Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard parenting is? Don’t get me wrong I love my little one and I can’t imagine my world without her. Everything I do and every decision I make is made with how it will impact her in mind. At some point, right after she was born, she turned my world upside down and changed my perception on just about everything! My carefree days came to an abrupt halt and I began to see dangers in my everyday life that I had just never taken note of before.

I love her so fiercely and I know this sounds silly but I wanted, no I needed, her to love me just as much. That’s where things got tricky. How do you say no to the sweetest smile on earth? How do you calm a full blown tantrum without the promise/bribe of something wonderful? My worries and fears changed from global concerns to household peace when my little one started walking and problems and concerns only grew as she grew!

It is essential that you learn to embrace the word “NO” and use it without guilt. It will be one of the first words your child will use as they begin to speak. They quickly realize that it gives them some degree of power and control over the world around them so they enthusiastically use and then over-use it. Take this lesson from your little one and don’t be shy about saying no and setting firm boundaries.

As wonderful as it would be, no one always gets what they want, always wins or always gets the last word. Learning this lesson from an early age will empower your child to handle life and all of its many ups and downs. By not expecting things to always go their way and realizing that all actions have consequences help them become fearless. You are giving them the skills to handle disappointment, work through tough problems, listen/empathize with others and accept setbacks without falling apart. Your firm “NO” coupled with a clear set of expectations and consequences will serve them well in childhood and beyond.

So here is what I have learned so far. You are not your child’s friend or buddy….. you are their parent. This is the most important job you will ever have and one that you can’t quit or walk away from. If you do your job well you will raise a well-rounded, polite, self-assured young woman or man who will make your heart swell as they go out and make their mark on the world. In the end isn’t that what we all want!