Tools & Skills for Parents
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Tools to empower parents and to bring order to the home

Parenting skill of the week:
 
To negotiate or not negotiate, that is the question
 
In earlier parenting tips it has been strongly recommended to not appease your children, which means give in.  When negotiating the same principle applies.  Another word for negotiating is to talk things out with options.  The recommendation with this tool is to do it with caution because children and teens know how to get what they want through smooth negotiating.  They look at negotiating more like bargaining. 
 
How does a parent no when to bargain or negotiate with their young salesman or woman?  The number one rule here is full compliance and respect.  If they are not in coherence with these two, there is no talking period!  Give in and you might leave scratching your head like one would after they been sold at a dealer or timeshare.  The number one rule when negotiating with a salesman in real life is to never make a final decision until after you've had time to think about it and talk with your spouse.  Same rules apply with your children. 
 
Caterpillars or Butterflies?
 
Right now your children are like caterpillars, going through a metamorphosis to become butterflies.  But the big questions is, are they ready to fly and be free like a butterfly after going through those difficult stages in the cocoon.  It is not always a pretty site waiting for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, but it sure is worth the wait for what beauty is to come.  This example is probably the closest I can come to in convincing you to be in your child's life fulltime.  The central theme of this lesson is to monitor their growth and do not be in a rush to give them their wings. 
 
Working in the juvenile system I talk to a lot of kids who tell me that their parents don't know their friends, what programs they watch or for that matter who they text, or what content they look at on the Internet. 
 
As Parents you need to know the whereabouts of your children at all times!  Don't fall into the trap of this new way of thinking and parenting today where your children are supposed to be empowered and independent before their time.  I call that "Joensism " where parents are trying keep up with the way the society, neighbors, their child's friends or relatives do things.  Do not let this happen in your home.  If what your child is doing does not fall under your value and moral system, it will create and destroy your home faster than any other influence. 
 
As adults you need to take back control  of your home.  One of the ways to do this is for both spouses to sit down and devise a clear value system for the home and then clearly state it to your children.  It is never too late to do this.  Your children are for you to influence and not society.  Ultimately what you are striving for is for them to continue the family legacy, value system and traditions.  Letting someone else do this will create disharmony in the home and chaos.  If left unchecked, your children will bring things home that will create division, tension, and power struggles. 
 
If you've let that part of parenting go, sit down with your children and apologize for not being clear on the families expectations, but also let them know you will now be clear on what is expected and that you as parents will be consistent and this new plan will be enforced.  You just cannot afford to let this part of parenting go because your children will feel a void and seek that fulfillment outside.  Remember, your children want quality time with you and taking time to be totally involved in their lives sends the message that no matter what happens you will look out for their best interest, even if it's not cool to them.  They just want to know you are for real. 
 
Begin today to know every aspect of their lives and do not let them intimidate you with the words privacy.  Privacy is earned by trust and respect.  If they demonstrate those two behaviors then they can be extended privacy.  Base your extension of trust in accordance with their judgement and actions.  If they do not show good judgement or do not behave properly, then they are not ready to be independent.  Full compliance and taking responsibility are what you need to see before any trust is given.  If they are compliant and respectful, then trust can be extended.  You can base whether or not they are ready to be independent by how well they respond to your teaching, disciplining and correcting them.  If they are defiant, disrespectful and rude, then I would not extend trust to them.  As this process unfolds with time, take time to reflect and make your overall freedom assessment. 
 
If you can honestly say your child is ready to be independent, then that may be the beginning of you stepping back and letting them show their character.  In the mean time, you need to be involved fulltime in their lives.   Base my challenge of being a fulltime parent on these two premises.  1.) When your children leave the house will you say as parents "I did my best and have no regrets on how I brought them up?  2.) your children will also look back and ask "did my parents raise me the right way?"  If you can answer these questions today with no reservations, then you are right on track by doing fulltime parenting.  Renew your commitment today to your children. 
 
Lower the volume
 
I want you to try this experiment.  Sitting in your car or in your living room, turn up the radio or tv volume very loud.  It should be loud enough so you have to raise raise your voice in order to speak over the tv or radio, or cover your ears because it is annoyingly loud, or tune out by leaving.  I want you to try and stay around that volume for a few minutes and experience what this feels like.  Sittting there, how does this feel?  Is it annoying?  Do you grasp what is being said on tv or played on the radio?  Do you care about what is being said?  How long can you stay there with the noise level so loud?
 
Now think about your children and family members.  This is how they probably feel.  Imagine one or more people with the volume turned up in  conversation this loud.  It is no wonder no one is tuned in or listening.  It is quite annoying for anyone to yell, no less parents. 
 
Now go back and put the volume of the radio or tv at a confortable level.  Is there a difference in your stress level?  Absolutely.  As parents, lets adjusts the volume.  Speak clearly and respectfully to your children and adults alike.  It is very stressful to have to hear yelling, griping, and complaining on a regular basis.  Are your children, wife, husband not listening?  Try turning down the volume.  And remember, if you are raising your voice, your are probably trying to solve your problems in minutes, which we learned in our previous lesson never works.  Next time you want to be heard, pretend you are at the library, church or school.  Guess what?  They'll have to tune in to hear you! 
 
When to use your head over your heart
 
When it comes to your child's and families well being, always use your head.  Staying in our heads helps us to use our moral compass, discernment, wisdom and common sense.  In contrast, if we only use our hearts we may give in to areas we really don't want to, which includes our family value system, morals for the children and protecting them and providing them security.  We always want to please our children and give them the world, but when it comes to their well being we must not waver or appease them, and do what is in their best interest. 
 
 
Last weeks skill
 
Time is your best friend
 
This weeks skill is to not attempt to solve your disagreements, issues and problems in minutes.  Before tackling any of theses challenges, everyone needs to be calm, level headed and ready to show each other respect.  And remember, if it is not life threatning, there is nothing so important that an argument has to ensue to solve the pressing problem in minutes.  Never destroy the family relationship or family over problems.  Do not let everyday problems become the identity of the family