Why am I so passionate about Influential Parenting? It saved my second marriage and my relationship with my daughter. It brought my daughter and my husband (step-dad) closer. It brought us to the middle and away from the extremes (Hooray!). But it also challenged what we thought was conventional wisdom in parenting. It was exactly what our family needed!
I met my husband when my daughter was four years old. He also had two young sons. Our parenting styles were opposites to say the least (helicopter mom (I got my wings honestly), control freak dad), and as time went on it began to become a divisive issue in our marriage and in our relationships with all three kids. Something needed to change and fast.
For years I drank the rose colored water (yuk, not as good as you remember). After all I had educators and police officers for family members, went to countless counselors and therapists (reluctantly), purchased other parenting programs (that was a costly mistake), and in college took courses in psychology and early childhood education. All supported behavior modification and tough love. But they must be right…. Right? No, what we did not see (as well as these well meaning professionals) was the damage and destruction it was leaving behind. But deep down we felt something was not right, and we were afraid of losing the relationship with our kids and each other (motivation to change), which helped us seek a non traditional way.
In the beginning (in a land far far away…, just kidding):
We met Jeff Schadt in 2011 at the end of a Parenting Conference. We did not actually attend the conference (what a mistake that was) and had no idea what his approach was, but heard him talk to our parent group afterwards. I loved what he had shared so much, I stepped out of my comfort zone (total introvert) and immediately offered my graphic design and illustration services.
Derailed! (Chugga Chugga Choo Choo in the wrong direction…)
So instead of looking into Influential Parenting more after we met Jeff, we in our infinite wisdom (seriously, ug) decided to go down a different path for a while (oops). My husband had been through a popular parenting program for young kids (still around today) with his kids so we had tried some of that approach (behavior modification), and also purchased a seen on TV (strict Behavior Modification) parenting program, boy that was a mistake! (Not sure what I was thinking, I plead temporary insanity).
We listened to the “other” program series (not Influential parenting, just to be clear), filled out the paperwork and began to implement the strict behavioral modification ideas with all three of our children, thinking that in some way this would make things better. Boy, we could not have been further from the truth. What the behavior modification approach did was tear our family apart. It missed the deep hurt and root causes and focused on the behavior only, nothing was healed (Chugga Chugga Crash!).
Behavior Modification say what?
So why do we work on Behavior Modification? Why do we think that this is where we need to be to raise good well behaved kids? Maybe we believe that there is safety in structure and strict expectations and comfort in behavior modification? Honestly I don’t know why we look to these. I ran from them.
Just about everything we see and hear today is in some way related to behavior modification. Positive/negative behavior modification both deny love. Why are these so bad for everyone all around? They do not reach the issue (root) that is causing the behavior. I love Jeff’s, founder of Revive Family, analogy with a weed. If you’re like me you try and muscle it out with your hands only tearing off the green part (behavior modification), leaving the roots (true issue). What happens next is that the weed’s root grows larger, stronger, and deeper for survival. It doesn’t go away until you expose the root (hurt) causing it to die. When we work on the behavior it’s the green part of the weed. When we expose the root we can heal the issues and in turn the behavior is automatically corrected (dead root, behavior change, Novel idea huh). And it’s done in a way that shows love rather than denying it.
A Thought… and a question… (I get these once in a while)
If behavior modification is working then why are we seeing so many people with mental illness, addictions, adults and kids looking for any escape possible, and why more and more people are lashing out violently at each other?
Different versions of the same idea and still we are not seeing a positive change, isn’t doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result called the definition of insanity? So, why do we continue to use parenting techniques that focus on modifying the behavior instead of finding the root cause of the behavior? Good question.
I think many of us parent out of fear. Fear of the way people will look at us (guilty), some its stranger danger, others drugs and alcohol. Let’s face it we don’t want our kids making the same mistakes we did, the mistakes we made because we felt hurt, lonely and unaccepted by the adults around us (be honest, I am). Don’t worry our kids won’t make the same mistakes we did, they are likely not going to be abducted, but they will make their own mistakes, and how we help them when they do is key to a healthy relationship with us and also for their future relationships.
Somewhere back in time (isn’t that a movie?)…
Let’s go back in time a bit and remember our teen years. Were you close with your parents? Did you feel trusted, lovable, loved and part of your family? Or did you feel untrusted, unlovable, lonely, angry, and hurt by the adults around you? Instead of seeking love at home you began to look outside the home?
I have two parents I know love me, but they also carry baggage from their childhoods. In high school the separation began (not just between me but also between them). I wanted their attention so much and longed to feel their love and acceptance, but because of the hurt (and other complications) I didn’t. I lashed out at them and my younger brother (we are close now), and I looked for attention from them even if it was negative. Outside the home I escaped at first by binge drinking at parties (9th grade), then experimented with marijuana (how is this a good idea… I am allergic to grass), then dated different guys and even giving up that prize at age 18 for someone who told me they loved me (dang girl what were you thinking). Eventually my misguided path, lead me to an abusive relationship (well, 3 abusive relationships, I know I know), rape, and the loss of a child. Does this sound like some of what you may have experienced in high school? or what you may fear for your child? Hmmm, me too. Want a way to prevent these? Influential Parenting is that way.
Influential Parenting to the rescue, like a superhero! Here’s where our real transformation started. ReviveFamily.com