TV’s Judge Hatchett Lists Parenting Advice And I Actually Agree

It’s not secret that for the most part I have TV judges. HATE them (I’m looking at you, “Judge” Judy). So when I read that Judge Glenda Hatchett from the TV show “Judge Hatchett,” (and former Georgia juvenile court judge) had given a motivational speech with advice for parents, I rolled my eyes and expected the worst. Boy was I wrong.

The speech, given at Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, wasn’t the self-righteous diatribe I had expected (largely in part to the haughty attitude I expect from television “judges” like Judy Sheindlin), Hachett’s speech was well smart, kind and filled with common sense advice that I think every parent could stand to hear. According to Hatchett:

“I tell parents all the time that if they [children] didn’t need parents, then they would have been born grown. They need us to parent them. We are to provide the guidance.”

Hatchett went on to discuss what she calls the three “C”s of parenting – concern, consistency and cheering for your kids.” For concern, she challenged parents to go home and write a note to their kid’s teachers vowing to partner with them to enable their kids to achieve greatness. I think this is solid advice for parents of kids of any age. Being involved is vital for a kid’s success, and the first step in that should be having an open and honest relationship with his or her teacher.

Hatchett also advises parents to keep up with their kid’s health, have active conversations with them daily and know who they hang out with – again, all solid advice. When discussing consistence Hachett stressed the importance of sticking to the rules and not backing down all the time:

“That is one of the biggest problems I have with parents in my courtroom, not being consistent. No means no … My parents didn’t have any problem saying no. It was a complete sentence. It didn’t need any prepositions, any adverbs, nothing — just no with an exclamation point.”

Preach! Hachett stressed how vital it is to not only make rules, but make the same rules and expectations for all of your kids (barring disabilities and such, I’m sure), especially for both girls and boys (YES) and expressed admiration for parents with the gumption to say no when every other parent says yes. As a mom who typically errs on the side of “NO!” when I’m unsure about a situation, this was especially moving to me.

Her final “C” was her favorite and mine, being a cheerleader for your kids. I think being there for your children and giving them positive reinforcement (as well as discipline, because it doesn’t have to be one or the other) is so important. So kudo to your Judge Hatchett. I still hate judge shows, but I still like your style.

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  • brebay

    expalnation point?

    • Merissa

      Thank you. Lol.

    • Frances Locke

      Fixed it! Though in my defense, that was the typo from the original news source, and in my flu-ridden state today my eyes just passed right over it numerous times, lol.

    • brebay

      LOL, I fully believe it was quoted that way, I only doubt it was a “typo” rather than just plain wrong on their part. Probably just a millennial who grew up when self-esteem education was more important than English education. I’m old-school (and also just plain old) and remember when it wasn’t considered “hating” to correct a kid’s grammar!

    • Frances Locke

      Definitely didn’t think you were “hating,” though I think the kids call it “hatin” nowadays, ha ha! That mistake was usually something I would’ve picked up on immediately, but today is just not my day. Though I caught a mistake on one of my other posts, so I think I’m feeling better!

  • Haradanohime

    What I see a lot of in adults in general, is the seemingly lean toward negative consequences without the positive reinforcement. I think a lot of self-esteem issues branch from this kind of reaction around kids. They think if a child does well it’s expected and nothing happens, but Heaven help if something goes wrong.

    For example:

    Parents shopping with their children. How many times have you seen Parents either screaming at their children, a physical altercation, chasing them down isles, or caving in and giving the child what they want to shut them up? Shopping is BORING to kids. Why do you think they act up? They’re bored! they would rather be at home playing with their toys or running around playing with friends.(This applies to sulky tweens and teens too.)

    A lot of parents I’ve seen use the “threat” method, the if you don’t do what I say we’re going home!- method. Guess what? That is EXACTLY what they want! They don’t want to be there. They don’t care right now if there is milk for tomorrow’s breakfast (They might tomorrow though.) But a lot of kids are all about the here and now. Now is what is relevant to them. And you parents are wasting their play time! So instead of going all Evil punishment monster, you need to prepare and have something that will engage them.

    Younger kids seem to LOVE helping their parents. Let them help push the buggy or get an unbreakable item for you to put in the cart, Let them cross of the words on the list if they’re at a reading age (let them help make the list!). It makes them feel important! Or if they like games have them do a scavenger hunt (for non readers use pictures of items to find).

    Teens and tweens are a bit more difficult. Talking is a big thing! They love talking. (Have you ever seen a group of teens together! Oy!) But you need to be engaging in a talk topic they enjoy. Instead of asking them constantly about school, ask them about their friends, their hobbies, book they are reading, music, etc. Even if it isn’t something that interests you normally, going through the effort of asking them about their likes even if the interest is feigned will win you brownie points and respect not earned through a raised voice and umpteen days of being grounded(even though those may be needed at times).

