You want to be the favorite parent. You want your child to be happy and to like you, but you also know that being a good parent requires occasionally disciplining your child. When this happens, you position in the race for favorite parent plummets and you have to become the mean parent. While it’s no fun being the mean parent, you can discipline and be “mean” every now and then without losing your spot as the child’s favorite.
When you discipline your child, make sure your child knows the reason for the discipline and that it’s not just you being mean. Talk about why your child is sitting in time out or has lost use of her favorite toy. After she has been disciplined, talk about why you set rules and the importance of following them. You won’t seem as mean when your child knows that being disciplined is really for good.
If you have a two-parent household, make sure both parents play a role in discipline as well. If one parent stays home and disciplines during the day, make sure the other parent follows through on that discipline during the evening or takes over the task of disciplining for the evening. That way both parents get the opportunity to be the mean parent.
At the end of the day, it’s also important to remember that parenting is not about being your child’s best friend or being your child’s favorite. It’s about raising your child well. Discipline is part of teaching your child how to act and become successful, even if it makes you seem mean or you take a brief fall from the pedestal your child normally puts you on.