is capable of remembering his math homework.
Your 17-year-old can research and apply for that scholarship.

Your child is capable of so much more than you think - and when you continue to do things for them… you set them up to enter adulthood withOUT those critical skills that will make them successful.

When you help your 6-year-old get dressed, he doesn’t have the opportunity to learn time management and routines.

When you pack your 14-year-old’s lunch, she doesn’t learn how to be responsible for managing her nutritional needs.

When your 8-year-old is reminded about his math homework, he doesn’t experience natural consequences when he doesn’t do as he should.

And when your 17-year-old is removed from the scholarship application process, she loses the chance to feel pride and ownership and accomplishment.

Teenage girl working on essy

When they spend so much of their lives being managed and catered to… they turn into adults who don’t know how to manage on their own.

They don’t think about what could happen if they forget something… because they’ve never had to.

They don’t feel great when they achieve something… because their achievements have never been theirs in the first place.

They don’t manage their lives and routines and needs… because they’ve always had someone else to manage those things FOR them.

What your child needs is a cheerleading coach, NOT a hero.

Your child needs you firmly planted on the sidelines, encouraging them every step of the way. Giving them the benefit of your years of experience and wisdom and expertise.

Helping them learn and understand things for themselves so they can apply that to everything they do in the future.

And being proud of them when they get it.

Being the loudest voice in the room when they’ve done a great job on their own.

Showing them what love really looks like with encouragement … instead of taking over.

That’s how your child will feel capable, valuable, and like they can make significant contributions in their own lives.

Setting boundaries and expectations for your child will meet their need for structure and limits. This helps them with their own self-discipline, and it helps keep them safe. It gives them space to deal with uncomfortable feelings like frustration and even anger.

It shows them that you care enough about them to want the best for them (and you.)

And frankly… cheerleading and coaching is a lot less stressful for you than being your child’s superhero.

You Cannot Sustain The Way You’ve Been Doing Things Forever

Being the manager of your child’s life and allowing them to do whatever they want is adding pressure to your shoulders.

It puts the success of your children in your hands, instead of where it belongs (in theirs.)

It puts the PRESSURE of their success and happiness on you.

And that pressure is eating away at you. At your relationships. At your entire family.

Not only are you managing your own life (because even though my sarcastic comments from earlier said otherwise, you DO still have needs as an individual)… you’re managing your child’s life.

And if you have two children… you’re now managing three lives.

If you have three children, you’d be managing four lives.

That is simply unsustainable for you and your parenting partner.

You WILL burn out.

What will that look like? What will it look like when you’re sick or injured because of the stress you’re under?

What will your children do then? Will everything fall apart? Will they be incapable of meeting their own basic needs because they’re used to you always doing it for them?

There is no other ending for this. Parental burnout is real. Perpetual exhaustion, irritability, emotional overload, and a lower threshold for stress… these are real things that happen to parents every single day.

But when you begin to put the onus BACK on your children for managing their lives… you can create a better system for all of you to thrive.

They build the skills they need for long-term success and you get to prioritize yourself once in a while.

And I’m not saying that you’ll sit sipping margaritas while they deep-clean the house. But I am saying that there’s a happy medium between being a drill sergeant and being a doormat.

Kind and Firm: The Happy Medium That’s Good For Everyone

It might sound counterintuitive - but allowing your child to take responsibility for the things they should be responsible for allows YOU to take back control of your home.

It allows you to relieve some of the pressure from your shoulders and encourage your children the way they need. To give them the boundaries that will allow them to thrive while still creating a space for them to get their needs met.

Positive Discipline works on the cornerstone of Kind and Firm. That setting boundaries doesn’t have to be a screaming match or “do it my way or you’re grounded.” That enforcing limits and expectations isn’t a negative experience.

Confident Tween by School Bus

That you can still love on your child, build an amazing relationship, be their safe space… and not have them run the household at their whim.

Kind and Firm is one of the first tools I teach my clients, and it’s one that I write about in my books often. Because I know that as a parent, you don’t want to yell at your children. You don’t want to berate them into compliance.

In fact, for many parents, the “Kind” part isn’t difficult at all!

It’s not giving into their requests, demands, tantrums, or begging.

“Firm” is difficult for a lot of parents. Because you want your child to be happy.

And in my decades of experience, I have met tens of thousands of parents who mistakenly think their children are happiest when they don’t have any responsibility.

Which is why I’ve also put together 30+ parenting tools specifically designed to help you set boundaries, build expectations, create routines… and stay kind and firm through it all.

And I know it works - because I’ve used it on my own children, as well as worked with countless families, schools, child care centers, youth organizations, and child development centers worldwide to implement the Positive Discipline method for them, too.

Does this mean your children will be perfect? Does it mean you will be perfect? Absolutely not. Understanding that “mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” is one of our favorite tools. What a relief for everyone! It does mean that you will have tools to help you and your children learn from mistakes without any blame or shame.

