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What’s a Parent to Do?

From the series House or Home - Parenting Edition

When it comes to raising your kids do you ever feel like a human ping-pong ball? One day all is well and the next day World War III breaks out. Would you like to regain control, set clear boundaries, and develop an atmosphere of love and respect in your home? Chip shares proven, biblical methods for bringing harmony back into your home.

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Message Transcript

What I want you to hear here is that God’s Word says we need to parent our kids with love and limits. Imagine, if you will, two big guardrails. And your kids are going to go through ups and downs and all arounds and the biggest thing I would say to parents now, I wasn’t this way when I was a young parent, is: relax. Okay? Every issue is not a life or death one. Relax a little bit.

And what you need to know is you’ve got to set these limits and they can’t have their own way and you need to break their little wills without crushing their spirit. And at the same time, they are going to do stuff that makes you crazy and they need to know no matter what they do, you love them, you’re for them, whether you feel like it or not.

Now, if you turn to the page, the next notes, what I want you to see is this: God gives us a picture of exactly how He parents. And I think anytime we get something from God saying: This is how I parent you, then we have a great model.

Because at the end of the day, the problem in my heart and the problem with your kids’ heart is they sin, right? They are selfish. And when you’re selfish, it always brings death. The Bible is really clear: sin produces separation or death. When there is sin with kids beating up one another, when they are disrespectful, when they don’t obey God, it produces separation and death.

And so, Hebrews chapter 12, verses 4 through 11, he introduces it with this sense of: you have not struggled with sin to the point of shedding blood. Jesus, fully God, fully man, yet without sin. And, yet, being fully human, He wrestled with temptation and in every way, like us, yet without sin.

And it’s in this context of what Jesus has done for us, who blazed the trail, and then he shifts gears in verse 4 and 5 and begins to talk about how your heavenly Father parents you and then he provides a model of love and limits.

Now, I’m going to read this. I’ll read it kind of slowly. And as I read it, I want you to listen for the word discipline, but when you hear discipline, don’t hear your American view of the word. Think of nurture, what is done, development – okay? And then I want you to listen for words that communicate love, words like son, words like love, words like concern – are you ready?

Follow along as I read. “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” Reference to Christ. “And have you forgotten the word of encouragement that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you,’” notice: discipline: what God does; rebukes: what God says, “because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and he punishes everyone He accepts as His son.”

In your notes, put a line through punishes – this is not the best translation – and write “forcefully corrects.” Because in our world, the word punishment is paying someone back for doing something wrong. This is forcefully correcting to bring about a positive result.

He goes on to say, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” And then he goes on to even make the point: “If you’re not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”

In other words, if you weren’t disciplined, it means someone didn’t even really care. Illustration, in case you didn’t get the point. Verse 9, “Moreover, we all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers, our human fathers, disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good,” and then underline this phrase, “that we may share in His holiness.”

Do you see how it comes back to that target? How it comes back to that ultimate desire, the goal? So, God disciplines us for our good, our good in relationship with Him, our good in relationship with others, and ultimately it’s that we might share in His holiness.

And then, now, notice the summary, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Notice those last words: “a harvest of righteousness.” He now uses an agricultural term. What do you know about harvest? When you, if a farmer goes and plants some seed, he doesn’t say, “Okay, I went to bed, I come back in two days, it doesn’t work! What’s going on? What’s going on? I planted them two days ago!”
What do you know about harvesting? You never reap in the same season that you sow. See, the tough part about being a really good parent, a godly parent, is you keep sowing the seeds of what is right, of doing discipline: limits. Love, for significance. Concern.

You do that, you do that, you do that, you do that and there are times where it seems like nothing is happening. But you sow; later you reap a harvest of righteousness. Notice, what is the goal? What is the harvest? It doesn’t say a harvest of success; it doesn’t say a harvest of upward mobility. It doesn’t say a harvest of super sports star; it doesn’t say a harvest of high SAT scores.

Now, if those things come, praise God. But those are byproducts; those are secondary. It’s a harvest of righteousness. You have a young man or a young woman who loves God, walks with God, and obeys Him, not because they ought or should; because they want to, because they are sharing in His holiness.

And then notice the other part. A harvest of righteousness and peace. Man, how many young people have zero peace? They are just hooked to electronic or a something or a someone or a pressing or they are on the performance trap that many of us have been on.

And then at the very end of the passage, did you notice? That little word, “who have been trained by it.” Not “taught” by it. Training involves time, a process, and repetition. See, the problem with parenting is that is a sowing in one season, a reaping in another, and it takes time, it takes repletion, and it takes a very specific process.

If you have ever met anyone who is great in music or art or athletics, I will tell you this: they went into training. They went into training. They were up early swimming laps when everyone else was sleeping.

See, you go into training.

And that’s what we are doing. We are helping our kids go into training. This is who God is, this is how life works, here’s where the boundaries are, I love you no matter what. No, you can’t have your way. I am sorry everyone else and everyone else’s parents lets them do that. I love you more than they love their kids, so, this is the way it’s going to be in our house.

And you know what? They don’t like you and they slam the door and, “You don’t love me,” and, “you’re so strict,” and, “you’re so…” But your house is where the fun is, your house is where the love is, your house is where there is limited media, your house is where there are two parents focused toward, “This is the goal, here’s the journey, and here’s the process.”

Now, for some of you, there’s not another parent. And whether that’s they are over fighting a war or you’re a widow or you’re divorced and we’ll talk about that later. But that’s the journey.

Notice the summary here: “Discipline is teaching obedience to God and His Word through consistent consequences” – that’s discipline, actions – “and clear instructions” – words – “in an atmosphere of love.” And circle the word discipline there, after summary, and then put an arrow and write, “the root word is disciple.” Right? Isn’t that what we are supposed to do is make disciples? Well, a disciple is disciplined. A disciple is learning. A disciple goes into a process.

“Go into all the world,” well, I’ll tell you what, before you go into all the world, just look right inside your home. The number one disciples on the face of the earth that you have responsibility for are your own kids.

Reminder: they will be your source of the greatest joys on this planet. They will be the source of the greatest sorrows you’ll ever have on this planet. They are the greatest and most precious gift ever entrusted to you and they are the most overwhelming responsibility. And so, you disciple them. You go into training.

Now, notice what discipline does. The necessity of discipline is – why? To deter destruction. Remember the Old Testament, and David is a great warrior, he is a great musician, he is a great man after God’s own heart, but he’s a passive dad. He doesn’t discipline when Absalom does stuff. He doesn’t discipline with one of his other sons. And I’ll tell you what, his life becomes a train wreck at the personal level because he won’t step up and do what he needs to do. And, therefore, it brings destruction.

The whole point of discipline is, yes, you’re going to be the bad guy for a while, but you’re going to prevent your kids from destruction. Notice it goes on. The means of discipline is action and words.

It’s done in an atmosphere of love, but it’s things you do, things you say. The motive in discipline is to express love. Remember it said, “God’s discipline is evidence that you’re a legitimate child.”

In my research in my thesis on parenting, when I was in seminary, this just amazed me. I’ll never forget doing this study. Juvenile delinquents, overwhelmingly said, “I knew my parents cared about me and loved me when they disciplined me. And I knew they didn’t give a rip when they never did.”

Even juvenile delinquents are saying, “I didn’t like it, but when they cared enough to set boundaries and enforce it, something deep in my psyche and my soul knew they care.” When you don’t discipline and you don’t want the hassle and you don’t get up off the La-Z-Boy or when you won’t put the remote down, when you won’t put the phone down, when you’re so busy with your life and your social issues and all the stuff that we all are tempted with and you let it slide and let it slide and make excuses like, “They’re just going through a phase and all kids go through this and everyone else’s kids are like this and it’ll probably work out later,” wrong, wrong, wrong!

It’s laziness. It takes extraordinary focus and urgency and discipline to raise great kids. And that means you’ve got to turn the thing off, you’ve got to have structured time, and you go into training to set limits in a loving way that produce kids that learn to understand who God is and love Him.

The goal is to teach them obedience. Obedience is that inward hearing of God’s voice and responding to it immediately. We want to help them learn to be free of the bondage of selfishness and self-centered living. We are in a culture that is raising narcissists. And, by the way, please don’t take this like, “Oh, our kids should never be on Facebook,” or this or that. But just back up as you see the whole social media thing rolling out bigger and bigger and bigger.

And you think of all the things, unconsciously, we do as parents that often, the motives, I think, from the heart are good. The methodology is not only wrong, it’s stupid. So we are going to have our entire family revolve around our eight-year-old’s schedule. And so we all travel and spend money and buy uniforms and our whole world for forty-eight hours out of every seven days is about everything our kids are doing.

Or they have to be involved in this, this, and this so we eat supper together that someone actually cooks about once every two weeks and we can’t figure out why we don’t have close, bonding relationships.

Well, because they have to be involved in this and this and this and this and this and this and this because I fear, “What if they don’t get all the opportunities of…?” You know the opportunities they are missing? You. You know the opportunities they are missing? Stability. You know the opportunities they are missing? Regularity. Focus. Time. Sharing. Unhurriedness. You don’t produce a great athlete – I’m an old coach – I did my graduate work in sports psychology. Take your kid in the backyard with a ball and throw it with them and don’t get them involved in all this stuff until the motor skills are ready and the readiness is ready here and then be selective about how much you do and set some limits and boundaries and let them figure out what they are best at and give them multiple opportunities and then relax.

How many twelve and thirteen-year-olds do we have now that are burnt out on sports? Well, my lands, they have been doing it since they were two!

There is something wrong with groups of angry, screaming parents and passive kids. “Go, go, go, go!” When you have to run with the kids. “Here’s first base! Now you’ve got to go, son!”

Someone ought to say: “Stop the insanity!” Eat a nice, leisurely Saturday morning breakfast. Take a walk together. Have a meal together. Go out in the backyard. Get a little plastic ball. Roll something here. Have fun. Be a family. All of that developmental stuff is going to happen. And I’m off on a little tangent, so I might as well just finish it up, all right?

Your kid is not going to be an NBA, in the NHL, or the Olympics. Okay? Just take that one to the bank. They are not going to be. So, if they are, they will be thrown into a life of extraordinary amounts of money and fame that will produce the outcomes that will be the very opposite of what you would ever want!

Twenty-year-olds making fifteen or twenty million dollars a year end up putting white powder up their nose and living lives of absolute destruction because human beings, by and large, cannot handle that much money and that much fame. And, yet, you would think that that would be the agenda that we want. Here endeth the mini sermon within the sermon.

The result of discipline is short-term pain and long-term gain. Short-term pain and long-term gain. And so, all I want you to know is everything I have shared, we can agree, mentally in here, or not agree and think, Oh, wow, boy.

So much of what we are doing right now as parents is an unconscious following after it. Well, this is what everyone else is doing. And I don’t mean everyone else out there. I mean this is what other Christian parents are doing. All the other Christian parents I know are living insane lives in their little minivans and traveling here and there and they don’t eat together and they don’t have much time together and their nine-year-old has a phone, so shouldn’t ours?

Well, stop and think about: what do you want to produce? Where are you headed? Especially some of you that, you work in construction or you work in business or you work and you start with the end in mind. Ask yourself: what do you want to build? And then ask yourself: what are you doing today? You have strategic plans in your work, don’t you? You have strategic plans about projects that you do. Well, ask yourself: if sharing in God’s holiness and producing this kind of a child is the goal and you back it up and you say, “This is where we’re at right now. What are we doing and what are we saying to produce that as the goal?”

And here’s what I’ll tell you: when that is the goal, because as ranting and raving as I was, on the side, my kids ended up very successful in sports and in music and in scholarship and doing good things. But that was not my goal. That they made first team or became great at this or that – praise God! I’m really thankful.

But that’s a nice by-product if God so allows it. It’s a really lousy goal. It’s a really lousy goal, because they can hit that one and lose all the things that count.
We have said that you need to parent with love and with limits. Imagine it’s the highway of parenting and guardrail on this side is love, guardrail on this side is limits. Really practically, how do you do this? And what I’m going to do is I’m just going to give you a real overview. This is the big picture, and inside of each of these things I’m going to talk about, that’s what we covered in Effective Parenting.

But this will give you the picture of where to go. You ready? Actions and words. Actions: consistent consequences in Proverbs 13:24 and Proverbs 22:15, they just make very strong statements about this. You need to act. You need to understand that it talks about the rod of discipline. You need to have certain actions that negatively reward bad behavior and you need to have certain actions that positively reward good behavior. Okay?

So, he says there’s an issue with actions. So, let’s talk about actions when your kids are small, action when your kids are preteens to early teens, and actions when they are teenagers. The issue with small children is obedience. It’s submission to your word.

Obedience is being under the hearing of a parent.

And that’s your goal. From little on, when they are a small child, the number one goal: you just want your kids to learn to obey your voice.

You can teach a kid that when you scream and you’re out of control, they better act or something is going to happen or you can teach them, “Mary!” and if necessary walk over, make eye contact, look them in the eye, “We are going to leave in about one minute. Right now, pick up the toys. Do you understand?” And Mary responds in about the next five seconds or Mary has an experience that is unpleasant, knowing that Mom or Dad really mean it.

