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Each week the Eyres post one tried and proven “Parenting Principle” (or sometimes a Marriage Principle) here on this page, and also on social media (Instagram @richardlindaeyre, Facebook @lindarichardeyre, and Twitter @richardeyre). Please follow, and invite your friends to do the same. Each week the brief, quotable parenting principle will appear with several links to articles, podcasts, videos, or radio and television appearances that give more ideas, instruction and inspiration on that principle.

May 13, 2019

Series on the 8 Myths of Marriage

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In the last two posts (the last two weeks) we have presented the first two of the 8 Myths of marriage, and the response has been so great that we have decided to do a whole series and cover each of the other 6 “Myths of Marriaging” over the next 6 weeks.

We call it “marriaging” because it is a dynamic, happening word; while “marriage” is a static, happened word. Marriaging, like parenting, is a skill—or an art or a science—that can be continually and actively worked on, developed, and improved.

As we strive to build and grow our marriaging ability, there are some misconceptions that can get in our way—some misplaced beliefs or false paradigms that point us in the wrong directions and suck the joy out of our relationships. They do this through unrealistic expectations and false goals that cause dissatisfaction, discouragement, and frustration.

We call these misconceptions the Myths of Marriaging because they all sound good—many of them are even disguised as wise advice or packaged as sage insights. Indeed we may have heard some of them so many times that we assume they must be true.

But they are not.

Some of these myths raise our hopes and expectations unreasonably; others oversimplify; and still others exaggerate a good direction so much that it turns back and harms our relationship instead.

The good news is that wherever there is a myth there is a countering truth. There is another side of the coin—the true side.

Sometimes knowing both sides, and considering them together, can clarify and illuminate. Sometimes we need first to know what not to do or think or believe in order to avoid the common pitfalls that often overtake a marriage.

Then, by contrast, we need to know what to do or think or believe in order to maximize our marriages.

In this series, we will first try to dispel the myths, then to capture the truths.

For a verbal overview of the 8 Myths (and as a preview of this series) listen to the following podcast:

May 6, 2019

Myth 2 from The 8 Myths of Marriaging

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We continue with a preview of our forthcoming book The 8 Myths of Marriaging.

2. The Achievement Myth:

Achievements are harder and take more work than relationships do.

Truth: Relationships are, both in the short term and the long term, always more important than achievements are—and usually harder.

  1. Sub-myth: The home supports the career.
    Truth: The career supports the home.
  2. Sub-myth: Achievements can be pursued, while relationships just happen.
    Truth: Relationships, particularly the marriage relationship, deserve the most “pursuing” of all; and relationship goals can be as effective as achievement goals.
  3. Sub-myth: Parenting is more work than marriaging, and good parents are almost always good marriage partners.
    Truth: Good marriages take constant effort and almost always make for better parenting—but this doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.
  4. Sub-myth: Marriage is about two individuals, and it works best if the families stay out of it.
    Truth: Your marriage, like it or not, is the joining of two families, so you might as well embrace it. Our in-laws can become our in-loves; the more positive and proactive we are about extended family relationships, the more we will get and the more we will give.

If this myth interests you, or if you think it may be affecting your marriage, take a look or a listen to the advice contained on this subject in the following:

Article Podcast

April 29, 2019

The 8 Myths of Marriage

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Our new book on Marriage will be published in July, but we wanted to give you a brief preview.

Despite having written more than two dozen family and parenting books, we didn’t want to tackle the subject of marriage until we had a lot of it under our belts, we waited 50 years, and The 8 Myths of Marriage will be released on our 50th Anniversary this July.

We decided to approach the subject from the standpoint of some of the “common wisdom” about relationships and marriages that is actually not wisdom at all—in fact it is myths. Getting past these myths enough that we can find the corresponding truth is no small task.

But it always starts with exposing the myth. Here are the first of the myths that the book discusses, and more to come next week:

1. The Clone Myth

A good measure of the quality of your relationship or marriage is how alike you are, and how infrequently you disagree or argue.

