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The 80/20 Rule Doesn’t Work for Parenting


I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule for work, household projects, and even cleaning…

…but it does NOT work for parenting.

This New Year’s, I asked myself, “What would make the biggest difference for myself and the kids?”

I knew the answer right away: no more back-talk.  They’d need to use the skills I’ve taught them (how to do what I say cheerfully or disagree in an appropriate way). 

So, I told them I’d be consistent with corrections…  and if we can make using these skills a habit, we’ll take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in April. 

My part of that bargain: be consistent with corrections AND consistent with praises, all the time.

See, I’ve realized that the 80/20 rule doesn’t work for parenting.  If you’re only 80% consistent, your kids will walk all over you…

…and they’ll be angry when you do correct their behavior.

Of course, parents can’t be 100% consistent with corrections and praises (we’re human, after all).  So I set MY goal as being 98% consistent with corrections – and with praises.

I won’t lie – it’s been exhausting (especially as a single mama).  But 4 weeks in, I can see a difference.  And at night, when I feel exhausted from correcting and praising 5 kids, I channel my inner marathon runner…

…this tired is a good tired. 

I’m in the messy middle, but we’re improving.  I close my eyes and picture them laughing at the water park – and the smoother days coming as we shift to healthy life skills they’ll carry into adulthood.


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