SUCCESS Media, America’s leading source for personal development resources, presents Parenting Essentials: 10 Steps to More Confident Parenting by Dr. Lynne Kenney

Dr. Lynne Kenney:

You know I think a great life is where you identify. HARNESS. And live your passions. Most of us don’t know what our passion is and if my husband hadn’t said to me let you know what you love your patients you love the melamed center but you are done going to an office. It’s over for you. I might have still been sitting in an office but instead I’m here. And I’m you know writing scripts and interacting with people and telling people all the fantastic things that I love to talk about. Most parents. Love their children more than anyone on the planet. Most parents want to do best by their children so they come in and we hash things out and we problem solve and I give them advice and I say to them if that doesn’t work you let me know if you find a better solution let me know. I’ve even asked people may I have your permission to use that solution with another family.

It’s it’s a give and take. You know I’m an expert based on my knowledge and training. But parents know a lot about. Education was important to my parents. Being social and having a lot of fun and having a lot of friends was actually what was important to me. I was on a personal typologies the lion the otter. I was an otter. I learned to play and laugh and sing. I went to California on a business trip with my dad and the USC marching band was playing. All my life. My dad used to wake me up singing mania. In my school. Man it’s time we get up. Time to get up. And I was like dad that’s my song. He said yeah that’s your song. He said You go see if you can get a scholarship.

I always tell people that I’m really not very evolved. I’m really much more like a nine year old than a superconscious organic. Got it all together person. I’m the first person to tell you I don’t have it all together. My kids are late to school and I come to work and I’ve got messes on my pants but you know what those little things the big things are did you know not enough. Did you teach them what they need to know in order to be better people. So a lot of people approach me as though I’m super. Conscious and mindful and I have to tell you it’s always evolving process that you choose to pay attention to each day. I.

Can say we’re talking about the most important topic in the world. What is it. Doing most of your parents. Wonderful. OK so let’s let’s hear a little bit. Raise your hand if you’ve got kids under five. All right and what about kids under 10. What about kids under 15. All right.

You guys have kids from like 20 and up. Wow. Wonderful. Well in my house we have a five and a 7. And my husband actually has a 25 and a 27.

So I am interested in you know my expertise is actually those little babies.

So we’re going to talk about all of the essentials that you need for parenting between about birth and 65. How does it sound. Sound good. All right. Well you know what. Have you ever sat with each other and talked about who you’d like to have for dinner. Sometimes we sit around my house and we think we could have somebody from history what about George Washington for dinner or Mark Twain. Has anybody have an idea about who they like to have for dinner.

Could you tell me who you’d like to have for dinner.

President the President would be very very interesting. That would be very interesting very special anybody else who would you like to have for dinner. Yeah. Tiger Woods Yeah I have one of his signed golf balls in our house and my children play with it. And I just welcome that. I’m like yeah hold it. You know he hit it on some time long before.

Well I want to tell you that if you had a psychologist for dinner what might it be that you’d ask them.

Would you ask them about how to have great sex. Would you ask them about how to get your husband to do the dishes. I feel like I don’t get my ass. My husband actually does the dishes in our house. I cook he cleans. So what might you ask him if you’ve got a psychologist do you ever think about it. Yes you do. Are you comfortable telling us what.

Motivate your teenagers. Right. Very very important topic. What else anybody else do you do anything you like. Yes. How to get me. Yeah you know and I never did. You know what I did I just put everything in the closet. I shut the door and you know in my house when I was a teenager we actually made it as a an agreement. My mom and I that I was allowed to just put everything in the closet and she was never going to open it which was very nice. I know these are tough things.

So I’m hearing a lot about the teenagers what about the little ones anything you want to know about the little ones. Yeah go ahead.

Yes keeping everybody in the family it’s a very very big task isn’t it.

I want to tell you that when people come to my office I’ve been a practicing psychologist for 12 years and they have been the greatest greatest years because I tell people that what I work on in my office I actually try to apply it perfectly or go to say in our own home. So it’s nice to have a job where what you do on a daily basis actually applies to your life.

When people come to see me What do you think is the question they ask last yako.

Like you guys. HANNITY I like it. I like it. I like it. And what to be a good answer to that. How do I keep my sanity.

You know putting yourself first and taking good care of yourself and staying centered and finding some time for yourself and giving yourself the freedom and the permission to live passionately. Probably is a good start. And I know as a mom who also works we’re all taxed we’re tired we’re busy it’s a very fast paced world.

