Homes 204: Parenting

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Homes 203: Preparing For Children

Be the person you want your children to be

Your success in life determine your parenting success

Great parents lead through example

  • Unconditionally loves and respects others
  • Comforts, encourages, and nurtures
  • Genuinely bonds with family and friends
  • Realistically optimistic and hopeful
  • Consistent leader through setting goals, solving problems, and inspiring others
  • Appropriately touches and hugs
  • Compassionately sees mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow
  • Encourages others to own their limitations shamelessly
  • Balances work and play
  • Values learning and openness to new ideas and changes
  • Encourages appropriate relationships and trusting others
  • Encourages expressing and discovering feelings as need “thermometers”

Children learn more from the rules you live by and how much you honor them than the words you say

  • They will inherit your defects of character, hypocrisies, social norms, and lifestyle decisions
  • They will learn boundaries from you or will create their own if yours don’t make sense to them

Great parenting has some preparation but is mostly from adaptability

Your flexibility comes through both emotional wellness and awareness of yourself and the situation

Your child’s personality determines your role

  • Some children are mostly non-social, while others feel anxiety over being alone
  • Some children are hyperactive, while others are quiet
  • Some children are expressive, and others have subdued expressions
  • Some children are intense, while others are devious

Slowly change your parenting style as your child grows

A. Nurture and care for your infant

B. Establish your young child in strong values, morality, and healthy lifestyle decisions

  • Awareness of emotions, thoughts, hunches, intuitions, and current needs
    • Healthy, safe, and satisfying ways to respond to challenges through prioritizing needs
    • Form a realistic identity from self compared to others
  • Finding ways to be kind to others
    • Inspire them to encourage other children
    • Give opportunities to show gratitude to others
  • Teach the seven most essential life skills
    1. To focus and self-control themselves
    2. To view others’ perspectives and understand alternate points of view
    3. To communicate what they feel and think in a meaningful and expressive way
    4. To creatively make connections between related and sometimes seemingly unrelated things
    5. To think critically and neutrally before making decisions or coming to a belief
    6. To take on reasonable and meaningful challenges that help them grow
    7. To personally create self-directed and engaged learning

C. Keep inspiring your grade-school child to learn and grow independently

  • Effectively communicating
  • Taking personal, authentic responsibility for results of decisions and actions
    • Avoids denial, blaming, confusion, pretending something doesn’t exist or directing adverse feelings to something else
    • Feels a healthy amount of personal shame from responsibility that accepts our limitations and doesn’t dwell on them
  • Thinking critically, objectively, clearly, and independently to make appropriate decisions
  • Successfully balancing life between unhealthy extremes
    • Short-term pleasure versus long-term satisfaction
    • Pleasing others versus self
    • Attitudes of pessimism, idealism, and realistic optimism
    • Work, play, and rest
    • Spirituality versus the physical state of things
    • Appearance and feelings versus reality and substance
  • How to manage money by wisely earning, saving, and spending
  • Home skills like cooking, hygiene, housekeeping, and laws
  • Accepting and re-learning attitudes, beliefs, habits, and ideas which no longer fit a new understanding of reality and goals
    • Finding purpose which extends beyond the foreseeable future
  • Giving others responsibility for their own choices, actions, feelings, health, and wellness
  • Making responsible and healthy decisions about dating, relationships, and children
  • Comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity to ask eternal questions

D. Your child will eventually become smarter or more educated than you in some capacity

  • Start giving them permission to fail and suffer the full consequences of their decisions
  • By the time a child is twelve, they know everything you’ve taught them, even if they don’t remember how you conveyed the lessons

E. By the time they’re thirteen years old, they are biologically an adult and will demand you treat them like one

  • They will fight you as hard as you try to control them, which your intuition and instinct will inspire you toward
  • Change your role from managing their lives to supporting their good decisions

F. Upon your child reaching adulthood, you should give full permission for your child to explore the world

  • Accept who they are, not what you wish them to be
  • If your point of view has truth to it, they will eventually come back to believing it

