How To Be An Amazing Parent
No matter what your amazing life is right now or will become later you will encounter children. Even though you may decide not to have children yourself, I'm certain you have met children and thought to yourself, how did that happen.
I met a woman who made me smile when she told me, "Patrick I do love children, I just can't eat a whole one"
Many parents I meet have made the biggest mistake in their lives by placing more importance on the pursuit of money than on their children. Parents work long hours and children suffer. Never put money before children or your spouse, not if you want a loving relationship and an amazing life.
Some people ask how the art of lovemaking can make a child that has turned out to be such a monster. Well instead of you having to go out and purchase a book on parenting, I've included how to become an amazing parent here for you.
If you are currently struggling to work out how to love and guide your children, then this chapter will give you the answers. While you are absorbing this I may smash a few myths about parenting along the way. So just read the principles and then you will understand when children become completely lost we can rescue them.
Every day I attend my office I find myself face to face with a parent. 90% of the time it will be a mother. She will explain to me in great detail what she thinks (guesses) is wrong with her child. Then will ask me if I would like to talk to the child to see if I can fix "it". She then walks outside and brings the child in to sit in my office while she goes outside and waits.
The expectation then of course is that the child who just walked in won't be the same child when it walks out again. Somehow I am going to "fix" this child, because obviously it's broken. Well at least that's what the mothers told me, and I have about twenty minutes to accomplish this.
So the first thing I do is remember all my training over all these years and then that little Mexican man named Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer). You can't imagine this famous television dog trainer training the dog and not the owner can you? Well in my office when it comes to training children, it involves the parents much more than the child. Just like my friend Cesar, he knows that the dog has been trained to behave in a certain way and he needs to retrain the dog owner. I need to retrain the parent as well as the child. That shouldn't be a surprise at all. Not many parents have been on training programs on how to raise a child.
In these following examples I am talking about children from the age of 8 years upwards. With the young ones ranging from 8 to 15 I can still get away with the trusted story of bank building. This is where I tell the children that no matter what they want in life, whether it's right now, at the weekend or next year, the only way the parents will say yes is if they have built enough good bankable currency to get a yes.
Here's how easy and profound it is. Children as we would agree need both discipline and praise. By the way I use praise 90% of the time, it's easier to look for and works 100% more for the child. Most parents I meet never understand praise and what it does for the child. They are too busy looking and expecting all the wrong things to happen. Yet again as I have been saying throughout this book, it is a trick of the mind, this time by the parent.
I first set up the child to understand that they need to do things around the house for free. This means jobs, any jobs they can handle. This teaches a child to contribute to the family and the household. Then once the chores are done I want the child to look for ways to build a bank of currency by way of more jobs but this time they will use the extra jobs they do as currency.
Here's how it works:
I was asked to help a 14 year old girl who didn't get this at all. She wanted no part of my plan at all, until I said, "I'm the only person on earth who can get your parents off your back". This got her attention. From there I explained how she would need to work very hard to reinstate herself in the family so she could be trusted by both parents again.
She had a history of running out of school, not doing homework, bad grades and using bad language. All of which remember had been trained. I managed to find the missing part of this little girls puzzle by listening to her, something she told me her parents never did. She would tell me that every time she attempted to tell her parents how she felt, they simply shouted at her and told her to go to her room.
So now motivated and looking forward to the next two weeks of hard work and looking for opportunities to do even more tasks for her parents this young child left happy. I didn't say a word to the mother.
Two weeks later the mother arrived back with her daughter and began to tell me how much the child had changed. The mother went on to tell me that her daughter had begun to work around the house, was being nice to her brother and sister and staying at school. When it was the daughters turn to come in she was angry and upset. She told me she had done all I had suggested but that her parents had not said well done or anything.
This is typical of many parents who don't even know how to give praise, let alone see times when the child needs praise. I spent most time with the mother explaining my idea of her daughter building a bank of jobs and good behaviour in exchange for special treats like having a friend over to stay the night. The mother went away and began to praise her child even more. They were both very happy the last time they came in all because we retrained both of them to look at life differently.
Change What Doesn't Work
Jack was an 8 year-old boy out of control (mothers description) who attended my practice for anger issues. The story was that the mother had lost control and Jack was winning and loving every minute of it. When I asked the mother if Jack misbehaved in front of his dad, the answer was no.
This is a very popular situation and often can cause big trouble in the marriage or partnership. The child's view of his father is very different from the view he has of his mother.
Little Jack had his mother running scared, the mother forgot who was the adult. She spent most of her day running after him, literally. If she was trying to get him to school on time he would be too quick for her and run around the house with her chasing and yelling at him.
However if dad was home little Jack was an angel. Do you get what's happening in this household? Yes Jack is in charge and mum is not.
