#28: Parenting Principles Preview

Parenting can be hard!  So when difficult behaviors wreak havoc on the family, you might just need a few more tools in the toolbox. Finding the core principles that govern success in any area of life is absolutely key to succeeding in that area, and what you’ll find on this podcast is no exception.

This entertaining audio program will not only help parents who have small children, but also those with teenagers. It describes the parenting system that I used for many years as we raised our seven children, and it made ALL the difference!

My guest Matt Reichmann and his wife Julie raised five children while he worked in Los Angeles law enforcement. He saw countless parents lose control of their children and then look to police for help. This negative trend spurred a desire in Matt to use his experience to make a difference.

The combination of Julie’s home skills and Matt’s law enforcement experience gave them a unique perspective in the art of parenting.

Over the years, they developed a powerful system of discipline based on the principle of personal accountability. After using the system in their home with success, they were encouraged by friends and associates to share their parenting techniques with others. This encouragement and a strong desire to help others lead to the creation of Accountability Concepts.

This audio was originally recorded ten years ago. I have been wanting to share it on my podcast, but his sweet wife (my dear friend Julie) was diagnosed with cancer and then lost her courageous battle in 2014. During those difficult years, their website was shut down, their business was put on hold, and the audio remained hidden in my archives. But it is my pleasure now to announce that Matt’s website is once again back on line, and he has given me the green light to finally share this audio FREE with you now.

To learn more about Matt Reichmann’s powerful parenting program, visit Accountability Concepts.

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Talking to teens

An actual message to one of my teenagers who was complaining too much about his responsibilities:

You’re doing so well in so many areas. But it saddens me that you blame dad when you don’t feel like doing your duties.

You’re old enough to govern yourself, so govern yourself or be governed. If you were governing yourself, you would already have plans to be where you’re supposed to be, even if dad wasn’t going, and even if he wasn’t expecting you there.

Freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want, it’s about willfully choosing to do the things that keep you on track to qualify for all the blessings that heaven has to offer. Each right choice increases your freedom. Each poor choice diminishes it. And I’m not talking about “consequences” that are implemented at home. I’m talking about your agency and how you get to use it every day in how you think and what you do.

As you know, we look for every possible reason to give you as much freedom as we (in good conscience) can. When you feel more restrained than you like, I encourage you to notice how good you have it, and be grateful instead of belligerent.

Your attitude (above almost everything else) has the greatest effect on, or is one of the greatest indicators, for what direction your life is headed, for good or for bad. Please, do not grieve me, and please do not disrespect your dad. He asks so little and gives you so much. Either way, you’ll answer to God for how you honor him, and you have so little time with him left.

Make this last year you’re home be one that you have no regrets about. I love you and am so proud of how much you’ve matured. I was impressed with how hard you worked this morning and I recognize you could have put up a much bigger stink than you did. Just pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing the right things, and then notice how much better it feels when you do the right things with a cheerful heart.

It’s a choice, and it will pay you great dividends if you learn that lesson early. Good night.. if you want to talk to me about this more, let’s do it after you get a nap tomorrow.

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I felt lost

Kristi is a wife and mother of two young children, who experienced some significant changes in her life during the Mindset Mastery Program. It’s been fun to track her progress:

After Phase 1, she wrote:

“I have to admit, I’ve been so excited about everything I’m learning it’s been hard for me to pace myself. But after reading lesson 13 I understand why I need to do just that. I’m super excited about reaching my goals! THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge and experience!! From the day I read The Jackrabbit Factor to today has been such an incredible journey. I LOVE where I’m going on this journey :)”

Read about the time I didn’t respond to her question.

After completing the course, she wrote:

[Before joining the Mindset Mastery Program] I signed up for Genius Bootcamp. I expected it to be in depth learning about universal laws. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much of a spiritual experience it was for me. I came with a very specific question of how to continue my business. I received a very clear answer to quit my direct sales business. That did not make any sense to me. I wrestled with it, but knew it was the right thing to do.

For a couple months I felt lost. I didn’t understand why I needed to let go of the success I had achieved. But I soon realized I need be working with youth. So many things from my past started to make sense to me. I signed up for the Mindset Mastery Program and dived right into it.

Read the rest of her comments here.

When she submitted her application for graduation, she said:

“I’m so excited to make this official! It’s been such a great experience. Thank you so much for doing what you do!”

I asked if she had a website she would like me to share, and she replied,

“This is a terror barrier for me. I’ve been preparing myself to ‘go public’ with my business. I have only shared with close friends and family up to this point. This [program] is giving me the confidence to now share with everyone I know. I definitely have some anxiety about it, but I know it’s time to take this leap and enjoy what’s on the other side of this wall :)”

Learn more about Kristi and her business at InfluentialListeners.com

Learn more about the Mindset Mastery Program and join me now at ProsperTheFamily.com!

