Our daughter is amazing, that’s it, plane and simply amazing! Most of her friends are mature like she is and the group of friends she has are good kids, with good values, and are keeping each other on track. She’s responsible, planning her future. We don’t track her on GPS (yes, you read that right), we don’t snoop through her phone (not a spy sorry, well not sorry) and social media accounts, we don’t snoop through her room (if we did, she should be able to snoop through ours, or is that overboard). I know you’re thinking “what!” you have to do those things to keep her safe and out of trouble. No we don’t and she is safe and out of trouble.
We work with natural consequences now. So if she does not go to practice she will likely sit on the bench for most of the game, if she does not turn in her homework she will get a bad grade, if she does not move the laundry she will have wet clothes etc…
We trust her (a trustable teen, who knew!). For example recently a new friend of theirs wanted the entire group (boys and girls) to go to a cabin three hours from home with no chaperones (deep breath, it will be okay). Our daughter told us, (and after the panic on the inside stopped) I sat and listened to her friends and our daughter, here is the conversation I heard:
Friend 1(boy): I don’t think it’s a good idea to go, no parents
Daughter: Its three hours away, with limited cell coverage, what if something happens and we need a parent’s help.
Friend2 (girl, and boys girlfriend): It’s just not a good idea to travel that far, with boys and girls and no chaperones.
Me: Sounds like you all have thought this out well. What are you going to tell your friend?
Daughter: We already told her no, she’s mad but she can be mad. She gets mad because she is never told no (funny we don’t tell our daughter no, but help guide her, she says no to things), by her parents. We just don’t think it’s a good idea. To many things can happen and that’s a long way away from parents and help.
All the kids in the group range in age of 15 to 18, none thought this was a good idea, and they had already talked about it and thought about it. Win win! They used their adaptive brains and critical thinking skills and decided this was not a safe idea (to our relief too). And because we have used Influential Parenting with our daughter since she was 8/9 we really did not have to do much in the way of talking, our daughter did all of it on her own (a responsible teen, who makes a good decisions, wow, they do exist!).
If we had stayed with the traditional parenting beliefs (that rose colored water that does not taste good anymore), our family would be in a different place and so would our daughter. We would have said no to the trip, making it more desirable to her, possibly not knowing about the trip until she disappeared for the weekend.
I did not have Influential Parenting growing up so i did the opposite when I was in High school. For the week of Homecoming we had activities every night, including float building (small town). My best friend at the time had a boyfriend who could only come to the dance if someone could bring him home that night. Her parents said no, they would not take him home, and I knew mine would also say no (at least my dad would) since it would be after midnight before we hit the road. I was 16 with a license for just six months. So I practiced getting out of my house within a couple of minutes all week. I ran in after the homecoming dance, told mom what I was doing (see ya later mom), so fast my dad was not able to catch us (poof gone like the wind). At 2:30 am all four of us in the car fell asleep. We hit a mailbox then a tree. Thank goodness no one died (angels looking out for us that night), mostly minor injuries, and non-life threatening injuries. We walked across the street to the only house with its light on, turned out to be a retired nurse and orthodontist (angels, I tell ya).
What’s the difference between behavioral modification and Influential parenting?
Throughout this series I have shared example of behavior modification vs Influential Parenting, but what is the difference? The difference between traditional parenting (external motivation, your will) and Influential Parenting is, Influential Parenting (internal motivation, their internal desire) is about talking and open communication and guidance.
Influential Parents draw out their child’s desire to want to listen to them and also to be personally successful. It Focuses on helping our children with their goals which in turn will help them stay on track, get good grades and even help around the house without being asked too.
Influential Parenting works with Natural Consequences which focuses the response towards the consequence of their actions or choices where they need to be and not towards us like in Behavior Modification when we make up a consequence (like taking their phone because they talked back to us, or cancelling a birthday sleepover because they got below an A on a paper at school). Natural Consequence: If your child breaks a lamp playing in the house, your child buys a new lamp with their money (new lamp, cool).
Influential Parenting and homework, a big concern for many parents we talk to. Our daughter is so focused on her goals, late papers are rare, low grades are unusual, and having to micromanager her and her schedule non-existent, she self manages her own time and schedule. Occasionally she needs some help with time management but that’s also rare. Unlike when we focused on behavior modification and tried external motivation, which always ended up in an argument and tears, Influential Parenting focuses on her internal desire.
Influential Parenting and allowances/money: Our daughter has been in charge of her own budget since she was 10. We followed Jeff’s recommendation and gave her the money we would spend on her for clothes, personal items, and gifts for friend’s birthdays and gifts for friends at Christmas and put her in charge of it. She will also be paying 1/3 of her soccer fees this season with her own money (once she finds a job, do you know how challenging it is for a 16 year old to find a job that’s not at a fast food place, very difficult). Before we did this she would always find the most expensive item in the store and want that. Now she is shopping at Goodwill, Value Village and looking at the sale racks.
She helps out at home, keeps her room clean (without being asked), and helps others. She’s a student leader and mentor for middle school age girls through Wyldlife. She doesn’t feel the need to hide things from us and we have open conversations (no more yelling “I hate you” from down the hall), and its rewarding, especially when we have a great deep conversation like we did this past weekend about soccer tryouts, fears, and her future (feel good moment).
Influential Parenting put the joy back in being a parent (about time), and it’s so entertaining when you see the kids change and react to the change in you. The first time we sat down as a family and shared with her what we were doing she looked at us like we were aliens from another planet (that was so entertaining). Another time as she began to understand her own brain she stopped us in mid conversation and said “wait, I need to tell you this before I forget, oh yeah adolescent brain phase!”. We have cried together and eaten a quart of chocolate ice cream (yum chocolate!), and celebrated with a Starbucks (yes there really is a Starbucks on every corner in Seattle, we have been tp every one). Influential Parenting goes against everything we have been lead to believe is the right/best way to parent and it is worth the change and the leap of faith. You must take in the journey. We believed in it so much, a little under a year after we listened to the first set of audio CD’s we were leading test groups. The groups watched the Influential Parenting DVD series and small group class series and we also helped to develop the parent work books, leaders book, and other materials. We can guarantee if you follow the sessions, do the homework, make the changes (as a parent and individual), use the implementation guide and continue to become an Influential Parent you won’t be disappointed and life will be better! You will look back like we do and go “I never what to go back to the old way!”
We challenge you today to take that first step in changing the culture of your home and begin raising an adult and not a child. Come meet us in the Middle! Join us on the Free Webinar at ReviveFamily.com.