An Educator at Our Kids’ School Told Us We Were Parenting Wrong

3 Things to Help You Parent Like a Champion

We’ve been homeschooling one or all of our kids for over eight years. Our boys first and only school experience was via homeschooling. That is until last Fall when we made a big shift and sent our boys to “regular” school.

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It was at one of their school’s periodic Saturday School Seminars that an educator shared with us the right, or best, way to parent our boys, and what we were doing was not it.

Was I messing up my kids?

Okay, let me confess, she didn’t look me or my wife in the eyes and say, “You are parenting your kids wrong!” But she might as well have done so because the things she shared with us and the other parents were just the opposite of our parenting method.

So, as she taught us these parenting techniques and shared with us how it is lived out at school, I felt like what I was doing was just messing up our kids!

Are you messing up your kids?

Have you ever felt like that? That no matter how good your intentions are, sometimes you just feel like you are doing your kids more harm than good.

That’s exactly how I felt.

While I felt my techniques weren’t always the best, I did walk away encouraged and equipped to make some changes in my parenting that would have a great impact on our kids. First, I had to make some changes to my habits that would, in turn, influence our kids’ habits. Next, I’d have to be disciplined and patient enough to stick with it until I noticed some results.

Here are the 3 things I learned to help me (and you) parent like a champion.

Stop the threats (or warnings)

How many times do you warn your kids? You ask them to do something and they don’t do it. Then you say something like, “If you don’t….then…” Stop it. Say it once, give no warnings, and expect action.

“Warnings are the death of authority. Warnings tell the child that you did not expect them to obey.”

You want your kids to take action. Warnings get in the way of action. Giving a warning is the opposite of taking action. It is threatening that you might take action, which doesn’t really help. It also conditions them to believe a certain amount of disobedience is tolerated and even expected.

Instead of a threat or warning, think about what you want your kids to do, get their attention, express it to them, and be prepared to take action if they do not.

Tell them what to do (not what not to do)

This is my struggle. More often than not, I tell my kids what not to do or what to avoid, rather than telling them what to do or what to pursue.

And you know when you tell a child to not do or touch something…what becomes the one thing on their mind at that point? Yes, doing or touching whatever it is you told them not to.

“Telling your child what to do tells them you believe they are capable.”

Telling them what to do also helps you better understand the reason in the event they don’t do what you’ve told them. Either they don’t understand, and you need to better inform them. Or they aren’t skilled enough and need your help and support. Or they are rebelling (yes, your kids do rebel), and you need to give them a consequence for their disobedience.

Don’t let them off the hook (try it again)

So, what normally happens when your child doesn’t do something you expect them to do? Do you yell at them? Take something from them (a privilege or physical item)? Do you spank them?

One very effective and first level consequence is to have them do it again until they get it right. I can remember in high school basketball and baseball practices, especially baseball, having to do something over and over again until we got it right.

“Having your kids try again ends in success and trains them to do things the right way.”

First, we never wanted to mess that up again, and second, we got so much repetition doing it over again that we were almost assured of doing it right the next time we were faced with that situation. The same concept applies to your parenting.

Your parenting education never stops

As a homeschooling family, one of our core principles is to always be learning — to become lifelong learners. Class was definitely in session during that “Parent Like a Champion” Saturday School Seminar.

While we expected our kids to learn the basics of their elementary education at their school, we (my wife and I) learned some valuable parenting techniques from some educators as well. Note: The Parent Like a Champion Seminar was based on techniques from the book, Teach Like a Champion.

I encourage you to practice these techniques with your kids and see if you can parent like a champion!

Question: What is the most effective parenting technique you’ve learned recently? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

photo credit: pennstatenews African American family via photopin (license)

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great article! I can share my own, personal technique. It is sharing my (parent) experience with similar situations when I was a kid with my children. E.g. riding a bike exercise starting that I was trying many times, and failed but finally suceed. It really works – kids love to hear about their parents as they were kids! Try next time!
    Cheer
    Jason

    • I like it, Jason. Thanks for sharing!

      • I would put it under positive modelling category. It is something more than just real life problem solving but teaching overall attitude as well. Thanks Jackie for your great blog – a lot of inspiration!

  • I bet you can make post on each of these! Telling kids what to do is something that makes so much sense and I already know that, but I’m not the best at putting it into practice. It’s always good to get a reminder. To learn that as a habit I’m making it my focus for this week with my kids… maybe for the month!

    • Yes, indeed, Pat. There is so much to be said each of them. I’d love to hear how it goes for you after intentionally focusing on it for a week…or month. 🙂

      • Here is a midweek update. My son just got glasses. I wear glasses (and contacts as in the photo here), so my wife wanted me to teach my son how to care for his glasses. I kept having to remind myself to say things like, “This is how you set them down.” Instead of saying, “Never lay them down like this.” This applied to other things like, how to take them off, how to put them away, etc.

  • Ron Ryan

    Great article. I love your transparency! I’m a grandparent now but I remember making those mistakes raising our three children. There was no one teaching a parenting class at school——or anywhere else. I now realize, parenting is about the parents, not the kids.

    You guys are training future adults, not future kids. God bless you. I have a feeling you are doing a great job.

    • Thanks, Ron! What you said here…”I now realize, parenting is about the parents, not the kids” is powerful! Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Leto McELveen

    Good read Jackie, my children are 3 and 1 and my wife and I are heavily thinking about home-schooling. It’s good to read from someone who is a little further along the journey than I am.

    • Thanks, Leto. I fully believe in homeschooling, and think it can be an amazing adventure and blessing to your family. We still consider ourselves a homeschooilng family although our boys go to regular school now (our daughter still is still homeschooled). Do a search for “homeschooling” on my blog and you’ll find some great posts I’ve written about our homeschooling experience.

  • Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jeremy Poland

    Good read. Got me thinking!

  • Gneiss Life

    These are very good examples behavioral changes needed by the parents not children. At times it can be quite tough to un-wire old habits, especially if the habits were ingrained in your own child hood. Thank you for sharing these tips, I will definitely put them to work.

    Peace and Love