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To College or Not to College

Reader’s Question:

Hey Leslie, I’m a 17 year old homeschooler who loves the leadership and mastery principles you teach and study yourself. Recently, I have been faced with the choice of going to college, but don’t know what I want to study and if the opportunities I have to learn other relevant skills would be outside of college. I feel drawn to learning and pursuing my education outside of college and feel that is where God needs me, but I also have parents and close family around me telling me that I need to “have all of my bases covered, just in case.” Is following the “safe” path to make sure I have a stable future having faith?

I really love what you have written and taught! I recently purchased the 8-Week Mindset Fundamental Course. Really excited to delve deeper into the principles. 🙂

My reply:

These are really great questions. I homeschooled my kids for 9 years and my primary goal was to give them a love of learning. (Here’s an interesting summary of our experience with that.) I’ve seen this take my kids on paths that I didn’t expect them to take, but they have all been very happy chasing what they love.

I’ve seen people be successful with and without a college education, but what I tell my children is that many more doors can open to a person who does go to college. The best advice I ever heard on the topic was by Mark Twain who said to never let schooling get in the way of your education. That doesn’t mean don’t go to school, it means get what you can but always remember the purpose – learning. (I went through college without a love of learning and wish that I had been taught how to enjoy my education.)

It sounds like you were born to be a leader, and as a leader, I’d love to see you be the one with a college education who ALSO has the mindset and leadership training to really stand out.

As you know, a college education does not guarantee success, and a person can most certainly succeed without one, but your sphere of influence can be greater if you do both.

Ultimately, you’ll have to make the decision that feels right to you. I have a degree, but my husband does not. He has done relatively well for himself in spite of it (building a six-figure career), but there has been a lot of pain and frustration in the last 30 years that could have been avoided, had he just knocked it out before life got too complicated with our growing family. He recently decided he wanted to finish what he started those many years ago as a bucket-list item, but it is definitely much harder to do now.

He has always felt that he would have been more prepared for leadership, more confident in his work, more influential in his career, and would have been able to more quickly advance, if he had had his degree. In many cases it’s the difference between “easy now, hard later” vs “hard now, easy later”. He has achieved well, but it turned out to be much longer and harder than it probably needed to be.

There really is no price tag that can be put on the confidence it cost him – even if his perceived inferiority wasn’t a reality. Has he managed? Yes. Has he excelled? Yes. Does he feel like he could have done better or achieved more? Absolutely.

The nice thing nowadays is that you don’t have to do it all in 4 years, especially if the work you’re drawn to doesn’t require a degree. I have a son who has been working on his degree but takes breaks to work and/or pursue his passions, but he stays enrolled keeping at least one class going each semester that he’s on track. His primary objective is to stay out of debt and do what he feels led to do at each step of the way. Sometimes it’s led him to take a heavy load, other times its led him to do an internship in a field that really speaks to him even though it doesn’t give him college credit, and sometimes it’s led him to build his career (which is now somewhat unrelated to the degree he’s almost finished with). Still, the degree will help him be marketable in a skill that pays well, so that he is more free to pursue his passion without having to make it pay. Sometimes the passion can fade quickly when you’ve GOT to make it PAY. That has happened to me – at one point my husband left his work to help me with our business, and we had some setbacks that forced us to make the business do well, but the pressure took all the joy out of my work. My husband went back to a job and I had to take a 5 year break from my work just to restore my love for it.

Anyway, there is a wise and healthy balance for you to find. The counsel is to get as much education as you can, which doesn’t necessarily mean college, but if you’re thinking about it, the easiest time to get a college education is when you’re young. Everything else you want to learn and do will always be there, and it can be added to the good foundation you put down now. I’d advise you to listen to the counsel of your parents and others who know you. Consider it all prayerfully with an open mind, even if it doesn’t appeal to you. Then find out what God thinks about it all.

If you were a few years older, I might have different advice, but for now, this is what I would say 🙂

Just remember, saying yes to a college education doesn’t have to mean no to everything else. It can be part of the plan, especially if you choose a path that supports your overall dream. Be wise and patient. I know it may seem contradictory to the principles I teach, but we LOVE listening to Dave Ramsey at our house. He’s entertaining and keeps us from making decisions that we will regret. We’ve made enough of those that I’m much more patient now with my goals, and much more willing to build them from a solid foundation – because I’ve achieved many goals that later fell apart, or that I later regretted achieving. I’m much more willing to listen to people who are older and wiser than me now.

Hope this helps!

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Another Broken Broom

You may have heard about the time when I called the cops on the kid who broke my broom. Well, did you know that there’s another broom story that happened exactly ten years later?