And so, with small kids, the issue is obedience. Say no firmly. That’s the action.

With preteens, the issue is responsibility. You want to feed your kids responsibility. You want them to be, learn to be responsible for their attitudes and their actions. This has to do with chores, cleaning their room, school, their tongue, how they speak, a respect for authority, and their attitude.

And this is, every kid needs to learn to be responsible. That’s, at the end of the day, that’s what maturity is. Maturity isn’t an age issue. There are thirty-year-old guys living in the back of bedrooms that still aren’t responsible for their own laundry, paying their own bills, paying their own insurance. Why? Because their parents didn’t teach them that. You go into training early and you want them to be responsible. “This is your bed; you make your bed.”

We have frazzled parents holding down a job here, running from here to there, then you cook and you fold the laundry and you do the bed and you clean up the house while the kids are going, “Mom, you done with that yet? I’ve got the video game going. Hey, you’ve got that going?”

They can set the table at five and six. They need to help you. They need to get up on a stool and learn how to cook basic things. By the time they are ten, eleven, and twelve, they can learn how to put a load of clothes in the laundry. Yes, they’ll mess it up some. Perfectionistic, everything-has-got-to-be-perfect parents like myself, alright? But either you keep doing it or you teach them.

I mean, when all my kids got close to junior high, they got an alarm clock. Guess what they can learn to do: be responsible to get up. The mornings in some homes are just chaos everyday: “Get up! It’s time to get up! I’ve only, I’m not going to call you how many times!” Yes, you do. You keep calling them seven times, they’ll get up seven times. They get an alarm clock and then there are consequences.

Now, this sounds really terrible. I guess you don’t go to school today. “But I have a test!” It’s going to be a rough day, I guess. You think they’re going to have an employer someday that’s going to go, “Oh, did you sleep in? I’m so sorry. Everything is going to be okay.” When are they going to learn to be responsible? All my kids have told me one of the greatest things that have happened in their life is they have a great work ethic and they are responsible. You don’t even have to be smart in our world today if you’re responsible, because you can’t find responsible people. You teach that with consequences.

The third is when they are teenagers, the issue is choices. You want them to become self-disciplined and you want them to make wise choices – wise choices about friends, about money, about time, about clothes, about music, about movies, about priorities, about their phone, about video games, about YouTube, about Facebook.

And in this one you use contracts. And so, you have actions and attitudes and the issues with kids are not that many, right? They pick on each other and fight, that’s a good one. They don’t do their homework, that’s a good one. They talk back and are disrespectful, that’s a good one. They hang around with some kids that you tell them, “Those are bad news. We don’t hang around with them,” right?

You tell them, “Here is the parameter of what is good and clean and what we are going to watch and here’s what’s not,” right? And they are kids, they are like us, did we not break all those? I did! Some of you didn’t. But, you’re amazing. But most of your kids will.

So, it’s not like, “Oh! What am I going to do?” It’s like, “Okay, here are the behaviors,” and they are different with different kids. When these things happen, here are the consequences.

And this is where you’ve got to get on the same page. And one of you, it’s not always the man, one of you will be the: “We are going to be consistent,” and other is going to be mercy, mercy, mercy. Blend those babies together; hear from God, okay?

Do you get the principle? This isn’t that complicated. Two guardrails. Limits: this is what I do. Love: this is what I say.

Okay, words. Clear instructions. Proverbs 1:8 and 2:1 to 2 talks about, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instructions and do not forsake your mothers teaching. My son, if you accept my words, store up my commandments within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding.”

It goes on to say, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commandments in your heart,” do you get it? “Accept my words, my commands, my teaching, my instruction. My son, keep my words and store my commandments within you. Keep my commands and you will live. Guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.” Do you get the idea that instruction is really important?

So, instruction when they are small, very importantly, needs to be about the who. They are just small, okay? Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, right? They are just small. Who is God? What is He like? They need to know early on, their mind is just absorbing this word God. They need to hear that He is good and that He is loving and that He is kind and He is powerful and that He is all-wise and He is sovereign.

And you don’t hear. And the way you do that, the “how” is you tell them those Old Testament stories and from as early on and you find the easiest to read little Bibles with pictures in them and at bed time, it’s sacred. And you, and then, after the Old Testament stories, it’s the stories about Jesus. And all they are getting is the “who” and, “This is how Jesus feels about people with leprosy and here’s how Jesus feels about people like this lady that made all these really bad mistakes and here’s how Jesus feels about…”

So, it’s all about, in the early years: who, who, who. Who is God? And there are lots of resources to do that.

