Dec 12, 2009

Parenting Help

12/12/2009 — cori

Every now and then we need a little extra help as parents. Sometimes our disciplining strategies become old and out-dated or stop working all together. Often people reach out to the parenting section of the local bookstore to find the latest book to offer advice. Well....we kinda did that too.

We LOVE books. My kids will stop whatever they're doing and come running if I ask them, "Hey guys, want me to read to you?" We all enter the magical new world together. We also love to listen to books on cd while traveling in the car. It can be a 5 minute jaunt to the store or a 5 hour road trip. Our favorite, hands down is, Hank The Cowdog.

John Erickson is a genius, hilarious author. The books are funny, quick-witted and well written. But the audio tapes, read by the author, are even better. I can't tell you how many quotes have wriggled their way into our daily lives as a result of these books.

One such quote has actually helped us in our parenting endeavors. You have to understand the characters to really appreciate the quote. Hank is 'the Head of Ranch Security', a dog who takes himself and life way too seriously. Drover is smarter than he looks but talks in circles. Pete is the manipulative, sly, barn cat always ready to make a fool out of Hank.

I'm sure you're wondering, how in the world could any rational person receive parenting advice from such a motley crew of characters? And that would be a legitimate question. Inspiration comes from many sources and if God can use a childrens' book series to help me with my children when it comes to speaking the language they understand best...then I'm all for it!

Hank is always onto Drover for doing things he doesn't like and always threatens him with, "Drover, your behavior is unacceptable and despicable and this is going in my report." This is not an exact quote as I don't have a tape recorder for a memory as my children seem to -but its close enough to get the jist.

So...I have found this little quote helpful when needing to diffuse a situation that might get too heated, say...a back seat argument, a whiney-hiney, or a back-talker. I then pull out from the depths of my memory the advice I learned from Hank and address the child 'in the wrong' with, "Young lady/gentleman, your behavior is unacceptable and despicable and this will definitely be going into my report!" I of course use all the mock seriousness I can muster. This disarms the child and we all end up in stitches of laughter. Like I have a report I turn in at the end of each day for each child - that thought alone cracks me up!

I also enjoy "glaring icepicks and bayonets" at them when they misbehave...or at least telling them that's what I'm doing. Good use of facial expressions goes a long way.

Another 'Hankism' that has made its way into our family is a life quote Hank lives by. One day, Gavin and I were having a serious conversation. I reminded him of how we do things in this family, you know 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. Unbeknownst to me, Gavin had already deemed a Hank quote as our 'family motto' and replied, "Ya Mom, I know our family motto," and remember, this was going on in a moment of real seriousness, "do unto others...but don't take trash from the cat." Perfect timing Gavin. Whatever was the problem was - was no longer. Another hard time was laid to rest via the humor of our beloved Hank.

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