The Matter-of-Fact Parent
Over the past several years we’ve seen the rise and fall of several different styles of parenting. Permissive parenting, self-parenting, helicopter parenting, and permissive parenting, to name a few. Over these same past several years we have also seen a sharp decline (and when I say sharp, I’m talking razor sharp) in the level of respect children have for their parents and other authority figures. We have also seen a sharp decline in the quality of social skills, work ethic, moral integrity, and sense of self-worth in children and young people, and quite frankly, I dare you to argue with me on that.
You can’t, can you? You can’t because you’ve seen what I’m talking about in the grocery store, on the playground, at your child’s school, in church, at your family reunion…everywhere. For all I know you may be living it in your house with your own kids. If you are, what would you say if I told you I know what will change that?
I know what you would say. You would say, “Bring it on!” So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you how to take back your kids and your family. And if enough of you listen and follow through, we can bring back the kind of world your parents and grandparents grew up in—a world that was safe, had clear boundaries that everyone respected, a world where people got along even if getting along meant agreeing to disagree, a world where you could trust your neighbor, and a world where people work for what they have and value what really matters most.
I know that’s a TALL order, but if enough of you will parent your kids matter-of-factly, it can happen.
Matter-of-fact parenting is simple. It goes like this…
· You tell your kids what you expect of them and then expect it.
· You tell your kids what the rules are. No “If you don’t, then you can’t have…” or “If you don’t, you’re going to get….” Or “If you don’t, I’m going to take away….” Just set the rules. Then, if and when they break them, you discipline them by giving them the privilege of suffering the consequences of their actions. Example: “You didn’t pick up your toys like I told you to, so I am taking the toys away for a week.” No threats. No options. No arguments. Just a clear-cut case of actions bring consequences. The end.
· You never, ever ask your kids to do something you expect them to do. Example: “It is time to come in and wash your hands so you can set the table.” NOT “Would you come now so you can set the table?” Or “Pause the movie because the dog needs to go out to go potty.” NOT “Would you please pause the movie and take the dog outside to potty?” Of course you ask, “Would you like to go for a walk with me?” “Would you like to have a friend over to play tomorrow?” Or “Do you want to play soccer or take swimming lessons?”. But when you don’t want something to be an option, don’t make it optional.
· Never, EVER reward (bribe) your children for doing what is expected of them. No one deserves or should ever feel they have a right to be paid/rewarded for being kind, for being obedient, respectful, or a contributing member of their family, classroom, or community. “If you don’t throw a fit at the restaurant I will give you twenty extra minutes of tablet time before bed”, or “I’ll pay you a quarter for every day you don’t fight with your sister,” is…well, there are no words I can use here to tell you how seriously wrong this is. When you say and do these things you are turning over control of your family to children whose brains are not fully developed and who can’t think beyond the next day (at most). You may as well give them the master bedroom and password to your Amazon account while you are at it.
I could go continue but I think you get the point. At least I hope you do. I hope you understand that when YOU don’t get riled, bent out of shape, or ‘lose it’, your kids won’t be as prone to doing so. When you speak to them in a kind, but firm matter-of-fact way, they will respond in a matter-of-fact fashion. If you don’t leave the rules open for interpretation or make compliance an option, misinterpretation and noncompliance won’t be a problem.
Matter-of-fact parenting was the norm for centuries (literally). It wasn’t until just two or three decades ago that things started to change; proving that change, just for the sake of change is not a good thing. Think about this: How often do you read things on social media about wishing we could go back to the way things used to be—the days when life was simpler, nicer, kinder, and safer? Well, here’s YOUR chance to make that happen starting with YOUR kids and YOUR home. So don’t just wish it? DO IT!
copyright 2021 darla noble.
No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.