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Creating The Family You Want
We spent four weeks focused on:
Knowing What We Want
Assembling Our Team
Creating An Intimate Relationship
Considering Parenting Goals
Along the way, I shared the wisdom of removing, from ourselves, whatever bothers us in others.
I ended last time with a favorite quote from John Wooden,
A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.
Not just a coach.
An effective parent
An effective spouse
Whatever role you find yourself in
With correction, I try to remember not everyone wants to improve.
Put another way, our windows for receiving instruction open and close.
The best advice I received in this regard:
Wait until the energy goes out of the situation.
Sometimes I need to wait years.
You’ve Got To Choose
To make progress requires consistent focus over time. As busy people, we often don’t have the time to make progress.
The people who say “we all have the same amount of time” probably haven’t lived in a house filled with little kids.
It was pure survival.
I was forced to choose.1
In choosing, match the person to the role.
Let’s give a specific example. I’m willing to bet you get a different response depending on which parent is interacting with a specific kid.
As a couple, you can use this to your advantage. Take time to think through your desired outcome. In our house, we switch up the parent-kid interface based on the desired outcome.
Sometimes, we want to have a conversation.
Other times, the decision has been made and we want to communicate the result.
About the result… Quite often my son will appear to “talk back.” Actually, he is talking back. But… he’s also doing exactly what we asked and accepting our decision.
At this point we have a choice…
Accept he’s doing what we asked (and get back to something useful)
Re-engage the issue (and risk a worse outcome)
Being able to see compliance is a huge advantage. It will prevent you from needlessly re-engaging the issue.
A Relentless Focus On The Very Few Things That Matter
Be Consistent, Regardless Of Inconvenience
Get Back To Positive Experiences
If you flip the script then you’ll see where you might be spinning your wheels.
Constant Minor Correction
Lack of Consistency, Leading To Endless Negotiation
Re-engaging When The Kid Has Complied
Holding On To Negative Experiences
I catch myself in these patterns all the time. They don’t serve me well. Fortunately, kids are natural experts at forgiveness and moving forward.
A Unique Opportunity
Recently, we lived through an interesting period.
Everything shut down.
There was very little happening outside of our home.
Our kids got to see what happens when they were the sole focus on my attention.
They loved it.
Maybe not every part of it.
But overall, they had a great pandemic.
The entire pandemic, I was kicking their asses.
They have ZERO memory of the experience.
They have no idea where their good habits came from.
How’d I manage that?
This is where the years of self-improvement come into play. When we are working to be the person we want our kids to become, they are hardwired to tag along.
They really want to join in. Yes, it’s inefficient, but only at the beginning. The earlier we start the better.
And what were we working on? All the skills I mentioned in last week’s article.
And how do we avoid creating resentment? Every adult the kid interacts with is seen to do their share.
The key words are EVERY and SEEN.
Same Standards For Everyone.2
In some family systems, this can create conflict.
When you’re with me, you’re going to live consistent with my approach.
If I’ve got myself in order then “my approach” is clear.
Each generation needs one adult to set the standard.
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Did you notice? There’s nothing in this piece about what YOU want. That’s up to you, and your parenting partner, to decide.
Next time, I’ll share ideas on implementation strategies as well as the emotions you’re likely to encounter when you seek change in your household.
My key objectives in all of this:
The final hour of my podcast with Rich Roll goes deep on the choices I made with regard to family. For ten years, I made a choices to bring time into my family life.