Tip for Parents #71
YOUR KIDS CAUSING A PROBLEM IS A PROBLEM
If you are wondering whether or not your kid needs to change their behavior, just ask yourself, “Does this behavior cause a problem?” If the answer is “yes,” then yes, the behavior needs to change.*
*This includes behaviors that merely cause you to resent your kids. That’s a problem.
Tip for Parents #72
SOME KIDS ARE EASY AND SOME KIDS ARE HARD
Everyone has some inborn hard wiring. Some of us were born difficult. Some of you were born easy. Some people naturally see the world as a place where everything is cool, and they go with the flow. Some people see a world that is trying to beat them, and they lock in and prepare for battle every morning when they wake up. Of course, everyone is somewhere on this distribution, and traumas make kids more difficult.
Regardless of a kid’s “difficulty level,” they must be trained to use positive behaviors. For easy kids, this is relatively easy, and for difficult kids, this is difficult. For easy kids, parents can make some pretty big mistakes, and everything will be fine. For difficult kids, parents must be extremely proficient in changing and managing behaviors, or disaster can result.
Tip for Parents #73
RELAX. THEY WILL WALK IT OFF.
As a parent, you are doing your best. Even still, you will mess up. You will be unkind. You may have moments when you won’t be as empathetic as you should be. Many parents feel a lot of anxiety that their not-so-great moments will be damaging their kids forever.
While true abusive and chronically neglectful parenting can have this effect, the occasional kindness slippage won’t. They’ll walk it off. Going back and apologizing is always a good idea. The anxiety felt over these lapses is more damaging than the lapse itself.
Tip for Parents #74
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
If you are fortunate enough to be part of a two-parent household, remember that you don’t have to be all things to your kid(s) at all times. Being a Superhero Parent isn’t generally possible and it isn’t necessary. You may spend more time being your kid(s) confidant, while your spouse may spend more time cleaning the house. Your spouse may be the one who helps with homework more often (perhaps because they can somehow understand common core math), but you may be the one they go to when they need advice on which college to apply. Parenting can be a team sport. Let it be just that.
Tip for Parents #75
DISQUALIFY YOUR KID(S) WITHOUT HASTE OR REGRET
Your offspring are not entitled to participation in anything besides eating, breathing, love, and education.
They are not entitled to t-ball, use of a car, basketball practice, playing the guitar, going to sleepovers, going on dates, traveling with friends, or going on spring break. They can do these things if they fit in with your value structure and if your kids are consistently able to use positive behaviors that show that they can do these things while using positive, pro-social behaviors. They will show that they are ready when they use similar behaviors at other times: at the dinner table, at bedtime, in the car, and while playing with siblings. When they fail during these times, supplanting the activities above and those like them with time spent practicing these essential behaviors can be highly effective in guiding your kids to being positive, pro-social humans.