Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.   P.J. O'Rourke I often wonder who's going to write the next  BIG parenting book?    It seems like every generation has its  guru.   And with today's parenting styles running the gamut–authoritative to  permissive, supportive to absent,  indulgent to neglectful–it's hard to know who really has it figured out.    Throw […]

Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.   P.J. O'Rourke

I often wonder who's going to write the next  BIG parenting book?    It seems like every generation has its  guru.   And with today's parenting styles running the gamut–authoritative to  permissive, supportive to absent,  indulgent to neglectful–it's hard to know who really has it figured out.    Throw in  your favorite media platform and practically everyone's an expert nowadays!    So, allow me to throw my hat in to the ring.   While you won't find any fancy  letters following my name, I do have a  theory.   And for simplicity's sake, I've narrowed it down to two words:   REPETITION WINS!   Genius, right…I know.

Basically I've been applying this strategy throughout my whole parenting career, I just didn't know it until last election season.   (Stay with me here.) I just happened to be listening to a political strategist ramble on  about the power of  the message…more specifically the repetitive factor to a particular campaign slogan.   He pontificated that through a basic media blitz, they had managed to turn the tide in their favor…especially since today's voters never bother to research the issues.   I equate this concept to the “beloved” brain worm–you know, the little song or ditty that invades your every waking thought!   Once it reaches your ears  it then proceeds to swim around in your head for hours and if you're (un)lucky even days.   Oh yeah, there's power in the message!

So here's where it comes full circle….   I have been known to be somewhat of a “rules” Mom, harping on my kids with  suggestions about practically everything.   (I honestly prefer  the word suggestions  over rules, just saying.)   My handy little tidbits like, “Wash first,” “Make good choices,” and “No food in the bedrooms–EVER!” are  expressions that I have uttered for years.   These phrases have become practically automatic after more than a decade of parenting, only now I hear my kids mumble them (and several other goodies) before I can even get the words  out.   I'll admit that sometimes they're mumbled sarcastically,  still I don't mind claiming  it as a  tiny victory!

I'm employing a similar approach with quirky  sayings, inspirational quotes and Bible scripture spread across posters, white boards and post-it notes  throughout the house.   I've got my fingers crossed that these, too, will make their way inside their heads (and hearts,) and if nothing else that they might gain some wisdom from my efforts.       I know I'm doing something right when I see their friends stop and check out the kitchen whiteboard and ask questions about the “Family Rules” poster on the fridge…and I'm just getting started!   Window markers allow me to write  messages to  my children on  mirrors in their bedrooms and thanks to iPhone technology, I have several great memes saved and ready to  send to my kiddos' devices  at a moment's notice.    In my book, it all counts.    Still the master plan is worth nothing without the  one message I utilize several times a day, “I love you.”   Out the door, when they come home, before they go to bed and at random times in between, “I love you.”   It's the  message I hope they remember most.

I tease my husband that we'll find out soon enough whether the strategies we've employed will be labeled a success or a  failure.   With a tween girl and a teenage boy, I feel like we've jumped out of one fox hole  only to find ourselves in a whole new set of trenches.   It's all good, though…because Mama's got her secret weapon and she ain't afraid to use it.   Pay heed, parents–REPETITION WINS (no book required.)