So I would probably say Find your passion and really live it. But what many people ask me about is how can I discipline my child. Many people of course when they’re can in my office they come they’re a little distressed. They’re feeling vulnerable something may not be working really well. And so everyone usually wants to start with discipline. The challenge is that it’s so much more than discipline. It’s about being effective. It’s about being value based.

It’s about knowing your passion. Showing you care. It’s about knowing the values how you want to raise your family what kind of kids you want to have and actually putting it effectively into action. I work with families on problem identification and problem solving.

But I tell them that raising a family is like building a home from the ground up. You need a firm foundation unit very solid walls and actually for me. Decorating your house is the discipline decorating your house is actually like. The rules and everything that goes in each room. But the values and what kind of family you want to raise is the beginning. How to bring happiness to everybody as you said. Very very important topic.

So what I usually tell people is when you come to my office I’m going to give you a kernel about discipline and then we’re going to step all the way back and we’re going to metaphorically rebuild your house. All right so we’re going to start at the beginning. But you know what. A very very simple method of discipline is the following. If you have an expected behavior you can separate it into a teaching moment or a discipline moment. All right. So let’s let’s hear an expected behavior from the audience. What is something that somebody in your family is not doing.

I want it go ahead.

OK so that’s actually very disturbing and in my home we have the same thing my children routinely go in and wake up their grandmother who lives in it in a house close by.

Or their stepdad. And when I tell Olivia honey you gotta let daddy sleep he’s working really hard and he’ll love you better and and more fully after you get some rest. Her answer is. But mom I just love him so much and I say that’s great but we’re going to tell him that we really love him when he comes out of the bedroom and he’s had really good sound sleep. So this is the question. How old are your kids.

They’re in their 20s. OK. That’s cool. That’s cool. OK.

You know we don’t have here is my mom to talk about me at 44 believe me because it’s still it’s still like interacting with a nine year old. So I’m there with you don’t worry. All right so for your 20 year old what’s the expected behavior.

Very simply.

OK. All right. OK. So you’re welcome to come home late but I’m expecting you to be quiet. All right. Now this is your question. In the moment right then in that moment has that person had sufficient education training and maturity to do the expected behavior. All right. So the question is can he do it. Does he have developmental disabilities that get in his way. No. Does he. Does he have like bells that are attached to his feet. No he’s making a choice. And it’s a choice that’s interfering with your sleep. All right. So can he do it. Let’s hear a resounding yes. Yes you can and so guess what you expected. You absolutely firmly and clearly expect it. You know Sunny are welcome to go out late. When you come home I expect you to be quiet. All right. Then you say to him if you’re not quiet What do you expect me to do.

And you allow him to begin generating some of the consequences you cannot believe you know we’re all toughest on ourselves. You know what I mean you look too old you got the wrong hair color you too fat. We’re all the hardest on ourselves. I didn’t parent well enough I didn’t love them enough. I didn’t kiss them enough today. You know what that’s like. You let him generate some consequences and you’re going to be surprised. They’re going to be tough consequences. And you say that’s perfectly fine. Write them down and we’ll institute them.

Is he here. Oh we don’t know. There is. All right.

So the simple thing for discipline is you tell them the expected behavior and you expect it. Now I can’t even tell you and I’ve Ivory’s children too and sometimes I’ve been wishy washy and I understand sometimes it’s hard to stand firm but your children your husband your own mom and dad.

Aunts uncles bosses coworkers they need to know that you stand on firm solid ground that you have clear expectations and that you will follow through with consequences if those expectations are not abided by. Kate but big but because I’m a very tender attachment oriented child psychologist you always have to make sure they can do it. And when I’m interacting with parents of children many times they have expectations where the children are not sufficiently developmentally skilled trained or mature to do the expectation I’m going to give you an example. My favorite example was this beautiful family four year old child. Many kids come to me parents come to me because the kids are going to be kicked out of school. OK that’s a stressor. All right. And I reassure them when they’re there that this is a problem that we can solve because you know we’re going to do. We’re going to be really good detectives.

And so this family came and they said our child is about to get kicked out of school and so we ask all the essential questions What is this child schedule who in this family works what time does the child go to school. What do they eat for breakfast. You know many kids wake up too early to even eat breakfast their tummies aren’t hungry yet. Big problem. They can’t wait till 10:15 to eat. So we ask all the essential questions you know we figure out about this beautiful beautiful girl. She is four years old has about a developmental level of about a 3 year old and she’s in day care 12 hours a day.

This is not about her.

This is not her challenge. This is her raising this red flag saying over here I can’t take this.

