Available seats disappeared quickly as eager Education Week participants made their way into the Pardoe Theater of the Harris Fine Arts Center on Wednesday to hear Linda and Richard Eyre. The Eyres presented a class on how to save your children from entitlement.
“Parents are the same all over the world, whatever the religion, politics, or economy,” Richard Eyre said. “It doesn’t matter. The feelings are all the same.”
The Eyres counseled parents to love the moments they have with their children. “They’re precious,” Richard Eyre added.
Linda Eyre said that when times get hard you have to watch for the special moments. “They’re amazing and change your whole mind about what you’re doing,” she said.
Richard Eyre then talked about what you can do for your children while you have them. He counseled to make sure children are given responsibility instead of entitlement. Eyre stressed they need to feel ownership of their responsibility. He said, “If they don’t own it they will never, ever feel responsible for it.”
“Ownership is the antidote for entitlement and the prerequisite to responsibility,” Richard Eyre said. He explained that giving children a sense of ownership increases responsibility and accountability.
Ownership of conflicts was the first area the Eyres examined. Linda Eyre created the Repenting Bench for their family. When two children fought they would send them to the uncomfortable Repenting Bench, where they would have to work it out. They couldn’t leave the bench until they figured out what they did wrong, apologized, and gave the person they got into a fight with a hug. Linda Eyre said, “It takes you out of the position of being the referee. It takes the argument out of your hands and into the kids hands.”
Ownership of goals was another area discussed by the Eyres. They suggested having children write them down.
“Give kids categories and let them go from there,” Richard Eyre said. “If you get too involved and suggest goals, then it’s your goal.” He suggested that even if the goal isn’t as high as you want it to be, let it go.
Values was the next area of ownership the Eyres touched on. They suggested focusing on one value each month with children. Linda Eyre explained that there are several different ways this could be done. Richard Eyre added, “You don’t need someone to give you the methods. They’ll just come up.”
Richard Eyre commented on the next category of ownership of choices and decisions, saying, “This is one I feel so passionately about.” The Eyres said sometimes kids get caught off guard and just aren’t thinking.
Linda Eyre explained that they gave each of their kids a special journal with their names engraved on it. On the last page she’d have her kids write, “Decisions I can make in advance.”
“Talk to them about things they can really decide right now,” she said. “Don’t let them write them all at once. You have to think about them.”
Richard Eyre said he would play the devil’s advocate by doing case studies and role-playing with his kids. He said he didn’t want them to write anything down until they had thought about it so much that they really knew.
“It’s a simple exercise, but can really be powerful,” he said.
The Eyres said parents should talk to their children about sex. Richard Eyre urged, “Have the big talk, and have it early.”
He advised parents to not use negative motivations, but to have a positive talk and get them to understand it. Richard Eyre recommended helping them to understand that sex is a beautiful incredible thing when it is at the right time with the right person. “It will have a lot more of an effect than anything else you can do,” he said.
Ownership of privileges was the next subject discussed. The Eyres suggested taking children to do service. “Get kids out of their bubbles,” Richard Eyre said. “Un-spoil them.”
The last category was faith and testimony. The Eyres had their own testimony meeting on fast Sundays in order to encourage growth.