Happy Friday 👋🏼 to the 400+ parents of 3-13yr olds reading this week.
Today's story takes 3 minutes to read and if you share it with your friends, I'll send you my applicable 3-Part Family Framework.
New Readers: If you joined my newsletter in 2023, I'd love your opinion on something. Would you prefer to begin with (a) the most popular 5-7 things I've written in the past or (b) jump right into this week's email? Will you reply back and let me know your preference?
Bring Them Along
I have an unpopular opinion. Ok, it may be a bit stronger than that. It's more like a low-key parent conviction. Here it is ...
Parents should get a babysitter less often.
This conviction is born out of a belief that a volume of early situations with you is going unlock great things for your kids.
Of course, everyone needs time apart, but how selective are you?
Choosing to take young kids with you, most everywhere you go, will be one of the best investments you can make in their life.
I'm not claiming that we did this 100% of the time, but it was the default choice we usually made.
To the baby shower
To the grocery store
To the summer wedding
To the SEC football game
To the Guatemalan orphanage
To the meal train food drop off
To the old cousins across the state
To the hospital to visit a sick friend
To the High School basketball game
We must have been invited to a lot of weddings when our kids were younger because my memories always recall those scenarios first. It wasn't only the wedding though, but the bridal shower my wife would attend. Then there was the trip to Target to buy the wedding present, before Amazon Prime change the game of course.
Most of the time, we loaded up at least one, if not all, of the kids and brought them along too.
A powerful parenting concept to adopt is the "with you" principle.
I fully expect that you might disagree with me on this, which is fine.
I also know that you could feel a sense of guilt or shame if/when you don't take your kids with you. That is not good.
Parents are making in-the-moment decisions every hour of the day about how to keep moving forward. Here is what I know to be true:
- It is 100% easier to go shopping, attend a shower, ship a package, or help a friend without a 5 & 8-year-old around.
- It is also true that by neglecting a with you approach, your kids will miss out on 100% of the maturity that those higher friction moments create.
So, here are 6 reasons parents should embrace the with you principle:
It helps kids build social skills. Even when they are young, being in situations where they have to engage in adult moments is beneficial.
It is inconvenient, which is a good thing. Medals are not given for choosing the hardest path, but no one grows via the easy way every time.
It introduces kids to a wide variety of people. They gain by interacting with others who aren't exactly like their friends & family.
It places the family together more often. Once kids hit elementary school, families become more divided unless they pursue togetherness.
It gives everyone stories to share. Having volumes of shared experiences provides a lifetime of "do you remember when we did...?"
It forces some self-sufficiency. Being in situations that are not always 'kid-friendly' gives them reps to learn how to cope and mature.
When it comes to including and involving your kids, every family needs to make their own choices. There is a wide range of normal.
Know Your Role
No one has the potential to influence your son or daughter like you. Yep. That's a lot of pressure. And it can be confusing. You are a mix of teacher, coach, counselor, and friend. So, here is a one-sentence job description to keep you focused.
If you have a preschooler,
EMBRACE their physical needs.
Spend the first 200 weeks helping your child develop a sense of security.
If you have an elementary-age child,
ENGAGE their interests.
Appeal to your child's curiosity to broaden their knowledge and abilities.
If you have a middle schooler,
AFFIRM their personal journey.
Show up consistently to give them stability as they navigate change.
If you have a high schooler,
MOBILIZE their potential.
Guide your teenager's values and passions as they launch into adulthood.