The “Kids: The Manual” Philosophy

Children want to be good. It’s our job to teach them how.

More than anything else, kids want to be “good.”

They want our love and approval, and they’re willing to work really, really hard to get it! For a child, there is nothing quite like the feeling of pride they get when a parent recognizes them for a job well done.

So why, then, do we so often find ourselves frustrated and angry at our kids over the “little things” — like misbehaving at a restaurant or not putting their shoes on quickly enough?

Simply put, most conflicts between parents and kids are the result of two things: unclear expectations and uncertain consequences.

If you occasionally find yourself in a rush to get your 5 year old daughter out the door and put her shoes on for her, then getting her shoes on is an unclear expectation. Maybe she’s feeling tired this morning and hopes you’ll do it for her. The only way to find out for sure is to NOT put her shoes on when you ask… and see what happens!

If you allow your 9 year old son to misbehave at a restaurant because you don’t feel like “making a scene,” that’s a case of uncertain consequences. If he knew for certain that misbehaving would guarantee him a week with no video games, he simply wouldn’t do it!

As a parent, laying out the expectations and consequences for your children is up to you. The good news is that once you’ve clearly explained to your kids how this new system of expectations and consequences works, they’ll actually be excited to show you how well they can meet your expectations – not only to avoid negative consequences, but to enjoy any rewards, too!

So at the heart of my philosophy is this: Children want to be good – but they need you to show them how to do it! My goal for Kids: The Manual is to provide a simple, step-by-step system for parents to follow that makes this process as quick, easy, and rewarding as possible!

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Dana Obleman, BA (Psych.) B. Ed. (Elem.)
Author — Kids: The Manual

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, you can click here to have me send you a PDF of “How To Eliminate Whining From Your House This Weekend.” It’s free, and it shows my philosophy in action.