A Controling Thought
“Parenting with Dignity” operates from one basic principle, which is that the ideas in your head will rule your world. Therefore, we also believe the ideas in the heads of our children will rule their world. This is a pretty simple and straight forward concept for raising self-directed children. Effective parents must see themselves as the source of good ideas for their children.
Five Rules for Parents
Parenting with Dignity advocates the use of “the Five Simple Rules for Parents” to maximize parents’ effectiveness at embedding strong, positive ideas into the heads of their children.
The first of these rules will be the topic of this article. Rule Number One states very simply: “A parent must end any criticism with a simple, positive statement of expected behavior.” In other words, “tell your kids exactly what you want them to do.” These expectations must be stated in behavioral terms which the kid can understand; and it helps immeasurably if there is brief sales pitch explaining why it is to the kid’s advantage to behave in the expected manner!
There Is a Trap Out There for Parents
Personal experience from years of teaching school taught me that not giving careful consideration here can lead to trouble because we, like many adults, became caught in the trap of always telling kids what they had done wrong or giving students warnings of what not to do. It absolutely shocked me when I finally realized that explaining exactly what was expected drastically increased the chances of my students choosing to do it.
To establish expectations for children's behavior it is first necessary to understand that parents do not control children's behavior directly. Kids control their own behavior. As parents, all can do is enable them to use their own amazing abilities to make good choices for themselves. (If you doubt the fact that kids have a will of their own, just try to put a three week old child back to bed after it has decided it is time to get up!) In the process of teaching your children exactly what behavior you wish for them to choose in any given situation there is a hidden expectation for us as parents… we must decide exactly what we want our children to do. (That will be a topic for a future article.)