Before I get into the second story, you need to know about the first one:

The first one happened before we discovered the principles of prosperity and began to consciously abide them. I had been in a relentless depression that held me in a discouraged, negative place for a very long time. On edge over money problems, I snapped when I stepped outside of our two-bedroom apartment and found my broom had been broken in half by a neighbor teen boy.

With my mindset where it was, the only thing I could think of to do was call the police. I didn’t have money to replace the broom, and I was too angry to see any alternatives. Watch here:

As you can see from the video, I tell that story to illustrate “thought frequencies.” We think at a certain level, and experience results which will always be in harmony with the way we think. If we want different results, we must learn how to think on a higher plane. Most of the time, it requires learning from someone else who already does.

If you continue to face similar problems year in and year out, you might want to consider the fact that you cannot think your way out of a problem that you (consciously or subconsciously) thought your way into—unless you think differently than you ever have before.

When you face a challenge, know this: a solution does exist. If you come up with a solution on the same thought frequency that you’ve had all along, it might not get you the results you hope for. If you cannot think of a solution at all, it is simply because you are not yet tuned in to the frequency on which the solution is broadcast through the room, even right now, as you read.

To help you understand this, think of a radio. When you turn on a radio and adjust the dial, eventually you can tune in to a broadcast and the sound becomes audible and clear. If you want a different broadcast, you adjust the dial. The radio did NOT “attract” the music; the music was already there.

Solutions to your dilemmas are also “already there”. If you cannot think of them, it is because your “receiver” is not yet “tuned” properly. Once it is, the solution comes directly to your mind with clarity as an “aha” moment, or you are led to the person or resource, which will reveal the solution to you. Your body, the tool of your mind, is a literal receiver, tuned according to its vibratory state, which is controlled by your thoughts and emotions. It’s that simple.

The first step to “tuning in” is to see yourself experiencing the relief you seek. See it in your mind’s eye, as though it were really happening to you, right now. As you build the picture in your mind and allow yourself to FEEL the success, you literally alter the vibratory state of your body—the physical tool with problem-solving capabilities that your were given at birth

Constantly entertaining the awful “what if’s” keeps your body in a vibratory state that only tunes you in to PERCEIVED solutions and ideas, which may actually keep you moving toward the disaster you’re trying so desperately to avoid.

(I suggest you stop and read that paragraph again more slowly.)

Alternatively, you’re free to dream. It’s the first step toward freedom! As you dream, you literally alter your energy-connection to things in the world around you, to begin moving all things prosperous into your life. Everything you need already exists. Prepare yourself to receive by thinking truth in spite of appearances, that life IS abundant. Prosperity abounds, and it is only an altered vibratory state away.

Now onto the second broom story:

About 10 years later, my 12 year-old son came to me and sheepishly said, “Mom, I broke your broom.”

My first thought was a flashback to the day I called the police (ten years before) because of my broken broom.

Then I smiled, because I realized that even though I didn’t really WANT to buy another one, I wasn’t worried about it. So the floor might be messy for a while. Not a big deal. So I have to get another one. I’ll get around to it; I have bigger fish to fry. I could think of a hundred ways to solve the problem now.

Same problem, but a completely different experience, because I was finally tuned in to a growing wealth of ideas and solutions.

Stress shuts the idea channels off.

…while calmness, or serenity, opens them up. Trusting God and melting into peace can literally flip the ON-switch to your inspiration receiver.

“Peace, be still” is just good advice at any level. Trust God. The degree of success you enjoy will be in direct correlation to your ability to remain calm and rely on Him through increasingly complicated challenges.

Your capacity to prosper can grow as you learn to demonstrate true serenity at each level.

In time, you’ll look back and see that what was so hard for you before is child’s play now. Whether it is the threat of foreclosure, or concern about a job interview, in 10 years you’ll probably laugh that you once worried about such things.

So get inspired by feeding your mind with higher-level ideas. It doesn’t have to be formal, just get around people who think right. Spend time with them in person, or read their books if they have some. Associate.

One of the best ways you can ‘associate’ with me and others on the same path is to join me in my MINDSET MASTERY™ Program (a 300+ page manual, 2-workbooks, 3 CDs, a DVD, and personal assistance at the midterm). Learn more about the Program here.

If you’re not ready for the more intensive 12-week experience, a good place to start is with the 8-week Mindset Fundamentals Ecourse (4 immediate downloads and 20 email lessons sent to your inbox over the next 2 months). Learn more about the Ecourse here.

Onward and upward!

Originally published Dec 30, 2007

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It’s not just about money, it’s about marriages, too

From one of our readers (I’ll call her Susan), in a two year-old Facebook thread:

(Original post) October 15, 2014

…I get that you can’t make people do things by visualizing it, as explained in Jackrabbit Factor. But can I manifest a really great marriage where I feel like my husband and I are parenting equally and both are happy with how we are raising our kids? I mean REALLY happy, not just compromising to keep the peace. Can I do it while imagining my current husband? Because I really want the father of my children to be my forever spouse, I just want to feel like a part of a team, not pioneering on my own.

