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The Parenting Advice that Changed Everything

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I knew the kind of mom that I wanted to be. I knew the kind of kids I wanted to cultivate, raise and send out to the world. I had absolutely NO IDEA H-O-W I was going to do it!?!

I remember talking about this topic with friends…

How do we make sure they don’t feel entitled? 
How do we teach them the value of hard work? 
How to we instill true confidence that only comes from knowing your own capabilities? 
How do we teach them integrity?
How to we help them see the value of a good reputation? 

So far my kids are growing up, in upper-class suburbia. Santa can give them what’s on their wish list, food is plentiful and going out to dinner is more of the norm than a special treat. If they want something, for the most part we can provide it for them (except that one time that Paysen asked for a Leprechaun – that was a bit tricky). So when your children aren’t growing up with any grit shaping trials, how do you insure you don’t end up with entitled or not so confident kids?

I didn’t know and I hated that. I felt like I was going to fail them because life wasn’t tragic or hard enough. I know! That may be the weirdest, most backwards sentence ever. But I went through hard stuff and it was through the hard stuff that I learned to take care of myself, which in turn instilled confidence. I learned to work hard for what I dreamed of, I leaned that unicorns are not served on silver platters and that it felt better when you ‘d earned it yourself.

Then I found the book, The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Browne Boyack! Insert alleluia chorus because this book has literally been a life-saving tool. Teaching me and helping me with strategies and ideas on how to raise amazing kids.

Well at the beginning of 2015 when I wrote down my goals, I added that I would like to interview an author. As I thought about who that author could be, I wanted to find someone who had profoundly impacted my life and then I looked over on my side table and there The Parenting Breakthrough was!

I reached out to Merrilee and she happily agreed to let me interview her and chat with her for this segment of Video Friday. I have to tell you, this was a HUGE moment for me! Getting to talk to someone who has so profoundly impacted the most important role I play on this earth was amazing!

Today I am so excited to share this interview with you! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and have a conversation with you about it in the comments below! 


The Parenting BreakthroughLinks to Merrilee Browne Boyack:

The Parenting Breakthrough


Again, I would love to start a conversation in the comments and hear your thoughts!

What was your biggest takeaway from what Merrilee shared? AND – OR What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever been given? 

Hope you’ll join me!



  1. Christin says:

    I’m ordering her Breakthrough Parenting today! Also, thank you for asking her advise on being a working mom!

  2. THANK-YOU !!!!

    thank you for posting this …..i have had these worries and questions myself and have ordered Merrilee’s book to help me with more ways to make sure they are confident and able !! it definitely takes a village !!!

    my children are 11 and 14 and i first thought , oh no ! it might be too late …. but i then thought to myself , no , i am getting it at the exact right time …. i can’t go back , but i can keep teaching !!! i am excited for new fresh ideas 😉

    you mentioned a few things leah but what has been the biggest piece of information you gained ?

    • Terri!! Hey girl! It’s so fun seeing a comment from you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You will love the book, it’s just such a great roadmap! And I truly am so inspired and happy that instead of getting down on yourself you said, “I am getting it at the exact right time!”

      I think for me, my biggest takeaway has been seeing it all broken down into manageable pieces. I am a creative brain type so my brain will flood with all of these ideas but then I need to get them into some sort of order so I can actually — USE the ideas. This book breaks down everything in such a practical step by step approach. The main things I’ve really used and taken away are: her chore chart rotating system, “the plan”, asking other people to help teach and train my kids, teach them finances – but hands down the biggest was the plan. Seeing her list of everything she wanted to teach her kids and then I added my own things and took away some of hers and got to work. Keep me updated, I can’t wait to hear what you think!

  3. Alyssa Hall says:

    Leah! I was just wondering how these bits of information have changed your children’s lives? I know it’s often the situation that kids want to be adults too fast! So how do you help children become adults without them having the maturity for some aspects of adulthood? I’m not a mother right now! But I am a school teacher and can’t wait to have a family of my own! Parents are one of the most critical parts of a persons life, so how do you best recommend giving them so much responsibility without making them into adults too soon? And do these methods work as well for girls as they do for boys? Awesome interview! Can’t wait to read the book!

