“I can’t do a thing with him, Ms Shirlee,”I was told by one of the mothers sitting in a front row seat at one of my parenting workshops.

She blurted out the rest of her dilemma. “Him and his Homies just be sittin’ around watching sports and playing video games all day.”

On the other side of the city, in another workshop with a very different clientele , I heard the same scenario but from an articulate young mother who spoke softly with a great amount of hesitation.

“I can’t get my 3-year-old to go to bed at night, which means he’s groggy and grumpy and then falls asleep in front of the television somewhere around midnight. I have trouble getting him up in the morning for pre-school and for me to get to work.”

Some folk like to say children are different these days.

I like to say children aren’t different but their parents and caregivers sure are.

I’m told my brand of parenting is “old-time.”

I like to answer, “Yes, I’m old.”

     I hear, “Your children must hate you.”

I like to answer, “They’re Your Kids, Not Your Friends” which is the title of the book I     authored.

Six rules for raising children who become productive adults:

Communicate respect
Provide positive role modeling ,
Exhibit and teach responsibility through rules and chores
Create structure/organization – bedtime, mealtime, study time, play time,
Establish a philosophy based on values – money isn’t the guide line for family success
Command the ship but listen to the shipmates – I hear your story, but I’m the parent and I’m in charge

Sittin’ around all day? No structure, responsibility and I suspect no positive role- modeling

Falling asleep in front of the television? Where is the parental duty of establishing and maintaining structure?

  • When life at home is chaotic; life in the workplace becomes more difficult.
  • When home life becomes organized; the work day becomes more productive.

 Find a list of  Parent Development Workshop on our website Mothers Behind Bars Page.  We provide  workshop both  in the prison and on the outside

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Jean Troy

    I agree, sometimes it is difficult to be in charge but the “because I said so!!!”rule was somtimes envoked. My parents told us when we could pay the rent and take on responsibilities,until then they made the rules. If we didn’t like them well there was always the door. Funny but we never left and I remeber loving my parents, very much. they were our role models and i hope I’ve done the same for my children. But there are times when the law needs to be inforced and as the leader we must enforce it.

  2. -Nate

    Just so ! .

    We take in Teenaged Foster Boys and they’re accustomed to sitting ’round doing nothin , watching the TV all day .

    How are they supposed to learn the value of hard works rewards and gain self respect when you , the _PARENT_ are not willing to get of your (admittedly tired after working all day) bum and show them that you expect them to follow your directions to the letter , in everything , every time ? .

    My Foster boys always tell me ” you’re the only person who ever tells us and follows through .

    It’s really not complicated , I’m uneducated but I remember being poor and hungry as a Child , this is a bad thing that shouldn’t ever be tolerated .

    Kids will always look for limits and try to exceed them , it’s up to YOU to draw a firm line and stand to it .

    The rewards are very great indeed .

    My Son (I’m a Single Father) had a 4.0 GPA , no tattoos , no drugs , never brought me any bastards and never once needed to be bailed out of jail .

    If I could do this , anyone can .


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