Terrific Parenting has evolved over the past 15 years or so. As I worked with thousands of families in that time, I’ve had a chance to work with children who display difficulties with just day to day typical kinds of behaviors, the kinds of things a lot of you struggle with, whether it’s homework or picking up the room or picky eaters or kids who don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, or perhaps it’s getting them to bed at night.
Sometimes it’s siblings battling all those kinds of typical things to more extreme difficulties with kids who are violent or kids who have different diagnoses. Over the course of the years, I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to work with so many families and with so many kids.
In doing so, it really provided me with an experimental situation I get I was able to learn from families. I was able to take research and apply it to different situations. And from that research, I developed the principles that it really rests behind TerrificParenting.com and the rest behind all of the products and articles that you’ll find here.
And in this brief summary, what I’d like to do is give you a sense of those principles. I really want to give you a sense of how it is that you can have influence. Some of those products, for example, will change behavior in a matter of three days to five days. Other times it takes several weeks to bring about a change and for more long-term responsibilities, it can take six to eight weeks to make those changes.
But regardless of whether it’s, it’s a change that you can make happen in three days or a week or six weeks, the principles really do not change. And so I want to give this to you. I want to give this to you as a gift so that you have a sense of how it is that you make a difference, how it is that you can really begin to think about your behavior and what you do with your kids, and how you can turn that around.
So let’s go with this. First of all, I want you to think about what you model. I’m often fond of saying you cannot escape what you model. If you model, for example, that when you’re kids don’t give you what you want, you’re willing to scream and yell. In other words, you throw a tantrum to you’re in front of your kids when you’re not getting what you want. Your kids are going to throw a tantrum and yell and scream when they don’t get what they want.
It’s that simple. You cannot escape what you model. So whether it’s what you read about or get from me or whether it’s another book or whether it’s from a parenting magazine, none of that is going to make a difference. I promise you, none of that will work unless you pay attention to this one fundamental. You must become impeccable in what you model for your kids in order for your kids to learn the kind of behavior that you want. If you’re screaming and yelling at your kids, trust me, they’re going to be screaming and yelling.
So first of all, you can’t escape what you model. Secondly, you want to pay close attention to where you repeatedly and consistently invest your energy. Now, what do I mean by that? If you repeatedly, consistently invest your energy in behavior that you don’t want and it sounds like this.
Stop that. Pick that up. Don’t do that. Don’t hit your brother. Put that away. Why do you leave your bag there, cut off the TV? Didn’t I say cut off the TV? Didn’t like to cut off the TV, see what’s happening. My behavior, my energy, my attention keeps going into the moment’s behavior that I don’t want thinking I’m going to end up getting what I do want. It can’t work that way. You have to trust me on this. If you keep putting your energy into what you don’t want, what you don’t want just grows. It’s like the rule. It’s the wall. I often use this little metaphor with parents. I say to them, look, think of your behavior as water to a plant. You’re constantly feeding it. And so there are weeds. Weeds are the behavior. We don’t behaviors we don’t want.
Weeds include whining and complaining and tantrums and talking back and disrespect and not listening. You can make a whole long list of weeds if you keep feeding weeds with your energy. It’s like watering the weed. You can’t water weeds and end up getting seeds. It doesn’t work that way. The seeds, the seeds are the seeds of success and happiness, and responsibility.
To get seeds to grow, we have to invest more energy and attention in the moments where a seed is happening, where there’s a smile, where there’s cooperation when the kids are getting along when they’re actually listening when you’re getting what you want. So proportionally, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, we want to look at where is your energy going, regardless of which solution you look at on my website, whether it’s the sibling solution that teaches kids how to get it along, whether it’s the picky eater, which teaches kids how to eat healthy food, or if it’s the homework solutions product that teaches kids how to get their homework. Or maybe it’s about picking up around the house, regardless of which solution you look at, you’re going to find that one of the fundamentals that I talk about is this weeds, the seeds thing.
We’ve got to be able to figure a way. You’ve got to be able to figure a way to pull your energy away from those weeds so that you don’t keep putting energy over and over and over into the weeds because if you water weeds, you get more weeds. It’s just the way it works. So we’re got to be able to starve. We have the seeds. Remember that starved weeds feed seed. It’s the fundamental law that becomes most important after you remember to pay attention to what your model says so far, you’ve got to remember. Pay attention to your model. You can expect your kids to behave better than you do.
