Perfect Mother

“Perfect mother…there is no such thing (although many of today’s moms seem to be chasing that elusive butterfly)…but she was a “good enough mom.” Good enough is that you love your child unconditionally, protect and provide adequately, and discipline with righteous authority. Those four things are really all a child needs in order to grow up into a responsible and compassionate human being, and that is all everyone else is really asking of you. Grow a child who will treat other people – including smaller, younger, less talented, less intelligent, and even crazy people – with respect. That doesn’t mean he has to get up close and personal with them, especially if they’re crazy, but nonetheless treat them with respect. That’s what my mom taught me. If I came home and told her another kid was getting picked on, my mom would tell me to invite him over to our house. If I told her some other kid just didn’t seem to get a certain subject, my mom told me to help him. Ugly kid? “Beauty is only skin deep,” she would say. Mean kid? “You need to learn how to get along with him,” she’d say. When I told her that I wanted to go to Western Illinois University because all my friends were going there and for no other reason, even though I’d been accepted at Yale, she smiled and wished me well. When I joined a rock ‘n’ roll band and I made more Fs than all my other grades combined for two semesters, she said nothing. She let me find my own way. That’s what a mother is for. I loved my mom, and I miss her. She taught me that women were interesting people and that women were authority figures. She was loving, but she could send shivers up and down my backbone. This Sunday, I’m taking my wife out for Mother’s Day Lunch with other moms our age who’s kids are far away. We will celebrate my wife, but we’ll also celebrate our moms. They done good.”
– John Rosemond



Developing a Humble Attitude

A mother who attended a recent presentation during which I described the differences between high self-esteem and humility writes asking “What should my husband and I be doing to help our children develop humble hearts?”

Before I answer her question, I need to point out two things: First, humility was the cultural ideal up until the late 1960s, at which point self-esteem theory began to hold sway. Second, the research is clear that people who possess high self-esteem do not have good emotional coping skills, are highly prone to regular episodes of depression, and tend toward sociopathy. And that’s just the short list. For more on that, Google the work of researchers Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge.

People who know nothing of the research, when I ask if they’d rather live next door to a person with high self-esteem or a person who is humble and modest, answer the latter. No one given that choice has ever chosen the former, proving my general contention that common-sense and social science research generally line up.

A good number of people equate humility and modesty with shyness, but that’s an error. Humility is simply an attitude of service. The humble person looks for opportunities to be of service to others, from opening doors to volunteering in charitable activities. A person with high self-esteem, which is an entitlement mentality, walks through the opened door without saying “Thank you.”

I gave the above mom the following five tips for assisting her children toward developing a humble social attitude:

1. Train children to serve by assigning them to unpaid chores in and around the home. It is axiomatic, as our fore-parents used to say, that good citizenship begins in the home. Chores should begin at age 3 and increase steadily from there.
2. Train children to pay attention to the needs of others by teaching proper manners. The social graces consist of small, gentle acts that acknowledge respect for others; thus, the gentleman and gentlewoman.
3. When kids act “full of themselves”-when they brag about their accomplishments for example-let them know that boasting is disrespectful of those who may have tried as hard but did not do as well; that it is an example of bad manners.
4. When a child does well academically, artistically, or athletically, low-key praise is certainly appropriate, but consider coupling it with words that cause the child to begin thinking of ways he can use his gifts to better the lives of others.
5. Be a good role model and mentor of humility. Show your kids what being a good neighbor is all about. Be helpful toward those in need and adversity. Make volunteerism a visible aspect of your life and the life of your family.

Because, to paraphrase the inimitable Forrest Gump, humility is as humility does.


Because I Said So.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”


Anger Issues

Q:        Our 14-year-old daughter has difficulty controlling her anger. She has extreme outbursts fairly frequently here at home-screaming, cursing, and even throwing things when she doesn’t get her way. She appears to have no respect for us and very little consideration for her two younger siblings. At school and in other people’s homes, however, she’s a model citizen. She’s a straight-A student about whom all of her teachers have nothing but praise. When I describe her outbursts to friends and family, they are disbelieving. Is it too late to do anything about her anger issue?