(Today) January 18, 2017

Over two years later, I thought I’d leave an UPDATE on how this went for me! It took a lot more than I ever imagined, a lot of crud came up and it was really hard, the hardest thing I’d ever done. We worked through it all, we put a great deal of effort into self-evaluating and growing as human beings. It HURT!! We both went places in ourselves and our relationship we were scared as heck to go. I felt like I was going through hell, actually, and I often was pretty sure our marriage wouldn’t survive, but it did. We would come to the brink and always one of us would pull back and try again. But I can tell you honestly … all the pain was worth it. I get to enjoy the exact marriage I described above. When I was first typing it I thought it was a pipe dream. I honestly didn’t believe I could ever have it. Thank you everyone, especially Leslie Robertson Householder, your book changed our lives, and our children’s lives! This will impact them and how they show up in their marriages and how they parent their children. The ripple effects will echo for generations! I am overwhelmed with gratitude!! I have no words. Now we both, as a team, are working on the money, and it is rewarding and brings us closer, and I am not alone anymore. Thank you all!!

(a few minutes later…)

In my original post, I didn’t describe how awful my marriage was. It was really bad. Addiction, emotional and verbal abuse, that post was written through tears after an incident of physical abuse. I re-read it and it sounded so sweet and simplistic, but it was really, really, awful. It took a lot of courage to change it. But fortunately we both wanted a change. Now after much work, things are so different. We’re best friends! Thanks again Leslie!

(my reply)

Wow Susan, thanks for taking the time to update [and tagging me]. I don’t think I had seen your original post. Well done! And congratulations – it IS worth it – the pain and all, to appreciate the glorious victory. I love that it’s a relationship victory… so many people don’t realize the books aren’t just about money.

Read The Jackrabbit Factor – FREE

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Roles – The Secret to Family, Business, & Social Success

ROLES_Cover4Nicholeen Peck helped my family many years ago, before we ever met. She was on a reality show on the BBC called “World’s Strictest Parents”, and I learned some important things from her unusual approach to parenting. “Strict” is a misleading word. Watch her fascinating episode here:

But now she has a new book on Roles. They define our rights, obligations, responsibilities, beliefs, and even who we are.

And if you purchase her book on SATURDAY for only $.99 (ninety-nine cents!), you can be part of the cause of helping it achieve best-seller status. You could say, “I was there, and helped with that! And I got some great information out of the deal, too.”

Here is an excerpt from her book:

How well do we each understand our respective roles? How do we teach our children about proper roles? How would the problems children and parents face change if they better understood roles? Aren’t parents — whether aggressive, passive or assertive — always defining roles anyway? Why do we see the roles in today’s world wrapped around so much confusion and debate when it’s impossible to escape roles?

When I sat down to write this book, those questions were my key source of inspiration. I know that God is a God of order, not confusion. Beliefs have crept into our culture about the so-called proper roles of mothers, fathers, children and individuals; and these misguided beliefs have slowly distorted the way God intends roles to be. In fact, these incorrect, false beliefs and intentions are now wreaking havoc upon society’s roles — and it’s tearing apart families, workplace corporate cultures, and communities.

The purpose of this book is to show how the roles in families set the stage for all of the roles in society. The current and ongoing debate about gender roles in society wouldn’t even be an issue if the roles within families were working properly. When roles are working properly within families, families have a vision for where they’re going, an understanding of who they’re supposed to be, and a passion for their divine purpose.

Ultimately, all those points are what you’re about to see acted out and explained in this book. I felt the best way for me to teach you about proper roles was to do it via story.

Jerry and Janet, the parents in this story, as well as their four children and the co-workers in Jerry’s office, were all suffering from an identity crisis. They didn’t know who they were supposed to be and how they were supposed to act in their given roles. Why? Because there were too many confusing messages in their lives. What’s more, the adults in this story were never taught proper roles in their homes growing up. How could they perform their roles, let alone teach the next generation their roles?

Confusion regarding roles disappears when family members live their respective roles correctly. When roles are lived as they are meant to be, families and work environments will not only be happier and more united, but also more productive and efficient.

When most people hear the word “roles,” they immediately start to feel uncomfortable. Society has groomed us to think that roles are somehow narrow and box-like. Many people think of roles as stereotypical lists they must somehow conform to. In an effort to break out of perceived roles boxes, many family members have simply exchanged one role for another, and entered a new, much more unfamiliar box.

Adopting a new role is not the same thing as “roles freedom” (i.e., freedom within roles).

