SECTION II Get out the Duct Tape and Take a Leap of Faith – Duct Tape Parenting: A Less is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids



At this moment, after all the information covered in section 1, you might be wondering, How in the world will I integrate all this new thinking into my next sequence of decisions? The answer is...drumroll, please...DUCT TAPE. This is your chance to shift your focus away from your child’s pesky behaviors and habits and focus on what it will take for you to raise an independent, responsible, respectful, and resilient child. You will train yourself to say less, do less, interfere less, and micromanage less, and allow your children to take a more active role in their lives and the life of the family. This will provide opportunities for them to practice new skills, learn from their mistakes, and navigate their own lives whenever possible.

You’re going to use duct tape on your mouth, hands, and even your rear end if necessary (literally or figuratively, it’s up to you) to refrain from jumping in and taking over. Instead, you will learn to trust that your children can change and will change, and that with new information, you too can change.

When you accept that your role as a parent is to step out rather than step in and fix or interfere or correct, then you will begin to steer your family in the direction you envisioned at the very beginning of parenthood. You’ll replace the power struggles, demands, and dysfunction in the family with cooperation, appreciation, and mutual respect. That’s it. Duct tape, relationship and training strategies, and faith.

After twenty years, I can honestly say that I continue to use the Duct Tape Method each time the kids and I hit a rough patch. It usually means that I have stopped thinking, started reacting, and I am parenting on autopilot. When this happens, it’s a reminder that I need a reality check to ensure that I am actually parenting effectively. After all, kids change as they grow. What seems important one minute is irrelevant the next. The Duct Tape Method is the fastest and most effective way I know of reminding myself what parenting is really about. It’s about the long-term relationship I am building with my children and their ability to grow into independent, enthusiastic, engaged adults.

The point of gathering new information, which is possible when we stop talking and start observing, is to help guide our parenting decisions. In the following chapters, I’ll outline how a small shift in thinking, along with a more hands-off approach to parenting, can make dramatic, lasting, and astonishing changes in individual family members and in the family as a whole.

What you need to know is that the duct tape will be for you, mom and dad. Not the kiddo. So, get ready to tape yourself into new parenting habits. You can actually tape yourself, but a mental visual is just as effective. Please, don’t tape yourself into any sticky situations.