Raising children doesn’t have to be stressful

Avoid learning from other stressed parents

Raising children doesn’t have any universal standard

Take every day one at a time

Clarify and discuss what you’ll do in various scenarios to feel prepared

Make a list of things you want to teach your child across their childhood

  • Make a list that reflects your life’s purpose
  • Only write up to ten items

Learn cautiously from your extended family and friends

  • If your parents raised you well, learn what worked
  • If your childhood home was dysfunctional observe what both your parents and grandparents did, then avoid imitating it or fleeing to the opposite extreme
  • Older friends and extended family can often provide invaluable input

Never let your parenting overshadow your marriage

Never allow a child to become the center of your world

  • Children will grow to expect you will consistently provide their happiness, which will eventually become impossible
  • If you give children everything you have, they will assume they can have everything of yours later
  • Don’t try to be your young child’s friend since they need a role model far more than a friend until much later
  • Your child will someday be outside your control, so take advantage of your time with them now

Your marriage is more important than your children because it determines the quality of your parenting

  • Children are intimately aware of their parents’ relationship, sometimes more than the parents

Keep inspiring romantic passion

  • Have a routine babysitter to make a date night
  • Make a date night co-op with several other sets of parents
  • Kiss your spouse in public and in front of the children
  • Continue affirming your love and gratitude for your spouse and children

A child needs both a mother and father

Single parenting is possible, but one person can’t replace the psychological need for both a father and mother

Children need a present and involved father

  • Many major mental disorders and personal issues come through inadequate or missing father figures
  • Absentee fathers increase the chances of suicide, rape, running away from home, dropping out of school, and institutionalization

Children need a loving mother to teach self-love and compassion for others

  • Uncaring mothers inspire children to be critical and mean-spirited towards themselves and others

The traditional family model has worked for thousands of years

  • The father gets a career and guides the household while he provides for it financially
  • The mother works to upkeep the home and manages smaller details of the house and children
  • The more analytical spouse manages the finances
  • The children are subordinate to the parents and carry miniature roles that imitate the same-sex parent until they move out

Be careful how much you listen to others

  • Every other parent has their own opinions
  • Duly note the good ones, but be careful about unsolicited advice from others

Observe and meet a child’s needs

Children need everything a parent needs, but usually more because they’re growing

Children need more sleep than adults

  • 0-3 months need 14-17 hours throughout the day
  • 4-11 months need 12-15 hours throughout the day
  • 1-2 years need 11-14 hours a night
  • 3-5 years need 10-13 hours a night
  • 6-13 years need 9-11 hours a night
  • 14-17 years need 8-10 hours a night

For their size, children need more food

  • Children’s taste buds are more inclined to sweet foods, so don’t trust their preferences
  • Give more protein to help them grow faster
  • If they start getting obese, replace their diet with healthier alternatives
  • If they’re used to junk food, you may have challenges teaching them to eat well

Children need friends to play and have fun with

Children need outside and physical time to play and explore

Children need to feel security from a stable and loving home

Once they’ve reached grade school, children often need a greater physical purpose

  • Organized and team sports
  • Community groups like church events or the Boy Scouts
  • Special interest groups like karate or band
  • Shared family tasks

Most children need plenty of emotional support from their parents beyond giving care

Children need approachable and supportive parents

Healthy relationships come from proper boundaries, time together and affection

You aren’t raising children, you’re raising people, and parents often form bad habits the children outgrow

Children will only feel valued or loved to the amount that you acknowledge and connect with their feelings

  1. Help them verbally label their emotions to empower them to understand and process them
  2. Validate and openly accept all their feelings
  3. Communicate appropriate behavior for their feelings based on your values
  4. Share your limits for when they misbehave

You can only love your child from an authentic desire

When you hug a child, never let go first

Think of the scope of what the child sees, not how you feel about it

The way you talk to children becomes their inner voice

The situation will call for when you should speak harshly or softly

  • Yelling, however, is often a sign you’re out of control and parenting poorly

Never speak condescendingly or rudely, since their ideas matter to them even if they’re silly

You should be concerned about your child’s safety, but you don’t have to feel stress from it

Always stay prepared for emergencies

  • Freeze ketchup packets as small ice packs for their bruises

Put a pool noodle under a fitted sheet to keep them from falling out of bed

Look up the movie at IMDb if you’re worried about sex scenes or violence in movies

Any time you go somewhere with them, take photos of them to show an authority if they get lost