Truth: The best and most exciting marriages are between two strong individuals who relish rather than resent their differences; who each have their own unique opinions and can disagree and debate and learn from each other. “How you resolve” is a better measure than “how often you need to.”

If this myth interests you, or if you think it may be affecting your marriage, take a look or a listen to the advice contained on this subject in the following:

Video Article Podcast

April 22, 2019

“Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There”

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Sometimes what we need most as parents is just the opposite of the old advice your mother used to shout at you, “Don’t just sit there, do something!”

In our busy, frantic, crazy world within our families, we need to turn the old cliche around and tell ourselves “don’t just do something, sit there!” We need a moment to sit and think, to remind ourselves of what is important, to remember what matters most. We need to just sit there for a minute (even if we have to lock ourselves in the bathroom to do so) and collect ourselves.

We need to learn to separate the important from the urgent. We need to remember that calmness is contagious and can spread to our kids if we can find it within ourselves.

Please take a minute and listen to the podcast below, and see if you can find a way to put thinking above doing for a minute–and learn to stop just doing something–in favor of “sitting there.”

Good luck!

April 15, 2019

Side-Effects of Parenthood

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Hey, we don’t want to always make these parenting tips too serious and heavy! So for the next few weeks, they will have some humor to them, or at least some amusement as we think about the sometimes chaos-filled, up-and-down life phase that we call everyday parenting. Today, think about the pharmaceutical and drug ads you see and hear dozens of times each day and all the “side-effects” that they are legally required to warn us about:

Headaches, trouble sleeping, back pain, heartburn, anxiety, confusion and indigestion all come to mind….and additional side effects like “quick to overreact emotionally,” “voice changes,” “irritability,” and, best of all, “euphoria.”

Now instead of reading those as side-effects of drugs, read them as side-effects of parenting. They all apply, right? These things go with the territory of parenting–they are unavoidable, at least occasionally as we do our best to keep up with our kids.

The interesting part of the comparison is that we take the drugs we need in spite of the side-effects that may occur, because the net effect, and hopefully the cure, is better than the side-effects. We have kids and do our best to raise them despite the same side effects because the joy, the euphoria that comes to us as parents, even if it is just in little, occasional moments, outweighs all the side effects and create a net effect where the plusses totally supersede the minuses and we intentionally fill our lives with the messy chaos of kids, sometimes many kids who demand our attention, soak up our energy, and visit us with all kinds of unexpected “adventures” or consequences.

Side effects and all, “married with children” or even single with children is the best and most joyful way to live!

Let’s keep reminding ourselves of that, despite the ups and downs. For more on this:

Article Podcast Video

April 8, 2019

Helping Kids Set Goals

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Are your kids working to meet your goals, or have you taught them how to set their own?

That is a big question, because the answer can determine the whole chemistry of your relationship with your children. If it is you setting the goals for them, then your encouragement will always sound to them like nagging and manipulation. But if your children have learned to set their own goals, your offers to help will be welcome and appreciated.

And that is a big difference.

Goal setting is often thought of as a complicated, difficult “adult thing,” but actually a goal is nothing more than a clear picture of something as you want it to be in the future, and kids, with their good imaginations, are often better at setting goals than adults are. But they need some basic training on how to do it (and on how to do it—because it can be fun).

Kids as young as five or six can set little, simple goals for school, for their sports or music, and for their character. Older elementary kids and adolescents can set quite sophisticated goals in these same three categories, but with more specificity and with short term (weekly and monthly) goals that lead up to longer range (yearly) goals.

For specifics on how to help your kids learn to set goals:

Podcast 1 Podcast 2 Article 1 Article 2

April 1, 2019

An Executive Management Meeting in Your Family

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All efficient and lasting institutions have top management, and all of those management teams have regular meetings where policy is set and goals are pursued.

Who is the top management of your family? For most of the two parent families we know, Mom is the CEO and Dad might be the vice president or the CFO. But however it stacks up, the parents should be the managing partners, and to play that role effectively, just like every effective organization, they need a regular top management meeting. We have found that it needs to happen weekly, and the best time to have this meeting–a private planning and prioritizing session with just two attendees–is on Sunday. We call it an “Executive Session” or a “Sunday Session.”

