3 Tips to Manage Your Parenting Power

3 Tips to Manage Your Parenting Power

This post by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist highlights something I struggle with, which you probably struggle with, too.

It got me thinking about the difficulties that come with managing myself in my role as a parent; that position of undisputed tyranny, that position of power that most people elect themselves to regardless of the viability of their particular platform or any voter consensus.

I challenge myself each day to manage the considerable power that I wield over my children’s lives with an attitude of thoughtfulness and loving intention.  I challenge myself each day to make critical parenting choices and make them selflessly.

When I succeed, I feel gratified that I have taken a step toward becoming a better parent.

When I fail, it’s most often because I’ve ignored one of these 3 tips.

1. Learn, Then Live Your True Intentions

The holiday season can amount to nothing much more than a thoughtless exercise in ego and selfishness if you let it.

I believe that during this time of year more than any other I need to inspire myself to a quiet session of meditation each day.  There are dozens of decisions I must make for myself and for my family. I don’t want to decide anything without a clear grasp of my own true intentions.

Decisions include gift giving, travel, family interactions, where my time is spent and with whom, balancing my work with social commitments, what tangible opportunities to pursue with my kids, which aspects of the holidays to highlight for my kids, all of the financial considerations, health considerations, how the holiday will fit into the full scope of the year, where the holiday fits into my spiritual journey, what opportunities to pursue to give back to others, etc.

Seeing through the clutter to your own true intentions is always a valuable insight to have as a parent, especially amid the added noise of the holidays.

2. Is it True, Kind and Necessary?

There are ten thousand more things that your kids shouldn’t hear come out of your mouth than things they should.

Moderate the way you live your true intentions by asking yourself this question before any words actually leave your mouth; is what I am about to say or do True, Kind and Necessary?

You’ll notice an “and,” not an “or.”

Satisfying just one or two of these criteria is insufficient, make your words and your deeds satisfy all three, or if you can’t, fold your hands in your lap, zip your lip, count silently to 20 and start over.

It’s unkind to call your son ‘lazy’ after a bad showing in a soccer game, despite a pang of embarrassment you might have felt in front of the other parents.

It’s untrue to threaten a punishment or offer a reward to your daughter without following through.

It’s unnecessary for your 4-year old to be aware of the civil unrest in Ferguson.

This rule isn’t just great for parenting; it’s a great rule to live by in every interaction in your life.

You’ll find it difficult to remember to use this rule with your children if you don’t use it with everybody else because…


3. Be Consistent

Your habits are just the actions, words and thoughts you engage in each day.

The net impact you have on your kid for good or ill just amounts to the gradual accumulation of your experiences together.

You can’t shipwreck your kid’s life with one angry outburst, any more than you can erase that angry outburst in their memory by managing your emotions the next time your kid spills hot tea on your laptop.

Nobody becomes obese overnight; it is the gradual accumulation of sodas at lunch time each day.

Take time to identify your true intentions consistently. Ask yourself if what you are going to say or do is True, Kind and Necessary consistently. 

To me, ‘consistently’ means that when I fail I will try again next time and it means that when in doubt, I will err on the side of these rules.


In Conclusion

Live your true intentions, never say or do anything that isn’t True, Kind and Necessary and do so with consistency.

Sounds simple, but in practice the struggle is real. As parents, we have enormous power and responsibility in our children’s lives.

For more on the struggle to manage your influence responsibly, see the post that inspired me at Joshua Becker’s essential blog, Becoming Minimalist.

Happy Thanksgiving!

parenting tips, children's audio stories, learning

Sarah’s Syllabus

Hello, there!

How are you? How was your week? I am grinning because this week we launched Imagining Aloud, our all-orginial children’s audio stories. It’s always wonderful to create something new, and to finally have it in the hands of others is even better.

The response has been tremendous, we have been super busy getting ready for the launch and now are getting to enjoy reading emails from parents enjoying the stories with their kiddos.

As for the weekend, we’re expecting it to be quite low-key. Having a very belated birthday brunch on Saturday with a friend and hopefully watching some football.

Trying to tap the brakes on putting out the Christmas decor, but getting eager!

parenting tips, children's audio stories, learningToday I thought I’d try something different.  As I read articles and see various videos and products throughout the week, I think of how much I want to share them with everyone.

While I do use Twitter and Facebook for most of this, I understand some people don’t dig social media.

So, here’s a few items of interest that caught my attention this week.  I hope you’ll find something interesting or useful here as well.

A liberating post on slowing down and being more mindful, even when you have a family.

These illustrated idioms from around the world are both funny and beautifully designed.  Would be fun in a kids room or office.