A:        I flunked fortune telling in graduate school, so the answer to your question is “I don’t know.” Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth a good try.

            You’ve told me enough to know that what you’re describing is not an “anger issue.” Rather, it’s an issue of narcissistic disrespect and ingratitude. Mind you, today’s kids come by the latter fairly easily. Generally speaking, their parents give them entirely too much. In the vernacular of an earlier parenting era, all too many of today’s kids seem to think that money grows on trees (or in their parents’ wallets and pocketbooks). The completely unnecessary personal smart phone at age 10 is the emblem of this ubiquitous over-indulgence.

            It’s a short hop from over-indulged to disrespectful. Entitlements and respect for the source of said entitlements are incompatible. More often than not, entitlements engender an “I deserve” attitude. When the entitlers are parents, the outcome is likely to be as you describe: thanklessness, demands, and rages when demands are not met.

            In short, a problem of this sort does not arise independent of a certain set of home-based circumstances. If you’re going to solve this problem you will first need to accept that you provided the medium in which it developed. In that regard, the question becomes, “Are you willing to radically change your ways?”

            Your daughter probably believes that exemplary grades and behavior outside the home place her beyond the reach of consequences. You need to demonstrate the fallacy in her thinking. Do so by removing from her room all possessions save essential clothing and school supplies. Box them up and put them in a storage facility. Cancel her cell phone contract. If she has a computer in her room, move it to a common area.

            Do the above when she’s at school. When she comes home and asks for an explanation, tell her that her disruptions and disrespect will no longer be tolerated; that when she has been disruption- and disrespect free for a continuous 30-day period, her possessions will be returned with the understanding that if she backslides, her next rehabilitation period will jump to 60 days. If, during said 30 days, she has an “incident,” the 30 days begins over again the following day. When her rehab is complete, however, things must not go back to “normal.” You have to change your indulgent ways as well or a relapse is inevitable.

            You can do this. Just keep Admiral David Farragut’s famous order in mind: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” The Very Essence of Effective Discipline             

             Two months ago, I conducted a two-day small-group “parent retreat” during which I talked about, among other things, the legitimacy and power of “because I said so.” One of my missions is to promote the restoration of the attitude that accompanies the calm, straightforward (the operative conditions) delivery of that traditional parenting aphorism. Why? Because it is the very essence of effective discipline, that’s why.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”

            Neither of our kids ever had to see a therapist. They made good grades in school (and my wife and I did not help with homework or science projects). They made good social choices, never got in serious trouble, and were completely self-supporting by their mid-20s. “Because I said so” does not seem to have been traumatic.

            Beginning in the mid-1960s, child psychologists and other mental health professionals began claiming that those four words had a problematic effect on children. They robbed children of autonomy, denied their ability to think intelligently, lowered self-esteem, and blah blah blah. Said professionals had no evidence to support any of this. They made it all up. Nonetheless, American parents, having no reason to know that people with impressive credentials sometimes make things up (a mental health tradition stretching back to Freud himself), believed them and began giving children reasons. Since then, arrogant disobedience, once rare, is now legion.

            For example, consider one of the couples who attended the above retreat. They were desperate (no exaggeration there) for advice concerning their very disobedient and disrespectful 5-year-old daughter. The parents thought that by giving reasons for their instructions and decisions they were showing respect for her intelligence. The child, however, had no use for her parents’ respect.

            The parents took in every word I said, but paid special attention to my mini-seminar on “because I said so.” I received a progress report from them the other day. “(Name of daughter withheld to protect the guilty) is much better,” they wrote. “The other day, for example, we told her to do something, to which she asked ‘why?’ Before one of us could answer, she said, ‘Wait, don’t tell me; because you say so.'”

            Once again, proof positive that this parenting thing is really quite simple.


reblogged from John Rosemond’s newsletter.

