Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Parenting - Have a New Kid by Friday

In my personal life recently I have had the opportunity to evaluate how I am doing as a parent and how my children are doing.  A friend shared a book with me called Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman.  Dr. Leman is a bit like me - a straight shooter.  You are not going to get flowery responses from me or Dr. Leman.  You are going to get it like I see it whether that is right or wrong.  I will freely admit that I am wrong at times.  I don't purposely screw up and I am not purposely be gruff with people.  There is an analogy I use with my personality that I used on my mission that fits my personality to a "T".  I may share that with you at some point.

Back to the point, sort of.  I want to relate part of the book to an experience I will share below from my own personal life.  I don't mean to embarrass anyone and so that is why I won't use names.  My daughter has been having a rough time lately and I asked a few of her "friends" to leave her alone for a while so she can gain some space and remove herself from the not so great influences they are on her.  One didn't heed my instructions and this discussion came about.  This "friend" said basically*:

  • I am a horrible father because I am not letting my daughter do what she wants.
  • I am a good father because I am looking over her shoulder seeing what she is doing.
  • He called me a curse word.
  • He threatened to beat me up.  LOL!
  • He said I should treat all teenagers like equals.
  • Claimed to be a better parent than I was.
  • I failed as a father because I haven't taught my daughter to do what is right.
  • My wife has a horrible husband and my kids have a horrible father.
The young man would not give me his parents contact information so I went to work and within two hours I had their home address and home phone number.   (I know for me personally I would want to know if my child had been so disrespectful - justified or not.)  I mailed a copy of what this young man said to me word for word asking his parents to explain that cussing at an adult is inappropriate, threatening me isn't appropriate and to kindly stay away from my daughter.  And I got this reply in relationship to what he told me he and his son discussed.

  • Exercise some prudence in your communication and avoid poor or crude language when addressing the parent of a friend. How you say what you say is just as important as what you choose to say. 
  • When anyone tries to intimidate you by threatening to contact your parents, immediately give them my contact information so I can deal with them. You are not alone - I've got your back, every single time. Never fear that threat from anyone. 
  • There is no good or bad, only outcomes. We learn by failure what behaviors will garner which outcomes. Know what you want first and allow your choices to lead to the outcome you desire. If you don't like the outcome, change your behavior. 
  • Shame and Guilt are the intellectually poor man's tools of manipulation. Don't give in to them. They are hollow attempts to coerce the weak minded into the compliance of those with presumed authority not earned nor given. Rise above the manipulations and see them for what they are. 
  • You can't help those who don't want it. If you offer and they decline, move on. Too many people are willing and desirous of the help of a kind heart and wise mind for you to waste precious time/energy or resources upon. 
  • Knowledge is not power - Applied knowledge is power. Be careful how you form your words and opinions towards others. They may not want to see what is apparent and may vigorously defend that which is comfortable to themselves regardless of the outcome. 
I applaud this parent for standing up for his kid.  I would not have done this for my kid especially if they had cursed at me, claim to know more about parenting than me and then told me I did a good job looking over my daughter's shoulder and then contradict themselves by insult me for restricting my daughter by looking over her shoulder.  I know 100% why this "friend" is the way he is after hearing the way his parents handled the situation.  Granted I was not there when the conversation went down but this parent truly stood up for his kid.  I think we all know parents like this and I think we all know Scout parents like this.

The first thing that went through my mind after this conversation and issues seems to be dealt with is "If I did this as a kid, my parents would have probably murdered me!"  I know for sure I would have been on the adults doorstep apologizing.  My parents were firm.  I feared disappointing them.  I knew better than to treat an adult like I was treated.

Aright back to the book by Dr. Leman and how it relates.  In reading this book, he discusses that parents need to be parents and not buddies.  I could not agree more.  Parents need to stop being buddies to their kids.  I know there are going to be those out there that totally disagree - you have your opinion.  I have mine.  Putting your kid on an equal level doesn't help unless you want to love them into doing what is right and there are not that many kids around that this really works for.  We make excuses for kids.  We justify what they do instead of holding them accountable for their actions.  We shield them from real world consequences.  Are we doing them any favors by doing this?  I, personally, don't think so.

What Dr. Leman says specifically in relationship to how we parent our kids:

1.  Let reality be the teacher.
2.  Learn to respond rather than react.
3.  B doesn't happen until A is complete.

Does Scouting teach these things?  You bet it does!!  We let Scouts learn real world consequences and earn real world lessons in Scouting!  We let them fail, we brief them on the "failure" and help them try again!  Are they perfect?  No but I know some of them are trying.

Are you the kind of parent that teachers these things?

So what did I personally learn from this?  Easy, teenagers like some adults suck.  Some parents are going to let their kids do whatever they want in the face of being their buddy and their kids not being able to do anything wrong.  I also learned that I can only effect my kids and my family and not everyone's standards are the same - which is fine.  You better know though when it comes to my family and my Scouting family I will and always will be a mamma bear.  I will cut you off if you are not doing what is right because in the end that is what happened to my daughter's "friend".  My kids come first.  My family comes first.  And if you can't be a good example for them or around them, see ya!

I may come back to Dr. Leman in future posts.  Who knows what other kind of nuggets are hiding waiting for me to read?

* I contemplated putting most of his text in this post but decided out of no desire to even look like I am trying to embarrass, bully or humiliate him, I removed it.  His time as a parent will come and only then will he learn how truly hard it is to be a parent.  Each child is different and trying to keep 53 million sets of rules and guidelines straight for each of your children is hard.  Parenting is unpaid and very glorify-free UNTIL they are out of the house.

1 comment:

Lance said...

Just purchased the book. Thank you for the recommendation!