My Child Listens to My Spouse and Not Me

Parenting is tough work, and sometimes nothing can be more frustrating than to feel like you’re trying your hardest to make it work and it’s just not working and then your spouse walks in and five minutes later the kids are right in line. What are you doing wrong?! Well, Kirk Martin suggested some ideas in his email newsletter today, and I’m providing that for your reading pleasure and benefit. If you want to know more about Kirk Martin and his excellent parenting advice, visit Also note that Kirk Martin will be speaking at St. Paul’s in New Ulm on Sunday, Nov. 3rd from 3-5 pm and on Monday, Nov. 4th from 9:30-11:30 am.

Here’s what Kirk has to say:

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Call Your Child’s Bluff

Since I get his stuff in an email newsletter format, I don’t really have a good way to link or reblog what he posts. But Kirk Martin has some really great parenting advice and I always appreciate his emails. I decided to share today’s email, because I thought it was especially good, not to mention the fact that I think he was specifically targeting me with this advice. So, what follows is Kirk’s hard-earned parenting wisdom for when a child decides he’s just not going to do his part:

(You can find more of Kirk’s stuff and information about his materials at

Call Your Child’s Bluff

Calm is not a doormat. We don’t let kids “get away” with anything. Quite to the contrary. When you are in control of yourself, you can see clearly and discipline effectively. When you are yelling and upset, your kids are actually in control of you. And that never works well. Here’s a tough discipline tool.

When kids declare, “I don’t have to do my chores,” our typical response is to rationally point out how much we do for our kids, how we need to work together as a family, how important it is to learn the value of a good work ethic for future success. Blah blah blah. Your kids don’t care. So here’s what I did with Casey when he was younger.

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