Congratulations to all the winners of our EP Contest, Parenting Mistakes I’ve Made and How I’m Going to Fix Them! We received hundreds of entries from parents across North America, all trying their best to correct mistakes and use better parenting techniques with their children. Your words inspired all of us here at Empowering Parents; we thank you for sharing your challenges and solutions with us.
Each of our ten winners will receive a signed copy of James Lehman’s new book, Transform Your Problem Child. In addition, each winning submission will appear in the Empowering Parents blog over the next three weeks.
Congratulations to the following parents!
Joe and Cathie Locetta
We hope you’ll all check in with us and let us know how your new methods are working throughout the year. Good luck, and remember — we’re all in this together!
–Elisabeth, EP Editor
EP Contest Winners: “Parenting Mistakes I’ve Made — and How I’m Going to Fix Them!”
Giving My 14-year-old Consequences and Teaching Him to Accept Responsibility
by Lori Tucker
I have a 14-year-old boy who was very rebellious and angry from an early age. He began his reign of rebellion and terror in Kindergarten. Things simply got worse at school and at home as he grew older. His father and I split up when our son was 18-months-old. I spent the next several years “competing” with his father and giving our child total control out of my own guilt. I tried to give my son everything he wanted and anything I could think of (except responsibilities or consequences for his actions) to calm him down and keep him at peace with the school, his siblings, and me. When my son was 12, someone introduced me to James Lehman’s Total Transformation program. He now has responsibilities and consequences for his actions. He is better, but not perfect. Our communication and relationship is better since I became his “mother” instead of his “friend”. Thank you Mr. Lehman, for your words of wisdom and knowledge. They have changed our lives and given me the tools I need to be a better role model for my son.
Dear Lori: So many parents want to “connect” with their kids that they do end up being more of a friend than a parent, just as you’ve written. As James writes, kids don’t need you to be their friend. A kind, patient, loving parent with clear rules and expectations and consequences for not following those rules is far more useful to a child than a buddy. We appreciate the work you’ve done with your family. Good luck, and let us know how it’s going. Megan Devine, 1-on-1 Coach
Loving the Child I Have Not the Child I Expected to Have
by Crystal Shackleford
Having to pick just one mistake I’m going to correct is like pulling a needle out of a haystack, but here is the one I’d like to focus on:
My mistake is getting wound-up over my son’s homework and reading styles. He is so vastly different than I was as a child that I often feel I cannot relate to him. While there has never been someone I’ve loved so much, I still can’t figure out why he is the way he is sometimes. I was calm and easily entertained and contained. He is extremely active and needs help focusing on tasks.
I’m going to make the effort to change by not imposing my personal experience and preferences on his ability to get his work done. I have a very active child and if he stands while doing his work or wants to process between every sentence of his reading, I should approach that with a respect for his differences and unique method of learning.
I am going to remind myself of the gift of time I have with him and that answering questions about his book story is a privilege, not a chore; that his need to move about while accomplishing a task isn’t necessarily wrong, it is just different than how I would do it. And I’m going to remind myself that he may just be teaching me something about how to get things done while enjoying them at the same time!
Crystal: What a powerful choice you’ve made! Seeing other peoples needs and preferences as valid is challenging in many circumstances, and can be even more difficult when you have to work with the differences on a nearly constant basis. Helping your son discover what works for him, encouraging him to be exactly who he is AND get his work done, is a great gift. It doesn’t mean it won’t be frustrating for you at times, so be sure to give yourself a break during homework time even just a quick breath of fresh air can help you maintain your calm in the face of very different styles! Good luck, and thanks for writing in. Megan Devine, 1-on-1 Coach
My Plan to Reduce Tantrums in My Home (It’s Already Working!)
by Tara McIntyre
The Total Transformation is a program has literally changed the way I even look at parenting. Before the program, I was isolated and controlled by a 4-year-old who had anger off the charts at times. I worried about it, but after starting the program quickly learned that although my son seemed so angry, he was angry with a manipulating twist. Meaning, without attention given to the tantrums, he was not willing to stand by the anger. Once I learned this we reduced tantrums by at least 50 percent.
My biggest parenting mistake continues to be talking too much. I want to argue back. I think it is in my nature, being argumentative (wonder where my son got it… well, there you go). My son will name-call and I will answer by saying something like: That’s rude, stop it right now. He will respond to me and I will respond again. While this goes on he is escalating….and escalating and escalating. I know that by telling him to go to his room and walking away that the escalation will be reduced, but the reflex to answer is still there. I am really working toward not answering back, stating what I expect and walking away. I know this works.
That is one of the parenting mistakes I have made and one that I continue to work on.
Dear Tara: Discovering how much our own responses feed into a situation is both humbling and empowering! We appreciate how much self-control and patience it takes to not take the bait from a child especially when they know just how to get to you. Having a few stock phrases in your pocket can help, things like Calling me names is not going to change my answer. You may feel like a broken record, but repetition helps! Good luck! Megan Devine, 1-on-1 Coach
(Please check the EP Blog next week to read the next 3 winning entries!)
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.