Parenting Tip

Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy
Parenting Tip of the Week

This tip is part of a series provided by my friend and mentor, Dave Kovar. He has published several books and each one of these brief tips can drastically change the dynamic in your household. If you are interested in his books, they are available online in Kindle format or hard copy at I am honored and privileged to have such a wise mentor and friend.

Parenting Tip # 4. Adapt your parenting to fit your child - Make sure your parenting keeps pace with your child’s development. As they grow they will face new challenges and take new actions that you may not be ready for, but they are. Ensure your parenting evolves with their growth.

My input here. It’s not that we don’t believe in punishment, we just believe if we are doing everything right, then punishment shouldn’t be necessary. To this, it’s obvious you need a really good reward system if you are not going to use a punishment system. If you do a bad job at work, your boss doesn’t take away last week’s pay, he might dock future pay. Likewise taking away something a child has already earned is damaging. Instead, have them earn what they want just like you and I earn our pay.

We devised a system early on, when they were in 4-year-old kindergarten, where the kids would follow a series of pictures for when we got home at night. They would choose a different magnet to move from picture to picture as a way of structuring their nightly path to “screen time.” If they didn’t work quickly and efficiently, they didn’t get the reward of screen time, which was TV or computer time, whichever they wanted. The pictures included: Putting their shoes in the correct place, putting their clothes in the hamper, getting their pajamas ready, taking their baths, brushing their teeth and flossing, hanging their towel, checking any school work, making their own lunches, getting their clothes prepared for the next day, setting everything by the door, ready to go in the morning.

It took some monitoring at first, but eventually, it became like a little show, them taking care of their things, moving their magnet to the next picture and finally getting screen time. It was very rewarding for us, and the structure of it empowered the kids. Here is why you have to be flexible though. This program is only going to work for so long before a different system will need to go into place. They will develop past this system and move on to other things. Perhaps screen time isn’t important, but you reading to them at bed time is becoming valuable. We ran into this with our kids so the reward changed. We also eventually switched to a points system which rewarded them for all their tasks, but they got extra points for expressing love, respect and gratitude, especially towards each other, but it had to be sincere. Eventually we changed it again and the points became more tangible, they became money…in very small denominations. This taught them the value of money and how to save.

Not every child is the same. They have different drives and desires and abilities. Those things will change as they grow and so must your system to raise them. Be flexible, open to learning and ready to do whatever it takes to be a great parent.

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