Now most of us have to work for income. I’m in the same position as many other people in the United States. But this family was able to sufficiently analyze the situation such that instead of leaving the child in daycare for 12 hours a day they were able to for the next two years between three and five get an alternate caretaker so the child was in day to day care in school a lot. You know maybe we dropped to six or eight hours a day but she was able to developmentally handle it better. So where we didn’t start with a family like that is discipline. No no no.

We started with having really good detective skills. All right.

All right. Now if you could distill parenting into 10 essential things.

Tell me what just one of them would be.

Go ahead. Yes. Learn patience you have to breathe through it don’t you. How do you find patients and how easy is it. Carefully I’m going to tell you I will tell you a short story by how I personally found patients. I actually I love I’m a nine year old so I love playing and I am am pretty patient. But I respect that. And sometimes I get tired and overworked just like everybody else. And I find myself a little on the snappy side we call it you’re a little on the snappy side and everyone in the family does it. OK.

My very closest friend Jeannie lost her only child three years ago. And you know what. It was a serious serious tragedy. The child was 16 years old. She got killed in the car crash. And what we call what we say in our family now and you can use this is we call it a Lisa moment if for some reason I’m too stressed out or my expectations are too high or the children are being too noisy because I like silence sometimes too. I say to the children you know what this is going to have to be a Lisa moment meaning I’m going to be very very grateful to God that I still have beautiful children. We’re going to all breathe deeply and through this and youre going to rise up in terms of your behavior right now and I’m going to rise up in terms of my behavior and we’re going to all stay patient and calm.

And so you can have a Lisa moment in your home too. You can you can call up this power that says to you I’m going to be patient for a really good reason. And when you find that when you have that little mantra to kind of hang onto whichever monitor is going to be good for you it’s so much easier to call up. OK so one essential is patience. What else yes.

Are so important. You know the thing is that children are really resilient and they will forgive you unless you attack them time and time and time again for a really long time. They’re

very flexible and forgiving. So the good news is that if you can forgive yourself they’re going to be just fine. But what is the essential thing you have to do once you forgive yourself. What are the two words you’ve really got to say.

I’m sorry. Yes. You guys are clearly a very thoughtful bright educated audience. You have to say I’m sorry.

Now what comes after sorry. Go ahead.

Yes. Forgive me. And a commitment to change every behavior you exhibit whether you have a physical illness or a mental illness you know an intermittent explosive disorder whatever you have you know diabetes whatever every behavior you make is a choice.

And so you have to model for your children. I am going to choose to change that behavior. Now I’m not going to do it perfectly. I’m really not going to do it perfectly kids. But guess what. We’re going to do it together. You get little you get little sayings in your ear your life you help them monitor your behavior a little bit and then you help them monitor their behavior a little bit. One of my favorite exercises in my office is to have the children this really is effective. I’ve got children who parents who come to me they want a child to change something. What I do is I identify that behavior for the whole family to work on and I give the kids a parent report card. All right. This was not my idea this a 6 year old made up this idea because you know what I’m going to tell you I’m like a guide. You guys are the experts in what I do is I chat with you and we’re a good detective team together and then we find the resolution together.

And so often you guys or your 6 year olds or your 15 year olds know the answer. And so when you when I stop saying to my child you need to change this you need to change this or my husband you need to change this. When I start saying we all need to change this together let’s try to figure this out.

Let’s analyze it and I’m going to give you a report card and you tell me have I stayed calm this week have I breathed deeply. Have I Loved You. Not enough have I expressed to you how much I care. When you start doing that it’s like it takes you right out of the control cycle and right into change.

It’s amazing. All right. Have you heard of the V word. What could the V word be if we’re talking about redefining our family.

With hope and love and inspiration. And we’re going to build this new foundation and then decorate our house. What might the V word be. Victory.

Victory. That’s a good one. Victory values. That’s right. We’ve got to start with a firm foundation and it’s going to be the V word values. You in my opinion need to identify communicate and live your values. OK listen this is not easy. And none of us do it perfectly. I break the rules too sometimes and I have to say I’m sorry to but many parents with whom I interact have expectations not only of their children of themselves and of their spouses and of the people who live around them but they never communicate what they are. You know why. Their own identified when you actually sit down with a piece of paper and you write down what do I really value your whole life changes because you live in accordance with your values. Ok so people say to me Well what would what would an example value be. Can you give me one. I wouldn’t example value be. Honesty Honesty respect. Love it. What else. You could value athleticism.

You could value. Achievement Yes courage. I like it. You could value courage. Yes.

Family traditions. Oh I love rituals routines and traditions they’re so great it is so fun to make new ones.