If they are trick-or-treating and have dietary limitations with specific candies, send out letters with approved candy to every house they’ll visit

Don’t post pictures on the Internet of your children which could aide predators’ abducting them

  • Don’t post locations in photos
  • Don’t post pictures of their hobbies or interests
  • Don’t show any images that indicate official information like name or birthday
  • Don’t post photos next to a car, especially showing a license plate
  • Don’t show them half-dressed, even if you find it cute
  • Don’t show something that may embarrass them someday
  • Don’t post photos of them with their friends, since it can put the whole group at risk

Don’t ignore your suspicions about abuse from seeing a change in their behavior

A few moments with the wrong person could permanently traumatize your child

If you suspect abuse, approach your child carefully and directly

  1. Listen to what they have to say
    • Don’t ask leading questions or have any prejudices
  2. Stay calm
    • You may have difficulty hearing what they’re telling you, but they have a harder time saying it
    • As much as possible, be the stronger person in the situation
  3. Assure the child that it wasn’t their fault
  4. Believe them and confirm whatever feelings they have
  5. Let them know you’re glad they told you
  6. Assure the child your relationship with him or her doesn’t change
    • An abused child may fear others won’t believe him or her or you’ll think differently about them from the incident
  7. Be honest with the child and inform him or her what you intend to do
    • Informing them is the only way they won’t feel betrayed through finding out you told someone else later
    • Let them know that you’ll try to find help for them from people who know how to handle the situation better

Foster an environment that inspires them to grow

Children are easily distracted and misbehave, and your job is to motivate them to focus

  • Children pay attention to the level they have a clear motivation to pay attention
  • Give clear reasons why they want to pay close attention to you

Many learning disorders come from antisocial behavior

Give them more chances to spend time with people to develop their social skills

Start more meaningful conversations after school with more than”how was your day?”

  • What did you eat for lunch?
  • Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
  • What games did you play at recess?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  • Did anyone do anything extremely kind for you?
  • What was the most helpful thing you did for someone else?
  • Who made you smile today?
  • Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
  • What new fact did you learn today?
  • Who brought the best food in their lunch today?
  • What challenged you today?
  • If the school was a ride at the fair, what ride would it be? Why?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your day?
  • If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day, who would you want?
  • What would you teach the class if you had to be the teacher tomorrow?
  • Did anyone irritate you today?
  • Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?
  • What is your teacher’s most important rule?
  • What’s the most popular thing to do at recess?
  • Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? Why?
  • Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
  • If aliens took away 3 of the students, who would you want them to take? Why?
  • What’s one thing today you did that was helpful?
  • When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
  • What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  • What’s one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
  • Which person in your class is the complete opposite of you?
  • What area of your school is the most fun?
  • What playground skill do you want to master this year?
  • Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?

Social skills develop through experience, not instinct

Give children meaningful outlets for their creativity

Give fun and challenging projects which help the family

  • Give problems to solve by themselves

Teach the right philosophy with your actions and lessons

  • Values are more important than rules (mindless rules stifle creativity)
  • Character is more important than behavior (fosters permanent change)
  • Teach stories which show others’ perspectives and ask how they’d choose things

Place them in the correct environments for learning

  • Have your children play outside frequently
  • Consistently take children to new places
  • Limit a child’s time with media
    • Media can be so stimulating that children become incapable of learning through other methods
    • Media includes most television, movies, video games, and many books

Give children the right supplies to explore their creativity

  • Building blocks like LEGOs, K’Nex or an erector set
  • Art supplies they can make messes with, then teach them to clean them up
    • Mix one part salt, one part flour, one part water, and food coloring to make paint for them
    • Make play clay by mixing a cup of cornstarch, two cups of baking soda, and 1 1/4 cup water
    • Melt old crayons together and pour them into empty glue stick cylinders to make twist-up crayons
    • Melt old or broken crayons in the microwave, pour them into greased cupcake tins, and freeze to make new crayons

Never stop educating your child

  • Educate your child on how the world works
  • Teach the reasoning for your decisions and actions
  • Get a shower curtain with a map of the world or the periodic table
  • Give your children more responsibilities to try new things or learn

Get involved in a child’s hobbies

Write together

  • Make stories with them together
  • Make mazes or puzzles for each other to solve
  • Make a comic book
  • Make a shared scrapbook
  • Make a family book that describes each family member
  • Write letters to family members or friends

