This kid changed overnight! Here’s how.

father son talk

Sometimes it takes a while for parents to change in ways that lead to deeper respect from their kids. Sometimes it can happen fast. When Dan attended our weekend workshop he saw an immediate change by practicing what we call a “do-over.” Here’s his report:

An hour before we left for your seminar I was getting ready to go. Our 12-year-old son Will was sitting on the steps. He asked why we needed to go to the seminar. I explained that his mom and I were going so we could learn to control some of the chaos in our household. His reply was, “If you think that’s going to work, you’re retarded!”

I was instantly mad! He didn’t think I heard him and wouldn’t repeat it when asked. This told me that he knew it was wrong. I told him I didn’t know where this rudeness came from and that he just lost the use of his four wheeler for the weekend. (Will and the neighbor boys have a dirt track they ride on.) There were tears — not because he was sorry, but due to the loss of his four wheeler. We had discussed some behavior earlier that day and I chimed in with, “Twice in one day! Don’t be a slow learner.” (Unfair of me.)

After our Friday night session, I took your advice — I decided to try again. When I tucked Will into bed I told him, “No matter what you do, I will always love you.” I told him I was wrong to punish him the way I did, but when he says things like that, it hurts. “Cuts to the bone, in fact. My reaction was a knee jerk one and I’m sorry. You can have your four wheeler for the weekend. It was wrong of me to take it away.” This time he had tears in his eyes because he felt sorry for what he said, not because he was losing his four wheeler. He gave me a hug and went to sleep.

I must say we have had a very pleasant week here. Tonight we had a quiet supper, no TV, just eating dinner as a family. That Friday night I had missed that he was really upset about me leaving. You see, we spend a lot of time together and I was gone most of that week. He just wanted to be with me and I missed it. Thank you for your help and for what you do. Even his Grandma commented tonight on how he had changed this last week. He didn’t change, we did! Handling him with your methods has produced a much happier, calmer 12-year-old boy!

father son child changed pin
Photo Credit: goldenKB iStockphoto.com

The point here isn’t to change your mind about consequences in order to win your kids over. It’s that when parents’ hearts change, and they confess their errors to their kids, the kids notice. Parents then gain respect and authority in their kids’ eyes. Through this incident and Dan’s do-over, father and son grew immediately closer. Will’s behavior and attitude changed not to get his four-wheeler back, but in response to Dan’s humility and changed behavior and attitude. Dan’s heart toward Will softened and a clear mutual respect was deepened.

Seems like a parenting win to us. How about you?

Apply It Now:

  • What’s something you might need to apologize for or get a parental “do-over”?
  • Take a deep breath, offer up a prayer, and take a bite of that humble pie. Like CF co-founder Jim, you might find the taste grows on you!

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