No Other Work So Noble

by Edouard Frère 1864

Child Praying at Mother’s Knee

“Oh that God would give every mother a vision
of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her
when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained!

Could she have but one glimpse
into the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity;
could she look into it’s soul to see its possibilities;
could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility
for the training of this child,
for the development of its life, and for its destiny,

She would see that in all God’s world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers,
and she would commit to no others hands the sacred and holy trust given to her.”

-JR Miller

How to Keep Order in the House During Summer Break

How to Keep Order in the House During Summer Break
by John Rosemond

Only Satan could think of something as diabolical as a three-month summer vacation. It’s a misnomer anyway. Vacation derives from vacate, which means empty. Most parents, on the other hand, would agree that summer vacation is completely full of it.

Full of squabbles with the kids, between the kids, over the kids, under the kids, and every which way but up the kids. Full of kids who want to stay up
’til midnight and sleep ’til noon and do nothing all day except complain of having nothing to do, but who don’t want to do anything you suggest unless
it’s “Hey, kids, let’s get in the car and go to Disney World!”

No wonder that by August you’re on the brink of complete cerebral meltdown and contemplating such things as locking the kids out of the house or putting tranquilizers in their breakfast cereal.

Cheer up and read on. This could be your first summer of peace and quiet and calm, well-behaved children – all the things summer is supposed to be.

It’s all in your head. Your attitude, that is. If, like many parents, you approach summer with a bad – “All I can do is endure” – attitude, then be ready to endure, sufferingly. Enduring is for people who feel helpless to effect the course of their lives. Enduring is for wimps.

If you want to be a winner, you’ve got to act like a winner. Winners don’t wait for things to happen; they make things happen. Winners take a proactive
approach to problems, meaning they anticipate problems and plan to prevent them. So, if you want to keep your cool and beat the heat this summer, you’d better start proacting!

It’s a fact of life, documented in many a study of human behavior, that lack of structure leads to stress. So, as a first step to keeping stress down and the summer-bummers at bay, try a little structure. After all, summer presents an ideal opportunity for parents to accomplish things with their children they might not be able, or have time, to accomplish during the hustle and bustle of the school year.

Start with getting the kids more involved in doing chores in and around the home. What? You have a maid? Fire her. You have children.

First, make a list of all the chores that constitute the regular housekeeping routine. Then check those chores the children are capable of doing. Keep in mind that any healthy child of 9 is capable of doing almost everything in the house and garden, save mowing the lawn, operating a tiller, cooking, washing clothes and ironing.

Divide a second sheet of paper into three columns, headed “What” “Who” and “When.” Remember that “Why” is because you said so. Transfer the list of children’s chores to the “What” column. Under “Who,” assign a child to each chore. Decide the timetable for each chore and write that in under
“When.” As much as possible, group the chores into three blocks: first thing in the morning, right after lunch and right after supper. Not only is it easy to “capture” children at those times, but enforcement is less of a problem as well. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Make a seven-day calendar for each child, showing his chores day by day. A good rule of thumb is to assign at least an hour’s worth of chores per child
per day, divided into three periods of 20 to 30 minutes each. Teenagers can, and should, be expected to make more of a contribution than younger children. Now you’re ready for the moment of truth. Sit down with the children and
explain the system. They’ll probably moan and groan and say dumb things like, “Do we have to?” and “You mean we’re gonna have to work all summer?” and “I thought this was our vacation!” Answer “Yes” to all three.

If you’re wondering how you enforce all this, that’s where the Godfather Principle comes in. First formulated by Sicilian philosopher Vito Corleone,
also known as “Don” Corleone, the Godfather Principle simply states, “You make ’em an offer they can’t refuse.” In this case, the offer is, “You must do your chores before you do anything else.”

Post the calendars on the refrigerator, give training where needed, make sure you inspect each child’s work before releasing him to do his own thing,
and watch the kids keep house. Great sport.

Now that you’ve gotten the kids to do the housework, it’s time for the next step in “Proacting the Summer-Bummers.” Left to their own devices, many otherwise creative, active children will use the summer to perfect their couch-potato techniques. I’m talking television, the bane of childhood.

