Kid Whisperer Nation Tip for Parents #22
TEACH YOUR KIDS TO BE (PROPERLY) AGGRESSIVE
There is nothing wrong with being aggressive! Aggression is part of being human. It is one of the “Big Five” personality traits. Aggression is not going anywhere, and it shouldn’t. Aggression is what pushes you to achieve, to create value, and to make your life and the lives of those around you better.
Kids, especially before the age of four, need to be socialized, so that this aggression is properly used. Aggression that causes problems for others, often in the form of physically hurting others, needs to be properly trained out of kids before the age of four, or big problems can occur.
One of the main ways to do this is to engage in rough and tumble play with your kids. All pack mammals engage in this activity with juveniles, and they do so for the same reason that humans do: to practice proper aggression. When a physical act hurts (a punch, a kick to a sensitive place, a scratch) play can stop, showing where healthy limits are. This can be stopped by the adult, and by the kid. When a kid says “Ouch!” or “Too hard!” or “Stop!” and the adult stops the wrestling game, the adult is modeling being properly aggressive: having fun in a rough and tumble way, until the moment that aggression causes a problem, at which point, we stop.
Kid Whisperer Nation Tip for Parents #23
KIDS NEED TO BECOME ELIGIBLE TO BE SOMEONE’S FRIEND
It is the job of parents to make kids into people whom others can be friends with. Kids need to become at least minimally acceptable humans that won’t be immediately rejected out of hand of prospective friends or friend groups. This really doesn’t require that high of a bar: by four years old, but hopefully much earlier, kids should not be using physical aggression to cause problems (intimidation or violence). Proper rough and tumble play and not allowing kids to use physical imposition to get them what they want while in the home are all-important in this regard.
If parents can just train their kids to be at least minimally acceptable to friend groups, those friend groups can generally do a great job at being pro-social regulatory forces: if you act out with violence within a friend group, you are almost always going to be cast out, at least temporarily. Lying, stealing, and overly harsh behavior don’t generally get people what they want within a peer group, and so those behaviors are often trained out of kids over time. Of course, many friend groups (those people your parents warned you about) may be anti-social themselves, but even these groups can a have a regulatory force within the group that is at least minimally pro-social.
Kid Whisperer Nation Tip for Parents #24
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL*
*But not when they are angry or scared
Imparting wisdom to our kids is so important. Not only are we giving our kids what we know about the world, we are usually passing down wisdom gained and passed on from generation to generation. Doing this is an important part of what it is to be human.
An old-fashioned, straight-forward lesson about how to live life, or how to treat people, or how to work hard, or the importance of family can be imparted when all is well with the world: when you are calm and your kids are calm. While kids often don’t listen to what their elders say, these words may be well-received if spoken under these conditions.
What will almost never be worthwhile is lectures and advice given in anger, especially after a difficult or traumatic event. These kinds of words are generally wasted breath that only teach kids to (at least temporarily) dislike their parent.
Better to save your valuable breath (and the consequence, if necessary) for later when the kid’s (and parent’s) brains will be functional once again.
Kid Whisperer Nation Tip for Parents # 25
PUT THE BAG DOWN
Your kid’s school bag is your kid’s school bag. Put the bag down. Step away from the bag. If your kid forgets the bag, the kid forgets the bag. The bag is your kid’s responsibility, not yours. Feel free to prompt by calmly saying, “Where’s your bag?” if necessary.
Kids take responsibility for things that they think are their responsibility. If you take responsibility for your kid’s bag, they won’t.
Kid Whisperer Nation Tip for Parents #26
MAKE YOUR KID A SUPERHERO
(COMPARED TO MOST OTHER KIDS)
Let’s face it, folks. The bar for what constitutes a responsible, pleasant adult has, shall we say, dropped a bit since the Greatest Generation rebuilt our country from the Great Depression and saved us all from the Axis Powers.
I teach some pretty involved means of how to train kids to use positive, pro-social behaviors so that they will be happy, healthy, pro-social people in the long term. In light of the fact that kids are growing up in a society that allows kids to become zombie-fied by screens and does not place value on holding kids accountable, here’s a short-hand, grossly simplified process that will make your kids appear to have (relative to others) SUPERHUMAN ABILITIES to pay attention, work hard, follow the directions of their teachers and bosses, and basically act like good people:
1) Never let them do things that cause problems for others.
2) Never let them have more than thirty minutes of screen time per day, on average.
For the necessary details on how to do Number 1 more effectively, go to: