Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parenting technique

I am becoming an expert on parenting. Or, at least at one technique that has been working wonders for me lately.

Some may say my methods are a little extreme. To them, I say you have never been a single father of four daughters under 10.

My method is the often-criticized but underutilized tactic of brainwashing. I have mastered it so well, I would be fine with one calling me the Jim Jones of parenting.

Tell your kids something and repeat it enough times, the desired outcome eventually happens. The key, as with most things in life, is repetition, repetition and more repetition.

With almost everything that happens, I have a simple sentence that corresponds with an activity. Pretty soon, my kids know exactly what I want to happen and how it should happen.

From the mundane every day tasks to the lessons in life that will keep my children on the right track, I have a saying for it.

When my youngest daughter was an infant and suffering from a seizure disorder, I was constantly taking her to Doctor appointments. The nurses were telling me what to do and not do when raising children. One of the ones that stuck with me, was when a nurse told me, "When you are changing and cleaning your daughter, make sure you wipe front to back. Otherwise, you are just wiping everything into her vagina."

Wow, now there is something I would never known, but it made sense. I followed her advise, and then began to tell my daughters front to back after they were potty-trained.

When they head out of the bathroom three years later, they still tell me, "Dad, I front to backed. You don't have to ask."

I often wonder how long they will continue to tell me that when the exit the bathroom. I hope not much longer.

Other examples are, "Food in, mouth closed", "Dad gone, pool closed", "Multiple flushes when pooping", and the one I tell them the most, "Say no to boys and drugs."

It is the last one that I hope prevents what gives me the most nightmares as a father. They can drop out of school, join a cult, become a vegetarian, do just about anything but become a teen mother or have a drug problem. I have seen too many teens as a teacher who had one of the two, if not both, happen to them.

My daughters are going to be attending the high school I teach and coach at, and the last thing I want is to be known as is the coach with the drugged-out or pregnant teen daughter. I'll love and support them if it happens, but I am going to do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening.

I started saying it to them when they were still in car seats. When I would leave them at daycare, the single women thought it was cute as I would drop them off with a kiss and a "Say no to boys and drugs" farewell.

There still hasn't been a day that I left without saying it to them. While my others sayings can actually be applied by young daughters on a daily basis, I never really knew if they understood what I was trying to convey to them with the boys and drugs thing.

That changed for me recently with an outing to the park.

I was sitting on a bench reading a book as my girls were playing on the swings. Looking up, I noticed a boy walking toward Shelby as she exited one of the swings.

The two of them talked and as they did, Shelby kept looking over at me. She finally put her hand up in the air toward the boy and then sprinted to me with a question.

"Dad, Dad, Dad, " she said, while huffing and puffing from the run. "That boy wants to know if I can play with him. Is it Ok? I know you always say to say no to boys, but I don't think he has any drugs. So, can I?"

It took everything I had not to fall over with laughter as I told her she could play with him. The hard work paid off, and just hearing Shelby ask the question was music to my ears. I didn't even need any of Jim Jones' Kool-Aide for Shelby to remember what I have been preaching for years.

I told you I was an expert.


  1. Lmao haha that is toooo cute!!! You are very blessed to have four beautiful little girls. Im sure they will grow up to be respectful, successful, young ladies!

  2. how cute...I have 3 boys so I tell them the reverse!

  3. I have 3 boys and though two of them are already off to college I used to tell them the same thing only for girls. Oh and you know what it pretty much worked for older boys NEVER to this day have done any drugs (they drink beer once in awhile...they are college guys ya know) and they are 19 and 20 and Im not a grandma yet so woohoo!!!! I have the 10 year old left so I hope and pray it works with him too!!!! Anyway again proof to those that doubt are a good dad!!!

  4. It is nice to read about all the kid stuff. Our son is grown, and our grandson is 19, so he does not know we exist--except when Christmas and his birthday come around. For a week before the money-giving, we are his favorite people.

    We know he will grow out of his "selfish" mode. Guess we were all there once, in our teen years.

    Our son is great, and though his life is extremely busy, he always has time for us.

    Cherish those little moments--even the hard times. Kids grow up so fast.

  5. I'm going to invest in a chastity belt for Allie!

  6. You ARE an expert. I think I love you ;)

  7. Nice post man. My best friend says something similar to his two girls since they were little.

    "No boys till your thirty"

    And recently I asked the 11 year old if there were any boys in her class that she liked. She responded "Yeah, but i can't date them till I'm thirty. I glanced over at my friend who was just beaming within self-pride. "See, it works enough if you repeat it." was all he said to me, and I just had to laugh.

  8. My cousin has taught first grade for 25 years, she said she learned that generally she has to repeat instructions 10x to the boys, and only once or twice to the girls. The funny thing is, the boys never notice they're being told for the tenth time, because the first nine didn't fully sink in. My father always talked to us a lot and gave advice, told stories that had a moral... it worked because I can still remember his wise words.

  9. If only everyone would learn to "front to back" the world would be a much better, UTI free place. My other personal favorite is: You might pick your nose, I'm not judging - just don't under any circumstances ever eat it. Yeah, I tell that one to my mom's kindergarten class frequently.

  10. My dad used to tell me the first boy I brought home, he'd skin alive and hang up in the front yard to scare away the others. He didn't of course, but he did pull out his shot gun to clean it as he explained the sort of hole it could put in a man.

  11. Oh my gosh. What a great way to start the day. Keep it simple. I'll remember. We have a double flush rule with #2 as well. :)

  12. I like these sayings too! However, you must remember that your fear of how your children reflect upon you may end up being your undoing. As long as they have a good solid image of themselves that is not about appearance, but about who they truly are, you'll be fine.

  13. Love your post. My tween daughter also complains that I always tell her before she goes out, no smoking, no drugs, no sex until you have your PhD. She says--I don't even like boys!

  14. I might have to adopt some of your lingo, especially on the "say no to boys and drugs" part. My girls are still young (3 & 5 yrs) but I've already been putting little messages in their heads: ie: no babies until late 20s, marrying in late 20s is okay, etc. We haven't got to the drug part.

    We have a dual-flush toilet (Caroma) ~ no need generally for double flushes!

  15. That is hilarious! I think your daughters are inheriting your sense of humor without even realizing it. :)

  16. That's too funny. At least they'll be playing with a higher caliber of boys.

  17. Words to live by! Who knew such simple phrases are so effective. I think I'll have to try it out with my three girls.=)