The guests on The Woodbury Report, July 1, includes authors and collaborators in parenting, husband and wife team David and Lisa Davoust. Parents of three children, the Davoust' have taught on and helped parents with marriage and family issues for over 20 years, using both humor and practicality.
In their new book, Building Better Humans: The Book You Wish Your Parents Had, David and Lisa provide 12 principles that will guide parents through the challenges of parenting and offer action based advice that will help the entire family. They cover topics such as communication, social skills, consequences, money and work, technology and kids in crisis.
"Our primary job as parents is to prepare our children for life without us, and the number one principle we feel is the most important is communication," shared David. "No topic is off limits!" You need to keep an open line of communication with them if you want them to talk to you about the important stuff. You have to listen to them (even if it's only about Pokémon or Barbie's). Listening is the key. When you truly listen to them, they then know you care about every aspect of their lives. Talk with them about what they are interested in. This builds the relationship and the trust for more open conversations later when it matters.
"We are very intentional and our kids know that they can talk to us about anything."
If your kids ask a question, give an honest answer, because if you don't, it will come back to bite you later. They will not trust you.
David and Lisa both agreed that parents need to work together, and each parent can take turns being the bad guy. Don't contradict or undercut the other parent's authority in front of the kids though, that can really hinder the other parents authority. Parents always need to present a united front. And with everything, balance is the key.
Parents also need to have the same answers for consequences for their children, and these consequences need to be communicated correctly to the kids. When setting consequences parents must be prepared to follow through. For example, if you threaten, "If you don't stop that, I am going to turn this car around and go back home," then you need to follow through, turn the car around and return home. Your children will learn within a week that what you say is what you mean.
Lisa then shared that this can cause a rift between siblings and parents as well. With parents using a team work approach, siblings will build a bond when it comes to the common enemy, you as the parents! This will also remedy the problems with peer pressure as siblings continue to bond to help eachother.
The Davousts also talked about a variety of other issues concerning parenting: the benefit of grandparents, social skills, dining with the family. It is important that even if a child is done eating he/she still needs to sit and participate in the dining experience. Topics at the dinner table should be broad, and can include everything from preparing them for adulthood, to current events and news in the world (like 9-11), to even dating advice. As David and Lisa firmly believe: no topic is off limits.