I am often asked by a parent who is sick and tired of lecturing, nagging, reminding, counting, time-outing, and yelling if the approach to parenting I used to raise my own kids (and the approach I have been teaching for 25 years), will work for them?
Here is what I tell them:
This parenting strategy only works if you are ready to stop lecturing and shift your energy and focus to raising an awesome human being who will go out into the world at 18 and kick some ass – in a good way.
Usually parents respond by saying, “Of course I want to raise a human who will leave the house and know how to function happily and successfully in the real world”. And then I point out that it’s time to let go of some counter productive parenting habits if you seriously want to raise the human being we both want your kids to be.
A Less is More parenting strategy will benefit you if:
10. You are still helping your 5-year old get dressed in the morning, which includes laying out the clothes or throwing his clothes in the dryer so he will get dressed without throwing a tantrum.
9. You make 3 different meals at dinner, because your children are picky, picky, picky.
8. You pack extra….yes, extra everything! Just in case.
7. You snap, point and stomp. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the “hairy eyeball” face to get your kids to listen to you.
6. You keep telling your kids they have to be nice to each other and stop fighting. You tell them repeatedly – “The Morgans Do Not Fight!” And still they bicker and pick and fight every single day.
5. You rate yourself on how well you are doing as a parent based on whether or not your kids are happy every minute of the day. And if they aren’t happy, you think it’s your responsibility to do something to make them happy.
4. You say “Good Job!” more than once a week. I dare you to count how many times it comes out of your mouth in the course of a day.
3. When your child says, “I’m bored”, you think it’s your problem.
2. You have never considered a 13-year old absolutely, will not, under any conditions, sit in the naughty chair. If you had, you wouldn’t be sending your three-year old to the naughty chair.
1. You spend more time doing laundry, picking up toys, packing lunches, emptying back packs, checking homework, monitoring the computer, shutting down cell phones, checking on whereabouts, returning late library books than you spend connecting with your kids and establishing a healthy respectful, loving relationship with them.
If you said “yup, that’s me” to any or all of the above, then maybe it’s time for you to consider a shift in your parenting. After all, parenting is supposed to be about raising the next generation of leaders and less about getting through another disastrous morning.
So where do you begin?
Two simple steps to get started with a Less is More parenting strategy:
Take this next week to notice two things:
- How many times you step in to do something that you think your child is capable of doing himself (packing bags and lunches, picking out clothes, paying for treats, chores in the house)? Write these things down. Later on, it will be time to create a timeline for training.
- How many times you are tempted to save your child from discomfort, frustration or disappointment (making the specialized meal, packing extra items, return trips because of forgotten gear or homework, etc.)? Keep a tally and track the times you want to jump in and make life easier.
It’s ok. We know these parenting decisions come with the best intentions. But we also know that saving our kids and keeping them from developing the skills they need in the real world offers a great disservice to these incredible humans we love so dearly.
Let’s be honest – when you dreamed of having children, was your dream filled with micro-managing their lives or was the dream about the strong bond, the deep connection, and the richness the parent/child relationship would bring to your life?
Ready to make a few changes and bring a new sense of clarity, confidence and excitement to your parenting? Let’s go!
If you’d like blog posts with more tips and inspiration delivered to your inbox each week, please subscribe to my newsletter in the box at the top of this page.