Hello and welcome to our video that covers tip #4 (in the 5-part series) of ways to help stop the fighting and disagreements within your family.
Here, we cover the principle of non-negotiables. Non-negotiables is one of the most powerful things you can do inside of your home in order to stop the fighting, the yelling and the issues before they ever arise. So how does this non-negotiable thing work?
Watch on to see what we mean by a non-negotiable and the 4 things you need to do to ensure success of this principle in your family!
Related quotes to consider:
Hello there! We’re here with tip number 4, how to stop the fight in our families. But more importantly, how to stop the fight before it even starts, right?
JOSHUA – Right. Before we get into that, just a reminder, if you stick around to the end, we’ve got a free gift for you. We’ve developed a number of resources that go far more in depth into parenting and how to run your household and how to bring greater joy and happiness into your family. We want to share those with you. We’ve got an entire parenting system for you that’s free. No costs. So stick around to the end and we’ll give you the details on how you get hold of that. Also at the end of this, we have a surprise for you.
MARGIE – Surprise ending! Yay!
JOSHUA – Meaning we’re going to share with you some ideas that’ll help you find techniques for stopping fighting and yelling and contention in the house before it happens, but there’s also a very powerful way to do this that you might not have thought of and so we’re going to share an idea with you at the end that will really surprise you that you will really enjoy. So stick around for that.
MARGIE – We have a story for you today. It’s about a little boy named Tommy.
JOSHUA – Tommy and the beans.
MARGIE – Tommy and the beans. He came to stay at our house for a few days. Six, seven years old? How old was he?
JOSHUA – Yeah, he was about seven.
MARGIE – Okay. And his mom was having a few struggles with him and things like that, and we were getting close to dinner time. And I pulled him aside, and said, “Okay, Tommy. One of the rules of our house is we eat, and we all eat the same food. And we don’t complain about it. We don’t whine. We don’t fuss about the meal. It’s there, whatever food is there, we eat it, and we happily eat it. Right?”
JOSHUA – Whatever you’re served is what you get, basically. And he seemed to understand.
MARGIE – I thought he understood.
JOSHUA – I just knew that in his world, that he was mostly served junk food, and so it was almost guaranteed that whatever we put on the table, he was not going to be overly excited about.
MARGIE – That’s true. So I think it was Mexican dinner that night… well, yeah. Beans.
JOSHUA – Beans.
MARGIE – So we set up to eat. We start serving everyone. I give him some rice, and he says, “Oh, I hate rice. This looks awful. Yuck. I don’t want to eat this. Give me something else.”
JOSHUA – You know the best part about that was when… as he’s saying this, I’m looking around at our children, because our children know what the rule is.
MARGIE – They know the rule. That’s right.
JOSHUA – And he start in about how he hates rice, and this and that, and don’t you have anything else and blah blah blah… and I look over at Esther, and she has this look on her face. And she would have been, oh about 10 or 11 at the time. And she’s got this look on her face like, “Oh this is not going to go well. Should not go down this road.”
MARGIE – So then we proceed and I serve him up… “Here’s some beans for you, to go with this rice.”
JOSHUA – And just to be clear, before we tell the rest of the story, we did give him fair warning. Because, he’s a newbie, right? So it’s like, Tommy, remember, we don’t complain about the food. So I understand you probably don’t like rice, that maybe you’ve never even tasted this kind of rice, but we don’t complain about the food. Just fair warning. So then the beans came.
MARGIE – So here come the beans. And he just blew up. He said, “I hate beans, I’m not eating this, I’m so sick of trying to eat your food and all this…” So immediately, Joshua stands up. No warning.
JOSHUA – No warning. This is important.
MARGIE – No warning. Goes, picks him up, takes him into the couch, sets him on the couch and says, “You can stay here until we’re done eating, or until you apologize and want to come and eat with us.”
JOSHUA – Now I knew something about Tommy. He was a very very social child. He loved being around people. He loved attention. So I had already thought through, “Okay. What’s going to happen when he decides that he’s not going to eat any of this food?” So that was my response. Just immediately grabbed him, little shock factor, picked him up, not roughly, just picked him up and said, “Okay. You get to sit out here all by yourself, not eat any dinner, and just enjoy yourself.” And then I went back into the kitchen.
