Parenting for Lazy People: The Only Thing You Really Have to Teach Your Child

Isn’t it a relief to find out there is only one thing you really have to teach your child? What? You don’t agree? You are thinking about toilet-training and bike-riding and no-hitting and possessions-sharing and friend-choosing and all the myriad character traits and skills good parents ought to instill in their children.

Oh, I know about all of those, but you don’t have to worry about them too much, so long as you get the really important principle taught. Is your curiosity piqued? What is this one really important thing to teach your child?

Just get this into that little person’s mind: You are ruled by a benevolent dictator.

Simple. Profound. Affects everything. Gets everyone into their proper positions in the family. Instills order, security, comfort, and peace.

I hope you will teach this to your child starting when he is so young he cannot possibly understand what a benevolent dictator is. If you do, here is a simplified thing to say to him when needed: I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to take a nap because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to eat a healthy balance of foods because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

Yes, Child, you have to learn to share because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

No, Child, you may not tell me “no” because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

No, Child, you may not throw a fit when you don’t get your way because I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!)

See? Magic!

More practical ways to apply this coming in future posts.

With apologies to my brother and sister-in-law: This is the only photo I could find of a little person in my files who looked like they might be in need of a little training. Their daughter was not being naughty when this was snapped -- it's just a momentary stance caught on the camera!

With apologies to my brother and sister-in-law: This is the only photo I could find in my files of a little person who looked like they might be in need of a little benevolent dictatorship. Their daughter was not being naughty when this was snapped — it’s just a momentary stance caught on the camera!

 

 

What parenting issues do you deal with in your family (or see other families dealing with) that I’m-in-Charge-You’re-Not (And I love you!) can solve?

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12 Comments

  1. Laura S
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    We’re just now delving into this with L… and I’m realizing the biggest obstacle in our way is the (uh, MY) laziness factor (haha) when it comes to consistency. So much easier to push the bowl out of her reach rather than teaching “no.” And when it comes to learning to be quiet and sit still in church services? Ahhhh… I’m beginning to think I’m too worried about “will she understand? is this too much for her? am I being too loud trying to teach her to be quiet?” and just need to TRAIN. And accept the reins of “I’m-in-charge-you’re-not (and I love you!)”

    P.S. Any special tips or pointers appreciated! :)

    • Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      You said it yourself — just go ahead confidently and train. I started with A. when she was about six months old, as soon as she understood “no” and “be quiet” with a tap on her lips. I guess the first two lessons were being still during diaper changes and being quiet and sitting on my or The Husband’s lap during worship, which was soon extended to sitting calmly on our laps anywhere else where we didn’t want her down — doctors’ offices, etc. Several folks thought we expected too much too soon, but I knew my parents had begun that early and I felt like they did me a great service. She did just fine. I know you’ll do great and L. will, too. :)
      Lori recently posted..Life for Lazy People – Defining the Vocabulary of Lazy ProductivityMy Profile

    • Alyssa
      Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Laura,
      Your current learning point with L/HN makes me think of the story Granddad tells of walking into the church building during the week to clean, and finding one of the mom’s practicing sitting still with her little one. Though I think the kid was older.

  2. Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Came here via a comment you made on The Inspired Room. :) (I love red, too!)

    As a mom of three kids now ages 18, almost-15, and 8- I can tell you that you will not only continue to be grateful for establishing this hierarchy early on when your kids are teenagers, but you will also need to remind them of this from time to time. A couple of years ago when my middle boy was going through the pre-teen stuff (which I’ve found to be the hardest stage- the teenage years are much easier) I clearly remember having to sit him down and saying to him, “Son, it has just occurred to me what our problem is lately. You are under the impression that you and I are equals. We are not. You have an equal right to love. You have an equal right to safety and respect. You have an equal right to shelter and care. But we are not equal in authority or in the hierarchy of this household. I. Am. Your. Mother. Do you understand?”

    He did. And things got better again from that day forward. :)

  3. Posted January 29, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    You are on the money. In the blink of an eye, my daughter went from a sweet baby to a willful toddler. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a negotiation with her before I remember, I’m the Sherriff around here…and I Love You.

  4. Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I think the whole “benevolent dictator” thing comes so much easier for first-born children. It might be a little TOO natural for me. Ha! :)

    But really, this is so simple, and profound, and so very, very important! Mostly important because the relationship we have with our child is a microcosm of the relationship they will develop with God. Our children come to know who God is and what He is like through us. Sobering thought.

  5. Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I needed this today. Thanks!

  6. Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    We don’t have kids, but I once was a kid, with parents who set the hierarchy in place – DAD & MOM, then the kids. They set the rules, we obeyed. They loved us, and we knew that. It was a blessing to me to understand this from early on, as it made understanding the concept of a Kind and Loving Heavenly Father who also disciplined His children. It made perfect sense that there should be rules and reasons to obey, and that there were consequences when I did not. It never puzzled me how a God could be a Loving Father, and also require obedience. Why? Because I saw it modeled at home, first. I could not agree MORE with this post! :)
    Carrie @ Busy Nothin recently posted..Thankful For :: Week 5My Profile

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