And secondly, make sure that you don’t put your energy into weeds and expect to get the seed. Instead, we have to start weeds and feed seed. By the way, when I want you to remember this, if you’ve been feeding weeds for a while and then you stop feeding weeds, do you think they’re going to be happy? Weeds, not happy weeds. In fact, when you first start starving weeds, meaning if you’ve been feeding your kids who’ve been negotiating with you or maybe they whine a lot or maybe they complain about or maybe they’re just negative or disrespectful. If you’ve been feeding that with a lot of energy and you respond to it, you react to it and then you stop. You can expect the behavior to get worse before it gets better.
Because there are weeds are looking for attention. You can’t change your course however you want to starve those weeds and instead you wait patiently. And sometimes that’s going to be a couple of minutes. Sometimes it’s going to be hours, sometimes it’s going to be days, and you’re going to see an unhappy child emerge and they’re going to whine and complain. It seems like endlessly for two or three days when you begin to change the rules, which we haven’t quite talked about yet. But if the weeds keep coming back, you keep walking away, walking away, walking away, starve the weeds and wait patiently until you see the seeds begin to emerge and they will eventually emerge.
So then you obsess on getting giving your attention to the seed while it’s happening when the kids are smiling when they are doing their homework when they are getting along. Let’s just imagine a little scenario. For example, your son tends to be a little bit distracted while he sits down to do his homework. He starts to look out the window. You say, Johnny, pay attention. He turns starts doing his work again. A few minutes later, he’s playing with a shoestring. You say, Johnny, get your work done. A few minutes later, he’s twirling his pencil, you say, trying to get your work done, you see your attention is going into weeds and you think that you’re going to by giving that energy to the weed, it’s going to get better.
It’s not. Instead, I encourage you, ignore the weeds. Don’t give any energy when Johnny’s playing with his pencil or a shoestring or looking out the window instead wait for that pencil to actually start moving. And when it does walk by and touch on the shoulder, give him a thumbs-up, just smile, put your energy into the behavior that you want, and then that baby behavior will grow. So remember one more time. Pay attention to what you might or you cannot escape what you might call secondary to starve weeds.
Thirdly, obsess upon feeding seeds. And that’s one of that’s those core set of fundamentals to get started to so far. You’re probably listening to this and you’re wondering, well, where’s the concrete stuff? Where’s the action on my part? And so that’s a good question. So here’s what I would like for you to think about next. Many times parents allow kids to dictate what the structure and routine are going to be at home. One of the ways that you gain much more influence over your child’s behavior and ultimately over the outcome of how their childhood lives turn out over the outcome of how they’re going to do academically is, by the way, that you manage routines.
And so I’d like for you to add this one simple idea to your repertoire of thoughts. Make sure that you organize your home life so that you always do work first, then playwork first, then play again. A very simple concept, but work is what work is homework, taking care of some chores and responsibilities around the house. And maybe they practice the piano. If they have something like that they need to take care of it. All those things are going to be done before the TV comes on before the computer comes on before they go out to play, organize your life so the kids learn. We take care of our responsibilities first, then we play.
You’ll be amazed at what leverage that gives you to get the kind of behavior that you want. You see, what that allows you to do is to pull away from all that nagging and reminding and prodding and pushing because, see, you can’t necessarily control your kids, but you can control the world they live in, you can control the things that are really, really important to them. And so if you surrender that by giving them the opportunity to play, to do the things they want, and then you’re going to try to pull them in to do their work, you’re going to find over the long term that’s going to work against you.
It’s much simpler home life and it’s a much easier home life to manage. If you make sure that you stick to this work plan, work, then play concept and you do that every single day. Now, if you get this workplace thing, I mean, if you really get it, I don’t like for you to think about what it does for you. It allows you to have so much leverage over your kids, leverage in the sense that the things that they really want, they can’t get access to until you give them the OK. That leverage allows you to completely pull away from all that nagging and reminding and prodding and pushing that stuff. It drives you crazy. It drives them crazy.
You feel like you’re constantly negative, negative, negative. You can abandon all of that. And you just patiently wait inside of this workplace structure. If your kids say, you know, I don’t really want to do my homework today, you’re going, OK, I’m all right with that, except you’re not going to play. And basically, their world has stopped until they take care of the responsibilities, doing their homework, chores around the house. And you’re willing to wait them out kids and stay in time. And I find this over and over. They’re not used to this. They’re used to entertainment. They’re used to getting all these goodies and having all sorts of things to do. So if you just stick to your guns, hold to that workplace concept, you’re going to see that it pulls you out of negative patterns, reminding, prodding, pushing, and also it allows you to wait patiently until that pencil begins to move.