My work had to begin with mum. I found out that mum did most of the parenting while dad was at work. However dad was fed up with mum because she couldn't control the child, so the parents were in crisis.
The simple difference here was one parent represented fear to young Jack while the other parent didn't. The dad would just have to look at the child and Jack did what he was told. Mum however had to scream, chase and often smack Jack to get him to behave.
Of course like all mums do she would attempt to sit Jack down and talk to him about why he should have behaved. This technique of talking to a young child using adult language like the word respect does not work. She did this all the time and all the time it didn't work, she kept doing it.
Please remember this as long as you live your amazing life. When it comes to children and behaviour fear is a greater motivator of than pain.
The dad produced fear in Jack and the mother produced pain. In screaming, chasing and smacking Jack all mum produced was short-term pain that only slowed Jack down.
It also trained Jack to never look for any other attention other than pain. He became used to the smacks and the screams.
I always ask every parent this question. "Did you treat your parents with this much disrespect when you were that age"?
It still amazes me that while a mother is in the midst of telling me how disgustingly rude and disrespectful her child is she still doesn't get it. I have interrupted literally thousands of parents and asked that question and the parent will almost always say, "No way". When I ask the parent why they didn't abuse their own parents they normally tell me they were TOO AFRAID. So of course I can't help myself and I just have to ask the obvious question. So WHY do you continue to let the little child do it then?
The most common answer I hear is! "I don't know why".
The real answer was they became afraid themselves as parents. That's why they teach bad manners to their children. The parents become so afraid that in their mind it would be easier to let the child misbehave than have to tackle it head on.
A child needs your love yes, but you need to train that child. The problem is it's the other way around.
Let me explain...
I had two parents of a wild 15 year-old girl arrive at my office in tears. Monica by their account was without a doubt totally in control of both parents. She had obviously had similar training at an early age just like young Jack. Both parents had run out of ideas. Here is what they had told me they had done so far to change the girl's behaviour.
1 Taken away her mobile phone
Why does a 15 year-old child need a mobile phone I hear you say to yourself?
2 Grounded her, which means not going out other than school
3 Stopped her from going on the computer and internet
So that was it, that was all they had done and they sat in my office, the mother with tears rolling down her cheeks and the father the same. I had them understand that here they were sat in my office with the weight of the world on their shoulders and their daughter was running their lives and loving it.
I didn't even have to see the child. It was the parents that needed more help, so here is what I told them to do. Now I already knew how they would react to what I was about to suggest in the way of new strategies, but I also knew that from years of doing it this way, it would give us the correct outcome.
I began by telling them that her bedroom door needed to be removed then all of her clothes had to go. Then any trinkets, other furniture and makeup, all had to go. They were to empty the child's room until all that was left was a mattress on the floor and her school uniform. They had to make sure all the rest was taken to another place.
While I was outlining this strategy the two parents were looking even more afraid than when they walked in. Then I told them to telephone all of their daughter's friend's parents and let them know that under no circumstances were they to allow their daughter in to their house if she was to run away again.
As I continued with my plan the mother couldn't cope any longer and had to interrupt. I was waiting for her. Imagine this, here is me jumping out of my chair and writing on the big whiteboard all the things we were going to do to their precious little baby!!!
The mother didn't disappoint me. Just like others before her she made attempts to let me know why they couldn't do what I was asking them to do. Even the father jumped in and said he thought the whole door thing was a little tough.
Now this happens every day in my office so you will have to forgive me for sounding a little tough here, but this always delivers the state of mind in the parents so I need to help them further.
I began to scream and shout at the top of my lungs at both of them. How dare you both tell me what you can and cannot do, what sort of parents are you anyway? Are you bad parents then, is that is? Do you hit her all the time? Do you give up on her because you can't get past your own feelings? Is that it? Are you hiding behind your own poor me attitude?
As I continued my rant I was in fact helping them get into a state of extreme fear and panic. Remember humans make up thoughts and emotions that produce behaviour. These parents with the help of Monica had created an entire state of chaos and through perceived fear couldn't parent the child.
Both parents began to defend and make excuses saying I was taking it too far and that the punishment didn't fit the crime. I was even more incensed than before. Now they were telling me that Monica, a 15 year-old girl who swears and abuses her family and drinks and smokes and stays out all night doesn't deserve any punishment. I hadn't even called it punishment, they did and the reason they called it punishment was because they couldn't bring themselves to do anything about it.
Now that the three of us were in the middle of a heated debate and both parents were in a state of fear and dread I wanted to make sure they knew I was serious about sorting this mess out. So I finished off by telling them that if they didn't do as they were told I'd make sure the authorities found out from my report that they were both terrible parents.
