Six years ago, I discovered Dr. Guardendi while was speaking at the NACHE Conference. His practical advice on parenting matters, and his outageously funny sense of humor describing family situations, made me buy his CD's and, books. My favorite book of his is "Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime". His motto is that someone will discipline your children, if you don't, it may be a boss, a college professor, or it may be the court system. They may not be as understanding as you would, so discipline now and save your child from needing it later.
Dr Ray and his wife have ten several children, many of whom came as older children from terrible home situations which would make any adoptive parent shudder. So, when he says it's possible to discipline any child, and make him feel loved, he knows of what he speaks.
Thanks to him, I discovered that my little Isabella, then four, was putting one over on me. When sent to the corner for a time out, Bella would suddenly get an irresistible urge to hug me and tell me, "Mommy I love you so much I HAVE to hug you RIGHT NOW!". Funny how it never occurred to me that these urges only struck her while in time out. And I ran a day care for two years, so how could I be such a sucker?!
When I came home from this conference, and she realized her act was no longer going to get her out of time out, it vanished magically. It didn't take my bright little girl long, however to find the real culprit for Mommy's sudden enlightenment: that Dr. Ray who wrote that book she's always reading! Drats, foiled again!
This time, at the IHM Conference, Dr. Ray was in his usually side-splitting form, telling tales of trouble in the Guarendi household. Sandwiched between hilarious anecdotes, however, is sound parenting advice. Dr. Guarendi discusses a nationwide study of the top families in the nation, and says the most important factor these families cited in raising their children was R_E_S_P_E_C_T. Dr Guarendi warns us not to tolerate the slightest roll of the eyes, the deep sigh, the tossing of the head, and do NOT under any circumstances tolerate, "whatever" as a response! What would we think if, an audience member asked him a question, and he responded that way? This guys' a jerk; was his example to us.
We have to cultivate our "look" which tells our child no more nonsense will be tolerated, without our having to lose control. If we have done our homework, ie punishments for similar infringements in the past, all we'll need is "the look". A creative list of consequences includes: essays of whatever length, free trips to the child's room, grounding which cuts off all access to electricity (phone, TV, computer, radio, Ipod, X-box)and my personal favorite, where the fighting siblings sit across the table from one another, and neither may get up until the other one gives permission. I have never seen this one fail to eventually make them friends again, once the thrill of torturing one another wears off.
Dr Ray Guardendi has several Catholic radio shows where he can be called with questions, and a new series on EWTN with Fr. Kevin Fete, "What Catholics really believe", where he discusses the Faith, and his return to the Catholic Church from Evangelicalism.
Pictured here is his latest book, Great Teens, which I was going to review here, till one of my friends with multiple teens begged to borrow it first. If it's from Dr. Ray, you can be sure it's witty, and practical. He inscribed my copy to Isabella: Dear Isabella, Oh no! Mom's got another one of those awful books!