Compromise or Giving in?

Is the pandemic wearing the family down?  Do you find yourself giving in to the kids for everything just to avoid conflict?

Are there long-term effects of your short-term solutions of giving in?  Is it compromise or giving in?

Compromising means settling a dispute with a mutual agreement. By parents giving in to what the child wants, does that mean it’s necessarily what is best for your child? Oftentimes not.  When the child is young and you give in to their every whim, it sets the tone for how they deal with your decisions as they age.

When evaluating whether you are compromising or giving in let’s look at the 4 R’s.

  1. Rewards-Make decisions that are beneficial for you and your child. If both you and the child do not benefit, it may be giving in.
  1. Responsibilities-Members of the family should have their age and grade appropriate roles and responsibilities. Parents who use healthy modeling are helping their young children early on, learn what their responsibilities are as a contributor to the family.
  1. Risk-Decisions made should never put the child at risk. For example, riding their skateboard outside when there is lightning storm going on.  Even though a parent may have told the child to come inside and the child chose to stay out and skate, this decision is a “risk” behavior. If a “risk” behavior is not met with an immediate and impactful consequence, the child may continue behaving in risky behaviors. This is an at-risk situation for the child and perhaps those around them.

As the adult, you set the boundaries, not the child.  By giving in, the child learns how to not have limits, in turn, promoting reckless behavior. Additionally, consider yourself, your family and others to keep the child from interpersonal harm when evaluating risk.

  1. Relationships– In parent-child relationships there is always give and take. Compromise is not the same as giving in or manipulating behavior, compromise is mutually beneficial, healthy behaviors.

Compromise involves the first three r’s, rewards, responsibilities and risk. When we compromise it can actually improve relationships and promote healthy decisions for the family.  It’s a great way to enhance structure and communication in your home.

(Pickhardt, 2012)