While it’s not entirely true that “everything I need to know about raising kids I learned behind a barber chair,” it is true that I’ve learned some things.

I was reminded of these things, after hearing a sad statement from a conscientious dad. He said that he and his son are now on different paths. I asked how old his son is. “Twelve,” he answered. I thought of how close I am to Jon, our 22-year-old son, and how it would hurt me to think we were “on different paths” when he was twelve.

But, I also thought of the many kids who come through our doors and of the many parents who seem to be getting it right. Thus, I’ve developed sort of a “Barber-osophy for Raising Good Kids.” Here are a few such “Barber-osophies”:

1. Be in charge. It doesn’t seem possible that a 4-year-old child can control a 40-year-old parent. However, I’ve seen it happen, and it makes you wonder who is the child and who is the parent. It also makes you wonder if child abuse doesn’t sometimes take the form of a parent who won’t take charge.

2. Reduce the choices. While this is relative, depending on the age of the child, it seems that children who always have a choice regarding such things as treats and privileges tend to be ungrateful, unhappy and undisciplined. Sometimes it might be more appropriate if the choices are reduced to something I read on a friend’s refrigerator: “This ain’t Burger King. You take it my way or you don’t get it at all.”

3. Be careful about showcasing the child. There are far too many kids who receive no positive attention from anyone. There seems to be a growing number of parents, however, who make every interaction between their child and themselves a public event, a look-at-me-and/or-my-child situation. Thus, the child begins to think that the world revolves around him (her).

4. Expect the best. Parents who expect the first haircut to be “a piece of cake” are often rewarded. Similarly, by our words and actions we must always let our kids know we believe in them and expect the best from them. It propels them toward success.

BARBER-OSOPHY: Though there are no perfect parents or perfect children, it’s easy to spot the parents who are genuinely trying to get it right.

Copyright 2004Science Articles, Sumerlin Enterprises.

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