When they hit the preteens, you want to focus on the “what” of your instruction. What is right? What is wrong? It’s biblical content. You need them to understand: Matthew, Mark, Luke, these three gospels go together and they tell the story of Jesus. John wrote later. He is talking about those who believe. Here’s Acts and here is the story of the Early Church. When Paul was doing these things, he wrote these letters. These letters tell the people in these churches about this Jesus. All of these things have to do with, oh, God’s great plan as it started back here in the Old Testament. This is what it means – salvation – this is what the truth of God’s Word says. And you teach them the basic doctrines.

As they become teenagers, you move from the “who” and the “what” to the “why.” The content is how to think, a worldview, apologetic, skills, dig in on their own, life application.

You want them to make wise decisions about money and about friends and about sex and about God’s will and about God’s service. Unapologetically, when my kids were teenagers, at times, I bribed them to read certain books. And ten bucks was a lot of money back then and so, “James Sire’s book on worldviews, I’ll give you ten bucks to read that; we’ll discuss it later.” “C.S. Lewis’ book on Mere Christianity.” We read books. I wanted them to be able to think.

We didn’t have family devotions every night, sitting around the table where I opened the Bible. I opened it a couple times a week and it was brief and short and applicational. And what I wanted more than that is I wanted all my kids, at an early age, to learn to meet with God on their own.

And so, teaching them how to meet with God, by the time a lot of my kids were ten, eleven years old, they had their own quiet time, because they saw their mom and dad doing that.

And so, our supper table was a lot more, “What are you learning? What is God showing you? What is going on?” And so, we’d have these discussions. “What happened in school?” Our supper table was evolution, worldview, cults. I wanted my kids, while they lived there, to learn the: Who is God? What is true, and why? And then let’s wrestle with that.

And so, do you start to understand, as a parent, this is a full-time job? This is like it takes a lot of focus.

Let me give you some practical tips just in terms of playing this out that will get you going.

Number one is: have a few clear responsibilities/rules. Don’t have a lot of rules. Have a few. And then we keep these.

So, if you really don’t care, then don’t have a rule. Let them do what they want. Any time you can say “yes,” it’s a good answer. But when you know you need to say “no,” say it firmly. This is not a good answer, “Can I do this, this, this?” And it’s like, “Go with these friends that aren’t good friends to watch this movie that’s a bad movie, over to this house where the parents aren’t home.” And here’s how some of us have answered, “Oh, honey, you know, I don’t know.” You know what that says to a kid? There’s room. I’m going to push in on this one. “Well, how come, Mom?”

Here’s the good answer. “Can I do this?” “No.” “What do you mean?” “No.” “Hold. Wait.” Third time, “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand? We have talked about those kids, we have talked about that movie, and I’ve told you you can never go to that house when their parents aren’t there.” Bam.

Just have a few. And if it doesn’t matter then, “Hey, it sounds good.” I always wanted to be fun and positive on the one side and then very firm and clear on the few things.

Two: develop written contracts. You’ll have to change them every six months or so, but develop written contracts as they get older.

Third: negotiate consequences. This is what I talked about. Let your kids come up with: “If I don’t do my homework, this happens. If I don’t do my chores, this happens. If I pick on my brother or sister, this happens. If I talk back or if I have an attitude, this happens.” And just sit down with them, not when you’re having a problem, but when you’re both clothed and dressed and in your right mind and you’re having some fun, “Let’s sit down together and just walk through these.”

And don’t have a contract that has seventeen things. What are the top three or four things that are behavior issues? And just address those.

Number four: be consistent. This is hard. If you are consistent, your kids will feel secure.

Number five: the older they get, the fewer the rules. You want to feed them responsibility, feed them responsibility, and dare I say, trust them.

The older your kids get, you need to tell them things like, “You know what? What do you think about that movie?” If it’s just a little bit iffy or there’s a situation and you’re not quite sure, often I would say, “Hey, why don’t you pray for twenty-four or forty-eight hours and ask God what you think you ought to do and let’s come back and talk about it.”