If you lay all roles biases aside and genuinely observe the roles discovery in this book through realistic relationships and life problems, new insight will be gained. This new insight will enable you to find more success and happiness in your life. It will also help your relationships.

When I was a young mother, my husband told me that he would not stop me from doing everything. He said that he had observed that women nowadays want to have children, raise them, run the home, and be breadwinners. He said he would allow me to do that if that was what I wanted. He kindly said he wouldn’t stand in my way. I could do whatever I wanted.

As I analyzed what I really wanted and what would make me feel the most fulfilled, I realized it was to live my roles as mother, wife and woman. I didn’t want to do it all, even though I could and had been doing it all. I wanted to do what was most important. I wanted to do what I felt I was placed on the earth to do. My life has been one continual blessing since I made that decision. I am more fulfilled now than I ever was when I was trying to do it all. No one is meant to do it all.

For years my spirit has been kicked and poked and prodded to write and release this book. When I first started teaching people about self-government — and how to teach themselves and their children how to create happier families — I took for granted that people knew and understood the power of roles.

Roles are a power. They prepare us to live securely and happily. They also help us to spread happiness and to support and love each other — as well as promote relationship freedom. Too many people today are in emotional and relationship bondage. Understanding roles is a vital secret to breaking away from that bondage and finding the relationship freedom and personal power that awaits us all.

Click to get the book for just $.99!

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Honeymoon is over

Nicholeen Peck told me there’s a honeymoon stage when you’re teaching your children (and yourself) self-governing. All of my previous posts about my Parenting Transformation Journey would fit into the honeymoon stage, I guess.

Lamenting sigh.

Then I had a business obligation that I had to see through, and it threw me off my schedule. Getting back on track after the event took me a few days. On the Monday after, I was close to being all caught up, but still had a number of things that had to be wrapped up on the computer, and the constant interruptions through the day were really wearing on me.

Eventually the interruptions stopped, and I finally got to where I could focus.

Whew!

At the end of the day I finally left my room to see what everyone was doing, and to make sure they had all eaten, and then to get them to bed. That’s when I noticed this sign posted outside of my door:

photo(1)“No one bother Mom!!! If you do you will Die”

Yep. There’s the evidence. Honeymoon’s over.

That’s why I haven’t been posting or tracking for a long time… there’s been a lot of work that needed to be done to get back on track, and I just didn’t feel like I could work it AND write about it all at the same time.

But I had a wonderful opportunity to sit in on another class with Nicholeen Peck last Saturday, and I was reminded about the Power of Calm. Already, I’ve been able to divert potential conflict twice in the last 24 hours, just by practicing this one piece:

“It seems to me that you have something you want to tell me, and I really want to know what that is. But I need you to be calm first, so that we can talk about it…”

Baby steps to self-governing, baby steps to self-governing.

 

 

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How to be a parent AND fulfill your life’s mission without losing your mind

My Parenting Transformation Journey – Page 19
(Click here for page 1)

I have been so impressed with the parenting success principles I’ve been learning from Nicholeen Peck, that I wanted to help her get her message out. Her episode on the BBC reality show in England was so impactful, so unexpected, and so popular, that there are now people all over England who are begging her to return to teach some free parenting workshops in their country.

If you haven’t seen her episode yet, you’ll want to see what happened when two extremely rebellious teenagers from England were sent to live under her strict family rules in Utah for 10 days, followed by the cameraman. It promised to be an explosive freak show, but what happened instead was nothing short of miraculous. – And it all happened in only 10 days. Even the producers were stunned.

Watch Nicholeen’s BBC episode here

When I saw her episode, and then signed up for her 10-week implementation course, I was super excited because my children aren’t even rebellious like those teens, so if she can do what she did in just 10 days, then I know I can create some powerful improvements in my family over the next 10 years by learning and using the few, simple principles she shares.

As I got to know Nicholeen better, and we had some time to visit, I learned about her challenge to raise enough money for her family to return to England, to spend a month teaching free parenting classes all over the country. That is no small feat, and just because she has a very popular book, I know from personal experience that revenue from books alone aren’t always enough to cover the expenses of spending a month in Europe with your family.

I believe so much in what she’s doing that I offered to help her raise funds for the cause. So that’s why we’re doing a special engagement webinar next Thursday on How to Fulfill Your Mission and Keep Family Balance. All the funds raised will be given to Nicholeen’s family, so she can share with the people of England the great treasure she has shared with me.

Nicholeen

How to Fulfill Your Mission and Keep Family Balance Webinar
Date:   Thursday, August 22, 2013
Time:  7:00 pm MDT  (It will be recorded if you can’t make it on that night)
Location:  Special TSG Webinar page on Nicholeen’s new site.

