Influential Parenting to the rescue, like a superhero! Here’s where our real transformation started So back to Jeff(founder of Revive Family), a few more months went by and another conference we missed, but this time, Jeff gave us a set of the parenting audio series (he saw the train wreck we were, chugga chugga choo choo!). This was a thank you for the many many MANY volunteer (yes that means for free) hours that I had worked for the organization and the conferences (worth it!). So, instead of listening to the CD’s we thanked him by waiting an additional 9 months…. (can you hear my head hit the table in total embarrassment, I can). So, finally we listened to the audio CD’s (alleluia, can you hear the angels singing!) on our way to pick up my step- sons for a weekend with them (one of two weekends a month we got with them and at times it was only one weekend a month). We listened intently and listened again and again to the sessions.
By the time we started listening, we had already lost my stepsons emotionally (but did not know it yet). On December 12, 2012 (a couple months after we finally listed to Jeff’s CD’s, and on our 3rd Wedding anniversary) we lost the boys completely (sad face with tear), physically and emotionally, and this was the last time I spoke to them in person (nutshell version, it would take more time than we have to explain this complicated story). My husband tried for 3 more years with 1-one hour counseling session monthly with each son to rebuild the relationship but with the tiny amount of time, long distance to where the boys lived and significant outside negative influence, it was simply not enough time to show them things were changing . Their dad was changing and things were different (a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare). Their hearts were shut down.
Within a couple of weeks of listening to the audio CD’s we began to implement the parenting approach (which is soooo nice!), a little backwards and not in order (oh and we at Revive Family created a workbook and written implementation guide so you wont start in the middle like we did, lol), but we stumbled along. Not perfect, and still not perfected at it, but it began to change our home and our daughter’s relationship with us. We had numerous family meetings, and many times we were reminding her we would “not be angry”, “it’s safe to talk to us”, eventually things became more natural. See, because she was always in trouble for something before Influential Parenting we had to build that trust with her and it took some time.
However to understand the difference between the current conventional behavior modification parenting and Influential Parenting we needed to look at life before Influential Parenting (bring it on, I think). Our kids were in trouble for things like, being late getting out the door, not washing their dinner plates after dinner, not finishing all the food on their plates, arguing with us (that was a big one, but we could argue with them, and we were really good at it), not jumping up at the moment we asked them to do something, not cleaning their room, not sitting still (weeeee), not being quiet (never mind the loud booming voice my husband has, one of many inderring qualities, but misunderstood allot), not doing homework when we thought they should, closing their bedroom door, skipping a practice (2 or 3 or 4 okay 5), throwing temper tantrums because they did not get what they wanted when they asked us (yet we expected them to jump when we asked them, fair?), and spilling stuff in the truck, just to name a few things.
Our middle child was in trouble one day because he had placed a round container of pencils on the center console of the truck while we were driving. My husband told him not to put it there and to move it. We arrived at home and the pencils spilled over onto the floor. My husband and son were in the truck for about ten minutes while my husband lectured and then took away screen time over the pencils (ya that makes total sense, pencil…screen time, sure…not.). That was the old way, and it still makes my stomach upset, how often did we get annoyed with insignificant issues like this, far to many! Now with influential parenting we would have chuckled at the spilled pencils, asked questions about inertia and gravity (lighthearted and not a lecture), and then probably teased him about having to play “52 pencil pick up”, and the only consequence would have been, our middle son would have to pick up the pencils after they spilled (we would have helped, but shhhh don’t tell anyone).
With our old way of parenting when the kids did not follow our directions (more our demands), as punishment they would lose things like screen time (phones, TV, computer, iPad), or get a timeout in their room (by the way they were not thinking about what they did but rather how much they did not like us at that moment), we raised our voices to get our point across (well that’s what we thought we were doing, I think they could hear us in Canada), we lectured (we had PHDs in that), we would take things away, like a movie or trip planned or a sleepover, or take away dessert because they did not eat everything on their plate (the plate we platted for them, how is that helpful?)
Reality check (your not gonna like me right now, and I’m okay with that):
We realized as we went through Influential Parenting that we pushed our kids into the very behavior we tried to control by strict rules and harsh consequences and by focusing on their behavior. We un-intentionally pushed them the opposite direction we really wanted them to go. Had we not changed our approach, We would have pushed them into the very things we wanted to protect them from and avoid. We, realized we were the problem not our children (tough pill to swallow huh, it was hard for me and even harder for my husband). But don’t feel guilty or like you are a bad parent, you are not! You are learning just like we are. And now you too can stop drinking the rose colored water.
There is hope and a healthier way and one that will heal both past and present parenting mistakes (it’s never too late to make a change, and for second, third and forth chances).
Influential Parenting is not your typical parenting program (amen sister!), it’s not based in behavior modification (thank goodness) it’s based in the relationships (real love).
With Influential Parenting I am teaching my daughter how to handle her emotions, situations, and the world around her so that when she leaves my home she will be able to handle life’s ups and downs with emotional maturity. We talk through situations and by asking her questions and helping think through decisions, she helps develop her adaptive brain. For example, our daughter had anxiety, and once she understood where the anxiety was coming from she was no longer scared of it and was able to help herself when she felt anxious. We have not seen episodes like we did in the past in a long while, sometimes she gets them from school, but she can relax herself now. Also when we talk through things, they also become her decision and not mine, so we don’t have that conflict. She will be able to do whatever she puts her mind to, and without many of the negative core values that keep people from achieving their dreams (like mine have). We all want this for our kids, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to worry about my daughter when she leaves home, (it’s exhausting), and worrying does not help but robs us of our joy.
Influential Parenting online class is now available on our website. Join us for our free introductory webinar for the class.