Homes 204: Parenting

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Homes 203: Preparing For Children

Be the person you want your children to be

  • Your ability to succeed at everything else in life will determine your success as a parent
    • Your job is to love that child, which can only come as an overflow of your desire, and it can’t be faked
      • Never be the first to let go when you hug them
    • Learn stress-management skills and ways to maintain happiness to give them the right model as you discipline them
    • The child will learn exactly who you are, so you won’t be able to hide anything from them if you have any defects of character
    • Over time, you will create a routine, and that routine will be based on how well you can create other routines
  • Most great parents learn how to adapt more than how to be prepared for everything
    • This comes from emotional wellness and awareness of yourself and the circumstances
    • The personality of the child will predict how the parenting role should play out
      • Some children are more non-social and others feel anxious when they’re alone
      • Some children are hyperactive while others are quiet
      • Some children are expressive and others are subdued in their behavior
      • Some children are intense while others are devious
    • Slowly adapt your strategy
      1. Start with nurturing and loving care for your infant
      2. Root your young child in good values, strong morals and healthy lifestyle decisions
        • Teach them the 7 essential life skills they’ll need
          1. To focus and self-control themselves
          2. To view the perspectives of others and understand alternate points of view
          3. To communicate what they are feeling and thinking in a meaningful and expressive way
          4. To creatively make connections between related and sometimes seemingly unrelated things
          5. To think critically and neutrally on matters before making decisions or coming to a belief
          6. To take on reasonable and good challenges that will help them grow
          7. To personally create self-directed and engaged learning
      3. Keep inspiring them to develop on their own more and more independently
      4. They will hit a point when they’re smarter or more educated than you in some way
      5. Start giving them permission to fail and suffer the direct consequences of their decisions
      6. By the time they’re 13, they are biologically an adult and will demand to be treated like one
      7. Though intuition and instinct will tell you to hold onto control, they will find ways to fight you the harder you resist
      8. Change your role from controlling their life to supporting of their good decisions
      9. By the time they are an adult, they should have the freedom to go into the rest of the world as adults
      10. Accept them for who they are, they will slowly come back to your point of view if there is any truth to it
  • Learn from your own parents and grandparents
    • If they raised you well, learn what worked best from them
    • If you weren’t parented correctly, pay attention to what they did and work hard to never repeat it
    • Often, the input of older friends and extended family is just as valuable to learn from
  • The rules you live your life by, along with how much you honor them, is what they’ll learn more than what you actually say
    • Every detail of hypocrisy, social norms and lifestyle decisions will be passed on to them somehow
    • By the time they’re 12, they will know everything you’ve taught them, even if they don’t have the information you’ve shared
    • They will learn boundaries from you, or they will create their own if you don’t have ones that make sense to them
  • The way that you talk to them becomes their inner voice
    • There is a time and a place to speak harshly or speak softly, depending on the situation
      • However, there is never a time to yell, and yelling is often a sign of bad parenting
    • Respect them as growing, learning people by not speaking condescendingly or rudely
  • Great parents lead a child through their example
    • Unconditionally loves and respects others
    • Comforts, encourages and nurtures
    • Genuinely bonds with family and friends
    • Realistically optimistic and hopeful
    • Consistent leader in setting goals and solving problems
    • Touches and hugs as appropriate
    • Looks at mistakes compassionately as opportunities to learn and grow
    • Encourages everyone to shamelessly own their own limitations
    • Shares a spiritual faith
    • Balances working and playing
    • Values learning and open to new ideas or changes
    • Encourages appropriate relationships and trust with others
    • Encourages expression emotions and shows how those emotions are useful guides to valid needs
  • Raising children doesn’t have to be stressful
    • There is no universal standard on raising children
    • Take each day one at a time
    • Avoid spending a lot of time learning from other stressed parents
    • Clarify what you’re going to do in different scenarios to be ready for when the time comes
    • Make a list of things you want to keep teaching your child across their whole childhood
      • Keep the list to no more than 10 items
      • Make the values on the list a part of your own personal life’s motto