Health. Yes. You know what. Health is a really really good value to value because it keeps everyone around longer. Learning education. Gross. Balance. Oh yeah. Work ethic.

Yes. More Sleep. Clearly an important important thing. Yeah very nice. I saw another good one. Spending time together loving loving on one another. You know are we can go ahead. Eating together. I agree. I love the family meals. I love them. They’re really important it’s not always easy to do but you guys actually put it on your schedule you got to write these things down. All right. So many people have behavioral expectations based on their values but they don’t identify them and they don’t write them down. You’ve got to communicate your values. This is what creates the firm foundation of parenthood and you know what. Every family I interact with has different values. We embrace that we embrace the differences. What you have to know is what do you value. Are you going to live according to your word. You’ve got to write them down. This is what we do. You take what you value. We’ve come up with lots of them. And you write them on the left side of the piece of paper and then on the right side of the piece of paper folded in half on the right side of the piece of paper you write down what would be your family rules for functioning based on those values.

OK. I’m going to give you an example. My husband brought to our family because because I just married him two years ago and I already had two children and he brought to our family that we and this is one of these that we lift each other up. We never bring each other down and it’s a fundamental value for our family. He is like the best cheerleader he’s just right behind me he’s right behind them with all sorts of enthusiasm. And so when I’m in the car let’s let’s bring this down to a super functional everyday. They’re screaming in the back seat and I’ve already said three times be quiet level. OK. All right. And they don’t listen to me like you know they don’t listen to most people. And so they’re fighting touched and I pull over. And the first thing I do.

Is I breathe and they see me open my door and they go oh we’re in trouble. I turn off the car because I never leave it running. I walk around the car and I open their door. Clink. Kids. This.

Is not a good thing when Mommy has to get out of the car. What’s our family rule. And they say we lift each other up.

And then I say Where are we lifting each other up and they say no. And I say you need to complement one another right now so I don’t get into a control struggle with them.

I don’t say who is around who blames either we don’t do that. We don’t do any blaming there’s no space for it then. It’s cute the little the little 5 year old goes Olivia I really love you. She can’t find a compliment she just goes I love you. And then Olivia says. Lexus. Thank you for giving me your purse. Something like that. Because. Because anything that Alexis has Olivia ends up with in about five minutes and then I say. We will continue this car ride when we commit to raising one another up.

Shields or Mike begin start the car and we’re gone. OK. But. I had to get out of my seat.

Because later on we’re going to talk about getting up off the couch. All right. So you ready to write them all down to tell a family mission statement.

Oh gosh when you go home today we’ll sit down with your family and write your family mission statement. Your family mission statement is a simple statement about how we want to live. All right so you take your values and you say we did to be one simple sentence.

We are a family that wants to live with compassion. We are a family that wants to live with patients in my we probably right. We are a family that wants to give back. That’s just one of the fundamental ways that we live. And yesterday I had I had a really pleasant experience here. We were all sitting around a table talking about. What would be a life great lived.

What would be a great great great lived life. Anybody have thought.

I think that a life really well lived is one in which you identify and live your passion and if you don’t know what you value you’re never going to know what is your passion. Live like a life coach you play so many roles in your family. You are a life. Coach. Let’s think about it. MEDIATOR nurse doctor lawyer name some other roles you play in your family caretaker cook. So for your teacher very important any others.

Housekeeper. What was what else. Playmate I love that guy down on the floor get down on her level and play. I love that Dr. Absolutely. You are playing so many different roles. They need you to teach them sufficient life skills to live without you.

And there is a girl named Michelle a nanny named Michelle Lheureux who just published a book called nanny to the rescue.

It’s a really good fundamental book because she says if you’re doing things for your children that they can do for themselves. You’re making a mistake because your job is to get them to do it. Very important. I needed that take home less and I still was like run to the fridge getting my kids water and I was like you know what you know to do that you can do that. So what was loving when they were little was dysfunctional when they were older. Right. You are an educator a confidante you’re a force of stability.

If you walk away from this talk today feeling more centered and more stable and more firm and more powerful I’ll be really really happy because you’re there Center.

You’ve got to keep the end in mind. That’s a Stephen Covey concept I love Stephen Covey. He’s got lots of great brilliant concepts you’ve got to keep the end in mind. So you parent them successfully without you now to any of you watch I think it’s called the actors studio on Bravo. Does anybody want that. Is that a great show. Does Lipton do. He’s the best interviewer Now did anyone see Jamie Foxx on there. OK. I cried. Did you do a runner that. Night. I bet you men didn’t cry when he said on my deathbed my grandmother told me I gave you everything you need to live. Now go.