    So, yeah I rambled a bit but basically, positive reinforcement, or the Judge’s “cheering” is all to often left out. There needs to be more of it and more often. Positive reinforcement should be as consistent as rules. You’d be amazed what could happen with enough of it.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Honestly if you have a teen and don’t know what to talk to them about ask them about their music.

      Yes you will probably hear lyrics that will make you feel faint of nauseous, but actually LISTEN to the music part and see why your teen likes it and engage with them. Music is the great binder of the people!

      I had a mother who would overhear some lyrics to some song I was listening to and freak the hell out. I never shared what type of music I liked with my mom, I never listened to music loud enough for her to hear, and I stopped being open and honest with her (I mean seriously if a song that I wasn’t even listening to the lyrics to made her berate me for thirty minutes why the hell would I tell her about my new almost-sorta-kinda-boyfriend?)

    • Justme

      Not to go all Sanctimommy here (and trust me, I’m knocking on wood as I type) but my almost-three-year-old has never had a meltdown in a store for precisely the reason you laid out. I engage her in the shopping trip – it’s a great way to learn new words! And now that she is older, she puts the groceries into the cart and even gets to choose what things she will be packing in her lunch (straight or curly pretzels, blueberry or strawberry yogurt).

      Having said all that, I will follow up with the fact that I have ONE child who is (so far) naturally compliant. I totally understand that not all children respond like this to shopping trips, but so far…this engagement plan has worked for me.

    • Melissa T.

      My first child was just like yours, and I never had a problem. My second child is a different story. For my kids it just came down to personality. One is a calm, compliant, flexible child. One is hair-trigger passion, loud and bouncy and somewhat rigid. It was a very humbling experience. ;)

    • Justme

      And that is precisely why I’m only having one child. ;)

    • jendra_berri

      Me too! My son is mellowtown. I ain’t risking nothin’.

    • jsterling93

      I have the first type of child which is why I am not having a second. I know the second would humble me.

  • Justme

    Some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever been given (from a mother with four amazing children) were these two pearls of wisdom:

    Let your yes, be yes and your no, be no. Basically…be consistent and follow through with rewards and discipline. It also ties in well with the fact that you can’t make promises (or threats) that you can’t keep. “If you talk back one more time, your birthday party is totally cancelled!” If you’re going to make that threat, then you better back it up because otherwise your child has just learned that you don’t really mean what you say.

    And secondly, don’t parent to get through the day…parent to get through the next eighteen years. This is probably my favorite because it forces me to think critically about my parenting decisions and choices. Yeah, it might be easier to give in to a toddler (or teenage) tantrum, but is it going to serve my child well in the future as they make their way to adulthood? I’m not trying to raise a child….I’m trying to create an adult.

    Alright. Stepping off my soap box now. Obviously I don’t have it all figured out and I understand that there are so many different parenting philosophies out there….it’s just that in the barrage of parenting advice that came my way after my daughter was born, these are the only two things that really stuck in my brain and caused me to examine my method of parenting.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Great points. Sometimes when I feel “bad’ sticking out tantrums, I picture my son as a CEO in a business suit whining and crying. It’s pretty funny and also makes me think, whoa, I would so rather him take this out on me and learn how to act instead of embarrassing himself as an adult.

    • Justme

      Ha ha! That’s a great way to think about it! I wrote a blog post on my personal blog about my daughter and her tantrums…how someday her “don’t tell me how to live my life” attitude is going to be so totally wonderful and empowering, but right now I need her to not climb on the chair so that we don’t end up in the emergency room. It’s a fine balance between enforcing boundaries/expectations and still allowing their voice to be heard.

    • Bethany Ramos

      So true! You’ll have to link me to your blog – I’d love to read it, unless you don’t want to post it publicly. :)

    • Justme
    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks for the link – it’s really good!!

    • SusannahJoy

      My baby is in his crib, screaming bloody murder. It’s awful. But he has GOT to learn to nap when he’s not in my arms, for my sake and his. You’re right, it would be way easier to go up and get him, but you’re also right, it’s sooo much better in the long run if he learns to sleep on his own.

    • Justme

      Are you being sarcastic or serious? Not trying to start a fight…I just know there are a lot of people on this site that sometimes feel super strongly about co-sleeping and/or crying-it-out.

    • SusannahJoy

      Serious. I wasn’t sure if I was going to let him do the cry it out thing, but then he started waking up every single hour, and then being miserable during the day. We let him cry it out for bedtime, and within a couple days he was falling asleep on his own in like 5 mins and then sleeping through the night and waking up way happier. That was a couple months ago, and we’re moving on to teaching him to sleep on his own for his naps. Right now he takes three naps a day, and they have to be in my arms, which means I can’t get anything done during the day, and if I’m busy or we’re out doing something, he just won’t sleep. Not good. I know some people don’t agree with crying it out, but it’s worked for us.

    • the_ether

      Good work! And good luck. Whatever works for you and your youngling.