The problem is, the more children watch television, the more bored and listless they become. The more bored and listless they become, the more they complain of having nothing to do and the more they drive their parents crazy. So, limit their summertime television-watching to five hours a week. A child who can’t watch television is a child who’ll quickly start using the initiative, resourcefulness and imagination God gave him to invent creative ways of passing time. The more creative the child, the less complaining the
child and the less crazy the parent.

Prior to the start of the viewing week, let the child peruse a television schedule and select five hours of programs. Make a rule that at least three
must be “educational” in nature – wildlife or historical documentaries, how- to programs, docu-dramas, etc.

The child selects, you approve and these become the programs – the only programs – he is allowed to watch that week. Programs missed cannot be made up, but he can substitute one program for another, as long as the substitution is requested in advance. To avoid arguments over what was selected, have him write down his choices and post them on the refrigerator, right alongside the calendar of chores. There’s going to be paper stuff all over your ‘fridge when we’re through.

For your next summer child-improvement project, how about cooling those constantly simmering sibling squabbles? No sweat! The secret to controlling sibling conflicts lies in making the children equally and completely responsible for the problem. In other words, mom and dad, you’re going to have to learn to stay out of their little soap operas. Nothing fuels this particular family feud like a parent who decides to referee.

On a sheet of paper (yes, it’s going on the refrigerator, too), draw a horizontal rectangle, divided into four boxes. Starting on the left, number the boxes four through one. Select three summer privileges (not rewards!) the children enjoy and put a privilege in each of boxes three through one. For example, you might put “playing outside” in box three, “having friends over” in box two and “staying up” in box one.

Show the chart to the kids and say, “Your bickering and arguing is disturbing the peace of the family. This chart is to help you learn to solve your differences quietly and without involving us. A new chart goes up on the refrigerator every day. Every time your bickering disturbs us, we will mark off a number, beginning with four.

“Number four is free, but boxes three through one have privileges written in them. When you lose one of these boxes, you lose the privilege that goes
with it. For example, when you lose number three, you will both be confined to the house for the rest of the day. When you lose number two, you can’t have friends over. When you lose number one, you go to bed early. New day, new chart and we start all over again. It’s important you understand that from now on we’re holding you both equally responsible for the bickering, no matter who started it or who did what to whom.”

Once the chart is up, if they shatter your peace by yelling at one another or tattling, simply say, “Because you’re not able to solve your problems
without being loud or tattling, I’m taking off a number.”

Suddenly, the children have cause for cooperation, and within a couple of weeks, you should notice a distinct change for the better. Regardless, keep
the chart in force for several months, because it takes at least that long for behavioral changes to become permanent.

Just think, once you’ve got all three programs in force, the kids will be busy helping you with housework, watching less television, using their free time more creatively, complaining less, squabbling less and, believe it or not, enjoying their summer vacation a whole lot more. And so will you.

Copyright 1987 John K. Rosemond

Taken from

Shade for Our Children

Shade for Our Children

by John MacArthur


An old Chinese proverb says, “One generation plants the trees and another gets the shade.” Our generation lives in the shade of many trees that were planted by our ancestors.

In spiritual terms, we derive shade from our parents’ and grandparents’ ethical standards, their perceptions of right and wrong, their sense of moral duty, and above all, their spiritual commitment. Their ideals determined the kind of civilization we inherited from them, and our generation’s ideals will likewise shape tomorrow’s culture for our kids.

There’s no question that society is in a serious state of moral and spiritual decline. So the question that faces Christian parents today is whether we can plant some trees that will shade future generations from what may well be the blistering heat of anti-Christian values in an anti-Christian world. Are we planting the right kind of shade trees, or are we leaving our children totally exposed?

The Demise of Modern Society

It should be obvious to anyone who is committed to the truth of Scripture that our culture is rapidly disintegrating morally, ethically, and above all spiritually. The values now embraced by society are badly out of sync with God’s divine order.

