Raising Happy Kids

4 Dangers of Being the “Cool” Parent and Giving in to Your Kids

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the cool parent

As a parent, you want your children’s love.

You want them to be happy and have all the things you didn’t as you were growing up.

In trying to make your kids happy, it’s easy to fall into the yes trap.

Maybe, you just don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t say yes.

Maybe you worry they won’t like you if you say no.

It’s not uncommon at all for kids to react negatively to being told no and say something like, “I don’t like you! You’re mean to me! You don’t love me!”

I’ve heard these statements from my own kids plenty of times. Even though I know they don’t mean it, it still hurts.

At the time it might feel easier to give in and let them have what they want.

Though it may appear to solve the immediate problem, giving in opens the door to a world of conflict down the road.

Here are 4 dangers of trying to be the cool parent and giving in to your kids.

Related Post: How to Raise Happy Motivated Kids

You Or Your Spouse Will Be Always be the “Bad Guy”

If one parent usually says no while the other says yes, the “strict” parent is jokingly referred to as the “bad guy”.

However, while it may be a joke to you, it isn’t to your kids.

They will really start to see the stricter parent who refuses to give in as the bad guy.

They will also start to see anybody who doesn’t give them what they want as the bad guy.

Instead of learning to work for what they want, your kids will grow up thinking whatever they want should be theirs whether they earned it or not.

Your Kids Will Learn To Throw Tantrums to Get Their Way

Your kids will start to notice pretty quickly which parent is more likely to give in when they want something.

They will see you as a pushover and use that to their advantage.

They’ll try any tactics they can.

In the beginning, they’ll scream, cry, throw tantrums, and go to all kinds of measures to see what it takes to get mom or dad to give in.

If either parent gives in to stop the tantrum, that behavior is reinforced, and your son or daughter will learn that the way to get what they want in life is to scream, kick, and cry until they get it.

Once this habit sets in, it is very hard to help your kids stop behaving in this manner.

You can expect many embarrassing scenes down the road when you go anywhere with your kids if you ever dare to say no.

To prevent this, there are a few things I do in my own home to stop my kids from throwing tantrums when they don’t get their way.

Each time one of my kids starts to cry or misbehave in any way because I or their father said no, I calmly tell them the worst thing to do to get what they want is to cry for it.

I let them know that if they cry it for, they will not get it this time and they won’t get it next time either.

If they want to make sure the answer is always no, then they should keep on throwing a tantrum.

I don’t just leave it at that though. 

If something is important enough to them and they really want it, I’ve asked my kids to come to me and ask how they can earn it.

I let them know they can have whatever they want if they’re willing to do what it takes to get it.

This way, if there is something that they really want, but I don’t feel like they’ve earned it, they have a way to get it that doesn’t involve throwing a tantrum, lying, or stealing. 

It teaches the kids that if they want something in life, they should figure out the right way to get it.

You can start this with your kids very early, even my two year old has started asking what he can do to earn what he wants.

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Your Kids Will Learn to Play You Against Your Spouse

Giving in to your kids when your spouse has said no, sends a message to your kids that their parents don’t support each other.

At the very least, it’s confusing for your kids.

As they get older, they’ll learn to use it to their advantage.

If you let them, they’ll pit you against your spouse whenever they want something.

Maybe they know one parent will say no, so they’ll go to the other to make their request.

When they get an approval, they’ll know they’re going against the other parent’s wishes and will feel a sense of victory that they still got what they wanted.

They’ll learn to be manipulative to get their way.

It gets even worse if they ask both you and your spouse at the same time and they get a different response from each one.

Your child won’t know which parent to listen to and they’ll just choose the one saying yes.

This quickly makes your child comfortable with being disobedient to both you and your spouse.

Your Kids May Grow up to Have Little Respect for You or Anyone

One of the greatest opportunities you have to teach your kids respect is by starting with their interactions with your husband or wife.

In everything your spouse says or does, make sure you support them 100%.

If you see your child having a negative reaction to something your spouse has said, immediately jump in and offer your support.

Firmly, let your child know that if daddy or mommy said no, the answer is no and they’re going to be happy about it.

Tell your child they WILL NOT be allowed to treat their mother or father that way.

Even if you disagree with a decision or action your spouse has made, the time to say so is not in front of your kids.

Support your spouse 100% and bring it up later when the kids aren’t around. Talk about it and work out a solution that you both agree on for next time.