I cried and I cry. I was like you know what my mission in life has been redefined for me. My mission was redefined Jamie Foxx who I don’t know redefined it now instead of just loving and caretaking my children and nurturing them and being attachment oriented.

I say I need to give you the skills to go kids. You’re seven and five now.

So you’ve got to be a coach coach them in any way that fits with you and your values.

I talked about it. You’ve got to raise them up. If you aren’t your most enthusiastic life supporter and if each of you doesn’t support one another with complete excitement.

Who else is going to you know your family is your rock.

Now these are some rules that we end up with on the fridge. We treat each other with respect. We let each other sleep.

Soaking you clean the dishes when I cook. You know I mean you could be that specific but if you have some fundamental we respect each other with words and actions that kind of says it then if your teenagers start to wrestle and it turns into a fight you’re like we live like that. What. Why am I always up with confusion. Like I’m confused. What do you think. We live like that. So you don’t get into a are told you not to rustle I told you not to fire you don’t get even more confused.

Because we live with respect as parents and siblings.

We’ve got to really empower and support one another because they don’t want to hear or feel really supported and really empowered by their own family.

Yes. And now you’re going to go home and empower them even more.

Now it’s interesting because I interacted with somebody recently and they were like oh it’s also Pollyannish I was like no it’s not it’s all so fundamental there’s nothing Pollyannish about you know believing in somebody supporting somebody loving yourself loving them.

It is just basically fundamental.

I’m on your side I’m on yours. I love that sentence. I’m on your side.

You know I get into an argument you know they’re little with my husband they’re over little things but we both look at each other we say you know what I’m on your side you know easy it is to work through a conflict. When I’m on your side. I want it to be good for you as much as I want it to be good for me.

Makes life so much easier. OK so a lot of people will tell me and me included who me included you know we see a lot of things and sometimes we don’t do them.

Right. So we really do it’s so simple we really do have to show them and not tell them. And somebody might come in and say you know what I always tell my daughter to clean up her room but she just won’t do it. I wouldn’t know a little bit about how you keep your room how you keep your house how clearly you expect her to clean her room if you really expect a child to clean.

If you really expect it if you don’t like make an agreement like mom my mom and I finally did.

If you really expect it they’re going to do it because who’s at the top of the hierarchy. You are. You. Are.

You are the very top you are in charge. It’s your family. You define it. So by 12 this is very interesting to me to know who that knows the most about you guys and about me.

Art children there’s so little they know so much about you. If you’ve got a question about how you live and how you function you know ask your eight year old. They’ll tell you the whole truth. You know it’s even so so so funny. So they’ll tell everyone else too. All those teachers everyone at school a lot more about you than you think.

They tell the whole truth.

So it’s just so interesting that 12 months of age your children are skilled observers. They watch how you treat the bagel man. They watch how you interact with your housekeeper they watch how you interact with your husband. Don’t think they aren’t watching. So if you’re talking one way and living another.

You’re not fooling them.

One of them they know your philosophies they know your prejudices. One of my very favorite tools. I love social skills it’s like I just love social skills. I ran social skills group for kids for years and I really I think that when I was younger quite frankly I wasn’t very socially skilled nobody really taught me how to enter a conversation how to exit a conversation how to look somebody in the eye even though my parents were clearly doing their very best.

And I think they were doing a good loving job. It’s not like I was coached through. Well you know Sarah and I aren’t getting along today or Susie said if I’m friends with Sarah that you know I’m not allowed to be friends with her. And I just really I think I’m into coaching because I would have liked to have been coached even better. Somebody said well let’s role play that let’s try that. That sounds really uncomfortable. You know what kind of friend Suzy is that the kind of friend that you really want to have let’s go over with some of the her skills are and some of her traits are. You know what I mean. Like walking people through life. You can walk your friends through life. It’s very very helpful. Coach them work it out with them help them think about how they act. You think before you act. Have what’s called some observing ego. Reflect on when you come into a room how do you come into a room. I tend quite honestly to be pretty noisy.

And so they’re setting with them when I come in that aren’t going to be noisy like if I go into a pediatric E.R. to see the beautiful babies hope that I get to hold one.

I don’t walk in the normal you know rambunctious flamboyant noisy Lynn. No no no no no. You’ve got to kind of move people. Or you walk into something or you walk into a new cocktail party you don’t know who the people are.

You just kind of walk in quietly you think a little bit about who you are you look around you observe catch someone in the eyes say hello. But you gotta think before you act. Most of us most of us tend to be more reactive than we are mindful. I mean me included. Absolutely.

