Don’t Forget the Good

A friend recently reminded me how important it is to speak up to our children about their good qualities. It’s our job as parents to right their wrongs and correct them when something goes awry. But when we get caught up this job of correcting our kids, we often neglect the good. If our days are spent calling out the bad, it begins to affect the self-esteem. Now, I’m not a big fan of this term. Often, permissive parents are guided by a fear of damaging the self-esteem. But that’s not to say that we should ignore it completely.

There are times in my life when I’ve been praised more than I’ve been reprimanded. In fact, I had a boss once who was always so good at praising me. Ten years later, I still remember some of the wonderful things he said about me. That praise made me feel good, and it was very motivating. It gave me a reason to please!

Let’s think this idea through more completely. Which statement do you think will motivate your child to do well?

  1. Don’t touch that. You’ll mess it up.
  2. You’re doing such a nice job keeping your hands to yourself.
  1. Stop whining. It’s only a little scrape.
  2. I know you’re upset, but you’re being so brave by not crying.
  1. Hurry up and brush your teeth. Move faster!
  2. You’re doing a such a careful job brushing your teeth.
  1. Be careful! You’re going to spill that juice!
  2. Good job being independent enough to pour your own juice. Let me show you how to clean up after yourself.

When my friend mentioned this idea to me, she suggested that our kids will start to believe in all the negative words we spout out at them. If all we say are things like “don’t touch that,” “move faster,” and “stop whining” they will start to think they are destructive, slow cry babies. If we replace those words with “nice job,” “brave,” and “independent,” those words will stick with them. They will believe they are good, brave, and independent.

My friend said to do this even when things aren’t going quite right. The example she gave was when her son got mad and yelled at his sister. My friend could still praise her son for using only his words, not his hands, and not swearing. True, he could have walked away before getting angry, but it could also have been a lot worse.

If you’re not in the habit of offering praise, think of ways to remind yourself. Perhaps set a timer so you say something good once an hour. Or put up a note in your kitchen to remind yourself. Remember to always look for the good, even in bad situations.

Should Every Child Get a Trophy?


After learning from the best (the Babywise series), I’ve always been of the assumption that not every child should get a trophy. But after living with this first-hand, I’ve started to question my assumption.

I’m sure we’ve all seen or heard of it. Today’s sporting events just aren’t like they used to be. When kids are involved, either the games aren’t scored or every child is given a trophy, no matter how well they do. Yet for as long as I can remember, I’ve held the belief that this idea of every child getting a trophy isn’t good for our kids. When our kids put in great effort and work hard, they should be rewarded. I don’t believe a child should be rewarded for putting in minimal effort or for just showing up. This is how our world seems to be operating these days. It seems as if everyone is afraid to tarnish our children’s fragile egos.

I also believe that by giving every child a trophy, it completely robs the trophy of any value. It makes the trophy practically worthless. Plus, it’s possible that kids will lose all motivation to do well. Kids are smart. If they realize that the kid sitting on the sidelines will earn the same recognition as the child who works hard, then what good is it to work hard?

Now, if we are doing our job as parents, we should teach our kids that the reward is in doing a good job. In the case of sports, when you take one for the team and run harder than anybody else, your efforts will get noticed. But what about these trophies?

Let me back up a minute and explain why I bring this up. My kids have started flag football this season, and with William being more cerebral than athletic, this is our first real foray into kids’ sports. Well, today was the big kickoff event for the season. After William’s coach explained the rules of the game, he mentioned to us all that we might see other coaches handing out medals but that he wouldn’t be. The organization encourages coaches to hand out one medal after every game, which I assume would go to the kid who played his hardest. Well, our coach has decided to do it differently. Rather than handing them out after every game, he said he would hold onto them, and at the end of the season, we would have a celebration where every child would receive a medal.

After watching the kids practice and play, there’s a part of me that can see why he does this. There are some kids (like the coaches’ kids) who are clearly more experienced and talented than the rest of them. William, who was doing math problems in his head on the way there, would be outrun by one or two of those kids any day of the week. But my issue with trophies and medals has nothing to do with experience or talent. It has to do with effort.

