Take Me to Your Mother

TMTYM-ThumbI just came across this fantastic new show called “Take Me to Your Mother”, where Comedian Andrea — a new mom to toddler Odin– is chronicling her adventures through Mommyhood by tapping into one of NYC’s greatest resources: The Neighborhood Mothers. In this episode Andrea seeks out the advice of a group of West Indian Boss Moms in The Bronx and learns the real reason why you must learn to say No to your child.

8 Tips from The West Indian Boss Moms

Tip #1: Instill a Healthy Dose of Healthy Fear

Healthy Fear is a good thing. For Andrea that’s a hard thing to wrap her head around because the word fear implies something bad. In parenting, however, healthy fear lets the child know that you are the protector and your job is to make your child feel secure. This new world they’ve entered into is super scary and you are their guide on this journey.

Tip #2: Private Practice Makes Public Performance

If you let your child walk on the dining room table when there’s no one around, don’t be surprised when he does it during a dinner party. That’s what Andrea found out as little Odin screamed until he got to walk on the dinner table, during dinner. The Boss Moms said it best, “private practice makes public performance”. Everything you allow your child to do in private is a practice for how he or she will act when company comes a calling.

Tip #3: A Mommy’s Mantra: I Am The Boss

I AM THE BOSS. Period. What Mommy said is what goes. End of story. The Boss Moms say that you have to believe that mantra internally before your child will believe you. Instilling that confidence within yourself is key to a healthy parent/child relationship.

Tip #4: I have to Follow-Through

Follow-Through is the secret ingredient. Andrea learns that if she gives a warning to Odin and doesn’t follow-through, she’s teaching Odin that her words are just empty threats. But if she follows-through on those warnings, her words mean business.

Tip #5: Fix Your Face

Practice your mommy-said-no-and-she-means-it face in the mirror so you can see what your child sees. If you smile, like Andrea, after you give your demand all is lost and your baby has outsmarted you once again.

Tip #6: Once In Awhile, Just Act Crazy

To keep your kids in line, The Boss Moms suggest just letting your crazy overtake you for a second or two. No one wants to make mom mad. So make your point loud and clear.

Tip #7: Warning 1, Warning 2, Warning 3

Warnings are a good way to let your child have a chance to assess their own behavior and give them a warning to change it. One of The Boss Moms touted the success of this technique even with her teenagers. When she gets to Warning Two, her 16 and 17 year old have barricaded themselves in their rooms and don’t dare come out until she gives the all clear.

Tip #8: Talent Will Take You But Character Will Sustain You

Andrea learns that all these rules, techniques, and mantras are put in place for one reason only: to instill character in your child. The worst thing you can do is have a talented kid out there in the world with no “broughtupsy”, that’s having no upbringing, conduct, character, or manners for those of us like Andrea (and myself) who have never come across that expression. I cannot say enough good stuff about this funny show with real meaning.

Here are a few lasting quotes from The West Indian Boss Moms of The Bronx:

  • When you steward someone it’s not about being their friend, it’s about giving them the tools that they need.
  • If you do not train your child, the world will train your child. So true!

Check Out “Take Me to Your Mother: Andrea Takes Charge”
( http://www.hulu.com/watch/483740 )Andrea has trouble saying “no” to her 1 year old, so it’s off to meet some West Indian mothers who teach her how to take charge.

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Don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area

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Little Lawyers

Little LawyersPint-Sized Prosecutors
There are about 1.2 million attorneys in the United States, but I’m not sure even one of them could hold a candle to a nine-year-old these days because America is raising some of the best ‘Little Lawyers’ around. These pint-sized prosecutors bring forth their cases and complaints with new-found fervor, telling–not asking– their parents when they are going to do something, or not do something, and why it will be done with or without permission. From the commonplace argument, “I will not share my iPod with my little sister because I do not want her to download any of her baby songs” to the extreme version of, “I will not go to school today because I believe I can learn much more at home”. Granted, there are some rational explanations given by these little ones (more advanced than my excuse of “I don’t want to eat my vegetables because they’re gross!”) but at what cost?

Negotiation
As a person who finally learned to love her veggies and ended up graduating from law school with a ton of litigation tools in her belt, I recognize my fellow jurists in the eyes of Confident Caleb and Persuasive Penelope, sharing their calendars during lunch as they confirm playdates that have not yet been discussed with Mom or Dad. They know they can make plans, deciding what their schedule will be at the expense of other family members’ time and energy because they have figured out the key to getting what they want: negotiation.

It’s a Hostile Takeover!
The problem is not that children today are so good at negotiation, as this is a skill that should be learned in due course. Rather that we, as the adults, have taken a lesson from their playbook instead of our own. We find this method of persuasion to be cute, endearing, and as a society we believe this helps to cultivate independence instead of uniformity. What kids today are really doing, however, is engaging in negotiation tactics instead of trusting Mom or Dad to make the best choices for them. They’ve caught us off guard because we never expected to listen to such rational explanations of why bedtime should really be at 10 instead of 8 and homework should only be completed if they didn’t understand the assignment in class. It’s a hostile takeover and no one, except the child, is saying “No”.

Cookies Turn Into Curfews
When this happens, we’ve lost sight of the fact that kids are just that–kids. Put aside the lack of frontal cortex reasoning development during childhood and think back to your own decisions as children their age. Did you make the best choices when you were seven, ten, or thirteen? America’s children are inundated with the latest and greatest at a rapid speed and sometimes it’s hard for those of us who just don’t move at that pace to actually follow this chain of command. It is, therefore, even more important to provide structure and boundaries to help them develop the lifelong skills of reasonable decision-making and delayed self-gratification. Today it’s cookies and playdates but peer into the future a little ways down the road and it’s car privileges and curfews. If the boundaries are not built when they’re little, it’s lost upon them when they’re big and that’s when it really gets nerve-racking. We must learn to say “No” to the non-negotiables.

Chief Justices Mom and Dad
So I ask you parents and caregivers: Who is the Chief Justice of your home? If it’s not you, perhaps the verdict handed down should be one of less negotiation and more expectation to rise to the behavior level set forth by “The Supreme Court of Mom and Dad”.


SUBSCRIBE for new posts every Family Friday!

And don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area