Yup, I’ve got a secret.
It served me well for 23 years so far, and I have shared it with no one.
It came into my life only days after my first child was born. There were only FIVE words, yet the voice in my head said them very clearly and with confidence. I believed them to be important enough to remember them everyday for years to come.
The words made my life more simple. They transformed the complex notion of parenting into a single focus. They guided my decisions.
I hung on to those words at every stage of my children’s growth, like when they got frustrated trying to ride a bike and needed to soothe themselves. When they got hungry. When they got dirty. When they learned to read. When they wanted to buy something. When they learned to drive.
The decisions I made surprised me and sometimes went against my emotions at the time; but they were reasonable.
They made sense. They had a purpose bigger than me.
The words had value. They were an investment into my children’s future and had a probably high rate of return.
The words also made my life easier. They freed me up from a lot of unneccessary action and labor. They gave me more opportunities to reclaim time for myself.
The words also taught me skills and lessons I had not fully learned, gave me many insights, and caused my children to challenge themselves in more ways than they really wanted to be challenged.
The words helped my kids become whole, strong, and confident. As they started leaving the nest, we all knew that they were loaded with the skills necessary to handle anything that came their way, including themselves (thus, the self-soothing practice).
It resulted in me having an incredible peace of mind. I never had any regrets.
Ready for the five words? They are so simple and you may have already thought of them, but if you keep them in the forefront of your mind everyday during the heavy parenting years, you will be GUARANTEED a great grownup kid.
Come closer and I’ll tell you those five words which I heard so clearly when I became a parent…
Train them to leave you.
TRAIN. THEM. TO. LEAVE. YOU.
Yup. Teach them EVERYTHING you know (and things you don’t know but should), including things like using a debit card (which my kids started at 5 years old), reading recipes and cooking (at age 8), shopping online (age 9), washing their own clothes (age 10), mowing the lawn (age 11), babysitting (age 12, for girls AND boys), selling used toys online (age 13), getting a job (age 14), driving (age 15), getting an oil change or dealing with an accident repair (age 16), dealing with the legal system for a traffic violation (age 17), applying to colleges (age 18).
Don’t do it for them! Spend your free time developing your patience and enjoying your life. Don’t wait until they are gone to relax, because you won’t, as you will worry about how they are doing.
Teach and watch now; it’ll be the most wonderful gift for you, them, and the planet.
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