Make art together

  • Paint or draw
    • Finger paint
    • Paint each other’s faces
  • Make clothing
    • Decorate a pair of jeans
    • Paint t-shirts together
  • Paint or decorate a room
  • Make decorations with them
    • Decorate the house with items you made
    • Make Jack-o-Lanterns and costumes near Halloween
    • Near Christmas make gingerbread houses, paper snowflakes or Christmas ornaments with them

Perform with them

  • Film a movie
  • Sing songs with them
  • Tell them stories
  • Do shadow puppets
  • Create a play to perform for other family members
  • Learn magic tricks
  • Learn to juggle
  • Play music

Explore science and nature with them

  • Search your backyard and look for insects
  • Garden together
  • Go on a hike
  • Build a rocket from a kit
  • Perform a science experiment
  • Make a bird feeder
    • Coat a pine cone they find in peanut butter and roll in birdseed, then hang outside a window
  • Go to the beach and build sandcastles
  • Go snorkeling
  • Go to a creek and dam it up with rocks
  • Go to a river and kayak or ride a boat
  • Take pictures of nature
  • Have a picnic
  • Sleep outside in a tent and make S’Mores

Explore the local community with your children

  • Go people-watching and create stories about people walking by
  • Take a walk and explore the neighborhood
  • Visit a park, playground or public pool
  • Go to a museum, zoo or library
  • Take guided tours
  • Go bowling
  • Volunteer or donate items to charity
  • Shop at thrift stores
  • Visit family and friends
  • Find free and affordable events at local venues
  • Look for free and discounted movies

Make mealtime more fun

Make food with them

  • Make popsicles
  • Make milkshakes
  • Make hot cocoa
  • Bake a cake or cookies
  • Make mini pizzas
  • Barbecue

Decorate their food

  • Make bear faces for breakfast with banana slices and raisins on peanut butter bread
  • Make shrunken heads by boiling peeled apples with faces cut into them
  • Cut a message into a banana and put it in their lunch box, the cut part will oxidize to show the message
  • Make sandwiches by cutting faces into them
  • Put food coloring in pancake batter to make colored designs with them
  • Pour pancakes into cookie cutters to make fun shapes
  • Inject food coloring into lemons to flavor drinks or change colors of other foods

Turn their bread heels inward to make sandwiches that don’t look like crust slices

Play with your children

Compete with them

  • Play board games, card games or video games with them
    • Teach them chess
    • Play a trivia game
    • Create trivia questions about each other
    • Create and play games
  • Play Twister with shaving cream, food dye, and disposable clothes to make it messy and fun
    • Alternately, pour paint on each color of the Twister board
  • Have a bad joke competition
  • Play-fight with them
    • Have a pillow fight, thumb wrestle, or tickle fight
    • Have water balloon fights where you hide with a water gun and they have to hit you with balloons
      • Substitute water balloons with sponge balls
    • Have a foam dart gun fight
  • Play sports with them like organized sports or wrestling
    • Invent rules for a sport
  • Take turns speaking tongue twisters
  • Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest

Blow bubbles

Make a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt with clues around the house or yard

Play dress-up, house or school with them

Fill up a children’s pool with water balloons

Get a slip ‘n’ slide, pour various paints on it and wear white clothes

  • Add balloons all over the slide

Find ways to let the child play while you rest

Pull their swing with a long rope or use a leaf blower

Give them dogs or cats to play with and take care of

Make things to keep them occupied

  • Tape a square in the middle of a tile floor, then tell them to make it into a game
  • Make a fort for them
    • Secure a bedsheet, then blow a box fan into it
    • Use blankets and cardboard boxes
    • Use couch cushions on a couch
  • Make a hammock by tying up a bedsheet between two elevated areas
  • Put a slide next to your stairs for them to go down
  • Take off a wall from their crib and turn it into a desk
  • Make a water park for them with pool noodles and PVC pipes
  • Make Lincoln logs with large pool noodles and paint
  • Cut out triangles from sponges, then glue them to one side of tissue boxes to make dinosaur shoes
  • Create an obstacle course for them