Sign Up Here!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I stopped doing events in 2011 so that I could take a break and focus on my family. I haven’t even been doing teleclasses, because even those can be attention-consuming endeavors. (Thanks to Shantel McBride, our Genius Bootcamps have continued during my sabbatical).

The reason I agreed to do this webinar, is because to me, it’s not business. I receive no pay, no commissions, nothing, for doing it. It’s for the cause of strengthening families worldwide, which is my present focus. 

I hope you’ll join us, to help Nicholeen get to England with her family. So far, she’s scheduled to be in London, Manchester, Lancaster, Birmingham, Stratford upon Avon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, as well as doing a television appearance and other locations yet to be named. She’s proceeding in faith that it will all work out, and using the principles taught in The Jackrabbit Factor to see it through.

Some interesting trivia about Nicholeen and I

  • Nicholeen started sharing her message 13 years ago.
  • I started sharing my message 13 years ago.
  • Nicholeen’s message got worldwide exposure in 2009 from a reality show in England.
  • My message got worldwide exposure in 2009 through a man from England who was on an Australian reality show.
  • Her exposure opened a door to share her message in China through presentations and media appearances.
  • My exposure opened a door to share my message in China through my books being published in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
  • We both spoke at the TJed Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2010, but didn’t get to know each other, nor hear each other’s presentations.
  • I was asked to contribute a chapter to a compilation book on parenting, centered on Nicholeen Peck and her message in 2012, which I did, but I still didn’t really know who she was.
  • We share the same spiritual beliefs, and we both homeschool our children.

As we visited and I began to realize the similarities, I told her I feel like we’ve lived parallel lives. We’ve both faced many of the same struggles attendant to having a message to share, while desiring to keep our family first. We’ve seen how serendipitous events and encounters keep moving us along in our causes.

So we look forward to sharing with you what we’ve learned. We’ll also have a gentleman by the name of Jed Norwood sharing tips on how he juggles family responsibilities and his life’s mission (helping families be prepared for future crises).

Here’s the information again:

How to Fulfill Your Mission and Keep Family Balance Webinar
Date:   Thursday, August 22, 2013
Time:  7:00 pm MDT  (It will be recorded if you can’t make it on that night)
Location:  Special TSG Webinar page on Nicholeen’s new site.

Or, Sign Up Here!

When you register, you’ll automatically get a free downloadable copy of Nicholeen’s book, “How Do You Get Your Way?”

You can also learn more about Jed right now by downloading his free ebook, “Preparing a Crisis Confident Family“.

If you believe it’s important for people around the world to strengthen the family unit, please help us spread the word!

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Learning to say ‘Okay’

Parenting Transformation Journey – Page 18
(Click here for page 1)

This post ends by sharing a victory that wasn’t exactly as it appeared. But after you read this I think you’ll see why I’m choosing to take it anyway.

According to Nicholeen Peck, one of the most fundamental skills that our children need to learn, is the ability to accept a “no answer”. This means being able to say “okay” when they don’t get their way.

Even adults need to learn how to accept a “no answer”. We need to accept disappointments in our own lives calmly, so that we can respond (in control) instead of reacting (out of control). After all, it is all about self-government.

Another fundamental skill is learning how to disagree appropriately so that they/we are never stuck without the ability to voice their/our opinions or feelings. (Nicholeen’s book shows how.)

One of my friends on Facebook made a comment about my previous post that got me thinking. She said:

“As far as the idea of telling someone you need them to feel a certain way so that you can feel a certain way…I don’t believe in doing that. With children it’s problematic because you’ve just set up a scenario for them in which they are no longer free to feel what they feel, they must now feel what you want them to because YOUR feelings and your work are depending on it. They may chose that on the surface, but they may still feel disappointed and now feel they have to hide it in order to support you. I just don’t agree with that, it closes doors instead of opening them. BUT that said, I really love what Leslie is doing and the energy she’s putting into creating something really positive in her family.”

At first I felt that little jab in the pit of my stomach that maybe I had done something wrong. That’s never a fun feeling, but the fact that it happened caused me to stop and assess my reaction. I could see her point. I certainly never intended to manipulate the children or cause them to become overly concerned about their mother’s feelings, and I had to stop and think about whether or not I had put undue pressure or responsibility on them.

I do think it’s a valid concern, and worth noting (which is why I’m including it here). But as I reviewed the entire conversation with the kids in my mind, I was reminded of more of my interactions with my children that day that I had not described in the post, which helped me at least understand why it didn’t feel wrong at the time.

Thinking it over again in my mind was a great opportunity for self-examination, and her cautions are something I am going to watch out for in the future.