12 Children’s Books with Non-Princess Female Protagonists.  Great for anyone with young girls in the house.

Is it crazy to think that children might go to the library to read real books?  When library time means screen time.

Sweden ran out of garbage, and is actually needing to find some!

20 stores that refuse to open on Thanksgiving.

Ideas on how to spice up your hot cocoa.  I’m trying the Nutella one pronto!

I love this article.  Especially numbers 1 & 2. And 3. Okay all of them!  5 Things That Don’t Matter (In Parenting) as Much as We Think They Do

And finally, we did an interview with Sharon of Rediscovered Families, which you can find here.

So what do you think?  Did you find anything there that struck a chord?  Let me know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to sign-up for our newsletter if you haven’t already.  You now get 2 free audio stories to try along with our guide to encouraging imagination at home.

Happy almost weekend!

Imagining Aloud Launch Details

The wait is finally over!
Watch the video below for official details about Imagining Aloud, our subscription series of original children’s audio stories.

3 Things You Don’t Have to Do as a Parent

Sarah here.  You’ll find our regular blog post below, but first, we need to ask you a favor.

We’re really close to wrapping up our long-awaited audio stories.  We will be releasing them this month, but before we do, we have to ask you a couple of questions.  Can you help us out?

We need 100 people to complete this parenting survey. It’s anonymous and will take a few minutes.   When you’re done, if you leave a comment on this post, you’ll be entered to win a copy of The Book With No Pictures featured in our last post.  (Winner will be chosen randomly at the close of the survey).

Thanks, friends!  Now on with the show…

*Note – this survey is still open but the contest is closed.

RNG1Patrick South is our winner – hope you and your family enjoy the book Patrick!


It is not a daily increase, but a daily_opt

It’s hard to know what you can and cannot get away with as a parent, especially as a new parent.

I am constantly testing the limits and the expectations and the boundaries, and I’m usually quite pleased with what I learn.

For example:


1) You do not have to give party favors away at your child’s birthday party.

The boys 4th birthday party was Sat. the 25th at 5:00pm.

At 2:00pm that Saturday Chris and I were doing some dishes and he asked me, “What are we giving for party favors at the boys party?”

“Nothing,” I answered.

“Nothing?!” he responded.


It must have been a shocking break from tradition if my husband (the guy who helped prepare for the boys birthday party by nodding repeatedly and taking out the trash once) stood shocked and confused when I told him no party favors.

(Disclaimer: my husband helps out enormously in other aspects of our life – party planning just isn’t one of them. I’m learning to be okay with that.)

“I think they give the kids a balloon or a cup or something,” I chanced.

But really, I didn’t care if the gym gave them anything or not.

Why?  Because I think we all feel like we already have enough stuff.

I would LOVE to come home from a child’s birthday party empty-handed.

Here are just some of the gifts you’re giving parents when you don’t distribute party favors:

a. No whining about eating the candy

b. No plastic Chinese toys to find in your purse 2 weeks from now

c. No tears over broken toys that weren’t built to last more than 30 sec.

d. No expectation that every time you go to a party you’re going to get something in return.

I didn’t hear any complaints from parents or kids.

If you try this and everyone is outraged, you can blame me.


2) You don’t have to play movies in the car. 

Talking, reading books, being bored, looking out the window, audio stories, I Spy, making up new games…all great options.

Just yesterday Mr. B made up a game that involved smelling things and then randomly picking who smelled the best thing.

I’m still struggling to understand the rules but I know I won at least once, and that was with “Vanilla Chocolate Cupcake smell.”


3) You don’t have to keep up with anyone else.  Ever.

Might it be cool if your kids had the organic, hand-spun, super durable kids tepee for $200 from Etsy?  Sure.  Could you get a lot of ooohs and ahhs if you completed even 3 of the pins from one of your Pinterest boards?  Maybe.

But you know what’s even cooler and even more awe-inspiring?  Staying authentic and keeping things meaningful for you and your family.

If you don’t have the kind of money or time or desire to do something, then don’t do it.

No family is obligated to do things the same way as any other family.

I’m not going to lie and say that this is always easy.  I’ve been there.  You love your kids and family and want the best for them.  You want each kid to have a rocking scrapbook or for your family to have professional photos done each year.

When you start making choices different from those around you, you might feel fear or anxiety.

But I invite you to remember that your kids want your love and attention more than anything else you could ever dream of giving them.

Allow the simplicity of that idea to wash over you.

When Chris and I started making choices based on what things are worth to us and not others, we were quickly able to cultivate friends we felt more supported and encouraged by, and those are the people that inspire and motivate us on a daily basis.

So now it’s your turn, what are some things you feel you feel you don’t have to do as a parent?   Let us know in the comments below!