Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Parent's Second Most Important Job: Part 2, from a different angle

I know this will probably sound crazy to some, but one of the best secular self-training tools that I turn to for encouragement and to challenge me as a parent is The Dog Whisperer, aka Cesar Milan. He has written a few books and also has a show on the National Geographic channel. (Find out more about him here and here.) While part of his work is rehabilitating/correcting behavior issues in dogs, he also stresses how important it is that their owners be disciplined. This is where I see the connection. I am NOT comparing my children to dogs. Honestly, I'm not even a dog (or any pet for that matter) person. Eric read Mr. Milan's first book though, and he kept drawing all these comparisions between the way Mr. Milan would work with owners and the way we, as parents, want to behave. I was definitely intrigued.

When we first watched the show together, we both walked away from it feeling motivated in our parenting roles. For Eric, he's all about standing tall, shoulders back, speaking firmly, fairly, and directly. If you ever catch an episode, you'll see that is exactly what Mr. Milan does with the dogs, and it works. He has not bullied them or bribed them or made empty threats to get his way, but he has demanded and earned their respect. I see Eric do this all the time with the kids and I am constantly amazed at how well it works. And boy do those kids LOVE him!!

I, on the other hand, feel motivated by the show and see all the genius behind these methods, but I am not as quick at turning feelings into action as Eric is. Mr. Milan definitely stresses things with the dog owners that I know I need to implent in myself. He stresses the need for consistency at all times and at all costs, he pushes the owners to be more disciplined with themselves, and he shows how to present yourself as in charge for the sake of earning respect, not for being a dominating, bullying force. Aren't these all things we strive for as we parent our children? This for me is the connection between what Mr. Milan does on the show/in his books and basic fundamentals of parenting. It is just another angle to look at as we daily struggle to "train up our children in the way they should go."

I hope I've made my views on this clear and that everyone understands, once again, I am in NO WAY comparing my children to dogs. (It is all about the adults, be it the dog owners or the parents.) Also, this is not an endorsement of Mr. Milan's dog-training techniques. Although I have read/seen/heard amazing things about the success of his program, I have no first hand knowledge of it, so I am not in any kind of position to make such an assumption. I just wanted to offer up a different angle that we can utilize in our "parenting arsenal" to train and discipline ourselves properly so that we might train and discipline our children properly. If you get the opportunity, check out his show or one of his books and let me know if you agree.


A Grammatical Disclaimer

I freely admit to consistently using improper grammar in the following areas:
1. I like run-on sentences.
2. I have a tendency to end sentences with a pronoun. (I really do. I can't help it.)
3. I always seem to use passive voice in my sentences. (See?)

I've been trying to break this habit, unsuccessfully, for years, so now I just accept that as my writing style, and since I'm not writing for grades anymore, I embrace it. (Again, see?)

Hence, I invoke Blogger Artistic License for this blog!

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