Parenting on the Run
We are going to be PARENTS
The day you find out you are going to become parents is the day your actual job of being a parent starts.  What the mother does to her body through the full time of pregnancy is as important to your child as when you are using the parenting techniques we will be discussing here in this blog. 

As a mother, you must get the right amount of sleep, eat the right foods, avoid alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and other vices that could be harmful to your body; and, especially to the body of your baby.  For some, it is a total change of lifestyle.  For others, it may be an easy thing.  Be sure to connect with a doctor that can monitor you and advise on what to be doing during your pregnancy.

This is an exciting time and you need to learn to embrace it.  Your lifestyle during pregnancy is an important thing to focus upon. 

Fathers!  Listen up.  You are going to be an integral part of this process as well.  You need to step up and make sure the mother of your child is getting the help and support she needs to be a healthy mother.  This is a joint venture and you both need to be walking this path together...for the sake of your relationship and the sake of your yet to be born child.

As we move through this time, I need to encourage you that if any of you need individual advice on your path as a parent, please feel free to go to my contact page and get a hold of me.  Until then, take care and good luck!

How Do I Get My Kids to Obey?

I received a question from a reader in Iowa. 

"I have three kids ranging from ages 4 - 10. How can I get my children to obey me?  When I ask them to do something they will whine, drag their feet or just out and out shrug me off.  What can I do?"
Frustrated in Iowa.

Dear Frustrated in Iowa:

When it comes to getting our children to do what we want them to do, I see a lot of parents defaulting to an authoritarian way of parenting.  Authoritarian parenting is demanding, punitive and does not allow children to make decisions on their own.  

As parents, we want kids to mind us and obey and not challenge us.  We want peace and harmony in our homes without the headache of kids challenging our instructions and rebeling to our requests.

But, to be quite honest, I actually want children who will be able to challenge authority the correct way and to become independent thinkers.  This must start at an early age.  We, as parents, need to learn to become parents who teach our children the correct response to following what we want them to do.  Authoritarian measures may work when a child is quite young and smaller than us, but we need to get them to find ways in which they can make choices and suffer consequences of those choices.  We also need to find leverage in managing behavior.

By leveraging behavior, I mean finding areas that I have control over. I can only do things for which I have control.     Unfortunately, I cannot just tell my child to not be angry or not yell.  I can only use what I have in my tool box that I have for control.  For example:  Let's say my child wants to go the mall to be with friends and needs a ride.  The thing I have control over is the driving.  If I want my child to follow the directions I have given (i.e.: clean your room and put away your laundry), I will give the ride when the directions are completed.  If they choose to not do what I have asked, the child will not be able to go to the mall. 

This is the natural consequence of not doing what I have asked.  Avoid reminding, coaxing, nagging and negotiating with the child.  This just feeds into the power they want in this situation.  If they don't do what was asked, just don't bring them to the mall and don't say anything else.  The less said, the better.  The child will learn that you mean business and that I should probably do what is asked before I can do what I want.

I like to analyze what I have control over.  How will I know.  Usually when a child asks me for something or if he/she can do something; I know that is something I can control. 

Also, parents, communicate prior to what you are asking in a calm manner to get your point across and teach what you want.  I lay out exactly (in simple terms) what my expectations are and what must occur before the positive consequence or the thing that the child wants will come to be. 

Expect to be challenged.  Everytime, I have said I want something done, my kids would challenge my authority and, often times, do what they wanted to do anyway.  I didn't need to preach or yell.  I just used what I had control over to get my point across. 

Yes, there were many times, when my kids didn't get to go to the mall because I used my driving them (which is what they wanted) to control the situation because they did not do what was asked.  Simple leveraging.

If you are a parent and have a question you would like answered on thei blog site, please go to my contact page and submit a question. 

Good Luck!



Another question:  "How do you gain leverage to get compliance to your directions?"

We ask our children to do things and when they do not comply with our directions, we feel powerless and, oftentimes, default to conflict or what ends up to be power struggles.  In situations like these, nobody wins; and, we feel like we are losing the parenting game.

I have seen many parents demand obedience and have also seen parents threaten to "call the law", "tell Santa Claus", or "ground you to your room forever!"

Threats are useless unless you can back them up and usually that doesn't work.  If you throw out a threat, be ready to be challenged by your child.  If you cannot back up what you say, kids will get the message that you are a lot of hot air and that you do not follow through with what you say.  If it happens enough, the child will know that you are not in control and will not deliver.

I don't like to use threats.  Give your child choices and then let natural and logical consequences take place.  A natural consequence is something that occurs naturally.  If I run on a slippery floor, I may slip and fall.  A logical consequence is something I set with leveraged results.  Example:  I tell my kids if they cooperate and get along, I will take them to the mall.  If they become argumentative and disrespectful to one another, the logical consequence will be that they don't get to go to the mall.  My leveraging (or, what I have control over) is taking them to the mall. 

I don't have to nag, remind, cajole, or yell.  I just not take them to the mall.  When they come and ask to go to the mall.  I just say, we are not going due to your arguing with each other.  It is a lot less stress on my life to have to yell at my kids to stop arguing.  I wait until I have leveraging and then act. 

The learning comes through the struggle of not getting what I want.  When a child does not get what they want as a result of their actions (or inactions), learning occurs and they learn cause and effect.

So, wait until you have control or leverage over a situation before acting to get your children to do what you want.  A simple thing that can get you miles in stress free parenting.