It is a time to synchronize schedules, to discuss needs and priorities, and to talk about your relationship with each other; and even to clear the air in terms of any disagreements or bad feelings that were not resolved during the week.

Also, if you have both older and younger kids (say those over 8 and under 8) you might consider having a brief second meeting each Sunday called a “Middle Management Meeting, with the older ones–promote them to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem, and give them some responsibilities for tutoring and watching out for the younger ones.

For specifics on how to set up these two critical family meetings:

Article Podcast 1 Podcast 2

March 25, 2019

Don’t Let Schooling Interfere with Your Education

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Are “school” and “education” synonymous? Or is education a much broader and much more important concept than school? Is it possible that sometimes the routine and concentric learning of schools actually get in the way of real education—as in the case of the parents who were traveling to Israel for a week and wanted to take their two middle school children but were told by the school that they couldn’t take the children out of school for that long.

Who is responsible for your kid’s education: The government? The schools? The church? The coaches and teachers and lesson givers? No. We need and accept help from these and other sources, but it is crucially important to realize that it is us, the parents, who are responsible for our children’s education.

This means two primary things: 1. We need to supplement the education that schools give our children in things like the “three Rs” of reading, writing, and arithmetic with what we call “the other three Rs” of relationship-forming, responsibility, and right-brain learning. 2. When the timing works, it’s okay to take our kids out of school for brief periods when traveling or other educational opportunities arise that can’t be learned in school.

To explore this priority further:

Article 1 Article 2 Podcast 1 Podcast 2 Podcast 3

March 18, 2019

Optimal Attitudes for Happiness (and for Parenting)

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Attitudes are remarkable things. They determine much of our success, our capacity, and our happiness. If we have attitudes that are negative or that cause us to prioritize the wrong things, or that are based on false premises, they undermine us and hold us back and make us unhappy. If we can switch to attitudes of truth, light, and spirituality, we can increase our ability to do well in the things that matter most and at the same time become much happier people.

When we wrote our newest book, The Happiness Paradox, we had one goal which was to replace three worldly, false and happiness-undermining attitudes with three spiritual, true and happiness-promoting attitudes. We wanted to get rid of the attitudes of Control, Ownership, and Independence and replace them with attitudes of Serendipity, Stewardship, and Synergicity.

The whole goal was to help people (including ourselves) be happier.

But there was an unexpected bonus: The three attitudes that lead to more happiness turn out to also be the three attitudes that make us better parents.
A Serendipity parent sees and listens to a child more carefully and helps in ways that a control parent can never do, a Stewardship parent respects a child and guides in inspired ways that an ownership parent can never know, and a Synergicity parent learns to work with others and find help in places that an independent parent can never imagine.

These attitude shifts can make all the difference. Learn more about how to adopt them and implement them by reviewing the tips for January 14, January 21, and January 28, and the following:

Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Article Podcast Book

March 11, 2019

Giving Kids Grit

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Most parents worry a lot these days about the entitlement attitudes they are giving their kids–but maybe we don’t worry enough about the flip-side of that–about how to give our kids grit, which is the opposite of entitlement. Grit means self-reliance and determination and knowing how to work. It means tenacity and initiative, and it is perhaps the single greatest prerequisite to achievement and accomplishment and success in life.

There are two powerful things that parents can do to give their kids more grit:

First, set up a family economy in your home, complete with a family bank, household tasks or chores for each child, and a payday each Saturday where kids’ reward is directly proportional to how well they did on their jobs. Have the family bank pay interest, and make it so the kids can earn enough to buy their own “stuff” rather than begging you for it.

Second, create a family narrative of ancestor stories whereby your kids learn about their grandparents and great grandparents and about the successes they attained and the difficulties they went through. Help your kids realize that they are one fourth from each of their grandparents and one eighth from each of their great grandparents and that they have the same drive and resilience in their blood.

For more (much more) on replacing entitlement with grit:

Podcast Article Book

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