CHAPTER 11: COMMAND, COMPEL, CONFIRM
"A child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother." Proverbs 29:15
There are three principles talked about in this chapter: COMMANDING COMMUNICATION, COMPELLING CONSEQUENCES and CONFIRMING CONSISTENCY.
PRINCIPLE ONE: COMMANDING COMMUNICATION
"Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do. When you tell your children that you expect him to do something, does he absolutely know that he is going to have to do it, that you absolutely will enforce your instructions? On the other hand, have you given your child reason to think that if he stalls long enough, complains loudly and dramatically enough, or begins to argue you may give up and do it yourself? When you tell one f your children that you will not let him do something he wants to do or give him something he desires, does he absolutely, without a doubt know that you mean what you have said? Or does he have reason to believe that if he argues, cries pitifully, or begins ranting, raving, and raging, you are very likely to give in, if not completely, at least partially?" (p. 227)
"Argumentative parents...are dreamers. When their children do not like decisions they've made, they try to persuade their children to agree with them. That attempt is never going to come to anything because....If a child does not like a decision a parent has made, the child is not going to like the reason the parent gives for the decision, and nothing the parent says is going to change that. A child, by definition, cannot understand and appreciate an adult point of view, and no amount of words, however eloquent, will change that. Likewise, there is no such thing as a child who cannot take no for an answer. There are only children who have learned that when their parents say no, all they have to do is throw conniption fits and no will probably change to "Oh, all right!" (p. 227-229)
The author says there are three steps to cure the argumentative child: (p. 231-232)
1. When your child asks for something, and you say he can't have it or do it, and your child demands an explanation, as in, "Why not?!" give one of only six reasons there are: (1) You're not old enough, (2) you might get hurt, (3) we don't have the money (or will not use it that way), (4) we don't have the time (or won't take the time) for that, (5) we don't believe in that (our values don't allow that), (6) we don't like those kids.
2. When you have given your chosen reason in five words or less, and your child stomps his foot and yells out that he doesn't agree with your reason, thinks it's dumb, or wants to tell you why you should change your mind, simple look at him with great compassion an say, "If I was your age, I wouldn't like that decision either."
3. Then turn around and walk away, leaving your child to-I'm going to steal one of Grandma's favorite lines-"stew in his own juices."
I love the next line of thought: "BECAUSE I SAID SO"
"Because I said so" is a statement of leadership. It affirms a parent's authority. It says "the discussion is over. To put a decision into proper context a leader might give a brief reason (noun), but he does not try to reason (verb). Leaders just state themselves. They are not trying to persuade; rather, they are exercising command, and leaders are not looking for approval. In the face of uproar over an unpopular decision, a leader stays the course." (p. 234)
"Good leaders....are masters of "leadership speech," speech that is: (1) clear-direct, unambiguous, plain, free of abstractions, (2) concise-economical, (3) commanding-authoritative, assertive." (p. 237)
"But what if I tell my child, using leadership speech, to do something and he doesn't?" The author says, "....if leadership speech doesn't get the job done then it's time for consequences. Parents think consequences are Plan A, they are actually Plan B; they are backup. When you go to Plan B, however, go there with determination, intolerance, and righteousness. The consequences you mete out to your child should always be powerful enough to compel him to reestablish self-control in a present situation and act correctly in similar future situations. They should cause permanent memories to form." (p. 240-241)
PRINCIPLE TWO: COMPELLING CONSEQUENCES
The consequences necessary to "cause permanent memories to form," are what Grandma called "lowering the boom."
"The "boom" referred to a consequence that would knock the proverbial wind our of a child; a completely unexpected punishment that would get his attention and create a permanent memory.....it's the unforgettable consequences that count. A consequence that isn't memorable isn't gong to "last." As soon as it's forgotten, the misbehavior will reemerge from its temporary hiding place, refreshed and ready to battle."(p. 243-244)
"...the punishments parents dole out should not "fit" the crimes for which they are doled. They should not be "fair" by contemporary standards. A misbehavior that merits a rank of 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 deserves a punishment that's at least a 6. that greatly increases the likelihood that the misbehavior will enjoy the shortest possible lifespan, which is in everyone's best interest, especially the child's." (p. 246)
The author goes on to give an example of a three-year-old taking a cookie without permission. He says he would confine them to their room for the rest of the day. His answer to this being excessive, "then he'll think twice about taking a cookie without permission again."
The author goes on to explain his opinion of TIME-OUT: "Time-out is silly and pointless because it creates no lasting, discomforting memory...It's fine to use time-out with toddlers, but by the time a child is three, time-out should be replaced by far more powerful, persuasive penalties. Using time-out to deal with a major, long-standing behavioral problem is akin to using a fly swatter to fend off a charging elephant." (p. 247)
PRINCIPLE THREE: CONFIRMING CONSISTENCY
"Postmodern Psychological Parenting has not worked, is not working, and never will work." (p. 251)
"A coherent, never-changing point of view is prerequisite to consistent parenting." (p. 252)
"It is indeed important that your approach to parenting issues be consistent from day to day, but as you will soon discover, your actual disciplinary tactics can very from day to day without compromising the consistency of your general approach to discipline." (p. 253)
"Consistent behavior confirms a parent's purpose, vision, and determination. By being consistent, a parent demonstrates that nothing her child does will knock her off course....children "immunize" fairly quickly to consequences they learn to predict.....make every effort to deliver consequences consistently, but one can be consistent in that regard without being predictable." (p. 254-255)
Finally, the author answers the question, "So, how far can you take this?"
"At some point, I'd have the parents kick His Most Royal Rebelliousness out of the "Garden of Eden." Every belonging save essential furniture and essential clothing has been removed from this room (and put into a storage locker some distance from the home). Any possessions elsewhere in the house, including the garage, have been likewise removed and stored...." (p. 255)....the author goes on to explain how to get said possessions back, not an easy process.
The last part speaks to everything I have heard about TOUGH LOVE! The author answers the question, "What should I do if they never come around?"
"If a child does the wrong thing, and his parents do the right thing, there is no guarantee the child will begin doing the right thing.....you should keep right on doing the right thing and pray for him.....do as little for them as the law will allow....love them as much as your heart will allow....emancipate them as soon as possible....let the real world become their teacher....keep on praying." (p. 257)
1. DO YOUR CHILDREN KNOW THAT YOUR WORD CAN BE RELIED UPON, THAT IT IS THE LAW?
2. WHEN YOU GIVE INSTRUCTIONS DO YOU USE LEADERSHIP SPEECH? IF NOT, WHAT HAS CAUSED YOU TO DO WITH YOUR CHILDREN WHAT YOUR PARENTS DID NOT DO WITH YOU?
3. A THOUGHT PROBLEM: YOU FIND AN EMPTY BEAR CAN UNDER THE DRIVER'S SEAT OF YOUR SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD SON'S CAR. HE SWEARS HE DOESN'T KNOW HOW IT GOT THERE. WHAT DO YOU DO?