Guilt Free Parenting Advice – Kirk Martin

Expert advice for acceptance in our parenting and being GUILT FREE.

Thank you Kirk Martin and

Shut. Up. (Again)

I sent this message last September so I know it will offend some people. Others will miss my point or misconstrue my motives. But this recent email prompted me to send an updated message today.

“Kirk, I got offended last year when you said that we need to shut up. I was raised by parents who lectured and yelled and that was normal. But one night I asked my kids, ‘How does it make you feel when I lecture you all the time?’ My son said, ‘Like you don’t think we’re smart enough to do it ourselves.’ My daughter was even more pointed. ‘Mom, it’s just as disrespectful as when I talk back to you.’

“That hit me like a ton of bricks. So I decided to take the plunge and take your Conquer Anxiety Challenge. I’m a single Mom and I was afraid to tackle my issues on my own. I knew deep down inside I had to deal with these patterns in my life.

“In the past six months, my life has changed dramatically. I created a binder with the Anxiety program. Every night while the kids do their homework, I do mine. I sit and work through the action steps. My kids will ask what my homework is. It has led to the deepest discussions I never dreamed I’d have with my kids. I am working on breaking the perfectionism pattern and learning to be assertive right now. My son told me he wanted to work on being able to deal with changes to his schedule better and my daughter is working on feeling good about her self-image and saying no to friends who aren’t good for her.

“Kirk, this has opened a whole new world to me. I am overcoming specific triggers that used to send me into a tailspin. I have not yelled or lectured now for four months. I’m dealing confidently with my ex-husband, I’ve shed the toxic people from my life, I’m not a people-pleaser anymore! My kids are asking me to help them become more mature. We’re doing this as a family! Can you tell I’m excited?! What began as a way to help myself has turned into a new way of life for my family. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but so worth it. Thank you.”

Now that you’ve been inspired, I will say it bluntly again:
Some of you need to learn to shut up. Seriously. You lecture endlessly. You can’t just drop something. You have to prove your point. You keep going, finding fifteen ways to say the same thing. You eventually become resentful because people won’t listen to you. You make everything about…you.

Is that harsh? Of course. Because I want it to sink in. Why? Because this compulsion is destroying the very relationships and respect you crave. It is causing more power struggles and backfiring on you. You want your kids and spouse to listen to you. But not only are they shutting down when you do speak, they aren’t coming to you with their problems.

Why do you lecture? Constant lecturing is demeaning to kids. It’s provoking them. It says, “I don’t think you’re able to think and make good decisions, so I’m going to control you and wear you down with my constant talking.” Lecturing is NOT teaching. When you talk too much, it makes you sound weak (not authoritative!) and invites negotiation. It’s a sign you are not confident and not in control of yourself.

You have every right to feel anxious, irritated and angry about your child’s behavior. But that does NOT give you the right to lecture, provoke and escalate situations. There is no scriptural command to lecture. There are plenty of commands to be patient, show self-control, discipline and model appropriate behavior. But not lecture them.

Why can’t you just accept this for what it is? If you are one of the thousands of parents who need to hear this so you don’t ruin your relationships and lose your self-respect, this is the most compassionate newsletter I could have sent. It’s a message that *I* need to hear. There is absolutely NO GUILT in this–just be honest with yourself so you can change.

Men, why do you have to prove your point? Has your wife ever looked at you and said, “Thank you, honey, for proving that I was wrong using your superior logic. It feels so good to be married to someone who’s always right”? No. It makes you and ME look like jerks and we need to apologize for it. THAT will help your relationship.

The moment you sit down and calmly say,
“I’d like to listen to what you have to say…without trying to control your behavior or change your opinion” is the day you begin to become the trustworthy, respected leader your spouse and children crave. The quickest way to change your child’s or spouse’s behavior is to change and control your own. Are you ready?

I do not write this to make you feel guilty. I write this so you can be free. You’ve told people your kids are just so challenging (and they are), but the real issue is you need the confidence and strength to lead them. And I am challenging you to draw a line in the sand, to break these destructive patterns you carry from childhood. Call a therapist or counselor today.

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