Note from Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family: This week we are honored to have a phenomenal guest post by John G. Miller and Karen G. Miller, co-authors of Raising Accountable Kids: How to Be an Outstanding Parent Using the Power of Personal Accountability. John — author of the million-seller QBQ! The Question Behind the Question — and Karen —a former Registered Nurse — are parents to seven children and have seven grandkids, as well. They make their home in Denver, Colorado. You can learn more about the Millers and their incredible work at QBQ.com.
Years ago there was a show on television called Charles in Charge. Many of today’s moms and dads saw it as kids, watched it in reruns, or at least have heard of it. Sadly, there are parents now that could title their family Child in Charge. In some settings, the child is so out of control that the child is actually in control—of mom and dad!
The Parenting Problem
Exasperated, a young mom at the hair salon exclaimed, “My 4-year-old is driving me nuts! When he goes to Target with me, he screams and whines every single time till I buy him something!”
Karen, the slow-to-give-unsolicited-advice experienced mom and grandma, was nearby. She politely said … nothing.
Then the Millennial Mom’s frustration poured out: “I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to stop it!”
Karen, humble to the core but also co-author of our parenting book, decided to speak up. With a smile, she spoke directly and simply two words of seasoned wisdom:
Sometimes, we need to JUST STOP doing whatever we’re doing that makes no sense—and allowing our child to be the boss of us makes no sense.
The Power of Pendulums
If you watch “House Hunters,” you’ve witnessed buyer after buyer state, “We want an open floor plan” and “We must be able to see the children from the kitchen!” In the end, they buy a box with no walls. It’s a trend.
Recently, though, we were stunned when a young couple told the real estate agent, “We want walls. We want rooms. We’d like less noise and more privacy.”
Karen and I looked at each other, both thinking …
Huh, buyers are pushing back. They don’t all want wall-less, rectangular shells for home. The pendulum swings!
Here’s a truth about pendulums: They always swing.
The Parenting Pendulum
My dad, born in 1921 and raised by people born in the 1890s, believed mightily in this 19th-century value: Children should be seen and not heard.
Karen and I, as late-born Boomers, never fully embraced that tenet. There’s a story in Raising Accountable Kids about our son Michael, when he was 10, interrupting me as I told a story to his grandpa.
Mike interjected, “Dad, no, it was a Saturday morning when … .”
As I started to say, “You’re right, Mike, it was over the weekend. Thanks for … ” the man born when Warren G. Harding was POTUS stepped in and admonished my boy.
Can you say “awkward moment”?
So Karen and I didn’t quite accept the “seen and not heard” principle my dad was taught by his parents. We were more lenient. The pendulum was swinging.
Now, though, some moms and dads have gone so far with the “leniency” pendulum that their child is in charge.
Many parents seem to truly view concepts and words such as “correcting,” “disciplining,” and “shaping” as harsh and mean.
Some have gone so far in an attempt to bring “peace” to their parenting, they fear by being parental—strong, loving, and in charge—they will destroy the “peace” in their home. Actually, allowing a child to run the household destroys the peace.
Never forget this truth: Any strength taken to an extreme becomes a weakness—even when the goal is achieving peace in the home.
We believe it’s time to pull the parenting pendulum back.
A Parenting Metaphor
To all young moms and dads, we pose this question:
Have you ever planted a young tree, a sapling? If so, did you sink stakes firmly into the ground and attach guide wires to the baby tree’s little trunk so it would grow straight and true?
That’s what strong, accountable parenting is all about. It’s our job to grow our kids “straight and true.”
Let’s be the leaders in their lives who are willing to do the tough stuff. If you’ve allowed your child to become your boss and he/she now “runs the show”—today is the day to … just stop.
Powerful Parenting Principle
Remember this: God did not create children to be the “boss of you.” They don’t want to be in charge, nor should they be. That’s your job! So, parents, take back your homes—and your lives—by accepting the mantle of leadership given to you. When you do that, everything will be better!