In fact, the only taboo these days is holding to the absolute moral standards the Lord instituted in His Word. Lifestyles of promiscuity, debauchery, rebellion, and lawlessness aren’t merely tolerated—they’re celebrated. Selfishness, greed, and dishonesty are accepted and even expected.

And the standards for the family aren’t any better. Divorce is available on demand for any reason, or for no reason at all. Married women with children are encouraged to work outside the home. Entertainment, and television in particular, dominates home life. The genocide of unborn children is aggressively defended. Gender differences have been downplayed, suppressed, and—as much as possible—eliminated from public discussion. And homosexual marriage is aggressively promoted throughout the culture—to the point that anything less than celebrating it is viewed as bigotry.

In short, our society is waging an all-out war on the biblical standards for morality, and the family is one of the key battlegrounds.

Where Is the Church in All of This?

As the building block of society, the family needs to be protected and defended. But mere moral reform is not the solution for all that ails our secular society. This is not a rallying cry for Christians to be more aggressive in pursuing political action. Far too much of the church’s effort in recent years has been squandered trying to confront anti-family trends, such as abortion and homosexuality, through legislative efforts alone. Reform is no answer for a culture like ours. Redemption is what is needed, and that occurs at the individual, not societal, level. The church needs to get back to the real task to which we are called: evangelizing the lost. Only when multitudes of individuals in our society turn to Christ will society itself experience any significant transformation.

Meanwhile, Christian families have an obligation to plant shade trees for future generations of children. But, frankly, even in the church, the family’s condition looks pretty bleak.

Not that there aren’t positive signs. For nearly three decades there has been a tremendous preoccupation among evangelicals with the need to rescue the family. Christian bookstores are well-stocked with books on marriage and the family. Christian radio is also crowded with family-oriented programming. There is no shortage of Christian programs, seminars, and ministries devoted to the family and parenting.

Despite all the ink and air time such ministries have devoted to the subjects of parenting and the family, though, statistics still show that in general, Christian families are not in much better shape than the families of their non-Christian neighbors. Children from Christian families are not immune to the lure of drugs, gangs, promiscuous sex, and all the other evils plaguing the youth of today. By and large, Christian families are suffering from all the same woes as non-Christian families.

Something is clearly wrong.

Is It Biblical, or Just “Christian”?

Part of the problem is that many of the parenting and family programs being labeled “Christian” today are not truly Christian. Some are nothing more than secular behaviorism papered over with a religious veneer—an unholy amalgam of biblical-sounding expressions blended with humanistic psychology. Even some of the better Christian parenting programs focus far too much on relatively petty extrabiblical matters and not enough on the essential biblical principles. One book I consulted spent chapter after chapter on issues like how to make a chore list to hang on the refrigerator, how to organize your child’s schedule to limit television time, games to play in the car, and similar how-to advice. Such pragmatic concerns may have their place, but they don’t go to the heart of what Christian parents in a society like ours need to address. (That particular book actually had very little that was distinctively Christian, outside the author’s preface.)

Some Christian parenting programs seem to begin well but quickly move away from biblical principles and into other things. Those other things often receive more stress than more vital issues that are truly biblical. Parents who sign up for such programs demand detailed, heavily regimented programs or turnkey parenting systems that work right out of the box. So that is what the experts try to produce. The resulting lists of rules and how-tos quickly supersede the vital biblical principles. The lure in this direction is subtle but strong, and rare is the parenting guru who successfully avoids it.

What we desperately need is a return to the biblical principles of parenting. Christian parents don’t need new, shrink-wrapped programs; they need to apply and obey consistently the few simple principles that are clearly set forth for parents in God’s Word, such as these: Constantly teach your kids the truth of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:7). Discipline them when they do wrong (Proverbs 23:13–14). And don’t provoke them to anger (Colossians 3:21). Those few select principles alone, if consistently applied, would have a far greater positive impact for the typical struggling parent than hours of discussion about whether babies should be given pacifiers, or what age kids should be before they’re permitted to choose their own clothes, or dozens of similar issues that consume so much time in the typical parenting program.

