Parenting Principles

  • Don’t worry about treating children fairly. Remember that to a child, “fair” means “me first” with the biggest and best of everything.
  • To a child, need and want feel exactly the same. The child will remain forever confused unless parents do a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff, the necessary from the unnecessary.
  • Do not agonize over anything a child does or fails to do if the child is perfectly capable of agonizing over it himself.
  • The fewer toys and, therefore, the more space a child has in which to explore and create, the more successful the child will be at occupying his or her time.
  • Don’t allow children be the center of attention in the family for it will turn the family upside down, inside out, and backwards.
  • In the adult-centered family, the major share of attention goes from adult to adult rather than adult to child. This “weans” children from the need for constant attention, thus permitting the growth of self-reliance.
  • Within a family, the proper place for children is the backseat. Parents need to sit in the front seat, so they can keep their eyes on the road ahead.
  • Parents who always go out of their way for their children eventually lose their way.
  • As a parent, you’ll never be perfect, but you’ll always be the only mother or father your child will ever want. Do your best, and your best will be good enough.
  • Respect in the parent-child relationship is a two-way street. Children show respect for parents by obeying them, and parents show respect for children by expecting them to obey.
  • The teaching of the “Three R’s” (Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness) begins at home.
  • The more parents do for a child, the less the child is ultimately capable of doing for himself.
  • The most effective means of helping a child toward becoming a productive, responsible member of society is to assign him or her a regular, daily routine of chores around the home. Parents who fail to do so are neglecting their civic responsibilities.
  • The ultimate goal of raising children is to help them out of our lives and into successful lives of their own.
  • Discipline is not the sum of a set of methods. It is a climate of understanding that permeates every aspect of the family’s life.
  • The ability to develop self-control depends upon being able to accurately predict the consequences of your own behavior. That’s why parental consistency is so important. Without it, a child wanders lost.

by John Rosemond

Raising Obedient Kids

The Formula

by John Rosemond

Obedient kids are happy kids. Therefore, whereas an obedient child is certainly a blessing to a parent, the greatest benefit of obedience accrues to the child.

Getting a child to obey is a matter of six features of parent communication that I call The Formula:

1. Speak from an upright position. I know that some “experts” say to kneel in front of the child, but they’re wrong.

2. Use as few words as possible to convey the instruction.

3. Precede the instruction with an authoritative phrase such as, “I want you to . . . ,” “It’s time for you to . . . ,” or “I expect you to . . .”

4. Do not explain why you’re giving the instruction. That results in the question, “Why?”

5. If the child asks why, respond with, “Because I said so.” Again, I know that some disagree; but, again, they’re wrong.

6. If possible, walk away. Don’t stand there giving the child someone to push back against.

In September 2016, a couple in Richmond, Virginia, heard me describe The Formula. Their three-year-old has been obedient ever since. Mind you, prior to the fateful speaking engagement in question, this child ignored, complained, cried, and otherwise refused to obey instructions from her parents. The child’s oppositional defiant disorder was cured in one day.

A couple who attended a small-group retreat in Atlanta in February 2017 began using The Formula with their four-year-old. The first day, the little fellow cleaned up his toys by himself, dressed himself, and when straightforwardly told to stop interrupting conversations between his parents, he stopped and remained quiet. All three were firsts. When his dreaded nap time came, his parents used The Formula, and he took his nap without a fight, whereas prior to this, there had always been a nap-time scene. He also had a habit of following his mother around the house. She told him to stop and leave the room. He left the room.

The parents, amazed at how much progress they’d made in such a short time, applied a similar recommendation of mine to their son’s refusal to eat vegetables. At dinner they gave him one green bean cut into pieces, one half teaspoon of fried chicken, and one half teaspoon of mashed potatoes and gravy. They informed him that when he ate everything, he could have seconds of anything. He ate everything. Over subsequent nights they increased the veggie but not the meat or starch. A week later, he was eating a regular helping of broccoli without complaint. In addition, his teacher reported that he was also eating veggies at school.

The proper discipline of a child is a matter of presentation, folks. It isn’t a matter of using correct consequences, although there will be times when consequences are necessary. The Formula keeps the use of consequences to a minimum, meaning everyone is happier.

Your great-grandmother could have told you this. Despite what people in my profession have been saying for 50 years, there is nothing new under the sun concerning children.