Are You a Pushover Parent? 5 Ways to Stay Strong

5 straight-forward, commonsense strategies that allow for your entire family to live in a happy, parent-driven environment.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #457

child being bossy because of pushover parents

Becoming a parent not only allows us the incredible privilege and responsibility to care, nurture and love our child it also affords us the opportunity to take on a few unexpected titles other than mom and dad. We are coaches, cheerleaders, chauffeurs, counselors, teachers, disciplinarians, coddlers, providers, and many times—pushovers!

Without even realizing it parents can fall into the trap of being a pushover parent—one that aims to please their child for various reasons such as trying to avoid a meltdown or tantrum, not wanting to be a mean parent, wanting to be your child’s friend or simply just because you hate saying “no”. This tactic might seem harmless from time to time, but unfortunately, this approach sends the message to your kids that the world revolves around them and that you will make sure they never have to face a negative situation in their young or –get ready—their dramatic tween/teen lives.

Though parenting will always have it’s ups and downs, you don’t have to be targeted as a pushover if you establish Mighty Mommy’s 5 straight-forward, commonsense strategies that allow for your entire family to live in a happy, parent-driven environment.

How to Not Be a Pushover Parent

  1. Tip #1: Mean What You Say.
  2. Tip #2Provide Expectations and Consequences.
  3. Tip #3: Have Routines.
  4. Tip #4: Don’t Make it Easy All the Time.
  5. Tip #5: Learn to Say Yes Without Being a Sucker.

Let's look at these a little closer.

Tip #1: Mean What You Say.

If there’s one piece of parenting advice I could give to all new parents, it would be to “mean what you say,” because this action lends total credibility to your role as the parent and caregiver. Sending your child mixed messages can ultimately lead to your own demise as a pushover parent, and it really isn’t fair to your kids. Make sure your child knows if you promise consequences for good or bad behavior that you will deliver on them every time. Consistent parenting makes kids feel secure because there are no surprises by you, the parent, when a decision or promise is made. If you’re not consistent all of the time, you’re teaching your kids that your word is worth nothing. Just don't say it if you aren't going to do it. And on the other hand, if you say it, be prepared to do it.

Tip #2Provide Expectations and Consequences.

Being a pushover parent means you might threaten consequences but never reinforce them. To change this behavior, come up with expectations and consequences for any rule breaking.

Children of all ages need to know the family rules for everything from helping out with chores, to completing homework, to bedtime and curfews, to acceptable behavior toward others. The time to discuss these matters is when things are going well, not after an incident has occurred. Sit down with your kids and let them know what types of behaviors you will not tolerate in your family. List examples of unacceptable behaviors such as treating others with disrespect, being fresh or rude, name calling, refusing to do chores or homework, mistreating possessions, hitting, biting, or any other physical aggression.

You cannot expect your child, regardless of age, to be compliant if he doesn’t know your expectations. Holding your child accountable does not result in a child who is obedient 100% of the time, but it does mean that you set the limits, and you provide a consequence when your child decides to break the rules. By maintaining this consistently, your days of being a pushover will come to an end.

Include your tween or teen in creating solutions for chronically disrespectful situations. If you’re going through the same nagging motions night after night, call a meeting. Sit down, calmly spell out the problem, and then surprise them: Ask them to think of some solutions. Model respect for them by truly listening and making them a partner in the solution. 

For example, say your daughter is constantly battling with you over when to start homework. Say, “Hey, we’ve been having daily battles about when to start your homework and it’s not working for either of us. I think you should start your homework at 7, but you’re often busy with something else. How can we solve this?” 


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!