Kids Are Easy!

Raising kids Ain’t So Bad! If you don’t do what you learned from your parents. 

Of course, we’re all conditioned from the get-go but how many times did you think, “I hate you,” when you were being punished? Maybe you even said it, adding to your misery. So, as you reflect on your own childhood, did you ever feel that, when you had kids of your own, that things would be different?

Many a parent has told me that, in spite of doing their best, they hear their mother’s (or father’s) words come out of their own mouth. Let me tell you, it’s a natural thing to do. Those words still echo through your mind like thunder on the rolling hills. Then, what can you do?

First of all, accept the fact that everything and I mean everything, is a choice. You choose to get out of bed in the morning, what kind of clothes to wear, food to eat, car to drive, to swear, place blame, lie, cheat, steal–its all choice. Following that line of thought, it is also a choice as to whether you will be a strict disciplinarian or not. Let me present you with a an easy alternative to raise successful kids.

Have you ever told your child not to run in the house or spill the milk? Perhaps, you may have said, “You don’t need to feel bad about…” or “I don’t want you dating a kid like that!” Suppose you turn these around and got exactly what you wanted. Let’s take the first two: “Don’t run in the house” and “Don’t spill the milk.” It becomes exactly what we want when we say, “Jimmy, can you walk while you are in the house?” and “Susan, can you hold that glass with both hands?” 

Telling a child that they shouldn’t feel bad about something runs contrary to normal human feelings. Everyone feels bad about losing a friend, not being invited to an after school party. How could you not? When my children were teens and I recognized that they’d had a bad day, I simply told them that I understood and that if they needed to talk about it later, I’d be there for them.

The one that stands out most is when my, then 16-year-old, daughter had befriended a boy in her class. He was a slob in every way; dirty clothes, unkempt hair, foul language and the scraggy beginnings of a mustache. One day, after he left, I told her, “I really like him. You should being him by more often. I’d love to chat with him.”

Within the week she dumped him. Not long after, she started dating a polite, clean young man who was planning on attending medical school. I told her, “I really don’t think you should hang out with him. He just doesn’t seem to be very nice.” Guess what? She dated him for a year after that.

Need the lawn mowed? Ask your son, “Would you like to mow the lawn this morning, or this afternoon just before you go to the movies?” I was able to get my grandson to go to bed on time every night by asking him, “Danny, would you like to go to bed at nine o’clock or at eight-thirty?” He chose and at nine, he was brushing his teeth.

One more? Oh, okay. “Christie, I wonder if you can close those drapes in one big pull or will it take two to do it?”

Kids are like flowers to be nurtured and fed as buds so they will bloom one day in all their beauty. Don’t make them draw red flowers with green stems (just because that’s what you like).  

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