Over the next few days, we’re going to closely examine those biblical parenting principles and others, and consider God’s design for the family, and how best to provide shade for your children by training them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).


(reblogged from John MacArthur)

Encouraging Words – True encouraging words focus on the deed, not the doer.


 Do you ever feel like the only words that come out of your mouth are direct orders?  “Empty the trash, be nice to your sister, quit jumping on the couch!!!” A big part of  preventing bad behavior, however, is to provide encouraging words to reinforce  good behavior when you see it.

And a quick “good job” doesn’t cut it—in fact, phrases like “good boy,” “you’re so  smart!” and “you’re the best on your team!” are not considered encouraging words.  Instead of focusing on positive internal qualities, they put the emphasis on outward  praise, which does nothing to promote good behavior in the future.

True encouraging words focus on the deed, not the doer. It motivates a child from the inside to demonstrate similar positive behavior in the future, and to value things like hard work, improvement, teamwork and perseverance.

List of Encouraging Words and Phrases

Encouraging words can be as simple as, “Thanks for your help!” or “You really worked hard!” Here are a few more examples to try around your house:

Thank you for your help!
You should be proud of yourself!
Look at your improvement!
That “A” reflects a lot of hard work!
You worked really hard to get this room clean!
Thanks for helping set the table, that made a big difference.
I noticed you were really patient with your little brother.
What do you think about it?
You seem to really enjoy science.
Your hard work paid off!
That’s a tough one, but you’ll figure it out.
Look how far you’ve come!
I trust your judgment.
The time you’re putting into your homework is really paying off.
I love being with you.
You really put a smile on her face with your kind words!
That’s coming along nicely!
You really worked it out!
That’s a very good observation.
Thank you for your cooperation.
I see a very thorough job!
That’s what we call perseverance!
I can tell you really care.
You make it look easy!
You’ve really got the hang of it!
I can tell you spent a lot of time thinking this through.
I really feel like a team when we work like this!

The best part about using encouraging words with your kids is the glow of happiness you’ll see on their faces. After all, “Your hard work is really paying off!” says you noticed their work, while, “You’re so smart,” might be hard to live up to next time. Try a few of these encouraging words with your kids, and watch their behavior—and effort—improve.

Looking for more tools to create a more peaceful home with happy children (and parents)? Sign up for our free video series to learn No Stress Steps to Get Kids to Listen…Without You Losing Your Cool. Get instant access to videos here:
Learn more & get your free videos!

reblogged from Positive Parenting Solutions Check them out!

When Your Kid Argues about Everything {5 tips}

I just read this great article by blogger Monica. Wow, I wish I had read these excellent suggestions when my strong-willed son was younger! She wrote in part:






I’ll be the first to admit:  I find something likable about a kid that has an opinion.  I appreciate  a kid who knows what they want…or don’t want…and knows how to stand up for what they think is right.

Maybe this has a little to do with the fact that I was one of those kids growing up.

And it is true:  There are plenty of positives about a strong-willed kid.  Children prone to opinions and arguing often grow up to be great leaders.  They are likely to stand strong  in their convictions, and might have an easier time resisting peer pressure.  They often grow up to be successful in the things they pursue.

But if you have a kid that is prone to arguing in your own family...the cute and admirable elements can quickly fade away, only to be replaced by pulling your hair out in frustration. 

I would know.


Here are her suggestions:


1.  Keep Perspective.

Remind yourself that the same quality that causes your child to argue too much will likely make them strong adults and good leaders.  (note:  You may not want to let them in on this secret right away.  Such disclosure often does not work to your advantage.)

2.  Sit down and chat about things.

Let your son or daughter know that arguing with their parents is a habit that really needs to end.  Tell them that even if they believe that they are one hundred percent right, the issue is one of respect.  You are their parents and they need to listen and submit to the things you say.  This applies whether they are seven or seventeen.  There is a place for discussion (see #3) but the general rule needs to be submission and respect.  This rule alone can remove a lot of debating, AND second guessing yourself.

