11 Parenting Principles I’ve Applied to MY Children

I am not the world’s greatest father, that I know of. I have flaws and I get impatient. The way I raise my kids is not the way you should. I have to live with these people, so I am raising them in such a way that it is easier for me to live with them.

I have never asked for parenting advice from anyone. I do not want to know how you raised your kids. Raise them the way you want–you have to live with them and that’s fine with me. Just don’t be surprised if they are never invited to live at my house.

If God wanted you to raise my kids, He would have given them to you. If He wanted me to raise yours, He would have given them to me. I got mine and here are eleven principles of parenting I have applied to them:

1) When dad speaks–do what he said. I do not count to 3 or to 10 before I get my response. Oh no, when I tell them to do something it should already be acted on by the time I’ve finished my sentence.

2) Kids are supposed to be happy. Happy kids are loud and destructive. I have never purchased a new piece of furniture since we’ve had kids and I don’t plan on it until they leave the house. Don’t buy nice stuff, it will only be destroyed.

3) My kids will leave my house when they are 18. I have told them this since the day they were born. They can come back for very short visits, but they will not live in my house. Get out and start life. Take it by the horns and subdue it. My job is to prepare them to be ready for this. If they can’t, it’s my fault.

4) I represent God to my children. This is the scariest aspect of being a dad–my kids will live the rest of their life hearing about “God the Father” and “we are children of God.” Every time they hear that they will think of me. Am I doing my job in such a way as to give them a proper view of who God is? This keeps me awake some nights.

5) I praise what deserves praise. I do not praise my kids for showing up; I praise them when they do something worthy of praise. If your last at-bat was a strikeout, I will not tell you “hey, it was a good cut though.” A “good cut” is one in which the ball was hit.

6) Weddle’s don’t strikeout. I put pressure on my kids. I say things to them where they know there is pass and fail. They must learn to handle pressure and be able to perform when there are stakes involved (or steaks for that matter). I have reasonable expectations for my children. Expectations that are reachable with some work. I try not to frustrate them, but challenge is needed.

7) Be nice to your brother and sister. There will be very few people you know right now whom you will still know 20 years from now. But you’ll still know your brother and sister. We are a family. Be nice to your family. You’ll be around us for a very long time. Plus, I don’t want to hear your stupid arguing.

8) No allowance. My children do not do work in my house for pay. They do work in my house because they get breakfast, lunch, dinner. clothes, a roof over their head and everything else in their life. You do chores in the house because I tell you to, unless you’d like to start paying for food, rent, insurance, etc.. You’re the ones who made the mess anyway.

9) Kids need challenge. Too many kids have lost a lust for life. Seeing depressed, mopey kids is pathetic and rips my heart out. I always come up with odd things for them to do–run down to the mailbox in barefeet when it’s 20 below zero, jump off the roof when there’s two feet of snow on the ground, jump off the canoe in the middle of the lake and see if you can get back in. There’s fun to be had; go have it.

10) Punishment is supposed to hurt. If punishment doesn’t hurt, it’s not punishment. This doesn’t imply physical hurt either. Losing out on privileges, removing freedoms, doing something that actually impacts their way of living is the only thing that gets their attention. Giving your son a 10-minute lecture does nothing. Constantly warning that bad things will happen doesn’t work. Newton’s First Law of Parenting: Kids will do what they want until acted upon by an outside force. Be that outside force for your kids. Every kid is different, so choose the thing that will affect them the most

11) Mom and Dad are on the same team. My kids are not allowed to play mom against dad. If dad says “no” you will get in big ol’ trouble if you go ask your mom after that. My wife and I talk about our kids all the time. We are on the same page. I get more upset when my kids don’t listen to their mother as when they don’t listen to me.

Those are a few of my general principles I have used to raise my kids. My kids aren’t done yet, but that’s what I’m going with. All of these can be taken to a ridiculous extreme, I endeavor to avoid such things.

Again, if this is outrageous to you, then don’t do it. The only people that need to obey them are my kids! When they have their own kids you can ask them if what I did worked!


2 thoughts on “11 Parenting Principles I’ve Applied to MY Children”

  1. Possibly one of the best pieces you’ve ever written, my friend. Congratulations!

  2. Thanks brother Andrew. Do compliments from below the equator go down the drain in the opposite direction? Does the reverse spin on the compliment actually turn it into a criticism that most of my pieces of writing are horrible?

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