“Do you feel guilty because you discipline?” Guarendi asked. “Remember this: You are the kindest, most loving, gentle teacher that child will ever have. If you don’t do it now because you feel guilty, you’re afraid he won’t like you, or you’re afraid of doing something psychologically incorrect, then your child will be disciplined — the world will do it.”
Guarendi’s three-part webinar, called “Quarantine, Quarrels, and Quality Time” focused heavily on discipline and how proper discipline can lead parents to raising a “one in a hundred child,” a boy or girl who grows up to live an authentic virtuous, humble, and Christian life. Both parents, however, have to play a role in the discipline — not just one.
“Are you prepared to be a one in one hundred parent? You can’t parent like the culture,” Guarendi said. “They’ll take you places you don’t want to go. They give out technological freedoms three, four, five, six years too early. They give out social freedoms three, four, five, six years too early. They indulge materially. If you stand strong against that culture, many times, you won’t be understood. You will be critiqued. You will be second guessed. You will be analyzed, oftentimes by people you thought were going to be on your side. When was the last time you heard an expert talk about humility?”
Guarendi highlighted a survey that said that if a child has a first date between the ages of 11 and 13, then there is a 90 percent chance of he or she being sexually active by their senior year of high school. If the first date is at 14 years old, there is a 50 percent chance they will be sexually active by their senior year. At 16 years old, it’s 20 percent. Guarendi asks, “What odds do you want to play? What odds is the culture playing?
“If your child has a smartphone, there is a very good chance that they have formed a relationship with the opposite sex through that smartphone through texting or Instagram,” Guarendi said.
Guarendi went on to talk about what he says is an adjective that is most the overused in the parenting language, that being “strong willed.”
“The strongest willed of my 10 children is not stronger willed than their mother,” Guarendi said. “Do we have so many strong willed kids out there? Dear people, I think in part because the big people have lost will. We’re not as assured or ourselves, we’re not as confident, we’re not calmly, quietly authoritative.”
If you have teenagers and you are frustrated and distressed at the disrespect and the arguments from your children, Guarendi offers this advice:
“Tell your child, ‘We have a new rule. If you are disrespectful in any way — arguing, content, tone, looks, body language, I will start you out on a 400-word essay, handwritten, on respect. If you argue with me, I won’t argue back.’”
If you think you won’t get that essay, Guarendi says that children have no idea what parents control —electricity, utilities, food, laundry, transportation, money supply.
“Parents have been told in the last 30 to 40 years by the experts that strong authority is a bad thing — that children are naturally cooperative, and if you use the right language and the right reinforcements schedule, if you negotiate, if you find win-win scenarios, then children will cooperate because children want to cooperate,” Guarendi said. “We’ve really made parents feel guilty and unsure of themselves. Many experts don’t like time-out. They don’t want you to use it. They think it’s mean. They think it’s social isolation. They think it cuts off communication.
“But for those who do use time out, notice how they (the experts) define it. ‘If you must, use a brief time out.’ The culture is devastating. It is so good at shaping kids the way it wants to shape them. More and more parents are being overwhelmed by cultural voices. They underestimate their strength. If you’re going to be the kind of parent you want to be, you better have a spine that is an inch thick. If you have love in your home and affection then you can be a very strong parent. Give a lot of hugs and kisses, let them know how much they are loved, but you can put your standards well above the cultural standards. Your kids, if they do drift away, there is a good chance they will come back.”
To listen to Dr. Ray Guarendi’s three-part webinar, go to dio.org/drray. Guarendi also discusses topics that can help parents bring all things back to the family, standing strong as a parent, and the logic of being Catholic. There, you can also find some of his books to purchase.