Though children are extremely important, marriage is still more important

  • Your marriage is more important than your children, since the marriage will determine how well the parenting goes
    • Single parenting is possible, but nobody can replace that child’s mom or dad
    • Children are intimately aware of their parents’ relationship
  • A child needs both a mother and a father
    • A present and involved father is absolutely necessary for a child’s development
      • Many major mental disorders and personal problems are linked to an inadequate or missing father figure
      • They are also more likely to commit suicide, rape, run away from home, drop out of school and be institutionalized
    • A mother is necessary to teach a child to love themselves and love others
      • The instinct to nurture is necessary for a growing child’s development
    • The traditional model has been proven for thousands of years to work
      • The man gets a career and guides the directions for the household as he financially provides for it
      • The woman works to upkeep a home and manage the smaller details of raising children
      • Whoever is more analytical is responsible for managing finances
      • The children are subordinate to the parents until they move out
  • Keep the romantic passion going
    • Have someone routinely babysit to make a date night
    • Get several sets of parents together to make a date night co-op
    • Kiss her in public and in front of the kids
    • Continue affirming your love and gratitude for your spouse and children
  • A child should never be the center of your world
    • They will expect that you are the constant provider of their happiness, which is dangerous and destructive in the long-term
    • If you give them everything you have, then they will assume they can have everything of yours later
    • Don’t try to be their friend when they’re young, they need a role model more than a friend and will grow into needing a friend later
    • Someday they will be out of your control, so take advantage of the time you have now with them
  • 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

Children need more than parents usually know

  • They need everything that a parent needs, but with varying levels
    • They need more sleep than adults
      • 0-3 months needs 14-17 hours a day
      • 4-11 months needs 12-15 hours a day
      • 1-2 years needs 11-14 hours a night
      • 3-5 years needs 10-13 hours a night
      • 6-13 years needs 9-11 hours a night
      • 14-17 years needs 8-10 hours a night
    • They need more food for their size
      • Give them more protein to help them grow faster
      • If they start getting obese, replace their diet with healthier alternatives
      • If they are used to unhealthy food, then they will have to re-learn how to eat well
        • Their taste buds are more inclined to sweet things, so don’t trust their preferences
    • They need close friends to play with and have fun with
    • They need more physical time to play outside to be happy and grow
    • The need for a stable and loving home is absolutely vital for their sense of security
    • Children often need to be part of a greater physical purpose
      • Organized and team sports
      • Community groups like the Boy Scouts
      • Special interest groups like karate or band
      • Shared family tasks
    • Most children need lots of emotional support and for their parents to be approachable and supportive of them
  • They need an actual relationship with their parents, not simply a caregiver
    • Healthy relationships are based on good boundaries, time together and affection
    • You aren’t raising children, you’re raising people, and it is very easy for parents get stuck in bad habits that the children outgrow
    • Acknowledge and connect with their feelings or they will never feel valued or loved
      1. Help them verbally label their emotions to help them to understand them and process them
      2. Validate and openly accept all of their emotions
      3. Communicate your values on appropriate behavior in light of their emotions
      4. Set limits when they misbehave regarding the values you’ve clarified to them

Try to inspire them to learn and act properly on their own

  • Teach them the groundwork of all success
    • How to be clearly aware of emotions, thoughts, hunches, intuitions and current needs
      • How to prioritize them in order to react to life challenges in healthy, safe and satisfying ways
    • How to think critically, objectively, clearly and independently to make effective decisions
    • How to develop a realistic identity and emotional awareness of self and others
    • How to communicate effectively
    • How to balance life successfully between extremes
      • Short-term pleasure versus long-term satisfaction
      • Pleasing others versus pleasing self
      • Realities of self and the world versus tempting illusions and distortions
      • Attitudes of pessimism, idealism and realistic optimism
      • Work, play and rest
      • Spirituality versus physical state of things
    • How to take personal authentic responsibility for the results of decisions and actions
      • This is in contrast to denial, blaming, confusion, pretending it doesn’t exist or taking it out on something else
      • There is a healthy level of personal shame attached to being responsible that accepts our limitations and doesn’t dwell on them
    • Giving others responsibility for their own choices, actions, feelings, health and wellness
    • How to re-learn attitudes, beliefs, habits and ideas that no longer fit new understandings of reality and goals
      • This will be never-ending, so teach them the acceptance of failing to understand as well
    • How to look for ways to be kind
      • Inspire them to encourage other children
      • Give them opportunities to show gratitude for others
  • There are many disciplines a child will have to eventually learn, and a great parent teaches all of them

Many “bad” ways to parent are often serviceable, but likely lead to ineffective young adults

  • Children often don’t know what they want
    • Giving children everything they want is especially dangerous in a developing mind, since it distorts their perspective
    • Teach them the value of hard work and the importance of waiting, both in how you structure their rewards and how you live your own life
    • Give them clear limits and boundaries by scheduling most of the parts of their life and communicating it with them
    • There are some things that children don’t need, though many cultures fail to notice that it’s unnecessary
      • They don’t need the parents to make more money, and there is zero correlation between their happiness and family’s income
      • They don’t need “educational” toys or any consumer goods, though they may loudly declare they need it
      • Extended family is not necessary for a child to grow (especially in a dysfunctional family), they just need input from others around them
  • Avoid being overly passive
    • Ignoring the problems they see and hope their child will learn or things will get better
      • The problems won’t get better, and the hands-off approach leaves a child confused and feeling neglected
    • Keeping busy working too much to be involved in their child’s life
      • Neglected children don’t recognize how busy their parents are, but do notice that they don’t feel loved
    • Belief that institutional groups can parent better than they can (church, school, etc)
      • A child needs a parent more than anything else in the world, and this shouldn’t be dismissed due to inconvenience or human failings
  • An overly controlled house is a bad home
    • Excessive concern with making them “behave” while overlooking the children’s motivations
      • These children learn to hate authority and rules, and will often have to learn later outside the home
    • Extremely strict and immovable rules set in the home
      • As the child ages, the rules need to ease up or the teenage years will be a living hell
    • Forced to do homework for hours every night
      • This leads to an addiction to work later
      • If they’re old enough to be assigned homework, it’s their responsibility to do it, and it doesn’t give them freedom to fail
      • Their minds need additional stimulation beyond schoolwork for the greatest learning experience
  • Don’t get overly involved
    • Giving the children every possible extracurricular activity to be involved in
      • This is healthy to a point, but if it starts sacrificing on adequate time to process what happened it becomes excessive
    • Not letting them fail and hurt themselves
      • This hurts to see, but they need to become comfortable with failures and setbacks
        • Most of life involves failure, so fixing all their problems will persist long into their adulthood
        • Protecting them too much has been directly linked to binge drinking later in life
    • Giving them endless fun or the best of everything
      • The best is physically impossible, and it sets a false expectation of how the world works
      • This might be fun for you to see them happy, but the rest of the world will make them anxious
        • Constant snacking will give them a constant neediness and will also risk obesity in the future
      • It’s easier to give them what they want than hear them complain, but it does them a disservice
        • Teach them the value of not complaining instead
      • If you respond to their demands, they will learn to expect it
        • Teach them delayed gratification by withholding what they want until later
  • Don’t distort their self-image
    • Giving ego-inflating affirmations
      • A child that thinks they are smart, gifted, brilliant and better than all the other kids will expect praise from everyone else
      • Never praise who they are, praise what they do
      • Praise less frequently for the same things as they get older, since they need to learn how to feel satisfaction in growing
      • If you create made-up awards for general things, they will be driven to either succeed for awards or become discouraged in the process
    • Using them as an excuse for bad family lifestyle decisions
      • Until they’re old enough, children are oblivious to most of their environment
      • Career and lifestyle changes can be adapted to by the kids, but should be for the benefit of everyone involved
        • Doing things justified as “for the kids” will damage the kids’ trust in their parents’ ability to make decisions
        • Fun things that are outside of your financial means will be more difficult later
    • Giving constant negative reinforcement
      • Telling them they’re not good enough will either make them perfectionists, apathetic or a disturbing mix of both
      • Repeating to them 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 unvalued outside of what they do
  • Don’t lie to them
    • Teaching kids about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy
      • It contributes to an entitlement mentality, especially with Santa Claus
      • This is fun to see their blissful happiness, but it will backfire later
        • As soon as children find out that they’ve been lied to, they are more likely to distrust everything else a parent says

Concern about their safety is natural, but plan ahead to feel safer about them

  • Freeze ketchup packets to use as small ice packs for their bruises
  • Put a pool noodle under a fitted sheet to keep them from falling out of bed
  • If you’re worried about sex scenes or violence in movies, look up the movie at IMDb
  • Know who they are with at all times, since a few moments with the wrong person could traumatize them permanently
    • If you suspect abuse from a change in their behavior, don’t ignore it
      • If you suspect they have been abused, try to approach them carefully but directly
        1. Listen to what they have to say
          • Don’t be judgmental or ask leading questions
        2. Stay calm
          • It might be difficult for you to hear what they are telling you but it’s harder for them to tell
          • If you can, be the strong one in the situation
        3. Assure the child that it was not their fault
        4. Believe them and confirm whatever feelings they are having
        5. Let them know that you are glad that they told you
        6. Assure them that this doesn’t change your relationship with them
          • An abused child may fear they won’t be believed or that you will think differently about them because of what happened
        7. Be honest with the child and let them know what you are planning to do
          • This is the only way they won’t feel betrayed by finding out afterward that you told someone else
          • Let them know that you will try to find help for them from people who know how to handle the situation
  • Any time you go somewhere with them, take photos of them to show an authority if they get lost
  • With the risk of child predators, don’t post pictures on the Internet of them that can help them be abducted
    • Don’t post locations in their photos
    • Don’t post photos of their hobbies or interests
    • Don’t show any photos that indicate their official information like name or birthday
    • Don’t post photos next to a car, since that can be inferred
    • 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
  • If they are trick-or-treating and have dietary limitations with certain candy, send out letters with approved candy to every house they’ll visit
  • Teach them independence as soon as they have the biological capacity to start learning it
    • Give them the liberty and freedom to experience risk and live life
      • This may be unpopular, but it’s necessary if you don’t want them to feel oppressed by you when they become teenagers
    • Let them play outside without direct micro-management around age 3
    • Let them run errands as soon as they can carry things around age 4
    • Start paying them commission for the chores they do around age 5
    • Let them drive on a private non-public road around age 12

Learn the art of disciplining children

  • There are a few types of children, and they are all motivated differently
    • Difficult children are temperamental, moody, angry, high-maintenance and loud
      • You need to understand their needs and make sure they understand your needs as well
      • Consistency is more important than anything, since they will push the boundaries more than other children
    • Sensitive children are creative, insightful, articulate, clingy, demanding and overly compassionate
      • Most of their behavior is a reaction to fear, which means that it’s best to constantly address their fears with reasoning and empathy
      • Any change could be terrifying to them so over-communicate what you are doing, why you’re doing it and anything that’s going on around you
    • Self-centered children are preoccupied with whatever they’re interested and don’t care about anything else
      • They are unaware of others or others’ needs, and they are simply acting out of not knowing
      • Strong, firm discipline and restrictions are necessary to teach them about others and to understand how others fit into their lives
    • Aggressive children are strong-willed, demanding, intense, rude and loud
      • They are acting out because they feel they have to fight for what they need
      • The motivations are usually from an unstable home, and they need to feel safe to act out in the right way
    • Defiant children are intentionally rebellious and stand strong against any authority
      • They are like sensitive children in that they are reacting to their environment, but try to control their environment instead of shutting down
      • Learn to be aware of what sets them off and try to keep them away from triggers
  • Reward good behavior
    • Give them plenty of affirmations 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!
    • Go to fun places as a reward for good behavior
      • Children’s fun zones like Chuck E Cheese’s
      • Amusement parks
    • Give fun incentives to keep them motivated
      • Ice cream
      • Toys or games
      • Educational things that they’re interested in
      • More fun 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
    • Whatever you do, don’t ever reward bad behavior
      • A child knows they will get what they want if they make it easier for you to reward them than punish them or persist against them
      • This can be an act of patience and willpower on your end, and is how many parents fail
  • Redirect things you don’t want to see in them
    • Many times the need they indicate is not their actual need
      • Most children who act out are doing it because they need affirmation or recognition for behavior, irrespective of whether it’s good or bad recognition
      • If they’re upset over a loss, it could be the feeling of loss more than the actual thing that was lost
    • If they are misbehaving in public, deal with the problems they are causing first, and then apologize to bystanders
    • All children can benefit from non-intrusive questions to gain understanding of themselves and to guide them to the answers on how to behave
      • All children need to know they are loved, even when their actions are wrong
      • Positive reinforcement is easiest when the children are given the freedom to come to answers on their own
    • If they start demanding or putting up bad boundaries, you need to break their motivation
      • This is most easily done with spanking when they’re little, but will progress into other punishments
      • Ground them and restrict their toys, electronics or privileges
      • Require them to do chores for bad behavior
      • They have the reasoning skills of drunk people, so don’t expect them to understand anything subtle
    • If they are interested in something you don’t want them to be, there are a few answers to it
      • Find something related that they like and try to motivate them to change to it (e.g. redirect an interest in drums to an interest in guitar)
      • Find something that is inside of what they like and focus in more deeply on it (e.g. interest them in improvised percussions from their interest in drums)
      • Give up what you want them to like and find the good in their decisions (e.g. accept that they will always like drums)
  • When they misbehave, find creative ways to discipline them
    • Spanking is the easiest way to discipline a child, and the only way to properly discipline small children
    • Ask them either/or questions, but both ideas being favorable actions
    • Give them the exact same food they refuse to eat until they eat it out of starvation
    • If your child has wireless electronics, take away their charger and watch them suffer as the battery meter trickles downward
    • On long road trips bring a bag of candy that you promise to give them, then throw out a piece every time they misbehave
    • With more than one child
      • If they fight with each other, put them in a large Get Along Shirt as a time-out
    • Change the Wi-Fi password daily and require them to do their chores if they want the password
    • On long road trips bring a bag of candy they can eat at the end, then throw a piece of candy out the window every time they misbehave