MARGIE – We all just continue eating as though nothing had happened.
JOSHUA – A few minutes later, we hear Tommy in there, crying…
MARGIE – Whimpering.
JOSHUA – Whimpering and crying, and so I went back in there, and knelt down in front of him, like, “Alright, Tommy, here’s the deal. If you will apologize for fussing and whining about what food you’re being served, and come in and happily eat your dinner, then we’ll pretend nothing ever happened and go on with our dinner.” And he kind of sniffled, and dried his eyes, and said, “Okay.” Came walking back in, sat down, and tentatively took a little bite of the beans, and then he was like, “I love beans!”
MARGIE – “These are great!” And just proceeded to finish eating his dinner.
JOSHUA – He was all excited.
MARGIE – He finally realized we were serious about what we were saying. This wasn’t a threat. There was an exact consequence for what you’re doing.
JOSHUA – Now this is a principle. This is not necessarily a technique because it’s applicable in so many different categories but this is definitely a principle and we could call this principle non-negotiables. And Non-negotiables is one of the most powerful thing you can do inside of your home in order to stop the fighting and the yelling and the issues before they ever arise. Okay? So how does this non-negotiable thing work? Well, if you think back to this story that we just talked about, Tommy and the beans, you’ll find that there’s a pattern in a number of things. Do you want to tell them about the first one?
MARGIE – Yeah. The first one is we need to have clear rules. And our children need to know that. For example, one of the rules in our home is you don’t talk back to Mom.
JOSHUA – Let me get to that. Let’s tell them the other three rules so they can see the whole example here. So first one is you have to have clear rules. So remember we sat down with Tommy and Margie said, “Tommy, here’s the deal. You’re going to be served dinner, but there’s no fussing or complaining or whining about the food.” That was the clear rule.
MARGIE – Yep.
JOSHUA – The second thing is you’ve got to have clear consequences. Now we had told him in advance that if he didn’t like the food and he whined and fussed about it, then he would be removed from the table and would be able to have dinner. I mean, it was a crystal clear consequence.
MARGIE – Yeah. And then number three, you’ve got to enforce it immediately. So that they know that this is a real rule, this is a real consequence. This is really going to happen instead of threat after threat after threat that we see so often in families sometimes.
JOSHUA – Far and away the worst thing you can do is just threaten and threaten and have rules that you never follow up on, because the child gets used to having no boundaries and then they become spoiled and a little reckless. Remember that old expression that says next to your love, your children need your rules. They need your limits. They need regulations. You know, I think about this inside of each of our own lives, we all need to know where the boundaries are. We need to know what the game rules are. Even people that are adrenaline junkies, and are like jumping out of airplanes and pulling parachutes… they still need to know, okay. What are the boundaries? What can be done? What can’t be done? And they want to know what the limitations are. When do I pull the cord if I’m jumping out of the airplane? So these kinds of things are really important. And then of course, immediate consequences. So are you going to tell them about… one of our non-negotiables is you don’t talk back to Margie in any way, shape, or form. Not verbally, not emotionally by rolling your eyes, not body language, and particularly no disrespecting Margie in the sense of completely ignoring her. So a while back… our family loves Rubix cubes and mind game kind of stuff, puzzles and whatnot. So one of our children was sitting on the couch playing this Rubix cube and messing around with it, and Margie walked in. Said their name, gave them a specific assignment and started to walk away. And the child completely and totally ignored Margie. And so Margie, being nice, turned around and gave the request one more time. And I’m on the other side of the room watching this roll out. And the child just continued to ignore Margie. Well that’s a violation of like rule number one in the house, of respecting Mother. So without any warning, without any discussion about it, I walked over, grabbed the Rubix cube, smashed it, picked up the pieces, and put it in the garbage. And I turned around to the children, and I said, “Alright, who else would like to disrespect and ignore Mother?” And then I turned to him and I said, “Your mother asked you to do something, and you’d better do it right now.” Now we later had a conversation, and talked it out, and I said, “Look, I’m sorry the Rubix cube got destroyed, but the fact is you violated a known non-negotiable in the house, and it’s just not acceptable. You had to suffer the consequences.” And so sometimes parents will be like, whoa, that’s really harsh. I can’t believe you did that, this that or the other, but you have to let them know that there are very specific predefined limits, and if you’re always negotiating those and being soft, and not implementing consequences that you said you were going to implement immediately, then the problem would just get worse and worse and worse and worse, and you’ll never get anywhere in terms of helping your children grow to their full potential.
