The 75/25 Principle

On the trip from Branson, Missouri to Sacramento, I devoured Dr. John Rosemond’s book, Parenting by the Book. Check out his site at www.rosemond.com. As America’s most widely-read parenting expert, he has authored numerous books on parenting and is on demand as a speaker all around the United States. Some of his other works include, Parenting The Strong-Willed Child , Making the “Terrible” Twos Terrific, Because I Said So , The NEW Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, Toilet Training Without Tantrums .

He has a very unique perspective as a Christian psychologist and confesses to having bought into all the psychological theories and perspectives that flourished in the 1960s before he became a Christian. He claims that after the 1960’s parenting in America changed for the worse. As a Christian who knows psychology and Bible truth, he explains that the root problem of people, children included, is our sinful nature. Pyschologists subscribe to things like “behaviour modification,” but experimenting on rats does not reveal the truth about human nature.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, as Proverbs tells us, and parents have got to take back their position of leadership in the home to train their children in the way they should go. Of course all of this is still done in the context of love.

One of the most interesting parts of the book was the revelation that most parents today do 75% parenting and 25% marriage. Last week when I gave a seminar on Learning Styles, I asked the audience, “What do you parents talk about when you get together with other parents? How about when you are with your spouse?” They answered, “the kids.” I’m guilty of this, too! How often have I inserted the children as a topic of conversation during date nights with Edric? They just keep coming up and are so top of mind! Rosemond asked us the same question during the HSLDA conference in Missouri. His point was parents have become so child-centered in their parenting. It really should be 75% marriage, 25% parenting and not the other way around.

Rosemond painted a picture of the good ol’ days. He said that when a husband would come home, he looked forward to being with his wife. And the wife would be ready to meet him at the door. By the time her husband came home, she would have made sure that the home was in order, she was physically presentable, and the kids were managed. But nowadays, a father will come home and his first instinct will be to pay attention to the kids. He is seen as the playful and fun one by the children. While this may seem like a great thing, Rosemond says that many times this is pretty much the only role a father will perform when it comes to parenting. He doesn’t really discipline or disciple his children, that has been relegated to the wife’s department.

But there’s an even bigger problem. Children are no longer seeing their parents love each other as husband and wife. He warns that children who do not grow up seeing a healthy, loving relationship modeled by their parents, grow up insecure. They are much more secure when they know that mom and dad prioritize each other and have a strong marriage. This includes seeing them be romantic and sweet with one another.

Edric and I were happy when we heard this because we have always believed in couple time and getting away to be together without the kids. We still have our date nights and we make a conscious effort to be romantic with each other. Edric does a better job of it than I do! But, for a while we felt guilty when the kids would say things like, “Aww, you are going out again? Can’t we go, too?” But after hearing Rosemond’s talk, we realized that the guilt was not necessary. Our children need to know that our time together is important and it is a priority. Loving each other as husband and wife will enable us to love them better as our children. That is how God designed it – marriage first, then the kids.

Sadly, child-centered parenting is one of the reasons why so many children are problematic. Parents over-protect, over-serve, over-manage their children, so much so that the children are literally the center of the home. In some ways I was like this with my first child, which is why I didn’t sleep train him till much later than he should have been. It was really to my detriment. I must have aged ten years from all the sleep deprivation. But I was afraid that if I let my baby cry at night and didn’t pick him up, I would psychologically damage him or that I was a bad mom. Well, guess what? A very wise couple said something like this to us, “you have to train your child to sleep through the night by 3 months or that window closes.” That window sure closed for us! We didn’t try to sleep train him until much later and our son kept waking up to breastfeed throughout the night until the age of nearly 2 years.

With my subsequent children, I became a little smarter. They were trained to sleep through most of the night by 2.5 months and I was a happy mom. I still got to breastfeed them but I made them adjust to my schedule. And they all turned out very fine (so far, at least!).

I know many people who have semblances of the 75% parenting and 25% marriage going on in their families. Just the other day I was speaking to a friend who told me that she and her husband have built a beautiful new home but they have not gotten to sleep in their bedroom yet. They have been sleeping on the floor of their sons’ room because their kids want them to stay in the room with them. When she found out that my kids put themselves to bed and sleep in their own room, she was shocked. And I was shocked that she was shocked.

It is really quite common that parents and kids all sleep together in the same room (at least in the Philippines), but this is a no-no. It is emblematic of the 75% parenting and 25% marriage issue. Of course I shared with this friend my concern and I was very honest with her, saying that she and her husband need to transfer to their own room and let their kids get used to sleeping on their own, even if they have to cry for a few nights to adjust. (Our youngest has already turned one, so she will be moving out to her own room as well. We’ve got to figure that out though because we are still in our condo.)

