When I first became a parent, I remember very clearly my mother advising me to "choose my battles carefully". It was her belief, and soon became mine, that when raising children, you must not put yourself in a position of "dictator". "Growing up shouldn't be a battlefield" my mother would say.
Her words were always in the back of my mind as I was raising my daughter (now 32) and are still a very large part of my parenting philosophy as I now raise my grandchildren.
The theory is still very much the same, however, today the phrase has become, "take the path of least resistance".
Regardless of the phrase you choose to use, the importance is in the message. A successful parent will know the value of going with the "flow" concerning their children's choices and preferences.
Whether you see it as "choosing a battle" or "choosing a path", your attitude will undoubtedly affect the process and outcome of every situation you face with your children.
The criterion to rely on is determined by your beliefs about your role in your children's lives. You first need to define the type of relationship you want to have with your children and then be clear on what your goals are for them.
I was raised knowing beyond any doubt that my parents were "with" me. They were not "ruling" over me or standing in judgment of me. It was evident that they saw their role as being my biggest supporter, to encourage and inspire me to create my own identity. They understood that would only happen through allowing me to experience life.
My parents were thrilled when I would ask to try a new sport or join a new club at school. I remember one time, when I was around 6 years old, after watching my father (who was a builder) build a life-size playhouse in the backyard for us to play in, asking for some tools so that I could build some shelves for my bedroom to hold my special books.
My father got me the lumber (pre-cut as I was too young to use a saw) and a hammer and nails and let me create my idea of shelving for my room. As I recall, they weren't very straight or level but they did hold my books and for that I was very proud.
Some parents may not have taken the time or at the very least not wanted this strange piece of woodwork in the house, but my parents beamed with pride.
I wasn't told "you can't do that", or "you aren't old enough to use a hammer". I was encouraged not discouraged. It would have been so easy for my father to suggest he build the shelves for me, instead he allowed me the experience.
This experience as well as similar countless others throughout my growing up years taught me that anything was possible for me in my life.
The underlying message in "the path of least resistance" is to see your role in your children's lives as accompanying them on an adventure that you are blessed to be sharing.
Whether it is your teen's style of dress or your toddlers desire to play in the mud, the primary focus should always be, as my mother used to say, "If it won't hurt them physically or emotionally, let them be"!
Taking the path of least resistance and choosing to be in a supportive role in your children's lives will give them an enormous feeling of being valued as their own person, rather than an extension of the preferences of others.
Choosing a path of "assistance" versus "resistance" will lead your children to having courage, confidence, and a healthy self-esteem. These traits are the foundation of having a positive mindset.
Perceiving yourself and the world around you in a positive way prepares you to become automatically aligned with the basic principle of the law of attraction.
When you have a positive outlook, you are in line to attract more of the same and good things will come to you. This path will become a journey of true happiness and success.
And that, I believe is what all parents want for their children.