NO! Call me slow or dim-witted, but I always thought "no" summed it up pretty clearly. I'm a sort of an old-fashioned, Oxford English Dictionary kind of guy. “No” means no. As in no, you can't eat more candy, take the car out for a spin on your 13th birthday, or sell your new brother Zak on eBay. But that's me. In the kid dictionary, “no” means “maybe, possibly, depends, wait 5 minutes and ask again.” And here we have the great parental debate: What do we do with a no.
I have a dream that goes like this: ME: "Son, don't eat anymore cookies before dinner." SON: "OK." That's it. I know, it's not world peace. It's not feeding the hungry or curing cancer or anything like that. Those things seem so difficult and this one seems so close, so attainable. But that's the parenting paradox: The moment you tell them what not to do, that thing becomes immensely appealing to them. King Solomon said it so well: “Stolen Waters are Sweet.” (Proverbs 9:17) Water is not sweet except if you shouldn’t have it. Tell your children not to eat gravel, not to chase cars on the freeway, and not to set the dog on fire, and what do you end up with? At least two visits to the emergency room and one to the vet.
Let me tell you the problem I have with evolution. First, I don't have a problem with frogs coming from fish, and I don’t have a problem with birds evolving from lizards. I don’t even have a problem with dogs evolving from scummy divorce lawyers (my latest pet peeve). My problem with evolution is this: How can anyone think teenagers evolved from anything? The whole concept of evolution is that the previous species is inferior to later ones. That would mean the previous incarnation of teenagers was worse than the ones we have now. I just find that hard to believe. Anyone who has experienced these precious moments of teen-parent angst knows what I mean: • The Look, as in, “I can’t believe you and I are related.” Where do they learn that? It must be in the DNA. How can teenagers all over the world spontaneously know what look to do? Do they go to school for that? What-ever! • The ever-amusing “I hate you, and can you drop me off at the mall with your credit card” combo. Funny how they fail to see the irony in that. • The classic line, “You are the reason I need therapy!” All of this makes it hard for me to conceive of a human-like species worse than a teenager. So, I submit that teenagers must have killed off the dinosaurs. Life in Jurassic Park got too comfortable, the kids grew up, the livin’ was easy, and the world entered the Teenagic Period. A new generation of dinosaurs evolved, the Teenagosaurus. This genus was so self-absorbed and impervious to reason, that the dinosaurs couldn’t survive it. The only way for life to go on was to evolve, because the only thing worse than a teenager, is a teenager with big teeth. In this artists re-enactment of a tragic father-son dinosaur scene, you see father dinosaur trying in vain to explain to his “evolved” teenage son that if we are to survive as a species, you can't sleep till 2 p.m. The son doesn't listen, of course, perhaps because Mr. Dinosaur is unable to wave his useless little arms in protest. So, in the end, they became extinct.
It has become ever so trite to state that in business if you don't know where you want to end up chances are you won't get there. This is obviously true in just about every and all of our endeavours, not least of which is parenting. This tool will help you plot out your own parenting road map. Because, as much as we tend to think we are clear where we want our children to end up, it's very easy to be ambiguous. Not only to us, but to our children, and even our spouses. And confusion and conflicts love vagueness. Okay, so here's what to do: click here to download your FREE Parenting Road Map
Or what I like to call "teenaging," but is more commonly known by the acronym: MKADMC. My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy! Teenaging is the (often) painful and slow process of training parents in how to raise teenagers. To call raising a teenager "parenting" is like calling bungee jumping “skipping.” Teenaging officially begins at around 11 or 12. However, cases of "teenage-itis" have been known to break out in children as young as 9 or 10, and I can testify to the fact that some of my kids (as young as 6 or 7) broke out with the same symptoms as my 17-year-old. Don't worry, that's what single-malt scotch was invented for. If you are just embarking on the teenaging years, then the vast majority of the advice you’ve read about “parenting” is about as useful as a retirement plan at Lehman Brothers. Rule 2 of Teenaging: Change your definition of winning.
Or, for those who want something a little easier, "How to Assemble a Nuclear Submarine in Your Basement."Rule 1 in parenting a teenager: Don't blame your spouse. Let's say you are going head-to-head with your teenage son or daughter. It's loud, aggravating and circular. You aren't getting anywhere except closer to a nervous breakdown.Typically, it's easier to get your spouse to step in, and annoying when they don't seem to help or take your side.Don't blame your spouse. If you go back far enough in your memory banks, you will recall this rule from your own teenage years. Your squabbles with your mother rarely had anything to do with your father, and vise versa.
My local supermarket has a machine to check blood pressure. Wouldn't it be great if there were a machine to see if you are a good or bad parent?Curious?Well, I have such a machine. If you are game, click here and it will tell which kind of parent you are, good or bad?Nervous? You should be....
Take my advice, don't give advice. There are two principles when it comes to giving advice: 1) People never seek advice thinking it's them. 2) Invariably it is. Did you ever wonder if there were a parallel world just like ours? Neither did I. But there is. The first world is where finding whoever is to blame, helps. In this world, all disputes are solved by figuring out who did it. Then there is the other world, it's often called "reality." Most of the media lives in the first world, they engage in an often pointless and equally endless game of trying to figure out who the culprit is. They are not alone however, most spouses do the same thing.
If you find it annoying that your spouse goes on-and-on long after they have made their point abundantly clear, then you have got half the understanding of how annoying it is for your kids. Parenting involves knowing when you have made your point. A skill your children will not thank you for, and your spouse might. A diesel train traveling at full speed needs about a mile and a half to come to a complete stop, a spouse in a fit of anger needs a lot longer than that. What is going on here?