Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Have A New Kid by Friday

If you haven't read a book by Dr. Kevin Leman, I encourage you to do so. He's been our go-to-guy for issues of parenting, relationships and marriage. My wife used a video series of his back when she was leading a moms' group, and it was very insightful.
So, when we were having a recent bout of the battle-of-wills in our house, we finally decided to get a copy of Have a New Kid by Friday from the library. It's a wonderful book--I actually just ordered used copy online. Basically, I only wouldn't recommend reading the book if you're completely happy with your child's behavior all the time or if you're not willing to put any effort into parenting. The book is laid out in five easy chapters (Monday - Friday) that give steps for preparing to change your household.

Monday: Observe your household. Ask yourself what areas in your relationship with your child are most troublesome. Decide where you'd like things to be. Be willing to act and stand by it.

Tuesday: Look at attitudes, behavior and character (yours and the kids). Realize that the kids are getting their behaviors from somewhere, and their parents are the most logical source. Be willing to change your actions.

Wednesday: Evaluate your parenting style (authoritarian, permissive or authoritative/responsible) and how your child responds to your style. Look at steps you can take to be more balanced in your style.

Thursday: Look at Acceptance (unconditional), Belonging (emphasizing it within your family) and Competence (spurring them on). Stop praising your child (which links their worth to their actions) and invest more in encouraging them.

Friday: Evaluate your plan and where you want to get to. Think through how you usually respond and how you intend to now. Do it.

The bulk of the book looks at specific issues (from bed wetting to manners to fashion), helping work through how to approach them.

That may be a trite summary, but I hope it encourages you to check the book out if you want to improve your relationship with your kids. You're in control--make your home a place where everyone enjoys being.

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