So one of my favorite little exercises is helping your family including your husband your friends observe what’s that other person look like when they come into a room. OK. So you go and you’re at the bagel store. Instead of saying to your children it’s really important when you go to the bagel store not to get upset when they don’t have your bagel because listen lots of times people aren’t going to have what you want like life is all about compromise. Life is all about really being excited about that poppyseed bagel and getting there at 6:30 in the morning to have no coffee and no bagels. OK. That’s life. So what you do is you go to the bagel store and you observe with your children how everyone else is responding politely you don’t to judge mentally but you say you know wow that poppyseed bagel is not ready and that man is really upset because he was very excited about having that bagel today. Right. And my daughter will tell you I’ll say so what does he need. And she’ll say he needs to find his patients.

All right so observe not judge mentally but observe educationally. Where is everybody else that you need to draw the lines. OK. This is the one area that I need to prove on the most we’ve identified recently as of yesterday the things that you know because this is what it’s like to come here with life coaches and go Yeah well what am I going to improve tomorrow.

This is the thing I’m going to improve the most personally. You’ve got to really draw the lines you’ve got to identify and declare what I do is I say the line is here and then you’re like oh you know I was really wishing that I were a pincheck today instead of green. I’m like OK. Well here’s the thing Jack it. You know what I mean. But you can give of yourself so much that you confuse the people with whom you interact you know. So you’ve got to really draw the lines you got to know where they are. You’ve got to live with them. Clearly you’ve got to tell your children and your spouse and your boss. I’m telling you this applies most in the workplace. People test the limits to what do they test the limits to like be a pain. So they test the limits to just annoy you. Yes they test the limits to know where the line is and you know what I tell people who don’t have clear lines. I say your family is living in a rubber band.

Stretch back stretch back stretch back do you know how confusing that is boing boing boing boing. You know I’m at SeaWorld there’s that little have you ever been to SeaWorld anyone in this world. There’s this there’s this toy over in the children’s area and you actually can go like that. And whenever I feel like I’ve committed to too much or I’m going too many places or I’m missing too many flights I tell my husband I feel like I’m in the toy except my head is going bowling. You know do you ever have that feeling. That’s because you didn’t draw the lines clearly enough everyone six to 72.

Six to a hundred and two. Everybody wants to know where the lines are.

5 This is what gets the most. When I do when I give this talk or when people hear about this this is what goes into the best most there are like Dr. Kenni says keep your children’s interests first put yourself second. That’s not what this says. This says keep your children’s interest first. Don’t rain on them. What I mean by that is that your interests matter what you like matters what you like matters it matters that you have interests you have passions the things that you like that really matters. All right. But what we often do is we take oh especially in marriage right. We take what we like and then we say to the spouse now you’re expected to like. What do you mean you don’t like calamari What do you mean you know like sushi what’s wrong with you.

No no no no no. That’s raining on your partner. You have likes and he has likes your children has interests and you have interests your kids may want to go to Harvard. That might be true. They may want to be great some great. COX Coxon. That could happen. But we love to do is find their authentic voice. You have to find what they like. Not just what you like. Now what are you. You’re their guide. You introduce them to calamari you introduce them to sushi you introduce them to sports you introduce them to chess piano. Art. But it’s going to be a very hard life for you and your children they’re going to rebel in. Ordinarily if you say this is the life you are to live. So what I’m saying is identify your child’s unique personality style interests and needs and keep those interests at the forefront as you help them define who they are so that they can go do what Live life with how you need to live life without your parenting experts what’s next.

Their flame. You’ve got to fill their flame. They’re going to grow and mature and learn and explore and dig and play and make a mess. I have a funny story. I had a family. Their conflict they came into my office and their conflict was because the mom allowed the children. To pour water in the hallway and slip and slide. Oh my gosh. All right. So in order to change that behavior because really it was a safety issue. Fundamentally this is what I say. Is this is what this is what I say you can make decisions about what you’re going to change what you’re not going to change and some things you need to look past and what you never look past is a safety issue. I mean that’s when I’ll come really down hard on the kids. So what I said to her was you know what your letting them slip and slide is a wonderful wonderful wonderful sign of your flexibility creative and freedom. You are so alive.

All right. But you don’t want to go to the E.R. in the middle of the night. It is expensive and you’ve got to wait all night.

So let’s find an appropriate place for them to slip and slide. We all laughed about it and it made a decision about where. Never saw them again.