If a child shows great determination and comes running onto the field and scores five touchdowns, then perhaps his effort should be rewarded. If a child shows great improvement in an area where he has struggled previously, then he should probably receive a medal. And I like the idea of kids getting recognized for their effort on the day of the game, and when nobody else is being recognized. Being rewarded by a coach (someone other than mom or dad) like this, on a day when only he is being recognized, would certainly bring a smile to William’s face. I’m not sure his smile would be as big when he receives the medal at the same time as all the other kids.

But then again, the mama bear in me does want to protect William’s self esteem. What if he’s staring off into space doing math problems in his head while the receiver runs right by him? What if he’s just not as capable as the other kids? What if his sensory issues get in the way of his ability to play?

What do you think? Should every child get a trophy?

Help a Reader Out: Teaching Independence

Thanks for all the help this week! Here’s one more to finish off the week. This is from my post It’s Easier to Do It for Them. Please reply with your thoughts and any resources you can recommend for this parent.

What do you advise for parents who have done everything (and I mean everything) to avoid conflict, and now they have teenagers who simply refuse to pick up after themselves, wake themselves in the morning, do their homework, wash a dish, etc…they throw anything they’re done with on the floor and walk away. They don’t know how to make a bed or run a load of laundry, and see no need to ever learn. They don’t want to go to college because that looks like work. They want to stay home and play video games and be waited on. Now what. IS IT TOO LATE. What have we done.

I do think it’s important to work on these things when our kids are young, for this very reason, but I don’t think it’s too late. I don’t have a teenager, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Maybe those of you with teenagers will have better advice. But my initial thoughts are that it’s not too late because the teen is still living under your roof. It’s hard not to have sympathy for the teen since he’s simply living up to his parents’ expectations. But it sounds like things need to change.

The problem started because it’s easier to wait on our children than it is to require them to do for themselves. So I’m thinking the answer is to stop taking the easy approach. Stop making life so easy for him.

First, if I were this mom, I would sit down with my husband and make sure he agrees that things need to change. Then we would work together on a plan. Define all the individual tasks you want him to learn and own, and prioritize them so you can work on one at a time. Then sit down with the teen and explain the new rules and the consequences associated with those rules. Perhaps it would be appropriate to involve him in the process so he feels like he’s a part of the solution. I would also give it some time to see if he finds the motivation himself. Assume that he wants to change. If not, then start thinking about logical consequences.

Personally, I would start with video games. I don’t know of any motivated, successful person who spends any significant amount of time on video games. Plus, they can cause so many problems. It’s easy to lose all self-control while playing, which could easily get in the way of school, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, etc. I would simply take the video games away. Be prepared for the child’s wrath because video games are addictive, and it will take some time to be okay without them.

Then think through any other privileges the child has. If he’s of driving age, does he have a car? Do you allow him to use your car? Does he have free access to a computer. (I would allow it for homework only, and only in the main area of the house.)

Don’t simply take these privileges away. Tell him that he can earn them back by showing he’s responsible enough to have them. He can show responsibility by picking up after himself, doing his laundry, helping out around the house, etc. I’m guessing it will take some time for him to come around, which I think is fine. He will decide whether he wants these privileges back.

In the meantime, make sure not to do much for him. If you don’t want his messes in your space, I would toss his stuff into his room. Stop waking him up. Stop urging him to do his homework. (Maybe communicate with teachers so they know what to expect and so you know what their consequences will be.) Stop doing his laundry. My guess is he’ll eventually decide that he’s tired of wearing dirty clothes.

Now, the problem with this approach is that it could alienate the teen and really drive a wedge in the parent/child relationship. I imagine that the teen would be very upset with these new rules. And since the parents are driving the change, he will aim his anger at them. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this. It’s possible that my “tough love” approach wouldn’t work because of this. Or perhaps it would work, but it wouldn’t be worth the loss of the relationship.

Does anybody have experience with this? What’s the answer?!


Desperate Times


Sometimes desperate times do call for desperate measures. No matter how much we may understand that threatening and repeating tactics will ultimately fail, there are times when we resort to these measures. And that’s ok.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea that parenting is the most important job we will ever do. When we realize that we truly do have the power to shape our children, it’s easy to set super-high expectations for ourselves. When things go wrong, it’s not pretty. Forgiveness — from ourselves and other moms — doesn’t come easily.

That’s what makes parenting so hard. Yes, it’s an important job. And yes, women are highly critical of each other. While I’d love to ask moms to go a little easier on each other, the least we can do is forgive ourselves.