Inspire your child to play more often with other children

Tape ball game

  1. Place the kids in a circle with one of them holding a tape ball with candy all over inside it
  2. The child with the tape ball gets to keep anything they pull from the ball
  3. The child to the left has two dice and gets a turn as soon as they roll doubles
  4. Both of them hand it to the left as soon as the roller has doubles

Play-Doh creativity challenge

  • Each child has to make something out of Play-Doh within a time limit

Freeze tag

  • Everyone “tagged” by the person is “it”  and must freeze in place until the game is over

Hide and seek

  • Someone is declared “it” and counts down while everyone hides, then the person who is “it” has to find everyone

Capture the memories as often as you can

Take photos of them before they grow to resent their siblings and parents

  • Put your child’s graduation year on a large shirt, then take a photo of your child every year after completing a grade to see them grow into it

Discipline children correctly

Each child possesses a unique disposition

Difficult children are temperamental, moody, angry, high-maintenance, and loud

  • Understand their needs and help them to understand yours
  • They will push the boundaries more than other types of children, so stay consistent more than anything else

Sensitive children are creative, insightful, articulate, clingy, demanding, and overly compassionate

  • Most of their behavior is reacting to fear, so consistently reason with and empathize to their fears
  • They could feel any change as terrifying, so over-communicate what you are doing, why you’re doing it, and anything going on around you

Self-centered children are preoccupied with whatever they’re interested in and don’t care about anything else at that moment

  • They are unaware of others or others’ needs and are acting from that innocence
  • Teach them about others and how others fit into their lives with strong, firm discipline and restrictions

Aggressive children are strong-willed, demanding, intense, rude, and loud

  • They’re misbehaving because they feel they have to fight for their needs
  • Their motivations are usually from an unstable home and need to feel safe to behave appropriately

Defiant children are intentionally rebellious and stand firmly against any authority

  • They’re reacting to their environment like sensitive children, but try to control it instead of shutting down
  • Learn what triggers them and avoid coming near them

Reward good behavior

Frequently affirm them to explore and succeed

  • “Try it out!”
  • “It’s your choice”
  • “We love you, and you are safe”
  • “You make me happy”
  • “I trust and believe you can do it”
  • “Have a great day, and don’t forget who you are”
  • “Accidents happen!”

Give incentives to keep them motivated

  • Ice cream
  • Toys or games
  • Educational things they’re interested in
  • More fun kid-friendly variations of staple items like bedding or soap
  • Teach them the correlation between work and rewards

Turn their routine into a game

  • Make their meal like a mission with objectives
  • Make their food look like cute animals

Go to fun places like Chuck E Cheese’s or amusement parks

Never, ever reward bad behavior

  • A child knows they can get what they want if they make you rewarding them easier than persevering against them
  • Fighting against a child’s will is how most parents fail because it requires patience, willpower, and dedication

Redirect and invalidate behaviors you don’t want to see in your child

Children have the reasoning skills of drunk people

  • Don’t expect them to understand subtleties
  • Be prepared to repeat yourself frequently
  • Stay vigilant about their behaviors

Children usually don’t know what they want

  • Giving children everything they want is dangerous to a developing mind because it distorts a child’s perspective of the world
  • Teach them the value of hard work and the importance of waiting, both in how you structure their rewards and live your life
  • Give clear limits and boundaries by scheduling most of their life and communicating it with them
  • Though many cultures fail to notice, children don’t need certain things
    • Happiness doesn’t correlate with family income, so parents never need to make more money for the children
    • Children don’t need “educational” toys or consumer goods, though they may loudly express their need for it
    • Children don’t need their extended family to mature appropriately (especially in a dysfunctional family), though they do require interaction with people beyond their core family members

Children usually have unmet needs different than the ones they express

  • Most children who act out need affirmation or recognition for behavior, irrespective of good or bad recognition
  • A child upset over a loss often feels more loss over expectations than the lost object

If a child misbehaves in public, deal with their behavior first, then apologize to bystanders

Ask non-intrusive questions to give them an understanding of themselves and how to come to answers on how to behave

  • All children need to know they are loved, even when they behave inappropriately
  • The best positive reinforcement is to let children come to their own answers

Creatively break their motivation if they start demanding or setting inappropriate boundaries

