How Do You Roll?

I was talking to one of my daughters the other day and she was sharing with me that she needed to talk about a problem she had. I said, “I would love to help. That’s how I roll!” She said clearly and confidently, “I know.” It got me to thinking about how important it is for our children, young or old, to have confidence in how we will react to their requests or issues.

If you are a helicopter parent, meaning you always save them. Your child may think, “I don’t have to take responsibility of X because my parent will take care of it. It is how my parent rolls.” If you are a drill sergeant parent, the child may hide things from you and rebel instead of honestly and openly coming to you with problems – or perhaps they create problems just to get back at you for not sharing control with them. If you are a consultant parent, most likely your child is clear that any problem they create is their problem, and no matter what, you are there to support them.

My goal for this year, and actually every year since I learned about the different types of parents, is to be a consultant parent. The key thing is to hand the problem back to the child in a calm way and to allow natural consequences to teach them.

I love that by being a consultant parent or at least trying to be, I have sent the message that I am open and available to my daughters. Thanks Love and Logic®!

Here are two handouts outlining the types of parents and discussing how to hand problems back to kids. I hope you find them helpful!

So how do you roll?

What do your children expect from you?


Parenting Resolutions: How to Make Real Parenting Progress with your Child this Year

This is the time of year everyone talks about goals and resolutions. You may recall some of the “resolution” conversations you’ve had with your family and friends already this year. There may have been declarations like “resolutions are dumb” or “I have 15 resolutions this year”. You have probably seen that out of all of the changes we tell ourselves they are most often on an individual basis (diet, exercise, etc…) Why not think about how you can better your family this year as a parent.

When it comes to a parenting resolution it can actually be worth setting goals each year. Although a parenting decision or resolution doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the year – just like using daylight savings time as cue to change your fire detector battery, January is just a convenient time of the year to set goals for your family.

Examples of a parenting resolution might be to break down a specific area that is causing stress, or perhaps there is value you want to intentionally develop in your children, like compassion or kindness. Either type of resolution, taking some time to think and brainstorm HOW you are going to achieve the resolution is key.

Here are some ideas for the HOW:

1. Character is Caught not Taught. That means modeling is your best tool to help your child develop the values and character qualities you want to see them use. The key to modeling is to engage with the child with joy and excitement. Because we all drawn to anything new and exciting. Think of a traffic accident, we all slow down and look. For example, if you want to teach the value of hard work to your child, engage withthem in doing chores. That’s right, doing the chores with them and having fun while doing it is important.

2. If you need to change a stressful behavior your child is doing (getting up in the middle of the night or not wanting to brush their teeth, etc…) the key is choosing one behavior that you want to change and then decide what consequence you can apply to teach the child that the current misbehavior is not getting them anywhere. For example: There is often a battle around brushing of teeth. The consequence’s Love and Logic® suggests always choosing from are:

· Remove the child (time-out)

· Remove the offending object

· Removing the parent

· Remove what means life, privileges

Let’s look at these. In this situation removing the child could work, you can simply put the child in time-out until he’s willing to brush his teeth but….maybe not what you want to do right before bed. How about an enforceable statement that removes what means life, such as “I read stories to kids who brush their teeth.” However, of all the consequences that you can apply, removing yourself from the audience of the power struggle is the easiest. So, simply use an empathetic one-liner like “so sad” then turn away from the child and give NO verbal or physical interaction until the child shows compliance. As soon as the child shows compliance, you are praising and happy to be a part of the situation.

Keys to successful parenting resolutions are:

  • Determine what you want to change.
  • Put strategies in place making the resolution a reality.
  • Stay calm in the process: anger and frustration fuel misbehavior
  • Have a accountability partner

Here is a general link outlining how to keep a resolution.


How can families go on vacation and not deal with stressful, entitled kids?

I recently was in Hawaii with our oldest daughter. I was her stand-in for her husband who is serving in Afghanistan in the army. We stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel, which is a military hotel for soldiers and their families to have an affordable holiday, a great gift to all those serving our country.

Something my daughter and I noticed was that all the children were so well behaved. In the seven days we were there, we only saw one moment that a child was acting entitled, what many people call “bratty.” He was about 8 years old and did not like the soft drink his dad ordered for him as they prepared to watch the sunset. Both parents were embarrassed, we all would be. But both parents stayed pretty calm and his mom removed him from the table. He eventually returned and apologized to those at the table and gave his dad a hug and said, “I love you.” The sunset, and all was fine.

My daughter and I commented how well the parents handled the situation and how weird it was that was our only issued kid we saw. So my question is why? We have been on many a vacation and we usually witness many stressful exchanges between kids and their parents. In fact, we once brought our 15, 13, 11 year olds to Hawaii and did not bring them again on a vacation for 5 years. Here is what my daughter and I came up with as possible explanations for the consistent positive behavior:

  • Really grateful kids to have their parent back from deployment.
  • This is not a regular occurrence or expectation.
  • The character qualities instilled by military experience.
  • Dad is a literal drill sergeant…say no more.

Perhaps it is all of the above. I would love your feedback.