The reaction was the same as all the rest, they stopped, looked pale and their breathing became intense, just like a panic attack. Now was the moment that would change their lives forever.
Unknown to them during our little heated debate the mother kept putting her left arm onto her chest and breathing shallow every time I suggested things she should be doing. The father was similar as his tummy was busy moving in and out at the thought of removing his daughter's bedroom door.
So I had the mother sit in my big black "magic chair". I call it magic because that's where the magic of change often happens. I had her tell me where she felt the dread and fear inside her and as expected it was in her chest. I had her close her eyes, see the image that helped her become afraid. Then I had her shrink that image smaller and smaller until it was the size of a "postage stamp", then blow it away. As she was doing that I had her rub her chest side ways across with her hand.
When she opened her eyes the fear had gone completely. I then did the same with the father and his result was the same, his fear had gone. Now I had sat in my office two parents with no fear at all. I have to do the same technique with every parent that brings in a child that has become out of control.
This I might add was the start of their change of view. Now with two parents who were not afraid anymore the task at hand became more manageable. They both listened to all the careful instructions and plans I had laid out for them both to do and they were to come back a week later.
Now you can see why I needed to have these parents truly feel and experience the pain they were going through at that moment. I cannot cure a phobia of spiders unless I have a spider to use to make sure the person really feels the emotion, even though you now know we make all these fears up by ourselves. I can't help someone overcome a fear of heights unless they make an attempt to be up high with me.
These parents began their conversation believing that Monica at 15 years of age was out of control and they didn't know how to stop it. It all became very painful emotionally and overcome with these made up emotions, the parents couldn't cope. Now they could understand their contribution to what didn't work before.
By having the parents reach a height of panic and anxiety that was as real as they could feel, it had a much more powerful affect when the fear is removed so quickly. I was then able to dismantle that feeling in a heartbeat.
It is so rewarding to see parents after this first session, which I fondly call "Imposing Sanctions". I have my brother in-law Keith to thank for that one by the way. This particular couple were even more joy to work with because they truly loved not only their daughter, but each other. Sometimes I'm faced with a couple that have lost the love they once had for each other, so then they communicate differently with the children, which can cause all sorts of problems. If a couple are not together on this it is very difficult to accomplish a complete turn around of bad behaviour by parents and children alike.
When they arrived back they had smiles on their faces which is always a good sign for me. They told me the child had reacted exactly as I had predicted. She had screamed loudly, thrown things around the house and ran away to her best friends place. However the best friends mum had done as Monica's parents asked and not allowed her to stay in their home. Once again I see these techniques bring success to parents.
Now a point here...
There is almost always one person, normally a female (sorry no disrespect meant) who for personal reasons feels the need to become mother Teresa the second. You know the one I mean. She is normally a single mother (nothing wrong with them by the way) who is in desperate need of love and attention herself.
She will be the one who no matter what a parent might tell her, knows best and will no matter what you tell her she can't do, will take your child in for the night. She gets off on it. She craves this feeling she gets when a child runs away from home only to find refuge in her house. It is real and there are women who believe they should do this.
I had warned this couple that if they had one of these in their community then their daughter would know who she was and go there. Sure enough their daughter knew about this woman and tried to enter but this couple had taken notes and remembered. Cleverly the parents had asked a close friend to go and see this woman that night, so you can imagine the feeling this 15 year-old girl had when she had exhausted all other places to go, only to discover her mothers best friend was there and demanded she leave at once. This woman was also able to explain to Mother Teresa the second that everything was going according to plan and there was no need for her to worry. Poor dear!!
The couple attended to every detail, they locked up their home like a fortress, turned off all the lights and went to bed. Sure they sat there worried, but they had each other to talk to and reassure that what they were doing was for the good of their child.
Now please remember this was a kid who knew her way around the streets, she was no angel of innocence. For the past two years she had broken away, put fear into her parents and walked the streets. However I was changing her little game. I had done this with hundreds of parents and when the parents carried out the plan to the letter it always worked. Always.
They told me just on 1.30am in the early morning they heard a knock on the back door and it was her. They remembered what to do. Both went to the door and didn't open it, but asked who was there. The daughter answered and the parent's job was to listen to her voice and make sure they heard something other than anger.
I didn't want them to see her, just listen to her voice first. The daughter was weeping, she had walked everywhere she could to seek shelter and friends but found no one. It was in the middle of winter and the child had run out in a fit of anger and didn't take any warm clothing. Well her parents go rid of everything remember!
How different was that to the times she had ran away and gloated to her friends about how she could do what she wanted to?
The parents said they were convinced that their daughter was genuine in her tears and upon that they went about their next part. I use the house door as a symbol, I wanted the child to really understand and feel what it was like to have no where to go and that if she was smart she would return home a different child.