Here is the conclusion of my self-examination, and my reply to her:

Thanks for your comment… I can see how that came across. My point in sharing that piece was to show how I tried to talk them through it in an attempt to pre-teach and help them accept a “no answer” calmly…. I knew they were disappointed because they had already expressed it through the day, and they knew that I knew. There were no hidden feelings. This was just the point where they had to come to terms with the fact that it was not going to happen, and see if they could accept a “no answer” in the way they had been taught. I realized that it was going to be better if I was straight with them so that they wouldn’t keep hoping even beyond dinner and bedtime – that definitely would have been worse. Thanks again!

I realize now that it would have been more effective had I verbalized to my children more clearly what I was doing. Something like this, perhaps: “I understand that you want to go fishing today. I know that it is something you’re really looking forward to. But I am going to give you a ‘no answer’ and I want to see if you can say ‘okay’. If you don’t feel like you can say that, then you can ask me if you may disagree appropriately and we’ll talk about it…”

The way I did it instead was more vague, not clearly teaching self-governing. It was more like how I used to do it in the past. This is a good reminder to get back to the vocabulary Nicholeen teaches, so that the children always understand exactly what’s going on, and what to expect going forward. The consistency and repetition helps them feel safe, and it also helps them track more clearly the causes and effects that they experience.

I just have to close this post again with another little victory. I like to do that to help me feel encouraged to keep on going:

Last night my 11 year-old son came down long after bedtime to complain about his older brother. He was begging me to let him sleep somewhere else because the older brother was watching a movie on the iPad and it was making it hard for him to fall asleep.

Well, we have a rule for our kids about no internet behind closed doors, so I got a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach that I was going to need to confront the older brother about this. In the past, it has been a struggle for him to just say ‘okay’.

Historically, the pattern has looked like this:

  1. I make a request
  2. He asks why
  3. I explain why
  4. He tells me why not
  5. I explain some more
  6. He complains that I’m not listening
  7. I complain that he is not respecting authority
  8. He accuses me of doing something wrong
  9. I get defensive
  10. He tells me to calm down
  11. My blood boils that he didn’t just say ‘okay’ 10 steps ago
  12. It escalates until one of us walks away
  13. He feels sad and upset
  14. I swallow my pride so I can comfort him
  15. I finally listen
  16. He explains where he’s coming from
  17. He has a really good point that I never considered
  18. I apologize and modify my original request
  19. He apologizes for being frustrating
  20. He complies with the modified request
  21. We hug and express our love for each other

It’s truly an exhausting process that sometimes takes 2-3 hours (sometimes more) to get through. And it’s pretty much 100% predictable. And I had gotten to a point that I stopped hoping he would ever say ‘okay’ just because I’m his mother.

Over the years, I’ve learned I can shorten the 21-step routine if I really listen quicker, but there’s a part of me that has always been bugged that the power struggle even existed with him at all.

(On a side note, so you can get a sense of what this looked like in the early years – when he was really little, my mother visited us from out of state and was spending some one-on-one time with him. She said, “I’m SO glad that I could come to your Mom’s house to see you.” His immediate response was, “MY house.”)

Unfortunately, instead of intentionally teaching self-governing, I was in survival mode. He always seemed to make good personal choices, had good friends, had high standards of morality, and had a deep-down desire to be a good kid. So when there was a power struggle, I usually just backed off… eventually. As long as he wasn’t breaking our rules or making really stupid life choices, I mostly just avoided  conflict over the “respecting authority” element. It just wasn’t worth the fight.

Since learning about Nicholeen Peck’s Teaching Self Government, I can see how I should have been doing it differently, and it would have looked more like this:

  1. Give an instruction
  2. If they say ‘okay’, praise them
  3. If they argue, ask them if they would like to disagree appropriately

That’s pretty much it. No 21-steps, no 2-hour battle. Even when it doesn’t go perfectly:

  1. If they don’t say ‘okay’ and they don’t disagree appropriately either, describe what just happened in detail, and that because they chose not to follow the instructions, they just earned an extra chore. 
  2. Give them the extra chore and ask them to do it immediately.
  3. If they argue or refuse to do it, calmly describe what just happened in detail and explain that because they chose not to follow instructions (or because they chose not to keep a calm face, voice, and body), they earned another chore, and then tell them what that is and instruct them to do it immediately.

If it escalates, then for children 7 or older, it then goes to the Rule of 3.

Honestly, in the two weeks we’ve been implementing, I’ve only had to go to Rule of 3 once. It made a big enough impact on everyone, I think, that nobody wants to go there.

Bottom line, with this alternate approach to parenting, as long as the parent stays calm, then there is no power struggle. It’s just a calm delivery of cause and effect, with active teaching going on along the way.

But like I said in an earlier post, since my son is now already 18 and heading off to college in a few weeks, I consciously decided not to try to implement the program of consequences, etc., with him. Nicholeen’s advice instead was that we spend these last few weeks just strengthening our relationship, because it was the best thing we could do after all of the years it’s been strained.

