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John Wayne vs Apron String Approach to Parenting
My husband and I have different views on parenting.
He likes to recount a scene from an old John Wayne movie,
"Hondo", where a young boy doesn't know how to swim. Raised
solely by his mother who was never able to teach him, the boy
was afraid of the water. Hondo, in true John Wayne manner,
picks up the lad and flings him out in the middle of a pond.
And guess what? He swims. Had to. Or he would have drowned.
And that's been pretty much my husband's approach. His advice
for parents would be to just chuck the kid out into the middle
of the pond. Let him sink ...or swim. He's pretty much the
same way when it comes to managing child behavior. "Let reality
be the teacher", he'd advise. Learn from the school of hard
knocks. Let him touch the hot stove. He won't do it a second
Well, I'm a mom, and I'm much too protective to adopt this
approach. Where my kids are concerned, I want to protect them
from all of life's abrasions. I think most moms are like this.
We devour articles on parenting, hoping for the right advice.
Hoping that we're doing the right thing. We try to guide our
kids through life as gently as we can. It tears us apart to see
them hurt or injured.
My husband would argue that his method is the most humane and
caring because it makes the child stronger and prepares him
better for the difficulties that lie ahead. And maybe he's
right. I suspect though, that in spite of his macho stance,
he's secretly monitoring the situation and is ready to step in
to help if he's needed.
At any rate, to resolve our different approaches, we invented a
tool for child behavior management. We call it the Better
Behavior Wheel. Basically, it consists of a roulette wheel
type of board with consequences around the perimeter instead of
numbers. When our kids misbehave they get to spin.
It's very effective.
But where it really shines, in my opinion, is in the way it
combines both of our parenting styles so there's no longer any
disagreement on the appropriate course of action.
With the Wheel we all sit down ahead of time and select which
consequences should be put on the board for each particular
misbehavior. My husband gets to have his say, as do the kids
and myself. Once we've all agreed, there's no more discussion
or disharmony. When the kids misbehave, out comes the Better
Behavior Wheel. And as parents, we're no longer the 'bad guys',
but merely interested bystanders. Child behavior management has
never been easier.
When we showed the device to our friends they all wanted one
too, so we reluctantly started building them. Today we've
helped over 10,000 grateful parents with our invention, and the
orders just keep coming in.
Not only did the Wheel give us well behaved kids, it also
created peace and harmony in our home, as my husband and I no
longer argue over how to deal with our kids' inappropriate
Today, our kids have grown into delightful young adults, and we
like to think that the Wheel had a great deal to do with that.
A mother of 4 kids from Eugene, Oregon, Julie Butler now
lives in central British Columbia where she
markets the Better Behavior Wheel to grateful parents. Her