Finally! The part about the seven secrets to better parenting, the ten keys to more wholesome children, the One True Thing.
My friend Darrell went to a career seminar with the intriguing title:
How to Get Rich Working Half Days
The opening line of the seminar was, “I’m going to tell you how to get rich working half days. The first thing you have to do is decide which 12 hours you want to work.”
I thought long and hard about this. I read a shelf-full of books. I worked with kids for two and a half decades. I lectured and led parents. I watched the best parents and the worst parents I know. Susan and I raised an adult ourselves.
And here’s the One True Thing: There are no secrets, keys, or steps. There’s just you and maybe your partner, and one child. Even if you have five kids, you still have to raise them one at a time. Some are ready at three for what other children won’t handle until five. Some learn verbally, some by watching, and some require hands-on instruction Try one size fits all parenting (the same goes for teaching, coaching, and mentoring) and the result will come out looking like Class Diagnosis as sure as I’m sittin’ here. So, sorry, I can’t give you three easy steps to raising adults.
I do have this: I have a 30-Day Guarantee.
I guarantee that if you do nothing for the next 30 days, things will get better between you and your kid; if the nothing you do is what you’re about to read.
Some adult behaviors are so toxic, doing nothing may be significantly better than doing something. I promise things will be much better if for the next 30 days you commit yourself do nothing about the following six things:
• No Hijacking • No Fixing • No Bossing
• No Demanding • No Shaming • No Taming
Do nothing? I can do nothing! Don’t think I can’t. Just the other day I was sitting around and you know what I was doing? Nothing! If it’s nothing you want, you’ve come to the right guy. Bring it on kids, I’ll just sit here and watch things get better.
In the spirit of full disclosure, doing nothing may be more difficult than it sounds. You may find you have some chronic bad habits to overcome. Or you may be a proactive type who grows impatient with doing nothing.
WARNING: If you think these are special techniques you can employ to trick kids ... I guarantee you’ll fail.
In a perfect world, instead of just not Hijacking, Fixing, Bossing, Demanding, Shaming or Taming for 30 days, I would suggest something different if you thought you were up to it.
If you had the energy and imagination to tackle it, I would say ...
Don’t Hijack, ExploreReplace Fixing with CollaborationQuit Bossing and begin PartneringStop Demanding, start AffirmingInstead of Shaming, pay RespectGive up Taming and offer Encouragement
These are relational habits that grow from personal and interpersonal skills. But each one begins with a radical commitment to do nothing.
It’s worth the effort. If you have it in you to do something different, all the better. But that’s not the guarantee. The guarantee is, “do nothing for 30 day, and get better results.”
— If you want, you can buy Raising Adults, and read it all at once.