    • What a great question Alyssa! I’d love to pick YOUR brain on what you see in the classroom in conjunction with responsibility at home. The direct results I’ve seen are an understanding of hard work, doing things the right way and realizing that they are more capable then they (or often even I) realized they are. I constantly think about what it must have been like for children 100 years ago, there was so much more expected of them as far as responsibility and yet it was also such a more innocent and truly childlike time… I guess my hope is to harness more of that! One example that comes to my mind for our family specifically is the stairs. Both girls have been trained on how to properly vacuum the stairs. My youngest will be trained on this next month as he wasn’t strong enough to do it before. Any who, the very first time they just sat by me and watched as I did it and I talked them through why I run the hose along the edges, how I go section by section, etc. The next time they did it and I stayed by them, helping them and giving them pointers. After that each tried by themselves but as soon as she finished she came and got me to review and I gave feedback and showed what areas needed to be done again. The process took weeks and it would have honestly been faster to just do it myself BUT they learned so much. They learned how to take pride in their work, that you have people watching you and in authority who will be checking your work, that it’s faster to do it right the first time then to do it 4 times over because mom keeps noticing HUGE spots missed. I feel like these lessons translate really well into ever aspect of our life. Just last week, Ella (my 8 year old) comes running around the corner when the door opens yelling, “do not go upstairs with your shoes on, I just vacuumed them!” I couldn’t help but SMILE!

      In the interview I also talked about my oldest (who is 10) getting to order the pizza. Her glee and excitement over how grownup she was showed me what a sweet and amazing KID she really is. Does that make sense at all?? I don’t feel like I’m articulating it well but if you could have seen her smile, how proud she was of herself and confident she felt… Isn’t that what we want so badly for children, for them to realize how capable they really are?! 🙂

      Thanks for the great comment, I’m always so grateful to learn and hear from teachers!! 😀

  4. Casey says:

    Leah, I love this interview!

    My husband & I kind of already do this type of thing. My kids have a lot of responsibilities around the home, simply because I need the help, but it’s also to train them how to survive on their own when they are grown.

    The other thing that is important to me is that my kids know & understand what they want to be. Last summer, I had my oldest (12 years) spend a couple weeks with my grandfather who owns his own machine shop. He also spent some of that time with my brother-in-law who is the CFO of a company. I think it’s important that they are exposed to many things outside of our little family unit, so they can be well-rounded & have all of the options in the world available to them. Like you, it is my greatest desire (& fear) that my kids grow up properly — the way God would have them to.

    I also agree with Merrilee about the priorities. I think that is what I have struggled with the most. I decided while watching your video that I’m going to go on Fiverr & pay someone to make me a pretty print that has my priorities listed in some sort of awesome design. I think it’s important to have it posted so you can see it everyday & remember what your real goals are.

    Thanks again for the great interview. I’m going to check out her book — just to make sure I have everything covered — don’t want to miss anything!! 😉

    • I love that Casey! LOVE THAT! In the last section of The Parenting Breakthrough she talks about exposing them to their “dream job” so they can either fall in love with it all over again or maybe realize that they have other interests too (i’m hugely paraphrasing there). My oldest daughter’s dream (shes 10) is to be a chef and we have had so much fun allowing her to take cooking classes, etc but now I’d like to see if we can give her a chance to go inside a real restaurant and experience that too. And your idea of getting your priorities in a beautiful format that you can see everyday is so spot on. I always love when you hear someone having an important thought, goal or priority on their bathroom mirror. I was just thinking over the weekend that I need to do that and now you’ve reminded me again! THANK YOU!

      You will love the book, there are just so many great tidbits to take away that you’re like, “oh! that’s so easy and it makes so much sense!”

  5. Thank you! My kids are 3 and 6 and I am a wedding photographer, this is extremely helpful. I’m glad I’m catching on to this now before they are grow up because now is the perfect time to start giving them some responsibilities so that they understand that they are very capable of doing things themselves! I’ve definitely been doing too much for them. We homeschool and my 6 year old daughter is extremely independent, she does her work on her own and I love not hovering over her, she always asks for help when she needs it – but she is pretty much teaching herself to read and do math, I just provide resources. In terms of real world, hand-on skills though, we need to catch up! I am sure she is capable of throwing in a load of laundry and making a quick breakfast or lunch 🙂 I just never thought of having her do it herself, it makes so much sense!

    • That’s exactly how I felt Anastasia! I had just never thought of teaching them to do some of these things because it was my job but someday it’s going to be there’s too. Now it’s great seeing them feel proud of themselves and empowered because they can do it all by themselves! 😀

  6. Absolutely loved this listen! Ordering the book now and looking forward to putting these ideas to use! I love the concept of exposing them to things outside of our own scope of expertise/understanding. I realized through food how bad of a job I was doing of this when my 8 year old said she’d never tasted an olive! Neither my husband nor I are olive lovers and we unintentionally never gave her the chance to try them! Lesson learned!

    • I’m so glad you liked it Jessica! You’ll love the book! And I totally know what you mean… It’s always interesting to me when kids think they don’t like something and you realize it’s cause their parents don’t like it. I’m anti fruit/cream mixtures so when my kids came home raving about orange sherbet I start cracking up realizing they’d never gotten to try that with me. LOL 🙂

  7. […] – don’t miss this episode when I interviewed author Merrilee Browne Boyack of The Parenting Breakthrough (hands down the most […]

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