Try to form an environment that inspires them to learn and achieve goodness

  • If they’re too easily distracted or aren’t behaving well, they need to want to learn to focus
    • Get them socializing more
    • Give them outlets to explore
      • Give them fun and challenging projects and tasks that will help the family overall
      • Get involved with them in their creations
  • There are better things to get conversation going after school 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 super nice for you?
    • What was the nicest 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 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 exactly the 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?
  • Inspire them to be more creative
    • Your actions and lessons need to address a philosophical approach
      • Teach them that values are more important than rules, since mindless rules stifle creativity
      • Teach them that character is more important than behavior, since it fosters permanent change
      • Teach lessons from books that show seeing others’ perspectives and asking how they’d choose things
    • Their environment has to foster creativity
      • Get them to play outside more often
      • Take them to new places consistently
      • Limit their time with media
        • This includes most television, many movies, most video games and a number of books
        • It provides such a high level of stimulation that they’re unable to learn otherwise
    • Conventional creativity is also important
      • Provide building blocks like LEGOs and K’Nex
      • Give them art supplies and let them make messes, then teach them to clean them up
        • Mix 1 part salt, 1 part flour, 1 part water and food coloring to make paint for them
        • Make play clay by mixing 1 cup corn starch, 2 cups 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
      • Give them problems to solve on their own
    • Foster learning by exposing them to good information
      • Post a map of the world or the periodic table of the elements in the bathroom
      • Teach them the reasons that guide why you perform and think about things in certain ways
      • Give them more responsibilities to try new things or to learn
      • Educate them on how the world works, in practical terms and in the laws that govern it
  • Spend time with them on creative projects to foster a sense of community
    • Create art with them
      • 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
      • Paint or draw together
        • Finger paint
        • Paint each other’s faces
      • Make clothing
        • Decorate a pair of jeans
        • Paint t-shirts together
      • Paint or decorate a room
      • Make food with them
        • Make popsicles
        • Make milkshakes
        • Make hot cocoa
        • Bake a cake or cookies
        • Make mini pizzas
        • Barbecue
    • Perform with them
      • Film a movie
      • Sing songs with them
      • Tell them stories
      • Do shadow puppets
      • Create a play to be performed for other family members
      • Learn magic tricks
      • Learn to juggle
      • Learn to play music
    • Explore nature and science with them
      • Search your back yard and look for insects
      • Garden together
      • Go on a hike
      • Build a rocket from a kit
      • Perform a science experiment
      • Make a bird feeder
        • Have them find a pine cone, then coat it 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 roast marshmallows to make S’Mores
    • Explore the local community with them
      • Try people-watching and make up stories for the people walking by
      • Go for a walk and explore the neighborhood
      • Visit a park, playground or public pool
      • Go to a museum, zoo or take guided tours
      • Visit the library
      • Go bowling
      • Volunteer or donate items to charity
      • Shop at thrift stores
      • Visit family and friends
      • Find free and affordable events at venues in your area
        • Look for free and discounted movies playing
    • 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
  • Make mealtime more fun
    • Decorate the food they eat
      • 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 the bread heels inward to make sandwiches that they don’t realize are made of crust
  • Play with them just for fun
    • Compete with them
      • Play board games, card games or video games with them
        • Teach them chess
        • Play a trivia game
        • Make up trivia questions about each other
        • Make up your own games
      • Play Twister, but use shaving cream and food dye with 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 have a tickle fight
        • Have water balloon fights where you’re hiding with a water gun and they have to hit you with balloons
          • Use sponge balls as substitutes for water balloons
        • Have a foam dart gun fight
      • Play sports with them like organized sports or wrestling
        • Make up your own rules for a sport
      • Take turns saying tongue twisters
      • Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest
    • Learn and tell each other jokes
    • 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 as you slide along it
      • Alternately, add balloons to make it sillier
  • Just because the child is playing doesn’t mean you always have to run around with them
    • Pull the swing for them from a long rope or use a leaf blower
    • Give them dogs to play with and take care of
    • Find creative ways for them to have fun on their own easily
      • 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 bed sheet, then blow a box fan into it
        • Use blankets and cardboard boxes
        • Use couch cushions on a couch
      • Tie up a bed sheet between two elevated areas to make a hammock for them
      • If you have stairs, put a slide next to it 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
  • Have them play more often with other kids
    • 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 2 dice and gets a turn as soon as they roll doubles
      4. Both of them hand it to the left as soon as doubles are rolled
    • Play-Doh creativity challenge – each child is given Play-Doh, and they have to make something within a time limit
    • Active games
      • Freeze tag – everyone who is “tagged” by the person who is “it” must freeze in their place until the game is over
      • Red rover – break into 2 teams, one side calls for someone to come over and the need to break the kids’ hands
      • Hide and seek – someone is “it”, they count down and everyone hides, and they’re supposed to find everyone
  • Capture the memories as often as you can
    • Take photos of them before they get older and hate their siblings and parents
      • Put their graduation year on a large shirt, every year when they complete a grade take a picture with them to see them grow into it

As they get older, the parenting will need to change

  • Whether they listen to you or not, they are still maturing biologically
    • They still hear you, even if they don’t appear to be listening
    • As they get older it’s tempting to force them to change, but it will become less and less effective if done wrongly
  • High school will usually set the stage for the rest of their life, so let them experiment and try things in a semi-controlled environment instead of waiting until college to do it
  • Keep yourself savvy on popular culture
    • Even though you may not care, you’re going to make a public embarrassment of yourself
    • This is especially true in the Internet age, where anything can be published forever
  • Discipline can still happen, but you have less control and have to be more creative
    • If a child is throwing a temper tantrum in public, applaud and praise loudly their public disgrace to draw more attention to it
    • From about ages 7-16, you can threaten to sing loudly in a public place if they’re misbehaving
    • Make them wear a shirt that has a picture of you on it
      • Add a warning with a threatening photo if you’re concerned about boys dating your teenage daughter
    • If you want to call a family meeting, simply unplug the Wi-Fi router and wait in the room with the router
    • If the child is wearing ridiculous clothing, wear it with them and have a sign on your back saying “ask my kid if they still think (clothing) is sooo cute”
    • If you leave for the weekend and want them to clean their room, simply say you hid $100 in it somewhere and they need to clean it

If the parenting goes wrongly, the family will become dysfunctional

  • There are distinct qualities of dysfunctional families
    • Extremely rigid family rules and roles
    • Little or no communication
    • High levels of tension or a lot of arguing
    • Family members use coping mechanisms of silence, blame and avoidance
    • There’s an overall message that members shouldn’t feel, talk or trust
  • These qualities come from a series of bad mentalities
    • Believes that change is up to the group, family or environment instead of the individual
    • Feels controlled by others but also takes responsibility for others’ feelings, thoughts and actions
    • Stuck in a vicious cycle of blaming that keeps them connected to their family’s continuing chaos
    • Can’t set or enforce effective boundaries that clarify how much should be tolerated
  • There are many different forms that a dysfunctional family takes
    • One or more family members are physically or sexually abused
    • Some of the members show inappropriate sexual behavior
    • Members are emotionally and psychologically abusive
    • Some of the members have addictions
      • Chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol
      • Compulsive eating, dieting or gambling
      • Workaholic or addicted to a lifestyle
  • Unfortunately, a dysfunctional family will lead to future problems outside of the home
    • There are a few signs that someone has come from a dysfunctional home
      • Inability to make long term plans or goals by living each day as a disconnected random experience
      • Abusive relationships later on or unable to maintain relationships or be intimate
      • Having no idea what normal or healthy really is
      • Judging self and others relentlessly
      • Taking self very seriously and being overly responsibl
      • Trouble in carrying projects from beginning to end or being overly irresponsible
      • Difficulty adapting to other people and their needs
      • Constant need for approval or affirmation
      • Never dealing with conflict, but often avoiding or intensifying it
      • Fear of rejection and abandonment while rejecting others
  • It’s a simple answer for each person individually to undo family dysfunction, but it can be hard to accept
    • Learn to accept that change is up to each individual person and nobody else
    • Accept control of self and relinquish control of others
    • Create and enforce healthy boundaries with others and self
    • Get involved in a new and healthier support system of people who properly respect boundaries
      • Social events, hobbies, sport clubs
      • Religious affiliations
      • 12-step support and recovery groups
      • Individual therapy or group therapy specifically for dysfunctional families
    • Learn patience about the time that it takes to change
  • Be open to expressing how you have failed and hurt your children
    1. Start by dealing with your own emotional damage
      • Your child didn’t do anything to maliciously hurt you, and they simply did what you taught them
    2. Admit to yourself that you’ve hurt your child
    3. Prepare yourself for the pain you are going to feel
    4. Select the time and place carefully
      • It needs to be a neutral place
    5. Ask their permission to talk about something personal
    6. Share with them that you’ve realized that you’ve hurt them and explain to the fullest ability what you know you’ve done
    7. Ask for forgiveness for every single hurt you’ve committed
    8. When you can’t think of anything else, ask them what else you missed

Great families go beyond the home

  • Everything is easier for a healthy family
    • Increased network from a shared community connected by biological ties
    • Nurturing and supportive environment that naturally fosters success, happiness and productivity
    • Clear family and personal goals are committed to and performed
    • Family rituals and customs support a shared culture that extends to other families
    • There is a spirit of service and balance guiding the family that extends beyond the household
  • Even with a great home, all children will grow up to become one or more of a few dysfunctional archetypes
    • The Hero that overperforms, outworks everyone and succeeds tremendously
      • They will often be very influential and make a difference wherever they go
      • They run the risk of being addicted to their work and never feeling good enough
    • The Scapegoat is the perceived problem of the family and the source of most of the family’s energy
      • They are often counter-cultural and against the standards society sets
      • Self-acceptance and personal happiness are difficult for them when they don’t have something to oppose
    • The Lost Child is low-maintenance and self-sufficient
      • They can handle things independently and naturally take on responsibilities by themselves
      • Their trouble comes from difficulty working in teams and being in a place where others rely on them
    • The Clown/Mascot is funny, entertaining to watch and fun to be around
      • They will usually be better performers and influential through conveying their personality
      • Getting serious and talking about intense things doesn’t come easily for them
    • The Enabler/Caretaker is the provider for everyone else’s needs
      • Their role often becomes a management position and they usually deal with complex logistics
      • Their greatest fear is to be in a place where they aren’t actually needed
  • You might be called to the task of parenting another family’s child
    • A child from a broken home is always hurting in some way, and you might be their only hope in their small worldview
  • The only way to have a successful family in the long run, though, is to let them move on with life
Next: Homes 205: Letting Your Children Go