3.  Make an Appeal rule.  

Offer your kid the chance to “appeal” after a certain amount of time.  Offering an appeal will help remedy the “habitual” side of arguing, and will make it easier for your kid to bite their tongue when they are just dying to challenge you.  Kids need to feel heard, and their opinions should matter.  Give them a chance to think through things, and then when everyone is in a good state of mind, sit down and hear them out.  I suggest choosing  a standard amount of time between argument and appeal, and stick with it the best you can.  Kids will feel most affirmed and secure if they know that there is a fair system in play.
**Note:  I use this for big decisions, but not for daily things like chores and doing homework.  (Oh but believe-you-me, they still try. :) )

4.  Establish set consequences for arguing.

If arguing has been happening for any length of time, it most likely won’t be going away easily.  It is most wise to expect it, and be ready when the moment happens.  It is easiest to come up with one or two specific consequences that your child knows will be waiting if and when they decide to challenge you unnecessarily.  Perhaps one warning/reminder is reasonable.  THEN:  Doll out consequences with a  smile and strong back bone.  Losing a video game privilege or assigning an extra chore might be a good start.  The key:  Call them on it.  Every.  Single.  Time…Nip it in the bud and let the consequences be painful enough that the thrill of the argument suddenly isn’t so thrilling.   (PS.  I did a short VLOG last summer about having consequences in place to help decrease anger in parenting.  You might find that helpful. )

5.  Reward obedience.

Take note of the postives!  Make sure to notice it when your child does obey quickly.  Simply telling them how much it helps you and what a blessing it is to have them cooperating will encourage them to keep it up.  When they experience the peace and unity that obedience will bring, they might just want to begin a new habit.  (or so we can hope!)











reblogged from:


Love vs Authority Balance

Despite the conclusion one might reach after reading the latest issue of any popular parenting magazine, the job of parent is actually quite simple; so simple that I can describe the entire ball of wax in less than 15 column inches.


First, a parent’s responsibilities—beyond providing the basic necessities of life—are to provide unconditional love and unequivocal leadership. The “trick,” if you will, is to keep those provisions in a state of balance. Too much of either is toxic. Love without an equal measure of authority expresses itself in the form of numerous enabling behaviors. Likewise, authority without an equal measure of love quickly turns into abuse of one sort or another.
Second, there are but five fundamental understandings that a parent needs to convey, lovingly and authoritatively, to a child:

1. You are to pay more attention to me than I pay to you. (Three Bits of Helpful information: First, all discipline problems are due to children paying insufficient attention to adult authority figures. Second, the more attention you pay a child, the less the child will pay to you. Third, you obtain a child’s attention by simply acting like you know what you are doing.)

2. I am in charge here; therefore, I tell you what to do. (Helpful information: When giving an instruction to a child, always use the fewest words possible and do not explain why you are giving the instruction. Explanations sound persuasive and provoke push-back.)

3. You do what I tell you to do. (Helpful information: Parents who want child to obey for their own benefit don’t get it. Obedience is in the best interest of a child. The research finds what common sense affirms; that is, obedient children are also happy children. You get a child to obey by acting like you know what you are doing.)

4. You do what I tell you to do simply because I tell you to do it. (Helpful information: If you do not accompany an instruction with an explanation, then your child is forced to ask for one. That gives you the Golden Opportunity to respond with the most powerful four words in a parent’s vocabulary: “Because I said so.”)

5. At any given time, I do not care what you think of me or any decision I make. (Helpful information: Parenting is not a popularity contest. When you want your child to like you, you end up doing things that negate your ability to provide leadership, which means you end up enabling.)

6. You can always count on me to provide for and protect you under any and all circumstances. (Helpful information: If your child is secure in that understanding, then the world is a safe place and, therefore, eventually becomes the child’s “oyster.”)
I ask you: Could that be any simpler?

Copyright 2014 John K. Rosemond  ||  Reblogged from John Rosemond’s most recent column