ISSUE 81 ISSN 1712-468

The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.

King Edward VIII 

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This Week´s Inspiration

One Job You Never Have to Apply For!  

Parent/ing: one who brings forth offspring; one who brings up and cares for another; the raising of children.

Dysfunctional: of a trait or condition failing to serve an adjustive purpose; "dysfunctional behavior".

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Side of Parents 
and Their Lack of Parenting Skills

Be prepared. The content of this article is intense, opinionated, and not for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk.

Is it just me or is it because I’m a parent? I’m noticing the pathetic abilities of many adults to be competent parents. For those who think I have no business judging the way another person chooses to raise his children, I believe their position is dead wrong. 

If you are not a parent, this ezine might not apply directly to you—but everyone either has a parent or knows a parent.

There are no unruly kids, just unruly parents.

A dog trainer once told me that there are no misbehaving dogs, only misbehaving owners. The same holds true for parents and their kids. Children’s behaviors, especially in kids under age 10, are caused, created, or permitted by their parents. 

I am married to a teacher. She oversees a children’s program for 100 kids. I sit on the local School Board. My wife and I are responsible for responding to children’s behaviors on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for us to witness little kids who are already completely out of control—angry, violent, and unmanageable. The school and other children’s programs are expected to control these kids who are disruptive to the rest of the group.

Screwed-up parents pass their problem behaviors on to their offspring. Well-meaning but unprepared parents raise dysfunctional kids. Yes, there are exceptions where kids get off-track and the parents did the best they could, but that is the minority.

Society is already paying the price for poor parenting in teenagers and young adult behaviors. Just last month, three local teenagers, ages 13, 14, and 15, conducted seven bank robberies using public transportation to commit their crimes. Yes 13!

But beyond the obvious unruly/criminal behaviors are even more insidious outcomes, attitudes, and lifestyle choices that perpetuate these destructive behaviors into the next generation.

Look at the lifestyle choices parents permit. Some parents are ill equipped or simply don’t take their parenting responsibility seriously. Children’s lives are being destroyed by their parents.

The Learning Channel has launched a new program—Honey, We’re Killing the Kids. In a recent episode, parents with three children, ages 5, 8, and 10, were feeding their children only sugar and pre-packaged foods. Each child watched an average of 40 hours of TV each week, had no scheduled bedtime, and got little or no exercise. Based on the doctor’s professional review, these parents had already reduced their children’s life expectancy by 10 years. Now that’s criminal!

A recent management report published by Profit X commented on Baby Boomers’ kids who are entering the workforce. They are seen as cocky, more demanding, and more confident than previous generations. That might seem positive until it’s revealed they are inflexible and self-centered to the point of being poor team players. They also have know-it-all confrontational opinions and an attitude of entitlement. 

Upon deeper research, it was discovered that the confidence or self-worth of those kids was actually low—not high. Their outer confidence was based on what they had—their material stuff—and their achievements, not the values they held as people. These are our future business and community leaders?!

Another issue today is that parents are spoiling their kids with whatever the kids want. The authors of Millionaire Next Door documented that kids who had it handed to them by their parents simply did not appreciate the value of money and wealth. Once the parents were gone, the kids would blow the entire family fortune. 

Please don’t misunderstand my message. Many parents do a great job. As a result, their children and society benefit. During an episode of The Apprentice, two of Donald Trump’s kids shared that with the exception of $300 a month from Dad, they financed their own way through college. They acknowledged that was critical to their establishing their own appreciation of success and wealth.

One final comment before I move to what we can do about this epidemic. 

I have no idea where many of the liberal ideas of parenting came from or why they are still being perpetuated, but I know they aren’t working. Treating a 4-year-old as if he had the maturity and thinking skills of an adult and suggesting that discipline should be avoided is totally absurd.

In the Action Steps below, I provide you with principles and parenting guidelines. 

As a parent, I sometimes mess up—we all do. The key is to set acceptable standards for the most precious and vulnerable group in our society—our children. 

Parenting is one of the most important roles and responsibilities we can ever have. Parenting is not easy but, as adults, we made that choice so suck it up and take responsibility. You are the only one who can be a true parent to your child.

It doesn’t matter if you have no children or if they have grown up and moved out. You still have a circle of influence. You can make a difference. 

Programs like Honey, We’re Killing the Kids; Nanny 911; and Super Nanny demonstrate that parents have the ability to fix problems with their kids that the parents either permitted or created. You can fix your problems, too. And other parents you know can do the same with their issues.

Your confidence, experience, and skills can highly influence your ability to parent. The earlier your child (or others’ children) can understand their gifts and talents, the more true confidence they can experience.

I recommend four CRG resources: Personal Style Indicator, Why Aren’t You More Like Me?, Values Preference Indicator, and Learning Style Indicator—resources that will point you toward your strengths and help you as an individual and as a parent. These resources also can be used with kids 15 years of age or younger if you complete the assessment or read it with them.

One of the greatest gifts you can give the world and yourself is a child who is emotionally, mentally, physically, interpersonally, spiritually, and intellectually developed and grounded.

It is a wise father that knows his own child. 

William Shakespeare

This Week´s Action Steps

Parenting Getting It Together

  1. We don’t have child-behavior problems, we have parenting problems.
  2. If you have children, are you completely happy with their behavior, health, and attitudes? If your answer is Yes, why? If your answer is No, why?
  3. Do you take full responsibility for the role of being a parent? If not, why?
  4. If you are the parent of children, even older teenagers, who’s in charge off what they do, eat, and think?
  5. Don’t buy into the thinking that kids know what they want and need at younger ages. That idea is ridiculous. If I am 5 years old and have a choice between candy and healthy fruit, what do you think I will select?
  6. Stop killing your kids with unhealthy foods. Limit or eliminate all sugar-based foods, pop/soda, and candy. Increase healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables and watch their behaviors improve!
  7. Limit TV/computer time to no more than 2 hours a day. With the odd exception, don’t use the TV as your babysitter.
  8. No TVs or computers in kids’ bedrooms.
  9. Set up creative activities, games, and crafts for your kids. They need to think more.
  10. Arrange family-based exercises such as walking, biking, hiking, team sports activities, etc. Children under 15 should have an hour of physical activity each day.
  11. Set bedtimes and routines.
  12. Don’t let friends and families undermine your plans. Set standards that your kids will follow when they are out visiting. Well-meaning grandparents can be guilty of overindulging kids.
  13. There is no replacement for having focused, uninterrupted quality time with your kids.
  14. Move away from the societal norm of providing treats like ice cream or other unhealthy foods as rewards. 
  15. If you don’t have children, you know people who do. And if there are parenting issues, be a real friend and challenge the parents about them. If you don’t, you are committing the sin of omission.
  16. Few privileges equal being a parent. 
  17. Finally, parenting, given the right skills and strategies, is no greater a challenge than anything else in life.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.

Ken Keis

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