Related Post: 2 Books That Saved My Marriage When I Thought It Was Over

If you show your kids that mom and dad are united and make sure that, if one parent says no, you reinforce it, your kids will grow to respect both of you.

They’ll recognize the loyalty between the two of you and be more likely to have the same loyalty towards their own spouse when they get married.

Remember that kids who don’t respect their parents have a hard time respecting anybody else.

The best way to earn anyone’s respect, including your kids, is by sticking to your principles and your values.



Have you or your spouse been guilty of giving in to your kids? Have you started noticing any of these behaviors?

Let me know and please ask any questions you have by leaving a comment below!



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6 thoughts on “4 Dangers of Being the “Cool” Parent and Giving in to Your Kids

  1. I definitely agree with everything in your article.
    With my two younger children I made some parenting mistakes, but they were because my husband passed away when our children were 2 and 5.
    He was a amazing father and husband. I never gave them chores and I normally bought them what they wanted, within reason and if I could afford it.
    But it had a negative affect in some ways. My son who actually turned 21 today, hasn’t held a job for longer than a month and has only had maybe 3 jobs. My daughter, 18 now, suffers from depression and anxiety. She has had 2 jobs since graduating last year. I wanted her to have her freedom while she was in school. She is going to college and also has her CNA license and is studying psychology.
    My point is, as a parent we always try to do what’s best for our children. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to play good parent bad patent I still made mistakes because I was trying to make it up to them because of their dad dying.
    Being a parent isn’t easy nor do we always know what is best, but nowadays we are lucky because we can go online and do a search to find great parenting articles like this one.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁
      I can’t even imagine how hard that would be to lose your husband and to have to raise your kids on your own.
      I know you did the best you could in your situation and I completely understand wanting to compensate for their father.

      It sounds like it’s been rough going but I hope things are getting better for all of you. It’s great that your daughter is going to college!
      I too suffered from depression for a number of years and what finally turned things around for me was restricting the input going into my mind to only be positive things. What I mean is, I listened exclusively to Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, and other motivational speakers I could find. If they recommended any books, I bought the books and read them myself.
      Every day I included things like this and, in a few short months, my perspective on so many things in life changed completely. Looking back, it’s incredible to me how differently I see things.
      I know it sounds kind of silly, (and possibly annoying) to recommend this. I thought so too at first when a friend kept recommending the videos to me. Finally, I couldn’t take the depression anymore so I started listening and I haven’t stopped! It literally turned my life around.

      I appreciate you stopping by and I wish you and your kids the very best

  2. It is very hard to say “no” sometimes. My kids are grown now, but I remember the times they played their mom and I in the way you described. I would almost never say “Yes.” Instead, i would say “Maybe we can go there if you can finish your homework” or “Maybe I will get you a puppy if you can show me you are able to take care him.” Sometimes I would say “No” just to see how they would react. Then I would come back later and say “because you were mature and able to take “no” for an answer, I have decided to give you what you want.” Sometimes i would day “If you can be happy with the toys you have, I will take them away from you.” They have to learn that bad behavior is certain to get them exactly what they don’t want and nothing they do want.

    1. I agree. The worst thing you can do when your kids are throwing a tantrum is to give them what they want to stop the tantrum.
      This is the best way to teach your kids that screaming and kicking is the way to get what they want in life!

  3. OMG – by reading your article I understood that I am that cool parent. And that isn’t good at all. I am always trying to put myself in the shoes of my kids and therefore allowing them a lot more than I should. But I have to change that quickly! I guess the hardest thing to teach to kids is the respect. I actually don’t think that it can be taught. It rather stems from the relationships between parents and kids so I urgently have to change my behavior. But how to do it most efficient? And what to start with?

    1. I think respect can be taught but that it also does stem from the relationship you have with your kids. 

      In regards to where to start, I’ve found that the most important thing in my home is to know what I want from my kids and to know what I want our relationship to look like. Once you have that clear vision, you can take the steps to make it a reality.

      Always, always, always be consistent in your expectations. If you expect a certain behavior one day, make sure you expect the same the next regardless of how you’re feeling.

      For example, in my home, I expect my kids make their beds in the morning. However, sometimes when I had a late night, I don’t always follow through and make sure it gets done. As things continue in this manner where one morning I expect it and the next I don’t, I find that my kids are always testing me to see they really need to do it each morning. 

      On the other hand, when I’m consistent, they do it almost every day without needing to be reminded.

      The same idea can be applied to almost any situation in your home. Above everything, know what you want and be consistent in expecting it.

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