Wednesday, October 07, 2009

4 keys

Last night I had the pleasure of having dinner with a man who has achieved a lot of success in his life... his family's biography book (according to one of his executives) weighs about 8 pounds... he's earned a few billion dollars in his lifetime... he runs 5 companies... but what impressed me the most (by far) were the simple 4 keys he had to successfully parenting children.

1. Be there. There's no replacement for time with and as he said, ages 0 - 6 are the most important from an early childhood development perspective
2. When you're there, be THERE. I've heard this before as the 100% rule- don't be on your Blackberry when you're with your kids, don't be watching TV and kind of watching them; be with them in the moment.
3. Let them teach you what they want to learn and what they want to do instead of you forcing them to read or listen to 'Baby Einstein'. The rate of children's abilities to learn is limited only by the abilities of the teacher.
4. Teach them to want to please you instead of teaching them to fear you. Fear works until they're 12. Most kids don't get into real trouble before 12, they do after. When kids post 12 are faced with drugs and you parent via the fear regime - doing drugs is just one ,more outlet to 'stick it to you'. If your kids want to do right by you, they'll talk to you and present their challenges to you so that you can help them arrive at the solutions for themselves (not you telling them).

The 4 keys above are easy in theory, hard in practice for 1 reason above all else - patience. If anything, that's the 5th key to unlocking your potential as a parent and your kids potential as a human being.

To all parents out there (myself included) best of luck especially with the 5th key!

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