To "Make" Your Child Do Something

Winter time is a daily battle with my kids to dress appropriately. Bundling up with hats and gloves is met with extreme resistance.

Every season I have to brace myself for the comments from family, friends and even strangers stating “well, you just have to make them wear it.”

What do they mean, to make a kid do something? I immediately have a vision of wrestling my kids to ground and forcing their arms into coats and duct taping their hats to their heads.

I can’t make my kids do something.

I have strict boundaries when it comes to many issues. I won’t budge on car seat safety, physical violence, and baths must occur twice a week at minimum.

But when it comes to winter wear, eating vegetables, or bedtimes, I won’t be pushing too hard.

I can encourage my kids to do something. I can bribe them. I can firmly command them. But in the end, I will not physically force my kids to submit to something. My kids know I am the boss, but I also have learned to pick my battles.

My father used to say “This is not the hill I want to die on.” I utter those words to keep things in perspective.

Do I really want to fuss and fight over a winter hat? No, because my kid will learn by the end of the day that her ears get cold with no hat. And tomorrow she will make a different choice.

That’s a lesson that never would have been learned had I just made her wear the hat.