As book bags are selected and schedules are filling up, many parents approach the school year with a combination of relief (that the summer is over) and growing trepidation about the year ahead. The trepidation is about how hectic the schedule will be, or perhaps their child making the team or maybe even performance in school. It can also be about battles over homework, getting up in the morning and other aspects of the daily routine. The options for stress are quite extensive.
Unfortunately, these struggling parents are mostly following the herd, and the principles of herd-based parenting, chaotic and unsuccessful as they are. There is another option available.
The Renegade Parent Takes Control!
The ‘renegade’ parent has abandoned many of the principles and habits of herd-based parenting, and consequently is focused on other daily activities. As the second article in this series on renegade parenting, we turn primarily to the practical application of tools used by renegade parent.
But first, let’s cover one important principle that puts the renegade parent in an advantageous position.
- The Renegade Parents Is Focused on the Controllables Only
Most people are waiting on life to come to them, and thus, by definition, they are ‘reactive’ to life events. They do not have a plan to move through life with the intention to focus only on the aspects that they can control. Of course, there is no protection from the unexpected, it just means that there is a pre-determined perspective to abandon any whining, complaining, moaning or ‘stressing out’ over the events of the typical school year. Instead, a renegade game plan is already in place, buffering parents and children from most of these challenges. Let’s over it now.
The Renegade Game Plan for School
1. The Renegade is Prepared and Starts Early.
Schedules and routines are not suddenly adjusted on the first day of school. Instead, these routines are in place in advance. If you are compelled to become a renegade, then you start now.
Have a chat with you kids. Tell them matter-of-factly that there are going to be changes. Let them know the days of last second changes, scrambling to find helmets and sticks, and even the nagging and arguing are done. Instead, a new action plan will be in place, and it begins with…
2. The Renegade Intentionally Chooses a Balanced Schedule
Remember: the herd is simply following the herd. So, what the other families do (i.e., the herd) is what the herd-based parent will be doing. No problem, if you want that lifestyle. The renegade parent does NOT!
Instead, the renegade parent holds dearly to the intention of a value based, balanced lifestyle. They will not give up Sunday’s at grandparents for private coaching lessons or a chance to be on the traveling team. They will not be running in five directions each day, adding more and more activity simply because others are doing it or even because their kids want to do it. The criteria they use for a yes or no comes from their own inner clarity about what brings joy in life, as well as success.
And, no single renegade family’s schedule will look like the next. It doesn’t work that way. But they do understand that the data is clear on where the herd is taking their children, and they do not seek that.
- More Does Not Equal More…But Equals Less?
How does this work? More activity does not equal a better life, or better opportunity for children. More and more activity, when excessive, only brings a stressful, incessantly competitive lifestyle that strips away self-esteem and leaves no room for the softer values of life. The renegade parent would rather teach their children to love and care for a neighbor or friend, rather than make the A team. They would rather volunteer for a weekend, than spend nights in hotel rooms with their kids indulged in day after day of competitive activity. And yet…
3. The Renegade Parents is Imminently Focused on the Practical.
You might be thinking this is in conflict with my previous comments, but it is not. The renegade parent is clear about the authentic requirements for success and happiness. And the first of these is building the intensely automatic habit of doing the difficult stuff before you do the enjoyable stuff in life. I call this the ‘Work, then Play’ formula for success. Here’s how it works:
When your children get home from school or activities, they get a five or 10-minute break. After that, it’s time for homework and responsibilities. During this time, there’s no IPad, TV, social media, going outside, and no toys or extended conversations with Mom and Dad. No friends over.
Nothing of enjoyment or distraction… until their work is done.
This is critical, as you see here is another place where the renegade parents takes control of the controllable. Instead of nagging, yelling, arguing and trying to push their children to do their homework, they instead focus on what can be controlled easily; the goodies!
So, if you choose the renegade approach, you child may initially refuse to do their work. If so, let it be. But strictly maintain that there’s no play in any form until work is done.
You have extraordinary leverage working for you, if you just access it. They will soon be bored to tears and will come around. It’s critical that you simply ignore all the whining, complaining and drama coming your way. Hang on…it will go away. And finally…
4. The Renegade Parents Believes in Best Effort.
This is essential. Many children will seek the easy path and do shoddy work if allowed. Instead, require best effort before releasing the goodies. Just don’t give in after the hour of whining and then three minutes of work. Remain calm, and hold them accountable to solid, best effort.
So be patient and allow for some resistance and struggles. But as a renegade parent, don’t be tempted to explain yourself again and again. Instead, control the goodies, and wait for the leverage to take affect (i.e., work first…then get your goodies). It will work!