January 23, 2018

There’s A Monster In My Closet!!!

I saw this funny video the other day, and while I don’t recommend this dad’s parenting technique (though it is tempting sometimes!), it got me to thinking about a parenting issue that I’ve been struggling with lately.

While I don’t think it’s right to lie to your children, I do think it’s right to tell them the truth – the whole truth – once  they get to a certain age. What exactly am I saying? Just that while it’s OK to build them up and work on giving them confidence, I think we need to be honest with them about where they are in life.

Case in point

Our daughter was doing poorly in school the last few years. “C” average at best, and many classes that she actually flunked. We’d go in to her conferences, hoping that the teachers would be honest with her, and tell her that her chances of getting into college were going down the drain with her grades, but they’d listen to her statements of “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to be a social worker”, or whatever, and they’d nod and say “That’s awesome that you have those dreams. You can do anything you set your mind to.” That kind of talk.

I think too often nowadays people aren’t honest with other people for fear of hurting their feelings, damaging their relationship, or just not caring! That’s not right! My wife and I have talked to our daughter until we’re blue in the face, but of course she doesn’t listen to us. Maybe if one of her teachers would shoot straight with her she’d listen to them.

It’s worth a try, right?

We got an interesting post on our forum recently from one of our faithful contributors, Jeri from Valley Family Life that does respite care with RAD kids, among other things. It was in response to a question about how to handle “tweeners“. Here it is.

 How I Handle All Kids

Whatever the age of your child, there should always be safety and respect.  If we cater to the “age” of the child, as society has done, we give them classification, terrible two’s, tiresome threes, tweener, teenagers, and so on.  With each classification society has given us “expectations” that we should get ready for, or allow.

When I teach or take a child into my home they all have to follow the same rules, whatever the age.

  1. Respond with “Yes Mom” and “Eye Contact” when you are spoken to
  2. Hands should be in control, at your side or in your lap – when speaking
  3. Allow the other person to talk, no interrupting
  4. Quiet voice – no yelling
  5. No stomping off or slamming of doors
  6. No excuses – No violence
  7. Stay – don’t walk off
  8. Be Kind, treat others the way you want to be treated
  9. Look for the good in People and you will find it
  10. Be empathetic, Be real

Kids will learn how to be independent when they first learn that they are accepted, unconditionally.  The only way I know how to teach that is by giving them the opportunity to live within the boundaries of a home (society).  Real life will not make accommodations for our children’s behaviors….  why should I?

While I totally agree with the techniques and the whole idea of the post, I have sadly come to doubt the last sentence – that real life will not make accommodations for our children’s behavior. I found that out recently at my daughter’s school. My hope is that more teachers, judges, peers, parents, and friends will start being honest (in a loving way) with our children today.

Do you need help with your parenting?

One tool that we’ve used is Total Transformation by James Lehman. It’s given us a lot of solid, common sense ideas for parenting our challenging children – and it’s right along these lines of helping your child to learn to problem-solve and cope in the “real world”.

About the author: By

Matt is the parent (along with his wife Julie) to five wonderful kids. He has been self-employed for 25+ years and is the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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