And the truth of the matter is that sometimes counting to three really works. Sometimes bribing our kids works. And sometimes it’s on the fourth time that we repeat an instruction that we get obedience. If the day has gone horribly wrong, and in the middle of cooking dinner, you realize you’re out of the most critical ingredient, it may be one of those times that you need to bribe the children to obey during a quick trip to the store. It’s better to bribe and maintain emotional stability than to run the risk of being sent over the edge by a child running wild in the produce section.

Besides, there’s a difference between knowing and doing. We may intellectually know how we want to train our children and what behaviors we expect of them, but actually implementing these parenting ideas consistently is a different endeavor entirely. Again, that’s ok.

There’s one crucial thing to remember about this: don’t do it often. Sometimes we need to call upon our most desperate measures, but the other 98% of the time, we need to diligently train our kids in the behaviors and attitudes we expect. If your attempts to train go horribly wrong, it’s probably a clue that you’re using desperate measures a little too often.

But before you even think about criticizing yourself for this, remember that you deserve to be forgiven. You are your harshest critic, so go easy on yourself every now and then.

Are you on the same page?


Are you and your spouse reading from the same playbook when it comes to parenting your child? Perhaps you discussed your parenting ideals even before you married. Or did you have a child, wait for problems to creep up and then start thinking about how you want to parent? Or worse, have you still not come up with a plan?

If you’re reading this blog, my guess is that the latter doesn’t apply. But how much of a planner are you? And do you discuss it all with your spouse? Does he or she agree with you?

There’s nothing like differing parenting styles to throw a wrench into the marriage. If one parent is a super-strict, legalistic parent who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “childishness” and the other is a permissive conflict-avoider, there are bound to be a few arguments. Even if one parent provides the majority of the child care duties, the child is half of each of you, so you each have equal rights in deciding how to raise the child.

The only problem is that this is confusing to the child. Even a toddler is keen enough to realize that you don’t provide a united front. As this child ages, he’ll know to ask permissive dad for anything that strict mom might say “no” to. And while conflict-avoider dad might have an easier time saying “yes” to everything, he won’t know what to do when the child refuses to comply with a simple request. Permissiveness is all well and good — until we have to ask the child to do something he doesn’t want to do (to say nothing of the long-term ramifications).

The ultimate — and potentially most damaging — ramification of differing parenting styles is the judgment that can creep into the marriage. When two parents don’t agree on how to parent, mom or dad will start to feel protective of the child and the judgment takes over. Instead of mom and dad standing together, one parent stands with the child against the other parent. Not good.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this position? Leave the judgment on the table and talk it out. Have an open conversation where nobody’s ideas are shot down. Come up with some real-life examples of troublesome behaviors and discuss how you each parented and the results you each achieved. Then meet in the middle. It might even help to take a parenting class or two and read some parenting books. Go to a bookstore and you each choose the book that appeals to you most. Then have the other parent read that book. Glean a few ideas from each book and come up with your middle-of-the-road plan.

No matter how you approach it, being on the same parenting page is good for your marriage and for your child. Creating that page and sticking to it will be well worth the time and effort you put into it. You’ll trade conflict and judgment for peace, harmony and a compliant child!

Back in their own beds?


I’ve seen so many articles lately on the topic of children in the parents’ bed. This notion of the “family bed” isn’t a new one, but it is so foreign to me that I’m a little surprised to see that it is still so prevalent.

See, I thought the pendulum was swinging. When our parents were kids, they were taught to be seen and not heard. They were taught to obey at all costs. This notion of the “family bed” didn’t exist. And even when I was a kid, I can’t imagine a child sleeping in his parents’ bed.

I thought the “family bed” idea was at its peak about 10 years ago and that the pendulum had begun to swing in the other direction. I’m not sure why, but I was thinking that most kids sleep in their own beds nowadays. I guess I was wrong. The “every child gets a trophy” generation has been coddled so much by their helicopter parents that their self-esteem is being protected even while they sleep.

I know many good, caring, loving, dutiful moms who have their babies — and children — in bed with them. There’s even a small part of me that envies those snuggles. But I simply don’t think it’s worth it.

I may not win any popularity points with this post, but I will mention a few of my beliefs:

1) What good is a mom or dad who doesn’t get enough sleep? With feet or elbows in your ribs, can you be the best parent you can be without a solid night’s sleep? How patient can you be when all you’ve had is 6 hours of fully interrupted sleep?

