Parental Ultimatums…



I hear countless stories on a daily basis. Some unique and some more common. I also live my own story which means there are stories that resonate with me. As a parent, daughter, mom, sibling, relative, friend, and basically a human, there are few that don’t.

An occasional story is the teenager whose parents give an ultimatum – “do what I tell you or get out!”. I’m sure you’ve heard that one too. It was a common strategy used when I was growing up to get us to do what they wanted.

So, is it ok to use threat to get what we want as a parent or to attempt to control what our children do?

What is the impact?

It can be easy to think of it as a right vs wrong, or good vs bad. However, there are many ways to define those four words depending on culture, opinion, legal, ethical, generational, and other factors. The bigger question to ask is whether a strategy is going to get us what we want or not, and whether it is going to be useful in the long run.

So, then, what is the goal, and is what we’re doing effective towards it?

If our goal is to protect our children and make sure they finish school and become productive members of society, is the best strategy to remove their means and support?

If we want to have a closer relationship with our children and be a part of their life and decisions, is it the best strategy to threaten and/or kick them out?

The hard question: As parents are we seeking to be right and in control more than the best interest of our kids?

Thoughts? …

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