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Here’s Why It’s Absolutely OK If Your Kid Isn’t Happy All The Time

Here’s Why It’s Absolutely OK If Your Kid Isn’t Happy All The Time

As a parent, it is natural to feel sad when your kid is unhappy. You want to run and alleviate the suffering of your child as soon as it surfaces, especially when you are the cause of their unhappiness. However, it is important to remember that seeing our kids unhappy is a side effect of teaching them necessary life lessons.

Remaining in a constant state of happiness is not possible in life. By focusing on keeping your kids happy all of the time, you are giving them the idea that everything in life will come easy. You are not allowing them to learn how to effectively deal with times of adversity. You are not allowing them to feel the other half of being human — negative emotions and suffering.

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Our suffering oftentimes brings about the best lessons we will learn in life. It is the same with the suffering of kids, and sometimes that means watching our kids suffer. We do not learn or grow if we do not face times that force us to learn or grow.

An Effective Parent -> An Effective Discipliner

Part of being an effective parent is being a teacher, which also means being an effective discipliner. With the parent being the first and primary teacher, it is your obligation to teach your kids responsibility, respect for others, right from wrong, that there are repercussions for bad actions, and much more. Growing up in a home without a set of expectations to uphold and the knowledge of the repercussions that will come if a kid doesn’t abide by certain rules will often lead to a problem child later in life.

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What Researches Say About It

Research shows that ineffective parenting can lead to academic problems, behavioral problems, mental health problems, and emotional problems. Having a kid that is unhappy due to effective parenting that teaches them necessary life lessons far outweighs having a kid that has behavioral problems due to ineffective parenting. The downside is that having a set of expectations and responsibilities for your kids will sometimes lead to having very unhappy kids, and that’s OK.

Having an unhappy child does not mean you are a bad parent. It is so important to not allow the sight of unhappiness in your kids to sway you away from upholding expectation, responsibility, or disciplining them. You may feel extremely wrong, sad, and it may hurt you, but this is part of parenting.

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Things To Remember

You are not a horrible parent if there are days where your kid is not happy because you made them do the dishes. You are not a horrible parent if your kid does not talk to you for a week because you grounded them for bringing home a bad grade on a report card. You are an effective parent, teaching your kid that sometimes in life we have to suffer the repercussions of our actions. You are teaching them that not everything in life is given with ease and that we have to work for what we want. You are teaching them that sometimes in life, we have to do things that we don’t want to do. And you are teaching them that sometimes we will face unhappiness and we have to learn how to deal with that unhappiness effectively.

Disciplined kids grow up to be successful, responsible, and respectful adults. And most likely, later on in life when your kids are parents themselves, they will thank you for being the role model, teacher, and rule-holder that you were. They will thank you for those moments of unhappiness they had to face for not upholding the expectations you set, because it taught them how to be a successful adult, and parent, themselves.

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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