  • Spanking is the easiest way to discipline a child, and the only way to properly discipline small children
  • Spanking becomes ineffective later once the child becomes willing to endure physical pain for something adverse
  • Ask either/or questions with both ideas as favorable actions
  • Give the same food they refuse to eat until they eat it from hunger
  • Ground them and restrict their toys, electronics or privileges
    • Instead of taking away their phone, take away their charger to let the battery meter trickle away
  • Require chores for bad behavior
  • On long road trips bring a large bag of candy you promise to give them at the end, then throw a piece out the window every time they misbehave
  • If children fight with each other, put them in time-out in a large Get Along Shirt
  • Change the Wi-Fi password daily and require them to do their chores if they want the password

Your child will eventually find an interest in something you don’t want

  1. Refocus their passion toward something related they’d like
    • e.g., redirect an interest in drums to the guitar
  2. Focus more deeply on something meaningful in what they like
    • e.g., improvised percussion from an interest in drums
  3. Give up what you want them to enjoy and find the good qualities of their decisions
    • e.g., accept they will always like drums and how it teaches rhythm

Many parenting methods can raise ineffective young adults

Overly passive parenting

Ignoring visible problems and hoping the child will eventually learn or things will get better

  • The issues won’t resolve themselves
  • A hands-off approach leaves a child feeling neglected and confused

Staying too busy working to involve themselves with the child’s life

  • Neglected children don’t see how busy their parents are but will always feel unloved

Believing institutional groups can parent better than they can (e.g., church, school)

  • A child needs both parents more than anything else in the world
  • Never dismiss how much that child needs you, even if it’s inconvenient or you don’t feel qualified

Overly controlling parenting

Excessive concern with making children “behave” while overlooking their motivations

  • Children in excessively controlling homes learn to hate authority and rules
  • Most of the time, they have to learn life lessons later outside the home

Setting stringent and immovable rules

  • The rules must ease up as the child matures or teenage years become unbearable

Forced to do homework for hours every night

  • Can easily lead to a workaholic adult
  • If they’re old enough to be assigned homework, they’re responsible for it
  • Forcing homework time doesn’t give children the freedom to fail
  • A child’s mind gains the most significant learning from additional stimulation and experiences beyond schoolwork

Overly involved parenting

Taking the children to every possible extracurricular activity

  • Extracurricular activities are healthy up to a certain point
  • It becomes excessive when it either starts sacrificing adequate time for the child to process their experiences or when the parents become burned out

Not letting the children fail and hurt themselves

  • Though it hurts you to watch, children must learn to manage failures and setbacks because they’ll experience it in most of their adult life
  • Your role fixing all their problems as children will persist long into their adulthood
  • Overprotective parenting often leads to adult binge drinking

Giving the child endless fun or the best of everything

  • Having the best of anything is physically impossible and sets a false expectation for the world
  • Seeing your children happy might be fun, but they will become anxious about the rest of the world
  • Constant snacking makes them constantly needy and increases the chances of future obesity
  • Though it’s easier for you to give them what they want than hear them complain, you’re harming their ability to succeed as adults
    • Teach them the value of not criticizing or changing what they can instead
  • They will learn to expect your response to their demands
    • Teach them delayed gratification by withholding what they want until later

Distorting their self-image

Giving ego-inflating affirmations

  • Children who think they are smart, gifted, brilliant, and better than the other kids will expect everyone else to praise them inappropriately
  • Praise children about what they do, never for who they are
  • Give less frequent praise for the same actions as they grow to inspire them to feel satisfaction from growing
  • Creating awards for general things will encourage them to either succeed for awards or become discouraged without prizes

Using children as an excuse for lousy lifestyle decisions

  • Children are oblivious to most of their environment until they’re older
  • Children can adapt to any career or lifestyle changes, but you should only make your decisions to benefit the whole family
  • Justifying a poor choice as “for the kids” will damage your child’s trust in your ability to make decisions later
  • Fun things outside your financial means lead to worse problems later

Giving frequent negative reinforcement

  • Frequently expressing that a child isn’t good enough will either make them perfectionists, apathetic or a disturbing mix of both
  • Repeating to children about how much you had to sacrifice for them sets an unfair expectation on them since they didn’t ask to be born
  • Comparing kids to others, especially siblings, makes them feel valueless outside of what they do

