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How to Raise Near Perfect Children

How to Raise Near Perfect Children

Chet Holmes

The true secret to raising normal and well-adjusted children is in two simple sentences. "When they are pleasant, treat them pleasantly. When they are unpleasant, treat them unpleasantly." If you reward unpleasant behavior, you will create an unpleasant child. The solution is simple. So simple.

Today, we don’t spank our children as our parents might’ve done to us. Studies show this can damage their self-esteem and emotionally scar them. But putting a child in bed is all you’ll ever need to do to punish them. This minor punishment phase is something you won’t have to do go through for more than a week or two in their entire life. And by doing so, your children will magically and remarkably adapt and become the most pleasant, perfect and well adjusted children you’ve ever known.

Conversely: How to train your child to fail in life and in relationships:
(A true story. I’m standing in a friend’s home and their two year-old is asking for something that the father would not give him.)

Child: I want it.
Father: No
Child (louder) I want it.
Father: No
Child (even louder) I want it. Father: No
Child (screaming) I want it!
Father: Okay, just stop screaming.

This is a case of the parent teaching the child that when they behave badly they get what they want in life. And that is the exact opposite of reality. In real life, outside of the unrealistic world you might create as a parent, when that child behaves poorly, that child will not be well liked by others. That child will have a hard time making great friends. That child will not get along with teachers. And when that child becomes an adult, they will not be promoted and advanced by superiors and they will always suffer in their relationships. Letting a child always have their way creates an adult who is selfish, emotionally imbalanced and unrealistic in their expectations.

Tough Love. This is what they call tough love. Though you hate to hear your child cry when you put them in their room for punishment, you have to love your child enough to properly motivate them to be well adjusted. You’ll be amazed at how fast they adapt. Children are the most adaptable anomalies on the planet.

I remember the pediatrician teaching us how to get our child to sleep through the night (this to be done after the child is 12 months old and not before). She said: "Let her cry. If you go in every time she cries, she will never learn to sleep through the night." In two nights, our 13 month-old daughter was trained and slept through the night every night since (she’s 14 now). I had to practically handcuff my wife from running right in there, but even she was grateful when she saw how well it worked and how much happier everyone was when our child now slept through the night.

Our son was more resistant and determined. He took four nights. Four nights of holding yourself back so the child (and you) can have a lifetime of soundly sleeping through the night.

The rule is that you never say "no" more than once without immediately reinforcing that you "say what you mean and you mean what you say." You have to care enough about your children to intentionally and deliberately train them that it does not pay to sulk, brood, pout, scream or cry unnecessarily. All those behaviors will be treated with a swift carry-off to bed, where they will stay until they become pleasant. A few minutes will be sufficient in most cases, unless you’ve never disciplined the child. If this is new to the child and they’ve always gotten their way from you, they might scream their heads off the first time you do this. Take the screaming as a warning of worse things to come if you don’t now become twice as strict until they learn.

The Rule of One says that it’s one warning and then RIGHT to bed. NEVER is there any wavering on your part. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Predictable behavior on your part creates a far more well-adjusted child. If sometimes you're strict and other times you're not, the child does not know where they stand. You owe it to your child for things to be clear to them.

This approach has created two extremely well-adjusted children who adapt to every situation with remarkable good nature. And the punishment phase was remarkably brief. Maybe a week when they were 13 months and then another week when they hit the terrible two’s. Then a weekend of no phone when they get to be 12. Minor discipline for a lifetime of well adjusted children.

The Amazing Realization. You do this for a week and quickly you’ll see that even the threat of bed is enough to quickly curtail all unpleasant behavior. Then one day, the child will suddenly become extremely well adjusted and adapt whenever you say no.

Child: Can I have some candy?
Parent: Not now, honey.
Child: Okay.

End of scene. Compare this against our opening scene and you have a very different world to live in. You’ll see it happen very quickly and you’ll be delighted. You’ll know it’s the way it should be because all the drama goes away very quickly.

Am I cramping their style? Self-esteem makes an accomplished child, not spoiled behavior. Some parents feel that any discipline at all to a child is "cramping their natural behavior." Their "natural behavior" is up to how you teach them to be. So give the child everything they want when they scream for it, and then YOU are the one creating behavior, not "nature." You are the parent. It is your job to make the proper decisions. Leaving a two year-old to make their own decisions about how they should be raised is a recipe for creating an adult who will be forever unhappy. Self esteem is built by adoring your child, encouraging all their positive behaviors and believing in them no matter what. But that's another article.

Chet Holmes has worked with over 60 of the Fortune 500 companies as America’s top marketing executive, trainer,strategic consultant and motivation expert. He has identified and developed the 12 core competencies that are proven to provide the main structure of truly great companies and he has developed more than fifty proprietary methods for implementing to see his and your ideas actually take root and grow.The realization of Chet’s discoveries came to full fruition while running nine divisions ofa company for Charlie Munger (on the Forbes “Billionaires” list, partner of Warren Buffett). Chet doubled the sales volume of each division, most within only 12 to 15months, continuing strategic growth in several divisions and again doubling sales for several years consecutively. Charlie has called Chet, “America’s greatest sales and marketing executive.”