Having your master’s bedroom to yourself as husband and wife is just one of the ways you can send a clear message to your children that they need to respect your relationship as husband and wife. You are not bad parents if you let your kids sleep in their own room, and trust me, they don’t need a yaya or nanny to be in there with them. And, spending on another airconditioner will be worth it. Once you experience what it is like to have your own private space just for couple time, you will want to keep it that way. It does wonders for a marriage. But don’t forget to add date nights and couple bonding, too.

I can’t remember who wrote this, but I remember reading somewhere that “marriage does not naturally make a husband and wife grow closer to one another. In fact, the very opposite is often the tendency. People naturally grow apart in marriage unless you work at it.” If we are so busy being parents and putting all our energy into parenting, how can we possibly be working on our marriage? We really need to make a conscious effort to preserve the intimacy, romance, enjoyment, and fun.

75% God-centered marriage + 25% God-centered parenting makes family life 100% better!

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Edric and I enjoying the grass after we took a drive to Brooklyn. We had a lot of couple time during this trip and after 3 weeks we were ready to get back to the kids!

 

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Edric and I at Central Park pretending to be the "Romeo and Juliet" statues. Hey! I guess the statues weren't showing a kiss. Oh well!

 

Comments

  1. Hello joy! I have been a reader for a while now but this is my first time to comment =) reading this post really struck a chord, because well, I’m guilty of placing my relationships with my kids over that with my husband. I guess there is a lot of pressure from society on us to be good mothers, plus we always have this feeling that the way our kids turn out to be will be a reflection on ourselves, which is why we invest so much of ourselves into being a mom and not so much into being wife. But after reading the book Childwise, and of course this post, I strongly agree that marriage should really be the priority and that husband and wife should be a model of a loving relationship. My daughter always has a certain smile when she sees her dad and I affectionate with each other, and in the same way, she looks crushed whenever she witnesses us arguing. I know that this is a homeschooling/parenting blog but I hope you can write more about marriage too, since it is also sometimes difficult to constantly maintain a smooth and tension-free marriage from day to day. You know what they say, it’s easier to forgive your child than it is to forgive your husband =) You are blessed to have a Christian spouse who shares the same ideals and values, but having a spouse who does not share the same faith poses more challenges and frustrations. Admittedly, it can be discouraging and frustrating, so I would love to hear your thoughts or tips on how to deal with the rocky parts. Thanks and God bless!

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Hi Ana! Thanks for following this blog. It’s interesting that you said that about marriage because I’ve also been thinking about writing more about it. I really feel that it is so hard to parent and homeschool when my husband and I have conflict or issues. So, as God brings the circumstances and biblical principles to mind, I will try to write about them. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  2. chesca alquiros encarnacion says:

    Hi Joy!!! Nice Post! i saw this from Denise’s facebook! 🙂 I am glad to hear you guys had some couple time in NYC! 🙂 Thank you for your book recommendations as I will surely buy one tomorrow. I felt bad at first that my kids sleep in their own room already, 1 and 2, but now i don’t feel bad at all! Chloe slept in her room at around 3 months, Miles a little later but I finally (at around 10 months) got him to sleep through the night. 🙂 Yes, I am a very happy mom when that happened…anyway i will surely take your advice to have more couple time with wilson and i. 🙂 Love your blog! See you soon! Love, Chesca

  3. Hi Ms. Joy,
    I will be a young mother soon and I have been trying to research that my baby will not be a cry baby and about what you mentioned regarding sleep traininig. But since you are a very experienced not to mention a godly mother, I feel more comfortable to learn from you.
    Hope you can enlighten me with these two concersn of mine or give the right link to learn these things.
    Thank you!

    God bless you and your family.

    Cathlyn

    • Hi Cathlyn! Babies will really cry if they are hungry, tired, need a diaper change, experience physical discomfort (pain, heat, cold, etc.), get frustrated because they can’t communicate what they want, or if they feel insecure or stressed. The first four reasons that I mentioned are easier to deal with. When you have a baby, you will learn the different kinds of cries that she or he makes. You can also predict the first three — hungry, tired, diaper change — if your child has a pretty regular routine and schedule. With the last two reasons there are certain things you can do. First, teach your child to communicate. Some mothers teach their baby sign language and some encourage them to speak. Of course babies can’t sign or speak until a certain number of months. However, keep talking and communicating to your baby. This will encourage her communication skills. For example, if your child wants to reach for her sippy cup, don’t just hand it to her. Say, “Do you want water? Here is your water. This is water (pointing to her cup).” Some babies need to hear a word 1,000 times before they ever speak it. So start with identifying things at home, in her immediate environment. “What is this? This is a…” If a child is able to articulate her needs and wants, it removes the frustration for both parent and child. She will be less prone to cry if she wants something because she can actually say it. But be patient. Teaching a baby to communicate takes patience and it takes a while. My first spoke at 8 months, my second at 1 year old, my third at 1 + years old, and my fourth before 1 year old. It really depends on each child.

