March 05, 2007

“Getting Kids To Do What You Want"

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.)

8 comments:

Parent Wonder said...

I can't agree more that teaching a kid is like how you handle an adult. We parents always overlook that children need to be treated with respect. Human relationship plays an important role here. We must always think from the perspective how we want to be treated by others. Then that's how your kid want you to treat him.

Mac said...

Dear "Parent Wonder",

Isn't it just pretty simple when you think about it? Those simple truths that have stood the test of time still apply to our lives today and still have even more validity than ever.

The "Golden Rule" might be the ultimate in effective parenting tools.

When I am asked about the issue of spanking I always ask people why they choose to try to legitimize the behavior by calling it "spanking". Why do people not just call it what it is... hitting your children?

Then I usually ask, "On what basis should you get to hit your children? Is it because you are bigger, older, more experienced, more educated, stornger? It would seem to me that those reasons would sort of disqualify you as being justified to hit a child. How would you respond if I came to your house and hit you because your garage is a mess?"

Parenting with Dignity is a title that refers to the Dignity of both the parent and the child.

Sincerely,

Mac Bledsoe

Parent Wonder said...

Hi Mac,

You're spot on when you mentioned "Those simple truths that have stood the test of time still apply to our lives today and still have even more validity than ever."

Not only parenting, for other things as well, this statement holds true. We tend to complicate the simplest things.

Interestingly and incidentally, a survey currently conducted on my website on "spanking" tells us a different picture. Hmmm...

Mac said...

Dear Parent Wonder,

You say that you have a survey that says a different thing from what I am saying? So are you saying that you have a survey that says "spanking" works? I doubt it.

I have not read any survey or research that builds a solid case saying that "spanking" works.

I am aware that there are people who still advocate "spanking", but that does not sway me. I simply do not believe that spanking works!

If you believe that it does, then you and I will just have to disagree. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, and I disagree on the issue of "spanking" also. It is about the only thing that he and I disagree about but we respectfully disagree on "spanking". Dr. Dobson advocates that parents "spank" and I do not. First, as I said earlier, I believe that in any discussion of "spanking" it is much more accurate to just call it "hitting children" because the latter term is more accurate and does not try to legitimize it.

Parenting with Dignity simply advocates that parents find much more effective methods of working with and teaching their children! With many other effective techniques, a parent may never even have to consider "spanking" because they simply do not need it!

Sincerely,

Mac Bledsoe

Parent Wonder said...

Hi Mac,

Don't get me wrong, I didn't say I agree or disagree with spanking. The survey on my site reflects what the visitors think of the effectiveness of spanking. And as I said, I am shocked to see the results.

Mac said...

Dear Parent Wonder,

Surveys are only proof of what people believe. Surveys do not prove what actually works! A survey of what people believe will not change my mind. Historically speaking, surveys could have justified all kinds of terrible and nonsensical ideas. Slavery, women's right to vote, man's ability to fly, the earth is flat, and many more.

You do not seem to have an opinion. I believe that is a dangerous stance to take. It somehow gives people the impression that this issue is not possible to decide about.

I believe that it is possible to decide whether you believe that hitting children is reasonable. Also, and of much more importance to parents, I believe that it is possible to decide whether hitting works to get the desired results! I do not believe that hitting kids brings about much of anything positive and I do not believe that it brings about permenant and positive changes in behavior.

Please, could you tell me why you insist upon calling it "spanking"? In your mind, what is the difference in "spanking" and hitting?

Please check back on our PWD Blog. I will do a complete article on the subject of "Spanking"

Mac Bledsoe

Marianne said...

Good Golly! I'm so glad I found you. Really great post. I was just going to write about this myself since my sister in law and others have been asking me how I parented my two sons. I will share your blog with other inquiring young parents. Thanks ~ Marianne

Mac said...

Dear Marianne,

Golly, if you like this post you will love my books. I also believe that you will really like our DVD curriculum. You can purchase all of them on our website for less than the price of a pair of running shoes!

www.parentingwithdignity.com

Sincerely,

Mac Bledsoe