Remember, I talked about that earlier. Once they begin doing that homework, once they begin picking up the room, once they’re picking up those toys, remember, that’s a seed. And if you want to invest your energy in those seeds, so let’s go over it again, pay attention to what you might or you can’t escape what you model. Secondly, we want to starve weeds. We don’t want to give lots of energy and attention to that. Third, we want to obsess upon finding seeds.
Next, we want to establish a structure. Do your work, then your play. Now, finally, I’d like to make one more point. And this is again, it’s inherent in every single solution you find on my website. And every time you show up to hear me speak, I’m going to be talking about this. And that is that as you implement this kind of approach, you want to be thinking more about action than words. You want to make sure that as a parent, you’re leading with action and not reading with words. You want to make sure if you’ve established a line, for example, whether it’s bedtime or whether it’s doing your work, then you play any line that you’ve established. You say, you know, this is the limit in our house or this is the kind of show that you can watch or this is how long you can watch TV.
Wherever you establish that line, you will not be able to teach your kids to honor that without using consequences. So you teach them using consequences, not words. Your words will not teach them its consequences, will teach Grumman’s. And so if you bring that into everything you do as a parent, it means that in this interesting and fascinating way, your words will then have more meaning. A week from now, a month from now, a year from now, you’ll find that your words have much more power if you’ve maintained a consistent home environment where you’ve established limits using consequences. So there you have it.
Those are the principles, the fundamental principles behind every solution that you’ll find on my website. And I want to encourage you, if you’re dealing with a child who doesn’t do their homework, if you’ve got a child who is disrespectful and oppositional, if you have a child who doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning or they don’t want to go to bed at night, maybe you’ve got siblings that are battling or perhaps you have a picky eater. If you go to my website and look into parenting solutions, you’ll find a solution for just about every parenting problem.
And here’s my promise to you. If you decide to order that program to purchase that product, you’ll find that if it doesn’t work for you, just call me, call my assistant, let her know you’ll get your money back. I know that these products work because these principles that I just talked about, they’re the fundamental principles behind any effective behavior management program. It’s what gives us influences our children. It’s what gives us influence on others.
So I encourage you to go to the website. If you have a struggle, find a product, find a solution and make sure you purchase that. Try it out. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can send it back. But more likely than not, I’d like for you to send me an email. Let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear about your successes. As I wrap this up, I want to review a situation that happened just a week or so ago to me. I was out to dinner and a woman comes up to me from an adjacent table and she said, you know, I wanted to introduce myself.
A couple of months ago, I went to one of your parenting programs and I’m a social worker and I went there and I was very skeptical. I said I’m not going to learn anything. And I walked away realizing that I was really getting new stuff, that this was different. It’s not the same old thing. She explained that she had purchased two of the programs. She purchased the program that I call the Moneybag Bag, which really is about how to teach kids to pick up their stuff. She also purchased the program teaching kids how to do their homework. And she said she had some mild concerns with both of her kids, but particularly she was bummed because her daughter would never pick up her stuff and she had more problems with her son because he’s always battling over homework.
The good news of this story is that she said, you know, it only took a couple of weeks and it was just like you said, everything got better and it got better so quickly. Life went so smoothly. I would never believe it, she said. I realize that people probably come up to you and tell you when things don’t work. So I wanted you to know it really does work. I’m relaying that to you because that’s the kind of feedback I get from parents and it’s the kind of feedback I hope to get from you.
But the bottom line is, if you’re having those kinds of concerns, put it this way. If you have any concerns with your kids around behavioral issues or struggles at home, I encourage you to go to the website, read all the articles are lots of interesting articles there. And if that doesn’t answer the question for you, purchase one of the products, get a solution. And you know that if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll get your money back. I stand behind everything that I sell on TerrificParenting.com, but I believe because I’ve seen it over and over that it will work for you.
So I hope you find this summary helpful. Remember, go back to those principles. You’ll find that that’s fundamental to getting you and your kids back on track. And I’d like to end our brief time together by thanking you. I want to thank you for taking an interest in your children. I want to thank you for taking an interest in Terrific Parenting. Also want to thank you for taking an interest in these principles. I encourage you to go out there, apply these ideas, and I think you’ll find it will make a difference in your home.
This is Dr. Randy Cale. And I want to wish you all the best. Take care.