One of my kids was constantly in resistance to my parenting approach when he was younger, and it felt like I was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. And he would become really frustrated with me with everything that I tried.
And this went on for years. And in hindsight, I realized that I was not parenting my son in a style that worked well, for his personality.
When my son turned 15, he got a summer job, and he had more freedom than he had ever had before in his life. And I saw how having that freedom and responsibility just worked better with my son’s personality. And he was just doing so incredibly well. I was honestly blown away.
My son has a personality that doesn’t like to be micromanaged. Let’s be honest, who does? I don’t like to be micromanaged, you probably don’t like it. So I decided to flip my traditional parenting upside down, and the results were outstanding.
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Make you sure that your child knows what is expected of them
Instead of punishing bad behavior, I decided to start rewarding good behavior and good behavior gets a lot more privileges. So once this school year started, I laid out what was clearly expected of my son.
The first thing was he had to get a and B’s on his report card B was the lowest he could get to get extended privileges. He also had to vacuum the house once a week, he had to clean up after himself to do his own laundry, and be home by 630 on weeknights. And if he needed to stay out longer, he needed to text and ask.
Motivate your child by rewarding good behavior with special privileges
There were new rewards for doing well. And one of those rewards was
- He could stay out an hour late on weekends that he was at a friend’s house that was close to our house. That was a privilege of doing well at school.
- He was granted permission to sleepover at friend’s houses when he asked who were in the close friend group. And we knew the parents,
- He was allowed to have mini fridge in his room for his drinks.
- And he got occasional extra treats.
Our son maintained his good grades and everything that was expected of him. And because of that, we were far more lenient than we would be normally.
An example of rewarding good behaviour
An example, on Halloween, he wasn’t planning on going out. But his friends decided to do something last minute. So he called me up and he’s like, I want to go out. And then he pitched me like someone would be pitching their company.
He’s like, “You know what, I got a good mark on this test today. Yesterday, I did well, on this test, everything’s been done at home. And you know, I think I should be allowed to stay out late.”
I’m like, wow, you should be home at this time. Have a great time. And I said, Yes, you deserve to stay out, you’re such a great key and you’re doing such a good job. I’m happy to give that to you.
Some of the key life lessons I found with the this kind of parenting approach, are you reinforcing positive behavior, and there’s more opportunity for leadership for your child. If you do the work, you get the reward. Results come from positive action, whether that’s in your business, your homework, whatever that may be. And with this method, you’re setting your kids up to be action takers, and to take initiative.
And whatever you’re doing in life, if you’re running your own business, your job you need to know, your benchmarks, your KPIs. So this is getting my son looking at his results regularly to know where he stands where he needs to improve. So the best thing for me about this new system is that my son is no longer in resistance to everything I say, and we’re no longer fighting or arguing about things. Because as a parent, that’s pretty tiring.
You just want your kid to do well. You’re trying to help them. You don’t want to be fighting them on every little thing. And your kids really do care what you think. On Thanksgiving, we have this tradition, where we go around the table and we thank our extended family and share things we appreciate about them. And I was thanking both my kids for being such great young people, for doing so well for being kind and caring.
And after, my son was like, yes, you know, so they do care what you think of them and they do like to be seen heard and recognized by their parents. So I changed my approach to appreciating my kids every day. So instead of just saying no , I reinforced what I really think. So my son asked to stay by himself while we went on a family trip for an extended period of time.
And legally, I was not able to do that. So I said, No, I can’t allow you to stay alone by yourself for that period of time. But I just want you to know, I think that you’re more than capable of doing that. You do your laundry, you can cook meals for 400 people, which you learned to do at your job. You keep your room spotless. So I think, you know, you could do a better job of taking care of yourself than many adults, but just because of the law, I can’t say yes, to your request. But going forward, when you’re old enough, absolutely. Another example of this is I texted my son, where are you? And he’s like, Oh, I’m at the library studying. Oinstead of saying, Okay, I’m like, I really appreciate you taking the time to study and being such a great student. So every interaction is an opportunity to thank him for doing a good job, when appropriate.
Motivate your child by thanking them every day for positive behavior
Thanking your child every day for their good behavior will get you as a parent more good behavior. So some of the benefits of this new parenting approach are my son now wants to do well without me nagging him. And he’s no longer in resistance to me or everything I say. And it’s just a daily opportunity for me to reinforce what my son is doing well, and to focus on all the good things instead of focusing on the bad. And it becomes part of your child’s self identity, that they’re a good kid.
And I’ll tell you another funny story. I was telling one of my son’s friends that I appreciated that he was doing well at something and I was talking about it.
And he was so shocked. He looked like he’d seen an alien.
And he’s like, you’re talking about us, like we’re good kids. And I’m like, Well, you are good kids. In fact, you’re great kids. As parents, I don’t think we tell our kids often enough how great they are. So I challenge you today to try this parenting approach and see how it works for you. And if you don’t want to try that,
I challenge you to just thank your kid for something that they’re doing today, where they’re doing a great job. Leave a comment below and let us know how you’ve managed to motivate your child to get great results.
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