2) Who’s to say that the child’s self-esteem is protected in the family bed? My stance has always been that my children are stronger because I prepare them for the world, not shield them from it.

3) When a child sleeps between mom and dad, how stable is the marriage upon which the family — and child — stands? I know many moms who say their marriages are stable and that it doesn’t matter where they sleep. That’s wonderful. But I also know of many marriages that thrive because of those nighttime snuggles (between husband and wife) and early morning chats. Besides, I often wonder how equitable the family bed is anyway. See my next point.

4) Do both parents usually agree to the idea? I’ve heard stories of the family bed not being so family friendly. Dad, who has to be up early in the morning and coherent at work, often sleeps in another spot in the house.

5) And finally, is this what’s truly best for the child? At what point will you send him back to his own bed? Will it really be easier to do so at 6, not 6 months? Won’t the habit be so engrained at that point? What happens when a new baby comes along? If he needs you by his side to go to sleep, does he go to bed late or do you go to bed early? Is he learning that he shouldn’t feel comfortable being alone? Is he being taught to be overly dependent on his parents when he might want to spread his wings a bit?

This reminds me of a comment I made here recently about Lucas and his lovey. It’s somewhat insignificant, but I really want him to need his lovey. The boy is almost 5, and I in denial that my baby is growing up. I need that lovey more than he does. But the fact of the matter is he doesn’t need it. He’ll hold onto it sometimes, but usually, it’s for my benefit. He knows that I want him to want it. And honestly, it bothers me a little. It’s sweet that he’s thinking of me, but at the same time, I wonder if I’m stifling his independence, his desire to grow up.

The same can be said about the family bed. Our kids want to grow up. They can’t wait to be grownups. They can’t wait to have the freedom and independence that we adults all seem to have. So why should we deny them that independence when it comes to something as simple as sleep?

There’s another article that came out recently that reflects my opinions. In My Message to Dr. Sears, the author discusses “detachment parenting.” She states:

I read a great book when I was pregnant, Suzy Giordano’s Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. (It was recommended by a well-rested friend.) She says it’s our responsibility to teach our children many things. We of course expect to teach them to eat and sit up, walk, talk, say please and wait for the green light. But she says the very first thing we have to teach them, right out of the womb, is to self-soothe. That self-reliance and self-confidence needs to be rooted in the core of their being. That thrilled me. I want a daughter who believes that she has everything inside her to meet all of life’s challenges and isn’t waiting for some invisible hand to help her do something as simple as fall asleep.

I could not agree more!


Do you overparent?


There’s a great NY Times article that’s been circulating the social media circles. Titled, “Raising Successful Children,” it talks about how many parents “overparent” or do too much for their children–much to the child’s detriment.

The article talks about finding that balance between being too lax (permissive) and being too controlling (authoritarian). This idea is nothing new to those of us who have read the Ezzos’ books. That parenting sweet spot is called authoritative parenting, not to be confused with authoritarian parenting. The authoritative parent has no fear of taking a position of authority with the child, yet he makes no attempt to control the child. Here’s how the NY Times describes it:

Decades of studies, many of them by Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child’s autonomy. These “authoritative parents” appear to hit the sweet spot of parental involvement and generally raise children who do better academically, psychologically and socially than children whose parents are either permissive and less involved, or controlling and more involved.

One of the most important tasks of the authoritative parent is knowing when to step back. As the Ezzos tell us, it’s important that children make mistakes–and learn from them–while the stakes are low. But actually letting our children make mistakes is no easy feat.

Hanging back and allowing children to make mistakes is one of the greatest challenges of parenting. It’s easier when they’re young — tolerating a stumbling toddler is far different from allowing a preteenager to meet her friends at the mall.

Being able to step back and let them make mistakes is easier when we understand that parenting is not about ensuring our children’s happiness. It’s about guiding them as they grow, and helping them to become confident, capable adults. Those of us who followed Babywise when our kids were babies are familiar with this idea. Letting a baby cry is so, so difficult, but if it teaches the little one how to sleep well and sleep independently, it’s so worth it in the end.

