Shortcut by Modelling

You don’t have to look too far before you find an expert on parenting. Books are written by parents and doctors alike and you can see these so-called Parenting Experts all over the internet. There are websites you can read, podcasts to listen to, YouTube videos to watch and of course, TV talk shows with their hidden cameras confirming that we are not alone in our parenting struggles.

One of the TV shows that I used to watch is Dr. Phil. I liked Dr. Phil’s common sense approach even though he could be a little brutal with his honesty. I can’t imagine having the courage to go on his show and be subjected to his masked insults, but it’s definitely interesting to watch parents volunteer to expose their toddler tantrums and teenage fiasco’s for the world’s entertainment.

Have the Happiest Toddler, Maybe

I found a Dr. Phil episode where he had an expert work one-on-one with a Mom who had her hands full with a 3 year old and a 5 month old baby. Not surprisingly, the 3 year old’s temper tantrums escalated shortly after the baby arrived. Dr. Phil had asked parenting expert Dr. Harvey Karp, author of the bestselling, “Happiest Toddler on the Block” to step in on this one.

I watched as Dr. Karp worked his “magic”. He gave the mother explicit directions on how to handle her son the next time he had a temper tantrum. The hidden camera then showed the Mom following Dr. Karp’s method and voilá, the temper tantrums were much easier to handle.

Had he become the happiest toddler? Definitely not, but the mom seem to be relieved that bedtime struggles had decreased.

Observe and Improve

TV shows and parenting seminars are great because you often leave with a better understanding of what the expert is trying to explain to you as a parent. Whereas books can leave you wondering, real life explanations and stories can help to fill in the blanks. But it’s important to examine the advice given with a critical eye than to blindly follow it.

The key is to be very observant.

Watch the expert as he or she describes their methods and tells their success stories. Listen for the words they use, watch their body language, observe their phrasing. How do they show us their way of handling specific parenting situations?

The next part is to find out what the “active ingredients” are in the method they teach. Why does their way get the results that it does? What elements are working together to create a positive change? You have the advantage of sitting back and observing what things are working and also the things that are not working as well as they could.

Knowing what works and which active ingredients are most effective can streamline your approach to getting the results you want with you child. Because you can compare what the expert is doing to what you’ve done in the past, you are likely able to predict what will work and what won’t.

With an attitude of exploration and curiosity you can eliminated weakness in any parenting method and make it work better for you and more importantly your child.

Recipe for Tool #17:


  • A real-life parenting expert,
  • A cleverly critical parent.

Step 1 – Find an Expert

Book your tickets and secure your babysitter for the next parenting seminar that’s coming through your town. Or, find a TV talk show or Youtube channel that showcases parenting tips.

Step 2 – Observe

Prepare yourself to watch with a thoughtful but critical eye.  As the expert explains their methods and shares their stories, carefully observe what they do, what they say, and how they say it.

Step 3 – Active Ingredients

Identify the elements of their method that make it work. Is it mirroring your words with theirs? Is it connecting with your child in a new way? Is it your body language? Find out which ingredients are needed create a positive change in your child.

Step 4 – Put Your Thinking Cap On

You’ve seen it. Now imagine it in your home. How would it look if that expert was dealing with your child? How do you think it would go down? Would your child respond to their body language? The words they use? Their tone of voice?

What would make it better, based on your experience? Identify those things which could be improved and there you have it, your shortcut ready to test out.

It doesn’t take a world-leading parenting expert to raise your child. In fact YOU ARE the leading expert on your child. You know them much better than anyone ever could.

Take any parenting advice and use this technique to make it work for you.


HB is a roller coaster father, one minute he is ecstatic about his children, the next he wonders if life will ever get any better. A long standing member of the 'I yell at my kids' club, he writes with passion and an analytical mind. Dissecting and separating the nuanced strategies that make a good parent great. He experiments with parenting techniques on his 3 year old so you don't have to.

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