      Second, babies who feel insecure and stressed tend to cry more. Security comes from feeling loved, accepted, held, being physically close to parents. The more you spend time with your baby, the more secure she will feel. They may seem clingy initially but they will become very independent because they are more confident. Expose them to people — family, friends. Don’t just leave them at home with the househelp. This will not only develop their language and social skills, but make them very friendly, well-adjusted, and interactive babies. Stress levels at home can be managed by making sure that your child feels comfortable with her caregiver or nanny, and by keeping the relationships at home Christ-centered. Babies are very sensitive to the emotions of others. A happy home where family members communicate, forgive, bond and have fun together makes happy babies!

      About sleep training, by three months, encourage your baby to sleep through the night by removing the 2 AM feed. You can feed your baby at 10 or 11 PM (before you sleep), let her cry the next feed until she falls back asleep, and then feed her again at 5 or 6 AM. You will be a happier mommy! Don’t worry about them crying. By 1 week, their bodies will adjust. Either they will drink more before they are put down for the night or drink more during the day. If you wait til 6 months, it will be very difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible) to sleep train your baby.

      I hope this helps 🙂

      Joy

  4. Cathlyn says:

    Dear Ms. Joy,

    Thank you for taking much of your time and effort to pass on your knowledge and experience to me. I didn’t expect you will be so thorough in answering my question regarding sleep training. I enjoy reading your post for you really write from the heart.

    May God continue using you to enlighten readers like me in raising children to become godly.

    God bless your heart.

    Sincerely yours,

    Cathlyn

  5. Hi Ms. Joy,

    I have been following your blog for a few weeks now. 🙂 Reading your blog is such a blessing especially when you talk about marriage and raising your kids. I am a mom of a 20 month old boy and I just want to ask at what age did you make your kids sleep in their own room? Our son, Tristan, still sleeps on our bed because I am still breastfeeding him. He still wakes up at least two times for a feeding each night. Eventually I would want him to sleep in his room but without a yaya which is why I’m wondering at what age will they be ready?

    Hoping to hear from you soon. Thanks and God bless you and your family 🙂

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Hi Dotty! Our kids sleep in their own rooms after I finish the phase of breastfeeding at night.It’s too tiring to go in and out of another room when I breastfeed at night. So it really depended on each child. Usually at about a year and a half. You can use a monitor if you feel safer but I just put them in the room next to ours and since we live in a condo it was easy to hear if they woke up. But I’m pretty laid back and some moms don’t feel secure about leaving a baby in a room at night. You can stretch it to 24 months if you want to. For Edric and I, we were eager to have our own room back as soon as possible 😉

  6. Thanks so much, Ms. Joy 🙂 Hopefully by God’s grace, weaning him won’t be so hard on him and also transferring to his own room 😮 The problem is my son is too attached to me so I don’t know how he will take it if he sleeps in a separate bedroom.. Do you have any advice on how to ease the transition from sleeping in our bed to his own room? 🙂 Sorry I ask too many questions hehe. Thanks in advance! 🙂 God bless you always 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Dotty

  7. I agree! My fondest memories of my father are of him putting my mother first – never leaving her side when she’s in the hospital, getting mad at us for “harassing” her. Just knowing that she’s his number one priority fills me with immense pride and joy, and makes me love him and miss him so much more.

  8. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot.
    I’m hoping to offer something back and help others like you aided
    me.

  9. Waaaahhh.. this is really an affirmation to me! After ready your post “Trust your Husband” and so many others from your inspiring blog (admittedly, i randomly read your posts from since 2011! So eye opening to me!), this really hits homebased. I am a fulltime mom for a number of 13months now, and with the growing expenses in our little family, my husband has been encouraging me to work. I trust him and I trust God. The protective mom that I am to Sam, I really should learn to let go so Sam could grow up being independent and not dependent on me, as my husband says. I also believe that it is also Hods plan for us so He can bless us even more abundantly after praying really hard and discerning about it. Thank you thank you for this! Im still have having a hard time weaning Sam from the breast (breastfed since birth) but as you said, they will eventually bloom at their own timetable and I will know in time when theyre ready. I know the Lord is with me so I need not worry. Im just a little curious how you get to wean Tiana though, and your older kids to sleep on their own and not breastfeed in the night. Thanks for your thoughts Ate Joy!! Hehehe.

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