Before opening the door the parents outlined what her life would be like this time around. They had their list of requests and "must haves" in order to let her back into the house and back into the family.
If she agreed to these then they would open the door and they would all start with a clean sheet, no nagging and bringing up old issues. If she didn't agree then they would turn the light off and go back to sleep, leaving her on her own.
No wonder they were smiling, I was by then, they had been brilliant. However to my surprise the father moved to the door of my office and opened it and in walked this 15 year-old daughter of theirs. I was totally surprised and wondering if I was about to get a yelling at from her when she walked over and gave me a hug and said, "Mum and Dad told me you put our family back together for us, thank you so much". Well I can honestly tell you there wasn't a dry eye in the office after that, even the parents hadn't thought she would say that.
This family in crisis felt the same emotional pain millions of other families do across our planet. My hope in telling you about this family is to let you know there is such a thing as a happy family and if your family is in crisis the number one thing to remember is:
Don't trick your mind into thinking the child will do terrible things if you don't let them have what they want. Children have to grow, they have to test and understand emotions. I've heard just about all the threats a child can offer to a parent and to me.
The child can and does attempt to convince their parents that these idle threats will be carried out. Once you give in to these "so called" threats, you have just trained that child to use them against you.
If for any reason you are dealing with your child and you suddenly feel anxious or fearful, instantly remove the feeling before you continue the conversation. I'VE SHOWN YOU HOW TO DO THAT. If you don't you will believe the child will harm itself and then YOU will become a parent afraid to discipline the child or give it a wonderful loving childhood, because you are coming from a view of fear and what if. Don't get fooled by threats of a child, these threats are really cries for help and they need their parents to take massive action to change things.
For example, an 11 to 16 year old wants to know if they fit in with others. This becomes their primary important priority in their life at this age. So communicate with them on this topic often so you can reassure them that they do in fact fit in.
YOU ARE NO LONGER THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THEIR LIFE ANYMORE.
I realise that this may come as a shock to some parents but please understand. Your love as a parent has to be a love of allowing, allowing them to fall, so they may get back up, a love of allowing them to fail, so they alone can work out how to succeed. Only then have you prepared your child for adulthood effectively.
All parents want so much more for their children and sometimes that love can blind them. Parents often use the phrase, "I just want to give my children what I never had". In saying this though I believe we should be teaching them how to be happy for no reason rather than attempting to run a comparison on how our own childhood was. It should have no meaning to your own child's life, but we know it does. The best way to teach your children to live an amazing life, is to live one yourself. Teach by doing not by saying.
If you over compensate in order to rid yourself of the guilt and shame you still feel because of your own childhood, your child will suffer.
Over protective parents can ruin a young life before it has a chance to blossom. Love your children yes, but give them the freedom to learn from their actions and to take responsibility for their actions.
I used to read to my four sons when they were young and when I could I would always bring in a new book but make up the story rather than read the book. As my sons grew up I would tell them stories about what it was like when their great, great grandfather was alive, then about my life as a young boy their age.
They heard stories about how people would have to stand in a line all day in the pouring rain just to buy sugar. Times like that in our planets evolution that should teach lessons to future generations.
Today my sons are fathers and they often mention that those stories really grounded them and made them feel grateful and appreciate what they had and to understand what others didn't have.
My sons today as father's battle the minefields of mobile phones, internet and social network websites with their own children. I remind them to let their children know that once we could all walk down the high street shopping and if anyone was thirsty we would stop at one of the many drink fountains scattered along the street for a drink of FREE water. Today they build massive complexes and round you up in concrete shopping malls where the only place you can get water is out of a plastic bottle that costs you a fortune.
Here's the real issue. As the world continues to change so too should your skills as a parent.
TODAY it's the parents who NEED the love of the child because the parent isn't living an amazing life. Many of the parents I see have shattered relationships and marriages and highly stressful lives. So in order to have love the parent craves for the love of their child at any cost. Then when it's time to say no to the child and mean no the parent can't. Now we have a guilty parent and an out of control child being trained by the unwitting parent.
I can't remember how many smart little children have sat in my office and told me about how useless their parents are. They tell me things like "Patrick, my parents take my IPOD from me for being naughty. They say it's gone for a week, but I know I'll have it back in two days, Mum always gives in".
This is the type of parenting that confuses a child and trains them that the parent doesn't mean what is said and therefore they can do anything they want.
Parents live in fear of many things today. You don't need to believe that trick. Stop, don't buy the myth of the child's threat. Instead be that honest reliable parent. This rubbish and politically correct phrase that the child has rights has been well over used.
No one has ever stopped me from filming or taking pictures of my children or grandchild. Plenty have tried but I told them to go away or else.