So if children are able to live with mistakes and even failing, why does it drive us crazy? So many parents have said to me, “I can’t stand to see my child unhappy.” If you can’t stand to see your child unhappy, you are in the wrong business. The small challenges that start in infancy (the first whimper that doesn’t bring you running) present the opportunity for “successful failures,” that is, failures your child can live with and grow from. To rush in too quickly, to shield them, to deprive them of those challenges is to deprive them of the tools they will need to handle the inevitable, difficult, challenging and sometimes devastating demands of life.

And when we’re too concerned with preventing our children from making mistakes, we need to realize that it’s more about us than it is about them. Doing so can have detrimental effects on a child’s developing sense of self:

When we do things for our children out of our own needs rather than theirs, it forces them to circumvent the most critical task of childhood: to develop a robust sense of self.

If pushing, direction, motivation and reward always come from the outside, the child never has the opportunity to craft an inside. Having tutors prep your anxious 3-year-old for a preschool interview because all your friends’ children are going to this particular school or pushing your exhausted child to take one more advanced-placement course because it will ensure her spot as class valedictorian is not involved parenting but toxic overparenting aimed at meeting the parents’ need for status or affirmation and not the child’s needs.

But how exactly do we find the strength and determination to not overparent?

It’s hard to swim upstream, to resist peer pressure. But we must remember that children thrive best in an environment that is reliable, available, consistent and noninterfering.

Finding that balance is all about creating an environment that allows them to fail, but does so in a way that’s safe. I’m all for shielding a child from negative social influences when they are young and super impressionable. Because of this, I make sure they are around people who will show them a good example. At the same time, I make sure they are given the freedom to make mistakes within their sheltered environment. So when they make a mistake, there will be an attentive adult to call attention to the child’s mistake and teach him better alternatives.

Also, I have learned from the Ezzos that the difficult things that are required of parents are not done in spite of the child or the circumstances, but because of them. We maintain healthy marriages not despite parenting demands, but because of them. We don’t put the child in the center of the family despite the child, but because of him. In the same way, we let the child make mistakes and resist overparenting, not despite the child but because of him. All of these difficult tasks that some would say are done selfishly, are in fact, done to provide a healthy, stable foundation for the child.

So if you see signs of overparenting in yourself, don’t be afraid to create a sheltered environment, but know when to step back. Lay the foundation, and then step back and let the child grow.

Obedience offers acceptance and approval


I came across a wonderful passage in Growing Kids God’s Way that summarizes the need for a high standard of obedience. We don’t train our children to obey us for our own convenience. Obedience offers so much more. Consider this:

“A child’s feeling of acceptance and sense of approval is directly related to the standard of behavior required by his parents. This is true for all areas of character development and is especially true with first-time obedience. The child whose parents require first-time obedience and encourage him in the process has a greater sense of parental approval, love, and acceptance than a child in a permissive or authoritarian household. Permissive parents tend to ignore the standard for obedience, while authoritarian parents eliminate the need to affirm their children.

“When a child meets a high, established standard and receives parental approval, obedience becomes attractive, and the child knows his parents accept him. The higher the standard, the greater the confirmation and sense of approval. The lower the standard, the weaker the sense of approval and, ultimately, the weaker the parent-child relationship,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 129).

Isn’t that incredible to think that a little work put into training our children in first-time obedience can yield so many amazing results?! Approval, acceptance, character, and a strong parent-child relationship are all important parenting goals.

As I’ve said many times before, laying that foundation of obedience opens the doors to so many opportunities. It’s time well spent.

P.S., The July 4th eBook sale ends today! Order before midnight Pacific time to get your copy of Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience for just $7.99.


Why I want to be a permissive parent


I’m in a bit of a reflective mood at the moment and have been thinking about what my life would be like if I were a permissive parent. Sometimes I ask myself, wouldn’t life be so much easier if I were permissive?

I could be much more lax. I could let my children do as they please. I could let them live in the moment guided by nothing but pure happiness. I could completely forget about obedience.

And as sad as this sounds, I also wonder if I would love and enjoy my kids more if I were permissive. I wouldn’t be worried about discipline, timeouts, etc. Oddly enough, I think of my cat. He was born in my mom’s closet and passed away in September at age 19. He was my first baby. The love was completely unconditional, and I never had to worry about behavior issues. I rarely had a negative thought when it came to my beloved cat.

