Kid CEO; How to Keep Your Children from Running Your Life
By Ed Young
I was sitting IN a local coffee shop early one morning, minding my own business, studying and doing some research on marriage and family issues. Just a few feet away, a toddler-toting mom was sitting in a comfortable chair talking to another woman. While sipping their morning brew, these two women engaged in deep dialogue.
I was sitting right next to these women, but I could tell they were oblivious to me. When the conversation turned to parenting, I naturally could not help but listen in. The toddler-toting mom was talking about the challenges of child rearing and how to maintain a good marriage with her husband's busy travel schedule. The other woman, between sips of coffee, was discussing whether she and her husband were even mature enough to have kids.
Finally I decided I had heard enough and just had to butt in; I said, "Excuse me, ladies." They turned and looked a( me as if they were thinking, "Oh! Someone else is here?" I said, "Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions? I'm doing some research on marriage and parenting." They agreed, and as I began to probe a little into their particular situations, they opened up and shared some of their concerns about marriage and family. After a while, it was time for me to head to the office, so I packed up my briefcase and headed toward the door.
As I was leaving, the toddler-toting mom turned, looked at me, and made a statement that I will not soon forget. She said, "You know, I think I'm a great mom, but not that great of a wife."
As I thought about that statement, it occurred to me that a lot of parents today would echo that same frustration. I think many would say, "You know, my kids are getting a lot of attention. But my spouse and I aren't really connecting anymore."
There are some important underlying questions within this woman's statement. She is admitting that her life is out of balance. There is a flaw in the flow chart. By expressing the frustration that she is a better parent than spouse, she is asking several critical questions: "Should my home be a kid-CEO home? Should the children control all of the activities and all of the scheduling? Or should my family be a parent-CEO unit where the parents run the show and where the marriage has the ultimate priority? Which one do I put first: my marriage or my kids?" We are going to find the answers to those questions in the next few pages.
In the first chapter we established that in many households, the kids are running the family show. The kids are sitting in the office, calling all the shots. We also said that we need, as parents, to be parents. That involves, among other things, reorganizing our homes and reestablishing parental authority in them. Being a leader means speaking the truth in love-we do what's right for our children, not what always makes them feel good.
And as leaders, we also need to cast the vision for our family. What that involves, first of all, is making the marriage the most important priority in this earthly thing called "the family." Therefore, the primary focus of what I call the parent-CEO household is keeping the marriage relationship strong and vibrant during the parenting years.
The current cultural norm is to place kids in the nucleus of the family cell. And unfortunately, Christian families more often than not conform to this norm rather than set the trend. What we must understand, as I hope to show you in this chapter, is that the parent-CEO household makes sense from a practical perspective, a relational perspective, a logical perspective, and most important, a moral perspective. If we want to grow strong families, the marriage must remain in the nucleus of the family cell. Everything else in the family system revolves around and is driven by this key relationship.
Dr. John Rosemond was one of the pioneers in recognizing the need to refocus the family on the marriage relationship. In his book John Rosemond's Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, he said very pointedly, "For those of you who are married, the secret to raising happy, healthy children is to give more attention to the marriage than you give to the children." In other words, the marriage should be the center, or the nucleus, of the family.
If you know anything about science and biology, you know the nucleus is the brain of the cell. It contains the stuff of life, the power that gives a cell the ability to function properly and to relate to other cells. The same is true in the parent-CEO household. Mom and Dad, your one-flesh relationship is the powerhouse and the center of life for your family. When you lose this focus, your family cell will begin to atrophy.
For the family unit to function properly, our goal as parents should be truly to hold the place of leadership in our homes. We must understand our role as parents and teach our children their proper role as kids.
In order to illustrate what the parent-CEO household is all about, I have to show you first what it does not look like. And to do this I want to introduce you to several types of parents that I have affectionately labeled the Alphabet-Soup Parents.