Rita is the Mom of a dear, sweet friend of mine. She has two adored daughters and one treasured granddaughter. One of the many things I admire about Rita’s family is the love her girls share. It’s beautiful!
These sisters have a genuine concern and happiness for each other. They spend time together without strain, lip curls, and in the absence of judgement and bitterness. They have found something special something, something not afforded to all.
I wondered how this relationship happened. How did her parents instill the foundation for such love? What advice might she have to benefit others?
Rita’s first line, “The first thing I would like to say is I have two daughters, both of them I love dearly.” I could just feel the sincerity in that line. Her tenderness leapt off the page. It was almost as if one line had said it all!
Rita, “Say what you mean and mean what you say. Try not to make threats you are not prepared to follow through on.” Tip 11
I loved Rita’s tip 11. Saying what you mean, and not making empty threats, so vitally important. Following that alone will minimize wasted time, aggravation, and confusion. Saying what you mean promotes trust, security, and love. I too made every attempt to be true to my words, and my threats.
I felt it was fair, and imperative, to announce the consequences as early as possible. We talked about issues such as drinking, drugs, and peer pressure, years prior to the threat.
At times, I would have Michael determine his own punishment for rule breaking. Surprising, he was harsher than I ever would have been. It is a great exercise for many reasons. It develops communication, understanding, and skills in pre-planning! I also think it is unifying and respectful, you’re working together to determine strategies and outcomes. You’re on the same page!
One example is our conversation on school grades. We had an “Average 85% Rule.” Michael determined above average was his desired goal. We landed on 85%.
The punishment was predetermined should he go below 85%. If that were to happen, we as parents would determine his study schedule. Until then, he determined the schedule. Michael did not want us in control of him, really at all!
The same could be said for our “Dinner-time Rule.” In our home, we absolutely said what we meant, and meant what we said. Dinner at 5:30, meant five-three-zero, not 5:35! If 5 minutes was thought “no big deal,” then he could be home at 5:25 the next day.
It is challenging to parent this way. Why get ‘into it’ over five minutes? I’ll tell you why, if 5 minutes is no big deal, then why is 10 minutes a big deal? Nip it all in the bud!
I realize, no one really wants to have the discussion at 5:35 when dinner is getting cold? I didn’t, did anyway, and it was worth it!
Rita and I both prioritized respect. We didn’t only expect it of our children, we expected it of ourselves. It’s a great governing principle.
For more rea4dfing on this topic: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2009/05/01/empty-threats-how-bad_n_7406970.html?guccounter=1
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Next week, Marie Elaina on abandonment.