So why can’t I be that way with my children? Honestly, it sounds very appealing. But I know that it’s just not realistic. Unlike my cat, my children can talk. And they can be loud, argue with each other, and speak disrespectfully. And unlike my cat who rarely left the house, my children need to learn how to live in our big wide world. They need to learn to happily coexist with friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters, etc. They need to grow up to become educated, respectable, successful adults.

I don’t want to be the only one who likes them.

I also think that I couldn’t really be a permissive parent. Those little misbehaviors would bother me. I can’t imagine that I could learn to let them go. Even if I could turn back the clock and never read an Ezzo book, I would know what bad behavior looks like. And I would have to be honest with myself about why I’m attracted to permissiveness. The word “lazy” comes to mind. :)

And while allowing my children to do whatever they wanted seems like it would make them happy, I know in my heart that it’s not in their best interests. Children crave boundaries. They need and want structure. They misbehave partly because they want us to correct them. Though it’s completely subconscious, through their behavior, they ask us to set limits.

So where does this leave me? I fully believe the parent I am today is the parent I was meant to be. I appreciate the Ezzos because without them, I would lean toward permissiveness and wouldn’t know what to do when faced with behaviors that I couldn’t let go. I think of parents on Supernanny who flip-flop between permissiveness and yelling/threatening. I would be one of them. Thanks to the Ezzos, I can take comfort in my instincts about how I want my children to believe and behave and have a plan to get them there.

I think there are some things I can learn from permissive parents (and my cat), like fully loving my children in every moment, no matter how poor their behavior. But now that I think about it, this is something the Ezzos teach us to do. And not only do they tell us to love and encourage our children, they give us a plan to do so effectively (love languages).

Have you ever considered being more permissive in your parenting? Have you ever been a permissive parent?


Parenting: It’s all about attitude


Your attitude as a parent is what defines the type of parent you are. Attitude is also one of the key components of any child trained in first-time obedience. It’s important to understand that both the parent’s and child’s attitudes must be in the right place.

Before working on first-time obedience training, mom and dad must work on their own attitudes. Establishing authority and requiring respect must form the basis of all parenting.

“Teaching children to respect and honor their parents is basic to teaching them how to show respect for others. It starts with the parents,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 92).

There are three important parenting attitude types to consider:

  • Threatening, repeating parent
  • Permissive parent
  • Authoritarian parent

The threatening, repeating parent
Beware of the threatening, repeating parent syndrome. This represents the antithesis of first-time obedience. As you can imagine, threatening and repeating parents do everything but require a high standard of obedience. The threatening, repeating parent yells at the child to get his attention, repeats himself at every turn and spouts empty threats. These parents flip-flop between letting behaviors go and yelling when they get to be too much.

The permissive parent
Permissive parents are guided by laziness and fear. They tend to let their children do as they please because they are fearful of damaging the child’s self-esteem, fearful of the child’s inability to obey, fearful of losing their child’s friendship, fearful of imposing boundaries, fearful of being as strict as their own parents were. Many permissive parenting households are run very democratically with the child’s opinions being weighted just as highly as the parents’ (if not more so). In permissive parenting circles, the word “obey” is considered a four-letter word.

The authoritarian parent
Authoritarian parents are guided by the principles, “Do a I say, not as I do,” “Because I said so,” and “Children are to be seen and not heard.” Authority and obedience are the name of the game. There’s nothing wrong with authority and obedience, but the authoritarian parent takes it to the extreme and refuses to understand that love and encouragement are just as important. Legalism, not balance, guide the authoritarian parent. These parents stick to the letter of the law no matter what. The child’s needs and desires aren’t considered. These parents also fail to realize that you cannot treat a teenager like a toddler. The relationship falls apart (if it was ever there to begin with), and the teenager rebels and wants nothing to do with his parents.

Find the balance
If you follow the Ezzos’ teachings, you will command respect like the authoritarian parent, but you will also choose your battles like the permissive parent. You will have the strength to warn your children of discipline, but you won’t spout empty threats like the threatening, repeating parent. Like the permissive parent, you will consider your relationship and self-esteem, but you won’t let fear guide your parenting. Like the authoritarian parent, you will teach your children to respect your word, but you will also be fair when your child respectfully disagrees.

All this week, I’ll discuss this idea a bit more so you can make sure you are finding the right balance in your parenting attitude.