I recently boxed up and got rid of all my parenting books. I’m not kidding. All of them. Originally, I had planned on just thinning them out and getting rid of the ones we’ve either “mastered” or were age sensitive, infant/toddler books that deal with sleeping, eating, potty training, and 2-year-old tantrums. Then, something came over me and I decided it would be absolutely freeing to not have one…..single….. parenting book in my house.
Every last one of them, that I placed in that cardboard box headed to Good-Will, talked about being “consistent” and “containing your emotions”” and…… I’m just kind of done with it. I really can’t understand how any of these books were published without a prescription, tucked just inside the back cover, attached by perforation only, for sub-lingual, dissolvable, Valium tablets with no recommended maximal dosage or expiration date. I think that taking little hits of Valium throughout the day, as needed, would give me a better chance at achieving these book’s objectives.
Did I ever tell you I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology? Well, one time in college, I trained a huge, white, wild rat with a scaly, foot-long, pink tail to push a lever the exact number of times I wished! I’m not kidding. I could make that rat, that was big enough to eat half of the cute little puppies I see posted on Facebook, push that lever so many times, in hopes of receiving one little pellet of food, that he had the forearm strength to be a top contender on American Ninja Warriors. However, due to the cognitive advances that come as you move up the food chain, it can feel nearly impossible to make a child pick up their shoes, carry them to their room and line them up in the closet; resisting the urge to toss them just inside the doorway.
Secondly, not ONE of these books contained either of my favorite behavior modification techniques and in my point of view, lacked two chapters completely. One of the chapters that was missing, I think could be titled “Keep Them Wondering”. You know what I mean. I think it is important for your children to be insecure and questioning at all times the completeness of your sanity. How about an example? Have you ever gotten in your car, buckled up, and turned around to see your children also surprisingly buckled up but at least 1 car door wide open? I mean…who does that? They leave my house door open all the time as well. However, I’m never running late and having to wait for one of them to shut it so I can drive my house somewhere. For this reason alone, it doesn’t really rub me as vigorously. Additionally, I can repetitively yell, “SHUT THE DOOR” while doing laundry, dishes, you name it. DON’T MISS A BEAT. Well, as we all know, the car doors obviously have to be shut in order to go somewhere… legally.
The parenting techniques you will learn in this chapter to “Keep Them Wondering” will give practical step by step solutions like this.
Problem: Everyone in your car is buckled up and ready to leave but car doors are still wide open and no one wants to get unbuckled to shut them.
Solution: 1. Simply start backing down your driveway with them wide open. 2. Gain a little extra speed and wait on your children’s eyes to enlarge and their facial expressions to demonstrate concern. 3. Suddenly slam on the brakes and all the doors will shut!
Easy! It’s pretty awesome! You should try it. It follows Newton’s First Law of Motion stating: An object will stay at rest or in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Additionally, there’s also a very short moment of time following this sudden jolt that you have your children’s complete attention and can tell them important details about the days upcoming events and their roles in them.
I promise you. The next time you get in the car… it won’t be you yelling, “SHUT THE DOORS, SHUT THE DOORS!!!”. It will be your children; scared, knowing that you are that unbalanced force that can act on their lives.
The other chapter on behavior modification that I feel is ignorantly tossed aside, could be titled something like “Break Your Legs”. For example, Sophia was struggling to find the motivation to get her room cleaned before her friend was to come over later in the day, with plans to stay the night. I didn’t get worked up. I didn’t yell. I didn’t go on and on and on about how “I do all the work around here”. I didn’t even think about wishing I had a hit of Valium. Nope. Not anymore! Thanks to “Break Your Legs”, I calmly stated; “If your room isn’t clean in one hour, I will ask your friend to critique my Whip and Nae Nae”. “I might even put on my Spandex workout pants and pipe the music out onto the back patio so the whole neighborhood can… “Watch me Whip! And watch me Nae Nae”. Giving an example of your sweet moves at this point is also helpful. Then, with the addition of the skills you’ve learned from chapter 1, “Keep Them Wondering”, they’ll jumped up concerned and confused but with a new-found, exuberant motivation and may even dust.
All this being said, if any of you have read a parenting book that contains real life scenarios with practical solutions like the 2 I’ve discussed above; please alert me. I will then stop writing the parenting book I’m working on that will contain a prescription, that is easily removed by tearing along the perforated edge detaching it from the back cover, for chocolate-dipped, dissolvable Valium.
By the way, “break your legs” was totally my move in high school. Could one person please vouch for me? Rick is a doubter.
For those of you whose homes aren’t inundated by pop culture and have no clue what I’m talking about or for those of you who need to work on your Whip and Nae Nae …an example…