power tools

Power tools – how would you describe them? And why would I write a book about them that relates to parenting? Do you think they’re a way to gain power over your kids, to make them do what you want them to do?


Think of what power tools do in your workshop. You could say that they give you power, but only if you know how to use them correctly. Power tools are a means of doing a job with more ease, and with more success, in less time and with far less stress. If you want to use them successfully, you need to study the directions for using them and follow the directions carefully and consistently.

How does this apply to parenting your kids?

The power tools I’m talking about are part of a system for parenting that will allow you to successfully handle any situation or challenge that might arise in your family, day-to-day. The basis behind the tools is the well-known belief that kids need to feel an important part of the family, that they have a basic need to feel they belong. Let me outline them for you and show you how they work.

single mom and daughter

1.The first power tool is to treat your child as equal to you – not in size or strength, of course, or in education or experience, but as a human being who deserves dignity and respect. Thinking of The Golden Rule of Parenting, we can say that this means that we treat our kids the way we would like to be treated. Kids respond better when they aren’t given orders or yelled at, the same way that you would respond positively.

mom discussing bike riding options

2.The next power tool is to recognize your children’s need to feel valued and important in their roles in the family. When you spend time with them, really listen to them with your full attention and understand the reasons for their behavior, they don’t need to misbehave to get your attention. Instead of giving orders, you give explanations for your decisions or actions so they understand the reason behind them. Again, you treat them as you would like people to treat you.

lunch love letter

3.The power of appreciation is a mighty force that everyone, especially children, respond to positively. Everyone likes to feel noticed and appreciated, and it’s important that parents learn to give encouragement to their kids on a regular basis. We are a critical society, constantly pointing out what is wrong. We grew up hearing the word “no” far more times than we ever heard “yes”. It’s parents’ job to notice when kids do something positive. Giving attention to what is positive means that kids will contribute to the family more, and misbehavior dies from lack of feeding.

manners training

4.The power of training is crucial in bringing up your kids. You must not only be a good role model for them, but you need to actively train them to have good manners, to treat other people with respect, to respect themselves and to be able to spend time alone, to have time to “be”. They need to be trained to handle failure and to learn from it, to get back “in the saddle” and try again, so that they can grow to be independent, contributing adults.

children fighting in car

5.The power of inspiration means that you inspire good behavior in your kids instead of giving them orders. Yelling doesn’t work because it gives attention for misbehavior. Deciding what you will do in a situation works much better. You don’t serve kids with dirty hands, you don’t drive with fighting kids in the back seat. You are calm and refuse to give attention to misbehavior. You must, however, remember to give constant attention to all positive behavior.

The five power tools provide you with a template for parenting. When you use them properly and consistently, you can handle any parenting issue that you’re faced with. For more information on them, see my book Parent with Confidence: Power Tools for Bringing Up Great Kids. Also, check out my parent coaching options. I think that coaching is one of the best investments you can make: investing in your family’s health and in your children’s future. Don’t let problems build and grow until you’re frustrated and discouraged and misbehavior has turned to lack of respect and revenge. Change is not just possible, it’s probable!

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