28 Rules For Great Parenting … coming from the mouths of babes

Years ago I came across these rules, and they’ve been circulating around the world ever since.  No one seems to know who wrote them, but almost everyone seems to agree that we would be raising much better kids of parents followed these “rules.”

And interestingly enough, the “rules” come from the kids themselves.  They actually tell us what will turn them into positive, productive, and effective adults.   I think we would all be wise to listen to what these kids have to say and apply some or all of these rules to our parenting and grandparenting. 

Heck, some of these “rules” would even work if you were a team leader or a supervisor in a company trying to bring out the best in your people.

So let me suggest that you print them out.  Hang them in  a prominent spot.  And spend 60 seconds each to read through the list.  They’re bound to make you  a better parent (or supervisor).

Oh yes, one final thing.  I’ve found several versions of these “rules” over the years.  The list I’m giving you is “my” version.  It’s been “Zimmerman-ized.”

  1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I shouldn’t have everything I ask for.  I’m only testing you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me.  I prefer it.  It lets me know where I stand and makes me feel more secure.
  3. Don’t correct me in front of other people.  It humiliates me so much that it makes it hard for me to focus on what you’re saying.  I’ll pay much closer attention if you  talk to me in private.
  4. Don’t use force with me.  It teaches me that power is all that counts.  I will respond more readily to being led.
  5. Don’t be too upset if I say “I hate you.” I don’t mean it.  I just don’t have the words I need to express my frustration or know how to get your attention.      
  6. Don’t protect me  from consequences. I need to learn from my experiences, and sometimes that means learning the “hard way.”  If you keep on rescuing from the consequences of my actions, chances are I’ll never learn and never grow up.    
  7. Don’t take too much notice  of my small ailments. Often times they’re nothing more than an attention-getting device.  In fact, if you pay too much attention to my small ailments, I may get to enjoy “poor health” because it teaches me how to manipulate others. 
  8. Don’t  nag. If you do, I’ll pretend to be deaf.  It works much better if we sit down and have a real conversation.
  9. Don’t  make promises you can’t keep.  When you fail to follow through, I will not only feel disappointed but I’ll also lose a little bit of my trust in you.   
  10. Don’t forget that I can’t explain myself as well as I would like. That’s why I am not always accurate.    
  11. Don’t over-challene my honesty.  I am easily frightened into telling lies.
  12. Don’t be inconsistent.  Don’t say one thing and do another.  That completely confuses me.  I lose faith in you and start to wonder what is right and what is wrong.      
  13. Don’t put me off when I ask you HONEST questions. If you do, I will stop asking and seek my information elsewhere … maybe from some places you wouldn’t like.   
  14. Don’t tell me my fears are  silly. And don’t let my fears arouse your anxiety.  They are very real to me.  So I need you to understand my fears … which will be very reassuring …  and then teach me courage.      
  15. Don’t  ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me.  An honest apology  makes me feel surprisingly warm to you.
  16. Don’t forget how quickly I am  growing up.  It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me but please try.  I need you to be “with” me, where I’m at “right now,” rather than be told how it used to be in “your day.”    
  17. Don’t forget that I love experimenting.  It’s one of the ways I learn, and I couldn’t get along  without it.  So please give me some room to experiment … unless you see me heading towards a really big danger.
  18. Don’t let me form bad habits, if at all possible.  Otherwise, it may take me a lifetime to overcome them.
  19. Don’t let my bad habits get me a lot of attention.  It only encourages me to continue them.
  20. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. I will make up for by acting like a “big shot.”       
  21. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too much to live up to, and it will be a great a shock when I  discover that you are neither.   
  22. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of love and understanding, but don’t make me have to ask for it.  Just do it and show it. 
  23. Please keep yourself fit and healthy.  I need you.
  24. Don’t fall for my provocations … when I say and do things just to upset you.  That will only encourage me to go for more such “victories.”
  25. Don’t do things for me that I can and should do for myself … no matter how much I whine or beg.  It makes me feel like a baby and contributes to my sense of helplessness.  And I may end up depending on you too much for too long in my life.
  26. Don’t try to discuss my behavior in the heat of conflict.  For some reason my hearing is not very good at this time and my cooperation is even worse.  It’s all right to take the action required, but let’s not talk about it until later.
  27. Don’t answer my silly or meaningless questions.  I’m just trying to control your time and keep you focused on me.  There are better ways to give me attention.
  28. Remember I learn more from a model than a critic.

One final hint.  Even though my two-day program, the “Journey to the Extraordinary” was never intended to be a course on parenting, hundreds of parents have taken the course and applied the principles and skills to their children with amazing results.

John Biggi, the Director of Service Operations at Northwest Pump, attended my “Journey” experience.  And like everyone else, he learned a number of techniques that turbo-charged his life and career.   But it’s extra sweet when you can take the “Journey” strategies back to work or use them at home so other people get the benefits as well.  

That’s what John did.  He sent me a note saying, “I have used the positive reinforcements with my 12-year old daughter Megan and her swimming. Needless to say, it has worked like a charm. She has continued to drop her times in all of her events.
Yesterday, she dropped 10 seconds off of her personal best in the 100 IM. Thanks for all of the tools that you shared during the JOURNEY. It is the best seminar that I have ever attended!” 

Over and over again, people tell me the JOURNEY has not only benefited them, it has changed the lives of others around them — at work and at home.  Renee Erickson, a System Liaison Officer for the Mayo Clinic, wrote, “Your JOURNEY program was an AWESOME EXPERIENCE.  In my personal life, I have seen a difference with how I deal with my child that struggles with school and have noticed a difference with his interactions with us.  His attitude has changed as well, and it’s SO nice to see that he is starting to believe in himself and believe that he can do it.” 

Now it’s time that you get yourself signed up for the JOURNEY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY experience.  It’s coming to Chicago
on October 27-28, 2011.   

To sign up, go to http://www.JourneyToTheExtraordinary.com