If you spend more than a half-hour with me, you will find out that I love comic books. You will also find out that I love Batman.
But I’m not going to talk about Batman (this time).
I’m going to talk about Superman and his nemesis Zod.
You all know who Superman is: He’s the most powerful-basically-indestructible-alien-from-the-planet-Krypton-who-dresses-up-like-a-nerdy-photo-journalist.
He’s also a good-guy.
You may not know much about Zod. He’s just like superman, except he doesn’t dress-up like a nerdy photo journalist and he’s a bad-guy. He’s a bad-guy because he wants to turn the human race into slaves.
Superman uses his powers on Earth for good, Zod uses his powers on Earth for evil.
The dichotomy here is that both beings are crazy powerful! (e.g., Lazer eyes, freeze breath, bullet-proof, stuff like that), but one is good and one is bad.
Before I jump into how this relates to parenting, I want you to do an exercise. Imagine for a few minutes that you are just as powerful as Superman or Zod. Just close your eyes and actually think what it would feel like and what you would do with so much power.
(Hold that feeling for a bit while I transition into a parenting and discipline thing.)
When my oldest daughter was about 6 years old, I remember asking her to get me a Diet Coke from the refrigerator. You know what she did?
She got me a Diet Coke from the refrigerator!
You guys have no idea how much excitement this gave me. Years of changing diapers, toilet-training, walks to the park, zero sleep and finally, I started reaping the rewards of having children. (Did I say children? I meant slave labor.)
That’s right, the perks of child labor seriously crossed my mind—for a split second—but it did cross my mind. In that split second, my mind wandered into a world where I just sat back, watched football and ordered my children around. They owed it to me, right? They needed to earn their keep, right?
My mind kept wandering. I saw a world where they obeyed every command I gave them (and if they didn’t, I would unleash an unholy fury)! I saw a world where all I had to do is boss them around and get stuff done. It was a world where I was king and my children were loyal subjects.
(Okay, now go back to that feeling you had when you were pretending to be Superman or Zod).
Was my reaction to getting a Diet Coke from my kid more like a Superman reaction or a Zod reaction?
We all should try and strive to be a Superman-parent.
When I get to Good Parenting & Discipline, Volume 3: Behavior Management Tricks-n-Tools, it is essential that you have committed to being a Superman-parent and not a Zod-parent.
Cuz, look, there are some tried and true behavioral strategies that straight-up work. In fact, they’re so effective, one could argue that after using them for a while, you will basically be “controlling your children” as if they were your tiny robot army.
So, before we all accidentally become Zod-parents and create a zombie-robot-child-army, we should spend some time learning more about how Superman does what Superman does.
The Superman Effect:
If Superman joined an online dating site, Wonder Woman would be the first match for Superman. Yet, Superman doesn’t date Wonder Woman. He falls madly in love with Lois Lane.
Who is Lois Lane? A head-strong, do-it-herself, go-getting, truth-seeker.
This tells us a lot about Superman.
Why does Superman even bother with a “secret identity?” (I mean, he’s effing Superman! He looks cool in underwear and a cape! C’mon!) Even more interesting, why take on the secret identify of a bumbling, goofball photo-journalist?
This tells a little more about Superman.
Of all his superpowers, Superman relies on his super hearing and his super vision, not his super strength.
This also tells us a ton about Superman.
With this portrait of Superman, it should start to become more clear about how he relates to good parenting and discipline.
Superman’s relationship with Lois Lane:
As parents, our partnerships don’t have to match exactly. In fact, our partnerships should bring something different to the table. We should not only value the differences, but support the qualities we find most endearing in one another. We should learn from one another.
Superman’s bumbling “secret identity”:
As parents, our kids don’t need to see a perfect, all-powerful, super-parent. They need to see human parents. They need this so they can see us modeling what it means to be a healthy human. You know, how we get back-up when we fall down, how we love, and how we forgive.
Before we jump-in to save the day, sometimes all our kids need is our ears and our eyes.
When Zod sees humanity, his most famous line is, “Kneel before Zod!” He wants complete domination.
When Superman sees humanity, he wants to support, love, relate, teach, and listen.
Before we do any sort of behavior management or discipline, we gotta pledge to be like Superman and avoid being like Zod (unless you really need a Diet Coke).
Now that you’re ready for behavior management tricks. Tune in next blog to Discipline and Good Parenting, Volume 3: Behavior Management Tricks-n-Tools!