MARGIE – And you sacrificing that $8 toy is so worth what you’re getting out of it. The long term benefits of what you’re teaching your child. And the rest of the children that were standing there watching, right? It’s a long term lesson that needs to be learned as soon as possible in a child’s life so that it will have the benefit throughout their life.
JOSHUA – Now, these long term lessons are something that we call high leverage aspects. In other words, we don’t have non-negotiables for everything that goes on inside the house. We have non-negotiables for a handful of things that we consider high leverage. For example, think about the consequence of not disrespecting Mother. Now, when she asks for things to be done or she gives direction, they know that disrespecting her, not doing it, or ignoring her is a non-negotiable and so they immediately begin to act on it. Now if you think through that, think about how many hours of contention and fighting and arguing we have avoided in our house because of that one tiny little rule. Think about another example. The discussion about not fussing, the food right? How many mealtime arguments have we avoided by having one small non-negotiable rule that says, we just eat what we’re given. So having this high leverage environment, where you think carefully about what’s non-negotiable in your house, little tiny things that have huge long term consequences is really important. Now there’s one other thing that we do in terms of our activities for these non-negotiables and we talked about the consequences and what’s going to happen, and then we immediately apply them, but oftentimes, there’s also positive consequences, like… I just saw this this morning as we were at breakfast. Margie is amazing at giving a lot of praise and a lot of love when the non-negotiables are honored. And so Margie called everyone into breakfast. Everyone came in and sat down. And Margie was like, “Thank you guys so much. We really appreciate you responded immediately…” And so there’s this ongoing positive feedback loop happening inside the environment based on these non-negotiables. Now little surprise, the sort of surprise ending here, is this high leverage plan. I want to tell you just a quick story about the New York subways. So a number of years ago there were major problems in New York City. Huge crime rate, all kinds of issues. They kept trying to increase the police force, have more and more cops, and more and more enforcement and brutality go on inside of that environment and they found that they just could not curb all of the problems. So they brought in an expert, and he looked and he realized that a lot of the problems were starting in the subway system. So people weren’t paying to get in, there was a lot of graffiti, there were crimes going on, there were drug deals going on… And so he said, “Instead of trying to focus on all the issues happening inside of New York, let’s just clean out the subways. Let’s just make sure there’s never graffiti. They’re all clean. Everybody pays their token or their toll getting in, and there’s no drug deals. Let’s focus on one little area, and that’s the subways.” They decided to focus on the small things. And the result was that New York radically transformed in terms of it’s crime rate, because they focused on one little thing, and it was not breeding and infesting and causing long term problems. And we see that inside of our families.
MARGIE – Exactly. Yeah.
JOSHUA – When we focus on the little things, it creates really big results. Unfortunately most parents wait until the issues start and they become big issues, and then they’ve got to manage the big issues.
MARGIE – The big problem, and it’s so hard to manage that big one, whereas if you had started way back at the seeds that germinated the problem, you’re never going to have the big problems, so…
JOSHUA – Yep. So our encouragement to you today, our challenge is to sit down and to think carefully about non-negotiables. So what is something that you can create a clearly defined rule on, a clearly defined consequence on, and that you are willing to enforce immediately, both on the positive and on the negative sides? You know, the good and the bad, with praise and with other kinds of negative effects if they violate the non-negotiable, and then decide how you’re going to implement this and think in terms of high leverage. What are some little things you can do to create really big results? Would love to hear about it. Jump on the Facebook page and tell us all about it. And of course, as always, if you stick around for a few minutes, we have details on a free gift that we’ve got for you that will really help you take this principle and take it up to the next level to really help you get a lot more joy and peace out of your family. Thanks for listening today.
MARGIE – Thank you.
JOSHUA – Bye.