Lying to children

Teaching about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy

  • The stories contribute to an entitlement mentality, especially with Santa Claus
  • Though a child’s blissful happiness is fun, they will feel deeply betrayed and distrust you later

Scaring children with stories to maintain good behavior

  • Children never outgrow remembering what you scared them about
  • Trust issues with fear will inspire them to explore other legitimately risky endeavors to see if you were wrong about those as well

Bad parenting leads to dysfunctional families

Dysfunctional families share similar universal qualities

  • Extremely rigid family rules and roles
  • Little or no communication
  • High levels of tension or plenty of arguing
  • Family members use the coping mechanisms of silence, blame, and avoidance
  • Members are generally encouraged never to feel, talk or trust

Dysfunctional homes come through a series of unhealthy mentalities

  • The group, family or environment is responsible for changing, not the individual
  • Members feel controlled by others but take responsibility for others’ feelings, thoughts, and actions
  • Conflicts hold a vicious cycle of blaming that keeps members connected to their family’s continuing chaos
  • Members can’t set or enforce effective boundaries that clarify how much to tolerate

Dysfunctional families create extreme roles

  • May become abused or abusive physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally
  • Showing inappropriate sexual behavior, either too much or too little
  • Addictions and mental disorders
    • Chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol
    • Compulsive eating, dieting or gambling
    • Workaholic or addicted to a lifestyle

Many dysfunctional homes form into a few dysfunctional archetypes

The Hero overperforms, outworks everyone, and succeeds tremendously

The Scapegoat is the family’s perceived problem and receives most of the family’s energy

  • Often counter-cultural and against society’s standards
  • Since they define themselves by what they oppose, usually has a hard time with self-acceptance and personal happiness without a perceived enemy

The Lost Child is low-maintenance and self-sufficient

  • Can independently manage their lives and naturally takes personal responsibilities
  • However, has issues working with teams or with others depending on them

The Clown/Mascot is funny, entertaining to watch, and fun to be around

  • Usually becomes successful at performing and influentially conveys their personality
  • Has a difficult time being serious and discussing in-depth matters

The Enabler/Caretaker provides needs for everyone else

  • Plays a role as a manager of others’ assets
  • However, secretly dreads being unneeded

People who come from dysfunctional homes have a few characteristics

Treats each day as a disconnected, unrelated experience and doesn’t make long-term plans or goals

Can’t maintain relationships, be intimate or stays in abusive relationships

Has no concept of “normal” or healthy

Relentlessly judges self or others

Takes self very seriously or feels overly responsible

Has difficulty seeing projects from beginning to end or is overly irresponsible

Difficulty adapting to other people and their needs

Constantly needs approval or affirmation

Never manages conflict, but often avoids or intensifies it

Fears rejection and abandonment while rejecting others

Each person is individually responsible for undoing their family’s dysfunction

  1. Accept that each member must make changes and nobody else can do it for them
  2. Accept control of yourself and relinquish control of others
  3. Create and enforce healthy boundaries with others and yourself
  4. Find a new and healthier supportive group who properly respect your boundaries
    • Social events, hobbies, and sport clubs
    • Religious affiliations
    • 12-step support and recovery groups
    • Individual therapy or group therapy specifically for dysfunctional families
  5. Learn patience, since change takes a longer time than you’ll expect

Great families go beyond the home

Healthy family members have a better life

  • Increased network from a shared community connected by biological ties
  • Nurturing and supportive environment that naturally fosters success, happiness, and productivity
  • Everyone in the family commits to goals and succeeds
  • Family rituals and customs share an infectious culture which reaches to other families
  • The family shares a spirit of service and balance that extends beyond the household

You might become a parent of another family’s child

  • A child from a broken home is always emotionally wounded and may see you as their only hope

Teach them independence as soon as they can biologically start learning it

Give them the freedom to experience risks and live life

  • Freedom is necessary if you don’t want children to feel you’re oppressive once they become teenagers

Let children play outside without direct micro-management around age 3

Let children run errands as soon as they can reliably carry things around age 4

Start paying children commission for their chores around age 5

  • Paying an allowance teaches children that money isn’t connected to work

Let children drive on a private non-public road around age 12

Next: Homes 205: Letting Your Children Go