So we want to be like 9 year olds we want to have that like freedom and passion and joy. We don’t want it knocked out of us. We want to keep the spirit that we had as children alive but we’re going to have to apply it appropriately. So when you found their flame all I ask you is be authentic be real. Choose something very specific about them don’t just say you’re such a nice girl you’re such a good boy. Say. I loved I loved how you offered your sister blank blank this morning I really needed to sleep and I was really tired. Thank you for giving me that space. Be very specific about the behavior while you Fan their flame because that makes sense.

OK we’re almost done.

You’ve got to get up off the couch. We all have to get up off the couch.

You’ve got to know where your children are. You’ve got to know who they’re with and you’ve got to know what they’re doing. And guess what they want you to know.

They’re going to tell you you’re intrusive. Your mom you’re such a priority to have kids telling me you’re such a pain mom you know. Well assaye back with clearly painful moms are really good moms. Clearly painful ones really care. If I just let you go off and don’t check out that family and don’t go see where you are and just let you know go after them. They want me to leave them in the pool while I go to the bathroom. Hello. Get out of the pool put your towel on. You’re coming with me. We’re all getting up off the couch.

Don’t be afraid to tell your children a good parent knows where their kids are. A good parent knows who their children are with.

You have that right and they need it.

Oh my golly I love this too. Parents will often say you know I tell Johnny to turn off the TV and go do his homework or this is so great. I told Tony to go turn off the TV and do his homework. And he never does. I say all right. Well the first thing I want to know is where are you.

Where are you when you say that when I’m in my bedroom. Are you like yelling from your bedroom Johnny. Turn off Seinfeld go up go do your homework. All right you know what the chances of that happening are zero.

You’ve got to get right up close. You guys say listen Seinfeld is great we all love it. It’s so funny. As soon as it’s over you’re doing your homework. And guess what. If I have to go push that button and turn off that TV they’ll be no more TV tonight if you get up and turn up on and off. You can watch TV as soon as you done with your Omark. You got it. Really

Teach them to be responsible teach them to do what they need to do in order to be really happy successful engaged passionate people. Too. Could it be.

You tell me what should it be. We got 10 little essential things which should be next.

Quality time.

I loved that quality. Face to Face time. Get down on the floor join their interest so give me an example of a quality time activity. Yeah just playing even me so don’t spend any time with your phone off right. All by yourself.

Something they want to do. How often do we say I want to go play tennis come drive along one can play tennis with me.

Yes the greatest joy is to actually go participate in with them and what they want to do. Now listen let’s see it skateboarding. All right OK now. We don’t want to break help. All right. You can still participate with them you can still say you know when you and your friends go skateboard today. So OK if dad comes along. You know even better. You say.

Teach me something while I’m there.

I’m going to come along. And you show me how to do something that I don’t know how to do. You know what I learned a cartwheel. I’m a chicken. I own a chicken. I was scared all my life to like the upside down. I don’t like the feeling. I was 40 when I learned how to do a cartwheel because my kids were like having a fight and I was like wow.

Distraction replacement distraction replacement I’ve said it a million times distraction and my kids they’re fun. Jim Nassa I said.

You know I walked in the middle of a big fight. Your mother does not know how to do a cartwheel. Anybody can teach me how to do.

Fun fun fun fun fun. I’ll remember it for ever. Olivia loves to tell people I told my mom how to do a cartwheel.

So just join them just jump right in there join them where they are. OK. Let’s to. I love your quality time.

Permission to sightseer the voice of reason.

Be a voice of reason. Now this is what happens. Youre a problem solver for your your family right. And they come along with the problem and what do you want to do. You always want to solve it don’t you. I mean if you come to me today and we chat and we do a Q&A and you have a problem I’m going to try to solve it. It’s. A bit of a mistake. What we really should do is help teach you how to solve it. Teach you how to fish. If I catch fish for you forever you’re never going to learn how to catch fish. Same thing with your children. Now what happens over and over again is we overreact. I get e-mails all the time I get like you know a lot of e-mails and a lot of times people are overreacting.

And I say Breathe be calm be centered. Be a voice of reason.

Help your child in a reasonable you know it’s not like you know Joe and you have a fight so you got to write Joe off. I mean you might have to write Joe off. You might have to. But. First you really should see is there place of reason in this what would be the reasonable man standard for this. Is there a middle ground. Try to find the middle ground first before you just say oh boom you know oh I’ve got a funny story. Oh my gosh. When my daughter was like 5 years old the school called me and said We just want to call and say that we love your daughter. I was like oh my God you know normally school cause you’re like scared it out there like that.

