“You can’t make me…!” How do you deal with this in parenting?

The realization that you can’t change others is huge and something I think I still don’t want to believe based on my actions. I always hope that sharing my expectations and dreams and caring for another will make them want to change for me. Ah ha! They have to change for themselves and my expectations will just disappoint me. Oh! I get it! So, all of that sharing is important so we can reveal what we envision but we have to let go ultimately and let the other be themselves.  The best thing I can do is figure out how I can change and be their model. This understanding was very powerful in the face of “You can’t make me do that!”  What is your first reaction when you hear that from one of your children? 

Find out more about this and other powerful parenting tips in Chapter 8 of Passionate Parent Passionate Couple

Putting negative labels on kids is one of the worse things you can do.  If you want a kid to be lazy, just keep saying, “You’re so lazy”.  If you want a kid to be stupid, just keep saying, “you’re so stupid”.  It can even be more subtle like, “he/she is good in sports but not so good in school”.  Trust us, that kid will NOT be good in school. 

Recognize the power of your words.  “Thoughts become things” is a truth, but speaking those thoughts out loud makes your thoughts a reality!  Always be conscious of what you say, especially when it involves your children.

We really started to enjoy parenting when we learned the “game” of the belonging tank.  Imagine that each of your children has a tank like a gas tank, but it is called the belonging tank. 

As long as that tank is full, your child is in full cooperation and your life is smooth sailing. As soon as the tank starts to go down, your child starts to feel the need for your attention. AND it does not matter to the child if they get that attention in positive or negative ways! 

That is when you start to notice bickering, whining, fighting etc.  You feel irritated and of course you turn your attention to your child!  (Negative attention giving)

Just think for a moment what it would be like if you proactively gave attention to the child before things fell apart!  We call that “Catching your kids doing something right” (positive attention giving), instead of waiting until something wrong happens.

 Give it a try and let us know if anything different happens. 

When I was a young parent I used to get irritated when one of the little one’s asked if they could help with something that was way over their heads or I could do more efficiently myself.  Now with grandkids, when they say, “Can I Help?”, I immediately say yes, then start thinking of some way for them to get involved.  Last night I was changing ink on our printer and of course the youngest, Jaydah the four year old, came over to ask if she could help.  I started seeing visions of ink stains everywhere in my brain, but I immediately said yes.  Then, as I was opening the new cartridges, I would push the release lever on the old and ask her to pull them out while I got the new ones ready to put in. She was so delighted to throw them into the garbage and it really did save me time!  What a great resource!

What happens to me when I am feeling overwhelmed and HDIFSTWY?



Lover Benjie,

YMEQ is you’re your willingness to share your overwhelm with me. It allowed me to see my overwhelm too.

Lover when I am overwhelmed I find it easy to fly from one project to another without finishing any.  For me it seems that keeping busy and having no time for anything is the way I excuse myself for being in overwhelm.  Looking at it now I see how I also feel stressed and on edge.  I snap at little stuff and I’m not myself.  Lover, it is so ironic that when I’m like this, the last thing I want to do is our job list. I don’t want to just start handling things and clearing them, which is exactly what I know I need to do.

I almost feel ridiculous sharing this with you.  It’s like a “duh” kick myself in the pants feeling.  Why do I let myself suffer in overwhelm when most of the stuff takes way less time to finish than I think?  It’s like a stifled feeling in my chest and stomach.  Shallow breathing.  It is a greyish overcast day feeling.  ILYWMWHASAMAB Eddie

When Betty shared her ways of escaping I was awed and felt a deep sense of gratitude for her honesty to trust me so deeply.  I know that the last thing I want is for someone to know my weaknesses and be vulnerable or accountable.  Betty was so vulnerable that I felt like I had been given a hidden treasure that I must guard with my life.  I just had to kiss her on the lips in a gentle loving way.


 My sweetheart, your MEQ is challenging me and us as usual with a question that I would rather not delve into. I’d rather escape into no man’s land with FB – just visiting, not doing something constructive, TV, attending to our little garden, checking on things around the house without real purpose, etc. Instead of mind-dumping and creating a priority list, basically, wasting time. THEN I get that God-awful feeling of emptiness plus frustration that comes with not filling my energy-cell of happiness = getting things accomplished. Sharing this with you makes me feel nervous with my honesty. I sense your frustration watching me not get be on purpose and leaving so many things to you to take the lead on. You had us dialogue on this to save yourself, I’m sure!, – Bless you!!

My nervousness causes me sweatiness and a stiffness in my back. My head is achy – just a slight dull sensation. It makes me want to run away and definitely avoid you. For you it might me like when I ask you to – goodness – what does make you nervous? Do you just suck it up and be brave? This is a light gray or yellow feeling to me right now. Okay—–Let’s minddump and get my act together.

Love, Ben

After hearing Ed’s letter, I was sympathetic to his thought that he was being ridiculous, ‘cause it truly is ironic for both of us to say that we both stop doing or doing well or to completion which causes us more negative feelings. His honesty about how it makes him be irritable gave so much clarity to how we both are a little rough around the edges right now. This dialogue gives us a clear picture of what we need to do right now.


Has your child ever lied to you?  Remember trust CANNOT be earned.  Trust is a gift and a decision.  We all make mistakes in judgement and we will do it again because we are human.  Make the decision to trust and see what happens! Love Ed and Betty

“I’m sorry” makes you feel better.  “Please forgive me” lets the one you’ve hurt have a chance to feel better before forgiving you! Self centered vs other centered.

After you catch your kid/s doing something right…

On July 9th, 2013, posted in: Childcare, Children, Communication, Family, For Parents, Parenting, Passionate Parent by Comments Off on After you catch your kid/s doing something right…

When you find your kid/s doing something right, praise with sincerity. “Danny. thank you for helping Chrysy find her shoes – that was sooooo helpful.”

Get out of the parenting blahs!

On July 9th, 2013, posted in: Childcare, Children, Communication, Family, For Parents, Love, Uncategorized by Comments Off on Get out of the parenting blahs!

The easiest way to get things turned around when parenting seems to be a drag is to start catching your kids doing something right! You will be amazed!

Laughter Leads to a Longer Life

On July 6th, 2013, posted in: Childcare, Children, Communication, Family, For Parents, Parenting, Passionate Parent, Uncategorized by Comments Off on Laughter Leads to a Longer Life

What is your family movie? Ours is “The Three Amigos”

So many dark situations turn to laughter with a single quote. A great one…“Let’s just have fun with it!”