(I did slip up once and issued a formal correction to him, which he actually accepted, possibly because it happened in front of his siblings and he liked the system and decided to go along with it for their sake.)

But about that movie in his room…

Well, it was already 10:30 pm so I was not excited about starting the 21-step routine so late. I knew it could feasibly take until after midnight to resolve, based on past history. But it had to be addressed right away.

(Remember, since I had decided not to really implement the TSG program with him, I also did not ever really make sure he learned how to disagree appropriately. In my mind, this was probably going to have to play out the old way.)

So I called him on his cell phone.

Me: “Hey, where are you?”

Him: “I’m in my room…”

Me: “I think we have a problem.”

Him – agitatedly: “Is it Kayli??” (Apparently there was an issue there that I didn’t know about.)

Me: “Um, no, this is NOT about Kayli, and actually… I have a problem with you getting angry and resistant before I’ve even said what the problem is.”

Him: “O…kay…”

Me: “Are you watching a movie?”

Him: “Yeah…”

Me: “Remember, there’s no internet in the bedrooms.”

Him: “It’s just Netflix.”

Me: “Netflix IS internet.”

Him: “O…kay…”

(He said okay?? I’ll TAKE it!)

Me: “Okay. Thanks so much. Goodnight.”

Him: “Uh… Goodnight…”

I know, it sounds a little unresolved. I admit, I got the sense that he had something else on the tip of his tongue, but I decided to leave it at that before it got any further down the 21-step routine.

Problem solved in 30 seconds flat. (No, more like: I took the chicken exit by not waiting to see if he had something else to say.)

Besides, if there was more to say, I knew we could talk about it after we were both rested.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering why I didn’t follow through to see if he complied, I would have, if I had felt it was necessary. When the expectation is clear, and he has agreed to the terms, he keeps his word. He’s proven himself on that point very solidly over the years. Plus, he shares a room with two brothers, so I would have known if the rule breach had continued after our conversation.)

Funny follow up

So I was feeling pretty victorious that I had dodged the 21-step bullet. I was so proud of him for saying ‘okay’ so quickly – that shocked both me and my husband, actually – but also I was proud of myself that after just 1.5 weeks of implementing the principles I’m learning from Nicholeen Peck, I could experience such a quick resolution with him. There was no resistance, no fight, no escalation, none of it.

Although implementing with him has been non-existent, or if at all, it’s been informal, I intentionally complimented him on it the next day. I said, “Thank you so much for just saying ‘okay’ about the Netflix thing. That was really great, and I appreciate it.”

He said, “You’re welcome…” and then he went on to explain what was really going on in his head at the time.

Here’s HIS side of the story:

To begin with, he had asked his little brother NOT to use packaging tape on the wood bed frame to hold the alarm clock suspended over his head, because it can mess up the wood finish. The little brother argued that it can’t hurt the wood, and they got into a power struggle over it.

Eventually, the distraught little brother came downstairs to have ME settle the argument.

I didn’t know that an argument was going on, so here’s how that conversation went:

Little brother: “Mom, can packaging tape hurt wood?”

Me: “Yeah, actually it can leave a really nasty residue. Remember those marks on my dresser from the old house? That was from packaging tape. I mean, yeah, you can get it off with Googone or something like that, but it’s a pain, so I wouldn’t want you using packaging tape on wood.”

Clearly, that’s not what he expected to hear.

So he changed the subject and just asked if he could sleep somewhere else because of the movie.

So when I called the older son and said, “Where are you?” He responded hesitatingly, “I’m in my room…” because he was already in bed, and tired, and didn’t want to have to come down to talk to me about an issue with one of his siblings.

I said, “I think we have a problem,” and he snapped because he knew that Kayli must have tattled on him about something. So when I told him that wasn’t what it was about, he was caught off guard, and didn’t know what else it could be about.

I said, “Are you watching a movie?

He couldn’t figure out what that had to do with anything, so his answers continued to be hesitant and guarded. He just couldn’t predict where I was going with my odd, unrelated questions.

So even when I got right to the point, he thought there might still be something more coming. He was still hoping I wasn’t going to ask him to come down for a big long talk about some other issue.

So when that’s all it was, he said, “O…kay…” waiting for more, and that was it.

So although it wasn’t the text-book beautiful ‘okay’ that I hoped it was, it still fixed the issue, and we avoided a hairy argument.

I’ll take it. I’ll still count it as a victory.

Baby steps to self-government… baby steps to self-government.

If you disagree with anything I’m doing, then before leaving your comments, all I ask is that you please first watch this BBC episode so you can see where this is going. It might be a little messy in the middle, but I do believe and trust in the end result. Each of my posts – standing alone – will not provide the big picture… but the episode does. Enjoy!

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