And I was like that’s a really really nice thing to say and they say she’s compliant and she helps the other children and there was a little boy he had a broken leg. They said the main reason we picked up the phone today was because when the child was there with a broken leg your daughter voluntarily missed recess in order to sit inside with him. And I thought wow what compassion. You know maybe all these really specific compliments are working.

So I go home that afternoon I see Olivia the school called today and they said they really love you. Your teacher was very proud of you that you stayed in with Jonah when his leg was hurt. And I just want to tell you that’s really compassionate. And she said nothing because compassion is a big word for five year old.

And I said so help me understand this. How can you behave really well at school but you don’t do anything Mommy says at home.

And do you know what she said. She said mommy if I misbehave at school they’ll kick me out.

But you’ll never kick me out of the family. That’s the way a 5 year old understands the world right.

But I just try to stay the voice of reason. OK.

This is really good for you too. You know we were talking about not you you know not to put you on the spot but when we’re talking about how do you take care of yourself. You’ve got to find your voice of reason. Cameraman standing over here laughing at me the whole time. I. Keep seeing this guy.

OK. All right. All right. So. Number one while we could try to figure this one out. Number one quality time CAS.

Remind yourself and then that you love them. Yeah. Yes. And remind yourself that this is not personal with a 3 year old. Nothing they do is personal. I just sort of wrote scripts that I love it’s one of my favorites. It’s not the terrible twos it’s the terrific twos because everything they do for that individuality is what they’re supposed to do. So good news is you’ve got a kid on developmental track that is good news.

OK go ahead.

Yes I agree. And your partner. Yeah. You’ve got to really set the boundary where we have a marriage.

We have a family to take care of and we have a marriage or a partnership to take care of. And I have myself to take care of two. Does anyone here take a vacation on their own ever. Yes. It’s great. You can I tell you a little.

Maybe I can give you a little tip that my husband taught me I love this. OK so he and I go away just for two days we don’t travel a longtime cause honestly I by the day three I’m like I missed I really miss the children. But we go away for two nights. This is cool. He gets two nights at the Marriott. We go away we have a great time. But guess what. I don’t know that the second night he’s going to leave me alone. All right. Does that sound loving you from the way I’m horrified and horrified. It’s so loving when you’re a parent how long you don’t go to the bathroom alone anymore. You used to have privacy. No no no there’s no privacy. Everyone else’s needs are now your needs. So he makes this date with me. He says Bring all your things.

We stay overnight the next morning I get up there’s a paper a tab. My favorite junior mints and a note that says I love you I’ll be with the children today. It was like. I’m gonna say close to the happiest day of my life. Seven children a day by yourself. So I’m glad you said that we have to take care of ourselves and we don’t always you don’t always you know sometimes we’re tired Merle Haggard but you know what. You can forgive yourself you can catch up you can do it again. All right. So number one I think now and the thing is that this is not like they’re not all in a specific order really except this is really really important. It’s the T-word.

I mean yes it’s trust. It is so important. They have to be able to trust your word.

Now if you’re a regular person you’re going to make a promise and not be able to fill it sometimes you get in traffic. Your boss says you got to stay late. Your friends you know got cancer you’re going to go to the hospital. We’re not perfect but you’ve got to keep at the front of mind keeping your word OK. Now this is the thing. Trust is founded on reliability and honesty which was some bs word in the beginning today. All right. Now what is the definition of reliability.

Go ahead. They can count on you I love that. What does reliability is consistency. Go ahead consistency. Very good now.

Very good reliability is consistency over time again and again and again and again. The nice thing is remember children are resilient. So you can make a mistake you can not keep your word maybe once but don’t do it twice because you’ll be setting.

A pattern where they won’t trust you. So when you say I’m going to rub your back tonight or I’m going to drive you to soccer or don’t worry we’re going to take that ski trip to not be lazy and say yes to things because you don’t want the conflict. All right. You know they say we want to go to Hawaii you’re thinking of the money to go to Hawaii. We’re going to Hawaii. We’ll go we’ll have you know we’ll go to the five and dime store will do a little pretend luau but don’t tell them you’re going to do things so you’re not going to do. Face the conflict early on. Get creative and then keep your word. Be sure that when you say something you do it. They’re going to watch you follow through. And when you break their trust it’s it’s the hardest thing to get back. Trust is very hard to recoup. Parenting essentials is about a family it’s about a circle it’s about me working with you and you working with me so that we all parent effectively doing the best that we can. Very nice. Stand up and give yourself an applause. You guys are great Tara.

What if you get to take the knowledge that you’ve learned take everything that the families have taught you and then use it to help other people.

I just cannot think of a better life.