How to raise the most polite, productive, respectful kids ever

Just recently, we had another heated family discussion about chores and money. It’s a constant source of frustration at our house because the kids seem to have a lengthy list of things they want or need, yet there’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to how much they help out around the house.

So, I’m taking some advice from the parenting experts at Parenting Power, and officially declaring this a bad family habit. This is one of the concepts Julie Freedman-Smith and Gail Bell examine in their newly released video course The 5R’s of Parenting Power.

According to them, if a scenario happens three times in a row, and leaves everyone feeling angry and frustrated, you need to examine the situation and come up with a solution.

So, why have we developed this bad family habit? Well, it might have something to do with our parenting style.

Examine your parenting style

When my kids were young, I never thought too much about my “parenting style.” Quite honestly, back then, I was so immersed in the day-to-day juggling of babies, diapers, toddlers and work, that my husband and I just kind of rolled with it. I guess you just assume you will be a good parent and, don’t get me wrong, most of us are. We love our children deeply and want to do right by them, just as our parents did for us.

But sometimes, just as we slip into bad habits with our fitness regime and food choices, we can also let things slide when it comes to our parenting and discipline. I know for a fact that some of my parenting pitfalls happen when I’m rushed, stressed and feeling somewhat frazzled. Others might make decisions based out of fear or guilt. At our house, it usually goes something like this:

Daughter: Can I have some money to go and eat out with my friends?

Me: Well, you need to do some chores to earn that money. Why don’t you clean the family car?

Daughter: Ok, I’ll do that tomorrow. But, Suzie is on her way over,  so can I have the money now and I promise I’ll clean the car tomorrow.

Me: Well, ok…but you better not forget.

Tomorrow comes and guess what? That’s right…I’m still driving around in a dirty vehicle!!

So, here I am, in my mid-forties with 2 teens and a tween, and I still see areas where I can and need to improve.


We hear so much in the media about being a helicopter parent, but did you know there are three other common parenting styles, as detailed in the 5R’s of Parenting Power:

  • Marshmallow Parent – also known as the jellyfish parent or permissive style. This parent places few demands on the kids and rarely disciplines. They are very lenient and do almost anything to avoid confrontation. They often take on more of a friend role with their child.
  • Dictator Parent – also called the authoritarian or punitive style. This parent always wants to be in control of the child, there are very strict rules and the child is often not involved in the decision-making process. There is punishment, rather than discipline, and it’s often accompanied by yelling, screaming or even spanking.
  • Model Parent – This parent sets very clear standards, and is assertive, but not mean or angry. The discipline style is supportive, rather than punitive, and is very consistent. This parent allows the child to make choices, but always within reasonable limits.

“It’s not that model parents don’t get angry…everyone gets angry,” says Freedman-Smith. “It is really about whether you REACT in anger or whether you recognize that you are angry and then decide to respond to the situation once you have dealt with your anger.” According to Parenting Power, the goal is not to release your anger ONTO someone, namely your child. “We all need to release our anger. Our kids need to learn that too.”

  • Helicopter Style – this parent flies in to fix the problem for their child. They are too involved and often involved in the wrong things…i.e. external vs. internal success. Children end up with low self-esteem because they end up feeling they can’t do it on their own.


I encourage you to take a few minutes to examine your own parenting style. Is it working for your family…or do you end up with some bad family habits that you’d really like to change? Perhaps, if you’re like me, you are a combination of two (or more) parenting styles. We all know that we react differently in different scenarios; that’s why consistency in parenting is so important.

Setting limits and consequences; consistency is key

The 5R’s Video Course has really taken me back to basics, so to speak, and drives home the importance of setting clear expectations and following through on consequences. These are things I know are important, but Julie and Gail gave me the backbone to finally do it!

This past weekend we decided on allowance amounts for all of the kids and came up with a list of duties that each must complete weekly. Together, we decided they will be paid their allowance monthly and the money needs to last them the entire month – this way we hope they can work on their budgeting skills. And, there will be monetary deductions if chores are not completed on time. I like to think it’s a more organized and pro-active approach to the money/chore dilemma, versus haphazard and reaction-based. To be clear, not everybody agrees with the idea of tying chores to allowance, but we are going to give it a try…let’s see if it works!

“The thing about parenting with a plan is that we often don’t get the plan 100% right the first time. It’s important that, as a family, we schedule time (within a week or so) to reflect on how the plan is working. What’s great, what’s not? If this is something you are not used to doing as a family, cut yourselves some slack and realize that it’s ok if it doesn’t work right away and needs some tweaking,” says Freedman-Smith.

She also recommends working on one bad family habit, at a time. We all know that bad habits are hard to break!

If you are interested in seeing how you can use the 5Rs of Parenting Power to make some positive changes in your family, click here. Remember there is no “right way to parent.” It really is about taking this information and finding out what works for you.

Disclosure: This post is proudly sponsored by Parenting Power.


Author Michelle

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Michelle, isn’t it crazy? We become parents and have no idea how to truly do this thing. It’s much harder and much more satisfying than I would have ever imagined. I can see myself in several of these roles. My kids are older now, 24 and 16, and I can honestly say that they love me and usually confide in me, but I’ve never tried to be their friend first. My job is to raise these kids in the way that they can go on and have a happy, successful life. That is so much harder than it looks, and lots of times I am the furthest thing from a friend to them, but they always know that they can come to us and we will help them with problems and figuring out solutions. I think they are both fantastic people. I wish I would have known more about how to parent. Where was this 20 years ago! LOL Great course for any parent!

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Nikki and thanks for stopping by. While it’s not realistic to parent with a manual (sometimes you just gotta go with your gut), this course gives us some tips and strategies to deal with those “sticky” issues…you know, the ones that families struggle with time and time again.

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