When Your Child Acts Like A Wild Horse, Train Him Like One

1. If you want to train your child, you must reach their heart.

“Horses have their own mission statement,” said Lew. “How can I get the most oats for the least amount of work?” That’s the same for our kids (and probably us too!)

2. Learn the difference between punishment and discipline.

Ninety percent of coaches ruin their athletes on their very first day, said Lew, because they don’t recognize this principle. Too many parents don’t either.

3. The first order of business is to provide a fence.

“There is something in us that believes that freedom is found on the other side of the fence,” Lew said, and sure enough, as soon as Chewy was brought inside the ring with him, he headed straight to the fence where he kept running.

4. We change our children 1% at a time.

“We move a mountain (i.e. our child’s misbehavior) with a small shovel,” Lew reminded us, and over the course of his hour with Chewy, it wasn’t that Chewy suddenly blossomed into noble Shadowfax. But we did see with our own eyes as Chewy calmed and mellowed.

5. Our child’s behavior is ultimately a reflection of our relationship with them.

Chewy needed to come to accept Lew’s authority, or “headship”, over him. But this didn’t come through Lew abusing his authority or pulling rank with his power. He won Chewy, not through his position or title, but through love.

6. Make adjustments when necessary.

Because it was a “live” demonstration, Lew had to alter his interaction with Chewy based on how Chewy behaved. “The trainee determines the course of the training,” Lew said. “You must never lower your standards, but be willing to lower your expectations for the individual lesson.”

7. Encourage, encourage, encourage.

Over and over again, Dr. Lew called out to the horse, “Good boy, Chewy, good boy.” Though it wasn’t obvious to us horse novices, Chewy kept licking around his mouth, which meant he was seeking Lew’s approval. And so Lew poured out his praise in bucketfuls.



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Bear Clifton

Bear Clifton


Writer, pastor, founder of “Train Yourself Ministry”, culture spy, winter-hater, P-90 pretender