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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.

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

March 4, 2019

Setting Relationship Goals

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Most of us think of goals in relation to Achievements—goals for our careers, for our grades, for our finances. But there is another kind of goals that is even more important—Relationship Goals.

Achievement Goals are usually qualitative—they are set and can be measured in numbers or percentages…we want to make X amount of money, or lose X pounds, or get an X grade point average.

Relationship Goals are more qualitative—Instead of expressing them in numbers, we express them in words. They are a description of a relationship the way we want it to be at a certain point in the future—a year from now or five years from now.

The thing that Achievement Goals and Relationship goals have in common is that they are effective when they form a clear picture of something you want to have at a particular future time. And a descriptive Relationship Goal is just as effective and can bring just as strong a result as an Achievement Goal.

For some specifics on how to set and reach Relationship Goals:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2 Article 3

February 25, 2019

Keeping Romance Alive

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Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our engagement, which happened atop the tower of a castle disguised as the Old Main Building of Utah State University, where we met and fell in love. On that distant day, we colluded with a romantic night watchman who surreptitiously opened the door to the winding staircase to the small balcony atop the tower. There, in a blinding snowstorm, I got on one knee, put a ring on Linda’s finger, and she said “yes.” It was the best day of my life!

It was also the most romantic day, at least until the anniversary last week when we again climbed the tower and reenacted the whole thing and added a couple of rings—the original ring representing the 50 year past, a golden sapphire that we bought in Sri Lanka representing the present of this golden anniversary, and a ruby we found in Thailand representing (as rubies officially do) eternity.

I was as giddy as I was 50 years ago, and as we drove home, we talked about the importance of romance and of keeping it alive in marriage and using it as a love-booster throughout all of the relationships within the family.

More on the whys and the hows of keeping romance alive:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2 Article 3

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