Parenting free will: Dealing with power and discipline issues

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Return to Contents: 2014 Banana Moments Family Business Quarterly

Discipline flyerBW_4_FINAL-2Recognizing that your child has the power to learn how to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions is at the heart of discipline and power struggles. And while power struggles with kids are nothing new, they are intensified in the network culture which conditions us and our children for authority as a relational experience, rather than a matter of title or formal role. And expressing authority as a relational experience requires authenticity that honors free will as God does by engaging the child with a mindset to govern the home, not the child. It means that we recognize God’s sovereignty over the life of an individual, who grants individuals free will which is power that can never be taken but can easily be surrendered.

Parenting free will then is the taking charge of our own intellect and will to resist the temptation to seek control over the things that are not our domain such as our children’s thoughts and actions. Yet  in our power consumer society the temptation is great to violate the child’s power boundary and assume responsibility for how they feel and their lot in life. This is the entitlement mentality that emerges when we are not operating with a mindset of good faith. Believing the wrong things, we give up power to the idols of our day: money and pleasing people, edging God out of the equation in governing our relationships in private and public life. The problem with the entitlement mentality is that it conditions many people to not feel responsible for their own life, and still others to feel responsible for other people’s choices and circumstances. An entitlement culture in fact makes choosing powerlessness feel normal.

Replacing entitlement with good faith

On Tues. Oct. 21 and again on Oct. 22, Rocklin resident Peggy Harper Lee , author of Spoiled: Fresh Ideas for Parenting Your Entitled Child at Any Age (2012) , will be speaking at St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church in Granite Bay about the skills to overcome the power and discipline issues with children of all ages.

Peggy Lee Photo: Courtesy

Peggy Lee
Photo: Courtesy

Lee, a mother of five ages 32 to five, developed the material for her book from her financial consulting practice. She found that many of her client’s financial issues were related to the expenses associated with entitled children of all ages. “Parents today are from the ‘achievement’ generation,” she said, “And so there is a tendency to blur the parenting and child lanes in order to accomplish personal goals.” The net impact can be the formation of a disabling dependency wherein children depend on someone else to be responsible for their lot in life, which is compounded by the network culture that features instant gratification centered on self. Some examples include failure to launch, as adult children lack the motivation to find a way to make it on their own; and expectations that parents will pay for the desires the child cannot afford or for which he is not willing to work; to resistance and hostile reactions to expectations to helping around the house and doing homework.

Lee observes that the modern parent generation has embraced a dramatically different view from the “children should be seen and not heard” mindset of previous generations, to the opposite extreme where children are treated as entitled individuals. It is a surrender of power on the part of the parent that actually can disable the child, by conditioning her to believe that she is ultimately not responsible for her life. So the aim of Lee’s book is to help parents who may have unwittingly surrendered their parental authority by catering to their children because they believed they were doing the “loving thing”.

This 90-minute seminar will cover:

  • Assess your situation with a description of the nature of parental power issues that lead to discipline issues for the child
  • Understanding the wider entitlement culture that encourages boundary violations (swerving from parenting lanes into the child’s lanes in life)
  • Tips for parents to shore up power and control boundaries with their children to strengthen the bonds and empower the child

If you bring a copy of your book she will sign it.  Order your copy at Peggy Harper Lee.



Dates: Tuesday Oct. 21 6:30 – 8 PM and Wed Oct. 22 10 -11:30AM

Location: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church, 7200 Auburn Folsom Road, Granite Bay, CA 95746 — 916-786-5001 – For more information contact Joanna Jullien

To register, go to links:
Tues Oct. 21, 6:30pm
Wed. Oct. 22, 10am

Proceed to next article: Communicating the practical value of virtues to the cyber-powered child

Return to Contents: 2014 Banana Moments Family Business Quarterly


Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.



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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.