See, what I wanted to get out of was, my lands, one year from now they’re going to be on a college campus someplace or they’re going to be out with some friends. If they don’t start making decisions at late-sixteen, seventeen, eighteen in my house, so what, a magic button is going to get pushed? I wanted to throw it into their lap and say, “Okay, what do you think God wants you to do?” “Oh, gosh, Dad. Why don’t you just tell me: right or wrong?” “Because this is your decision.”

Now, if it was one that I knew – devastating consequences – they might pray about it and I always had veto power. But, okay, there are a good handful of times where I thought, “Son, I am not really sure that’s a very good decision and I’m pretty concerned. But it’s yours.” And then here was the statement, “Here’s what I want you to know. I believe in you. I know that you wouldn’t do anything that would embarrass God, that would hurt you or another person, or dishonor the Ingram name.

And you know what? When you tell them you trust them, it’s like putting a chain around their neck. “Oh, gosh.” But if it’s: I’m going to check up on you and I’m going to call and I’m going to do this and I’m going to do this.” Well, just the opposite will often happen.

Finally, train them to be on their own. Train them to be on their own. When we were parents in the early days, we were very poor. Seminary, we often, we lived on under a thousand dollars a month with three kids, lived in government-subsidized housing, and things were tight. We were pulling quarters out of the backseat and I did all kinds of little odd jobs to work full-time. I thought my wife should be home with our kids. And so, it was a crazy time, but what my kids saw early on was they saw God provide, because we didn’t have any money.

Well, by the time Annie, she’s thirteen years younger, by the time she got to be a teenager, we had some disposable income. And my kids learned responsibility. You know that old, “I want Michael,” back in those days, remember? “I want Michael Jordan,” it wasn’t LeBron. “I want Michael Jordan tennis shoes.”

But I said, “Great! I’ve got forty-five dollars that I can spend on tennis shoes. And if you want Michael Jordans, great! Just save up your money and we’ll go down and I’ll give my forty-five and you put in fifty-five and they’re all yours, babe!”

And it’s amazing, they saved up and did that about once. And all of a sudden, they weren’t that cool. But with Annie, what I realized is that because, one, she was compliant. She watched her brothers and she thought, You know what? I think I’m going to be an obedient child. And she had a lot of her mom’s personality. Like, do your homework early, get things done, very unlike me and the boys.

And so, all of a sudden I realized she’s fifteen, sixteen in the middle of high school and we would be in the mall, “Dad, can I have that?” And she rarely asked for anything and she’s my daughter. But daughters are different. “Oh, sure, honey!” So, I’d buy that for her and a little something here. And she really wasn’t. She didn’t spend a lot of money

I remember one day Theresa and I were talking and I said, “Honey, we are blowing it.” “We” as in me but when you really blow it you want to get your wife involved too. “We are blowing it!”

And I said, “We have taught all the boys – man, they cooked, they did their laundry, responsibility.” So, I said, “We need to come up with a new plan.” And I said, “I want you to figure out every dollar we spend on Annie per month. Clothes, makeup, whatever you, all the women stuff and schools,” and we came up with a number. And then we had a meeting with Annie. And I said, “Annie, first of all, I need to apologize as your dad. I really have not done for you what I did for your brothers. And here’s why and it’s because you have great character,” and on and on. “But I have really blown it. And you haven’t learned to be responsible. So, here’s what we are going to do. And this much money we are going to give you the first of every month for everything. That’s clothes, camps, everything. So, I’ll pay twenty-five percent of ski camp.”

The ski camps and stuff when you’ve got a teenager, right? It’s like three hundred, four hundred bucks. It’s crazy stuff. And so, it was like, she is going to have to figure out from babysitting and this, toothbrush, everything she would pay for. Lunches, eating out, everything.

And it was amazing. And so, I remember walking through the mall and she just said, “Hey, Dad, those are, you know what? I need a new pair of jeans.” I said, “Well, great, if you feel like it’s in your budget, just go ahead.” And the designer ones, “Dad, can you believe?” She never looked at this before. “Ninety-five dollars for a pair of jeans? Are you kidding me? And I can go to the outlet place and I can get them for…” She didn’t think like that before.

And, anyway, I watched her in about a year and a half learn to really handle her money, make great decisions, have her own checkbook, and learn how to live her life.

Final things here is, by way of overview, is just identify, develop a game plan, identify the top parenting or child needs in your world. Just, what is it, right? What do we need to address? And what are the behaviors or the patterns?

Second is: honestly evaluate your parenting style. Between being too permissive or being too authoritarian, which are you?

And then the third: develop a time where you sit down with your family and have a conference and just address these things.