Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Parenting....Military Style

So, we are a Navy family. This is apparent in many ways - my children understand deployment, I decorate in easily-removed ways, My Love has no hair, military ID is utterly more important than any other ID, and.....our parenting is peppered with military terminology.

What do I mean?

Most parents probably don't brief and debrief the children before and after each evolution.

Now, we don't do this EVERY time - although that is the goal! - but every time we do, we are very glad we did!  So, if ever you see us sitting in the car before the unload process begins, you will know the brief is occurring:
"Alright kids, we are about to go into a parking lot. What does that mean?"
"We have to hold a hand!" (From one of the girls....normally String Bean's hand rockets up high whenever we ask a question.)
"Good job. And we are going into Chick-Fil-A (best place ever. EVER.) and this is how we are going to behave:  No whining, yelling, pitching fits, or crying when we have to leave. We will go in and you can play while we order. Then, you MUST eat your food. Then you may play. When we tell you it is time to go - it is TIME TO GO. You must be happy leavers - or we will not come back for a long time. Got it?"
"Got it!"
(That was String Bean, Jumping Bean, and Bitty Bean's answers. For some reason "Woody" has been deemed an appropriate response to everything.)

Does it work? Sometimes. 
Are our children perfect angels?  Not by a long shot.

But I think it helps to prepare them - as much as possible - for what will be expected of them when we go places. It helps us (the parents) to have a game plan and be on the same page for outings. Which is ALWAYS a good thing!

However important the brief is, the DEbrief is just as important - or more!

When we re-load after our outing, we praise them for their obedient areas and good behavior, and discuss what could have been better. Unless it needed more than "discussion." Then that is normally handled immediately.

All in all, that is one thing the military has taught us and I think we are better parents because of it!

What non-parenting places have you found parenting pointers?

 Copyright 2011


  1. well, I am probably the furthest thing from any sort of military influence ('cause I'm CANADIAN, haha), but I do the exact same thing. Generally I call it "the plan" and "the consequences", but I like brief and debrief! They sound so professional! We prep on the ride over, (if it's a major event, we prep for days with lofty talk of excellent behaviour), and then on the way home we dole out the sentences. Who gets what chastisement, and who doesn't :-D

  2. We don't cal it a brief and a debrief either but my parents definatley still do that :)

  3. Ha! We do this exact thing too!

  4. After several frustrating errand outings the last couple months, I've been doing a lot of briefing before we go into anywhere. "...and how do we act in the library/grocery store/pharmacy/church" And I review what I expect of them. I like your part about the happy leavers. And I guess I do some "de-briefing" too, but I forget how important it actually is!

  5. I came over from Sarah's (In Light of the Truth) and so true. I try to get my older little guy to tell me what I want him to do (after I tell him - he needs a little more help with comprehension) but I love this. I'm going to continue with my younger kiddo (he's 1 and doesn't talk yet but he can say "yes mom" )


Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement!