How to command respect from your children

I’ve often suspected that I don’t have quite the authority as a parent that I’d like. Partly I think it’s an age thing. I was only 16 when I was pregnant with Bee, and I’ve always looked younger than I am. Maybe my children would have more respect for me if I was older and sterner, perhaps with a large bushy beard – how can you not respect someone with a beard?

Given though that I have hardly any hair on my head, and only have to shave my legs about once a month, a beard is probably not on the cards.

Mostly though it is probably my own fault. I do tend to act like a child. (I know my impeccable behaviour at Cybermummy makes this hard to believe, but you’ll just have to take my word for it). I spend all my money on sweets and stationary, get drunk, often laugh at Wizards of Waverley Place. Really not very mature at all.

“It’s funny,” Bee said to me a while ago, “I don’t really think of you as the mummy, I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.”

I had my status as Much Respected Mother Type Figure further questioned by Belle yesterday. She’d been ransacking the Cybermummy goodie bags and was rather taken with the baby feeding bottle. Once she’d eaten all the sweets from inside she made me fill it with milk so she could pretend to be a baby.

As I handed her the full bottle she looked up at me fondly and said “do you feel like a mother now?”

I had to explain that actually I already was a mother. She had the decency to look sufficiently guilty about her blunder, but still, you have to wonder what she thought I had been doing there all that time.

So, back to my title – ‘How to command respect from your children’. I’m afraid I haven’t really been much help on that front. I could offer some suggestions of what not to do – don’t let them see you for instance hungover with last night’s sick in your hair (a valuable lesson though in the dangers of binge drinking) – but otherwise all advice would be gratefully received!



  1. 6 July, 2010 / 8:47 am


    I am greatly concerned about being up at 3:44 am. I wish I could sleep, but since I can’t, I was goofing around and decided to check out your newest post. Suddenly my perspective on being awake at this ungodly hour changed with just one line, “I don’t really think of you as the mummy, I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.”

    Brilliant! I would give you the 2 points, but since you were quoting Bee, I am afraid I have to award the ‘You Made My Day” points to her. :-)

    Please thank her for me. Now off to bed…I hope.


    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:24 am

      Brian, I am concerned too about you being up at 3.44am. I have been telling Bee how funny she is on my blog and she wanted me to point out that on her own blog she is terribly moody and poetic.

      Hope you got to sleep!

  2. 6 July, 2010 / 9:08 am

    Snort!! Honestly Jo, you crack me up. If I hadn’t met your daughters I’d think you had made them up. Thanks for a cheery post that has managed to cut through today’s rather persistent PMT!

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:24 am

      My pleasure. I will think of myself as the writing equivalent of a giant bar of fruit and nut.

  3. Suzie Grogan
    6 July, 2010 / 9:19 am

    Oh I so know how you feel. I suspect that as I get older the beard will be easier to grow (electrolysis anyone?) but by then it will be far too late…..
    Evie and Bee have more in common than just messing up their hair.

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:25 am

      Maybe we should invest in fake beards? I’m sure they’d take us more seriously then…

  4. 6 July, 2010 / 11:37 am

    If you get to be in charge if you are the tallest what happens when your offspring become taller than you? Not there yet fortunately but a concern for the future surely.

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:26 am

      True, but fortunately I have girls, so it’s less of a worry – Bee hasn’t grown for a while, and I had stopped growing at her age, so fingers crossed….

  5. 6 July, 2010 / 12:12 pm

    i love wizards of waverly place and shock hanna montana and suite life and all the other shows my kids like.

    My kids know that hubby and i mean business-we’re just bossy like that lol.

    Your daughter is too cute.

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:27 am

      I do have bossiness on my side, so that probably helps. I do like a bit of Disney Channel. Apart from Phineas and Ferb, I’m not so keen on cartoons.

  6. 6 July, 2010 / 3:00 pm

    Hilarious, Jo! (I love my cat, but he could never come up with a wisecrack like Bee’s!) Just wait … there will come a day when you’ll be grateful that strangers can’t believe you’re the mother and not the oldest sister! ;)

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:29 am

      We have been mistaken for sisters before, and I am ALWAYS grateful! I’m quite sad now that I don’t get asked for ID buying wine in the supermarket as often as I used to :-(

  7. 6 July, 2010 / 5:07 pm

    Well (as you now know, after Saturday) I went for the beard option, although it’s not quite as fecund as the one that you’ve depicted. Thankfully, I’m quite tall too so I can dance around the room to ‘Space Pirates’ with Charlie, my daughter tutting her disaproval rhythmically and STILL retain a certain air of authority.

    I can recommend it.

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:31 am

      Damn it, I knew a beard was the way to go. You definitely had an air of authority at the weekend. Well, I am shortish and smooth chinned, so it looks like I’ll have to resort to a spot of ritual beating instead.

      (I really like the ‘space pirates’ song – it does make you want to dance about).

  8. 6 July, 2010 / 5:34 pm

    “I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.” That has to be the best quotation ever. If you don’t mind I might use that in the future. Absolutely, brilliant!!

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:32 am

      Feel free! I reckon it could become the basis of a new form of government – we line the politicians up in height order maybe to pick a Prime Minister?

  9. 6 July, 2010 / 7:42 pm

    Hmm… You could try putting on a frowny sort of face and saying “I’ll count to three” a lot. That’s what I do although I’m dreading the day that my kids actually let me get to three, as I really have no idea what comes next…

    • 7 July, 2010 / 6:38 am

      The trouble is, when I do my ‘frowny face’ the girls just laugh and say I look like a child. If you never get to three though it sounds like you’re doing a great job! I think if you actually get there you have to do something pretty harsh like look them in a cupboard or have them adopted or something? I’ve found you can take a long time getting from two to three though – ‘two and a quarter! two and a half! two and five eights!’…

  10. 7 July, 2010 / 2:11 pm

    Just discovered your blog via twitter – hilarious! SOme frineds of my kids once said they thought I was the coolest Mum they knew because I was grown up but not an adult, which I took to be a huge compliemtn. And in terms of commanding respect, I found the best rule of all was “It’s only funny when I do it!” which let me get away with murder while still establishing a few boundaries :-)
    I shall look forwarding to reading more of your insights…

  11. 8 July, 2010 / 6:22 am

    I know how you feel. Except now I am the smallest in house (just) I would have to stand on chairs to command any authority, which doesn’t quite look right. Most of my own blog seems to be about my inadequacies as an ‘adult’! “Even after 13 years of signing myself off as ‘Mum’ in cards and texts I still feel like a bit of an impostor when I look at it!”

    • 8 July, 2010 / 7:45 pm

      I don’t know, I reckon you might draw a bit of attention if you started climbing onto furniture every time you wanted to speak! It’s weird though isn’t it – I still feel frozen in time at about 16 in my head.

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