Yesterday I posted a link to the great program, Raising Well Behaved Children. Today a friend of mine asked me what I got out of this program personally and what I want to change.
So I wanted to share some parts of the program that really hit home with me (you can also read the transcript of the program here)
John R.: Well, here’s the thing and this is what I tell parents all over the culture, all over the country. You and I’m talking you, you parents, you believe that these problems are emanating from your children and the fact it, that the overwhelming majority of these problems are a function of your parenting style.
And if you can come to grips with that and accept that, it’s very liberating, because when you realize that you have been trying to change the wrong people, and that you’ve been making an effort. It’s very difficult to change someone else, even if the person in question is a 5-year-old child, when you understand that the person that needs to be changed in this equation is you, and that’s the easiest person for you to change, that is very, very liberating.
And so, I say to parents, you know, who tell me, I have an argumentative child, John. I say, no you don’t. You just simply provide explanations. You are justifying the decisions that you are making to your child. You are justifying the instructions and the justification, the explanation provides the child with all he needs to push back against you with.
And so, when you stop giving explanations, when you strip your instructions and you strip your decisions down to a minimum of words, you simply say what you mean, mean what you say, you’re going to find that these arguments stop.
So the real problem isn’t my kids- it’s ME and my style of parenting. I know I spend too much time (at times) giving explanations.
You know, and I tend to answer questions in terms of anecdotes. A mother came up to me in Easley, South Caroline a few years ago. And she said, “John, I’ve got a 5-year-old who won’t do what he’s told.”
John R.: And this was the actual conversation. I said, “Well, I don’t believe that.” (Laughter) And she said, “What are you talking about?” And I said, ” I’ve never heard of a 5-year-old who wouldn’t do what he was told.” “Well, then you’ve never heard of my son, ’cause he won’t do anything I tell him to do; (Laughter) about anything and ever …”
I said, “No, I’ve never heard of your son, but you’ve told me an awful lot about you without really meaning to.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, you’ve told me you don’t tell you son to do anything, because my experience is, that if children are told, they do what they’re told.” But what today’s parents are doing is not telling; they’re pleading, bargaining, bribing. I’ve got this memorized, so it comes out very smoothly and I’m a public speaker. (Laughter)
Pleading, bargaining, bribing, cajoling, reasoning, explaining, encouraging, suggesting and promising. And when none of that works, then they threaten and then they scream and then they feel bad and then they do something special for the child and make up for their guilt and then they go right back to pleading, bargaining, bribing, you know, and so on and so forth. (Laughter)
And you know, I said to this woman, “When you start telling your child, your child will begin doing what he is told.” It’s a function of your leadership style. And this is not complicated; if you understand it that way, it’s very, very simple. And the problems become clear and the solutions become clea
The whole thing about bargaining, begging, pleading. . . that is so ME. I want to make our lives easier (I thought) and be a good Mom and in yet in reality could it be I am setting myself up for failure? I am constantly feeling frustrated and this seems so right on! What do you say?
The last part that really hit home with me is about the “Good Mommy Club.”
John R.: One of the problems in American culture today and American parenting culture is what I call “The Good Mommy Club.” And the rules of The Good Mommy Club, the rules of membership in The Good Mommy Club are such that they make inevitable that the female parent is going to experience a tremendous amount of stress in the raising of children and the stress is going to be expressed on some frequency in the form of cerebral meltdowns.
And you know, the rules of The Good Mommy Club, the good mommy pays as much attention to her children as she possibly can. So, my mother expected me to pay attention to her. The good mommy does as much for her children as she possibly can. My mother expected me to do for myself and on a daily basis, was for my benefit dedicating herself to doing as little for me as she possibly could.
And what I am saying to American women all over the country is, look, all of the rules have turned 180 degrees in the last 50 years. Your mother, your grandmother especially, didn’t go through her parenting career screaming on a regular basis at her children. Why is this happening today?
And these are things that are problems that are embedded in our parenting culture today, that you know, I go around the country and I say, “Look, my mission is two-fold. It’s mother liberation from the constraints of The Good Mommy Club and marriage restoration.”
I am constantly feeling so stressed out and having “meltdowns” because I don’t feel good enough as a Mom. What do you say Mom’s? Would making these changes in your parenting methods restore your sanity and make your marriage healthier?
There are some points of this that I don’t agree with- like doing as little for my kids as possible. But I have been understanding ALOT lately that my kids have a very bad case of entitlement. Where they think they should have what they want, when they want it and without working for it. I have been realizing they are in dire need of some good old fashioned chores and responsibilities- and not just getting everything on a “silver platter.”