Let The Kid Be Player One

Oh, the struggle of control. We parents love to be in charge and boss everybody around. Often, I find that my “bossiness” is for my own convenience, and not for the good of all.


I’d like to talk about a particular one that can often be indicative of bigger problems. Here’s the scenario:

At our house, we have a ritual that we do on a lot of evenings. When all is said and done, when teeth are brushed, kitchen is clean and we are too we like to unwind with a little Mario Kart.

I love this game.

A also love to be in control of this game.

Nearly every time that we go to play, one of the girls will ask if they can be “player one.” Historically I have said, “No, let daddy set it up.”

Recently, my conscience is getting more and more bothered by this. I’ve noticed that the more I’m in control of the stuff, whatever it is, the less my kids learn. Whether it’s the computer, the Wii-U, my tablet, my phone, whatever… if I do it for them, they won’t learn.

Sure, it’s common sense, right?

But you know that you do it too. We like to be in control because it’s easier. It’s so much easier and quicker to do it myself.

Every time that I do this I am taking away their freedom of my children to choose, express, mess up, learn, grow and so much more.

It may not seem like that big of a deal. But day after day, month after month and year after year of this will turn into a problem. Our kids need to try under our watch. They also need to mess up, figure it out, work it out right in front of us without us taking over.

This mentality creeps in so slowly, but before you know it, it’s everyone. It takes over everything. We think we’re too busy to be kind and patient with our kids.

I know very well that if I let my 9-year-old be player one, she’s gonna take for-stinking-ever to pick which kart, which track, which way to set up the game. It feels like an eternity.

I’ve got way too much to do for this! I have important adulting to do and things to complain about!

 I find the need to look myself in the eye sometimes and say,

“Hey, this is your job. This is the number one thing that you have to do. It comes before almost everything else. You are a parent!”

Let’s challenge each other to let them get in the drivers seat. I just stumbled across this post on Man-Vs-Pink, (a site I’m going to really need to explore) about raising empowered young women. I feel that what I’m saying here is part of that conversation is allowing them to take the lead with us backing them up.

We’ve got to give our kids the bravery to lead out, try, fail, succeed… whatever. But it starts with the little things. It starts with every single little thing.

It starts with letting them make the fried egg with the hot skillet while you stay by their side.

It’s them *actually* getting to pick the movie.

It’s them getting to decide where you go out to eat with no fight back because you hate that restaurant.

It’s us allowing them to have a will of their own. It’s so important. The little things will always lead to the big things.

Where do you struggle with being a control freak? Let’s talk about it.

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