All based on the idea that you CAN have a great relationship with your child and still set rules.

And, even better, when you learn amazing tools for setting rules together, children are much more willing (even if not totally enthusiastic) to follow rules that have been involved in creating.

I created this program with my favorite collaborator: my youngest daughter, Mary Nelsen Tamborski. Not only is she a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she’s also a mother of 3 boys.

Every day she meets with parents and kids to help them use Positive Discipline strategies to transform their households, improve their relationships, and instill the skills and capabilities they need for a happy, thriving life.

And every day she’s helping parents with specific, step-by-step instructions on HOW to put everything we teach into practice.

Because frankly it’s one thing to know that you want to be a different or better parent than you had growing up.

And it’s another to understand how to make it happen, step-by-step.

To understand the intricacies of relating to your children in a way that will empower them.
To see the learning opportunities your entire family has to do better.
To use the tools at your disposal to keep your positive, loving relationship with your child intact… while giving them the skills they need to succeed at the same time.

Which is why Mary and I have created this program - the modern day parenting guide that’s rooted in research, proven by parents, and used worldwide by millions of families, educators, counselors and more.

Positive Discipline is How You’ll Get Back Control Of Your Home

It WILL help you set boundaries in order to maintain the control you need… while still giving your children the freedom you want to give them to feel significant and capable.

It will help you teach them the critical skills they need to grow into successful adults… and it’s all shrouded in the idea that we love our kids and want what’s best for them.

We’re not creating demands and commands and high expectations. But we’re also not handling everything for them.

This is the perfect balance your children crave… that allows YOU to stop holding yourself responsible for their capability and happiness once and for all.

Because once they learn the skills and are empowered to use them… you can be confident that you’re raising children who can manage themselves in today’s world.

Get Your Guide

Not only is Positive Discipline highly effective with over 40+ years of proven results in classrooms, homes and academia, it’s also very hands on, chock-full of real-world tools to help you get your kids up to speed while handling any challenge they throw your way.

Your kid isn’t on board with doing chores around the house? … There’s a tool for that.

Your child forgets about homework assignments until the morning they’re due? … There’s a tool for that.

You can’t get out the door on time unless you practically dress and carry them out yourself? … There’s a tool for that.

Bedtime is at a different time every night?… There’s a tool for that.

Endless sibling bickering? Yup, you guessed it. There’s a tool for that, too

With over 30 parent-tested tools at your disposal, you’ll be armed for any curveball that comes your way.

Mom and Teen Hugging

And these tools are not just for regaining control of your home now (although they do - you’ll be amazed at how quickly the pressure is taken off you for everything your children need and you can go back to enjoying your kids again)…

These tools build those essential skills for tomorrow.

They teach your children to build valuable skills and beliefs that will help them:

  • Know how to solve problems and handle conflict effectively and without drama, martyrdom, or escalation
  • Instill a strong moral and ethical compass that isn’t vulnerable to peer pressure, risky decision making, or social vampires
  • Develop the ever-critical problem solving skills needed to respond to the unexpected twists and turns of life
  • Learn resiliency and to trust themselves, their judgment and their abilities

In other words, these tools become the foundation of a happy home today, and a thriving life tomorrow, withOUT catering to your child’s every whim or working overtime to manage their lives and happiness at every turn.

Build Your New Foundation

And Mary and I will be your personal parenting coaches that walk you through exactly how and when to use them… and how to get started.

We will:

  • Share real-life stories that show you the Positive Discipline tools in action
  • Break each one down step-by-step so you can understand exactly how to make them happen
  • Give you imagination exercises to help you live in your children’s shoes so you can get a deeper understanding of what they’re thinking and feeling
  • Provide reference sheets, tool tips, exercises and child psychology information that will help you truly use this method in your every day life
  • Walk you through exercises that you’ll do right along with us in your very own workbook that when finished will become your own personal reference manual for parenting

PLUS we’ve polled the audience and created a special Q&A session where we tackle REAL situations from REAL parents, just like you.

Parents who are committed to helping their children be happy, contributing, confident members of their family…

And who are raising healthy, successful future adults.

You don’t have to bark orders at your children if you want them to take responsibility for themselves. You don’t have to be a mean parent that doesn’t show their child affection.

There IS a happy medium between stressing yourself out and taking the responsibility of your entire family onto your shoulders… and expecting your child to blindly follow your every order.

There IS a better way, and I’m here to help you make it happen for your family.


Jane Nelsen

Parent Without Yelling, Power Struggles and Guilt

  • Critical skills to raise happy, healthy kids
  • Make parenting the most fun you’ve ever had
  • Ensure your kids feel loved, accepted and understood
  • Co-parenting secrets to help your kids thrive
  • Common parenting mistakes you must avoid
  • Less tantrums and tears, more snuggles and laughter

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