WHEN building a home, it is always wise to purchase a warranty. Even though you may have the best builder in the world, he is still depending on sub-contractors and they are depending on vendors to provide windows, doors, fixtures, wiring, appliances—you get the idea? A whole lot can go wrong with a house even with the best builder.
Children don’t come with instructions or a warranty. I have written over and over on this principle but must say it again: Success is, first and foremost, success with self, it is an inside job. Discipline that comes closest to a home warranty is an inside job. I like to put it this way; discipline is building internal fences.
If discipline does not remain an inside job, then you and I have failed as parents. Remember, success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others. So, in everything we do with discipline, we are trying to help our children and grandchildren learn to make choices themselves that result in them becoming the best they can be because that’s what they want to do. Remember you always begin with the end in mind. As you think about discipline, think where you’re trying to go ultimately. Not just in the short-term, but in the long run—where do you want to end up? ‘Then, begin with that end in mind.
Three basic parenting styles
There are three basic parenting styles. If you were to read hooks on Parenting you would consistently read about these. Although some authors use different terms, the ideas would essentially be the same. I am going to share them with you in order of the most common to the least.
The first and most common one would be permissive parenting.
Most parents are permissive parents. A permissive parent is a parent who loves their child, loves their grandchild, and wants the best for them. But in my opinion they really don’t know how to love them. Here’s the problem; they want so much to be their child’s friend that they’re not willing to do what’s best for them. We have a huge, huge number of co-dependent people who are parents. These moms and dads are looking to gain their own sense of self-worth and self-esteem from their children you have a serious problem if you need the love and acceptance of your child or your grandchild to make you feel good about yourself. Why? If you need them and their approval, you cannot lead them. If you are dependent upon them to meet your needs, you can’t provide what is best for them. You are constantly caught between doing what is best for them and your need to have them like you. Two co-dependent people in an inter. dependent situation is like having two ticks and no dog. You must first be independent before you can be interdependent. A permissive parent, generally, is one who loves the children but does not really know how to love them.
The second parenting style is authoritarian parenting.
An authoritarian parent loves their children and grandchildren, but they’re so hard and firm that it’s difficult for the child to see and experience their love. Every deliberation tends to begin and end with, “It’s going to be this way because I said so.” Remember, they love their kids; it’s just hard for children to realize the love when every discussion begins and ends with, “There will be no discussion.”
The third most used parenting style is authoritative parenting.
This used to be called democratic parenting, but there is really nothing about this parenting style that resembles a democracy. It’s not like having a discussion. Everybody gets a vote and the majority rules. Mom and dad try hard and always give kids the right to feel what they feel, to share what they want to share, and to get a vote in the family. However, an authoritative parent always reserves the light to hold the trump card. they always reserve the right to say, “While I understand why you do not want to go to this event, when the bus leaves you are going to be on the bus.” Another example would be, “I understand that you want to date John and why; however, here is the reason that I will not allow you to do so. ‘ With this style of parenting, mom as dad always reserve the right to hold the trump card. This is especially tough when the child is strong- willed.
You might be having a hard time with allowing your kids to express their objections. Remember, the key to a long-term warranty is internal fence building. If your kids aren’t involved in the decision-making process until they leave your home, you might not be pleased with the long-term results.
Tommy was standing up in class when the teacher said, “Tommy, I want you to sit down.” Tommy answered, “No!” and continued to stand. “Tommy, I want you to sit down now.” Tommy said, “No!” and continued standing. Finally, the teacher said, “Tommy, I want you to sit down right now or I’m going to rip your ears off’ (slight exaggeration). Tommy finally sat down but turned to his friend next to him and said, “On the inside, I’m still standing up!” You can bet he stood up again at his first opportunity.
You can, for the most part, make your kids do what you want them to do while they live in your house. But when they leave your house, they’re going do what they want to do. So, the key is, how do we parent so that when they leave our house at age eighteen, they choose to be winners? Some people have a real hard time with the fact that authoritative parenting means our kids have the freedom to question us.
I want to encourage you that while it is at times easier to be authoritarian in our parenting, the authoritarian style does not work over the long term as our kids move into the adolescent years. In fact, it most often backfires.
What is the best way to parent? In my opinion here is a good timeline to follow. The best parenting style from birth through kindergarten would be a loving, caring, unconditionally authoritarian parent. Young children need two basic things: They need unconditional love and acceptance and they need to lean to respond to authority If you allow a two year old to demand to know “Why,” you are making a Serious mistake. “Because I said so” is fine for a two year old. If they don’t learn to respond to your authority as a preschooler, then they will struggle with all authority structures and figures and ultimately have to be broken in adolescence. America’s prisons are full of those who were never disciplined as a teenager.
One afternoon Debra and I walked out of a conference in Mississippi put Paige and Josh in their car seats, got in the van, and this lady said, “How did you do that?” I said, “How did we do what?” She said “There’s nothing I can do to make my three year old stay in his car seat.” How sad. Here was a thirty-five year old mother who had surrendered the reigns of control and authority in her home to her three year old child.
We fought the battle over the car seat when Paige was about two years old. It was very embarrassing. A friend picked us up at the airport and Paige began crying for Debra to hold her as we left the parking lot. There was nothing physically wrong with her; she had just decided on a public forum to test the boundaries on the car seat issue. After about five minutes we finally told her, “No matter how much you cry, you’re staying in this car seat.”
From the airport in Little Rock. Arkansas until within ten miles of our destination—almost two hours, Paige cried. She did not want to be in that car seat. But, she stayed there and that was the last time she ever cried about being in the car seat. She learned that it didn’t matter if she turned red, purple, green, or yellow; she was not getting out of the car seat. That battle was over!
Culled from building a successful family

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