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Raising Responsible Kids: Take Off the Bumpers

You know how when you take kids bowling, they have those bumpers on the sides of the lane that prevent the bowling balls from going into the gutter?  Have you ever noticed that it’s HARDER to bowl with the bumpers?  Anyone who actually knows how to bowl knows that the bumper actually interferes with the path of the ball.

(When my husband, an ex-bowling league member, tried to bowl in the kids’ lane with the bumpers, the pumper actually redirected the path of the ball, when it would have curved and hit the pins straight on.)

Kids don’t actually learn to bowl that way because they aren’t allowed to make a mistake.  Why are we so afraid of letting them experience frustration or failure?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  The ball will fall into the gutter.  What’s so bad about that, really?

Likewise with parenting, we live in an age where kids aren’t allowed to fail.  They don’t have to work out their own problems because parents are all too willing to jump in and work them out for them.  As a result, kids aren’t learning to be responsible and independent.  Do you know how many 30-year-olds still lived at home in 1950?  I don’t either, but I guarantee you it wasn’t nearly as many as do in 2010.

Kids need to learn to live without bumpers.  The only way they are going to learn to be responsible is to be given responsibilities and experience the consequences of irresponsibility. The only way they are going to learn to make wise choices is to be allowed to make decisions and allowed to fail.

Here is my big epiphany:

The goal of parenting isn’t to have perfectly behaved kids; the goal is to raise responsible children who can think for themselves and are prepared to be independent when they leave the house and go it on their own, hopefully well before they are 30.

I am learning to shift my goals.  I’ve always felt like it was my goal to make sure my kids get to the bus every morning to, get their homework turned in on time, to get their toys picked up, and on it goes.  But I have a whole different mentality now.  Rather than making it my goal to get them to accomplish their assigned tasks, I am making it my goal to allow them to fail, experience reasonable consequences for poor choices, and learn from them so that they begin to take responsibility for their actions.

The beautiful part of this is, you can achieve this without yelling, nagging, or getting frustrated.  Putting the responsibility for their behavior on their shoulders, and taking it off of mine, has been a truly eye opening experience — for me as well as for them.

The Secret?  Consequences. The best consequences are those that occur naturally, but sometimes we have to impose consequences.  Here’s an example.

One of my biggest sources of parental frustration is getting my kids to the bus on time without losing my marbles.  There have been too many mornings where I have lost my temper with a child who can’t seem to get ready on time.  And there is no worse feeling than sending a child out the door after one such morning.  I feel like a complete and utter failure, and I’m sure the child does too.  What’s worse, over time it’s bound to put a wedge in our relationship, and that breaks my heart.

The problem, you see, is that I made the responsibility for getting the child out the door MY problem.  When, in fact, it should be the child’s problem. (Obviously there are limits to how far a parent will let this go, but the point is for the child to have an opportunity to experience consequences for their poor choices while the stakes are low so that when the stakes are higher, they will know how to make good decisions.)

Before, I would nag and pester, and remind and cajole the child out the door.  My ultimate goal was getting the child to the bus.  Then I realized there was a better way.  Taking a page right out of Parenting With Love And Logic, I changed my tactic entirely.  I sat the children down one afternoon and explained that I didn’t like myself very much when I lost my temper, and I asked them if they liked it.  No, they did not.  So I told them that mornings were going to be different from now on.

I told them I would wake them up at 7:00 and that I would give them one reminder to get up.  After that I was going to go downstairs and make breakfast and pack lunches.  Breakfast will be ready at 7:30 each morning, and once they are dressed, they are welcome to join us.  (See Raising Responsible Kids: Have a Plan; the caveat is that I have to be responsible enough to get them up at 7:00 and have breakfast on the table at 7:30.)  There will be no reminders and no nagging.  If they miss breakfast, they will have to wait to eat till their morning snack at school.  (I presented all of this in a calm, friendly voice with a smile on my face the entire time.  More on communication in the next post.)

The bus comes at 8:00.  I explained that if they miss the bus, then I have to take time out of my busy schedule to take them to school. (Love and Logic actually suggested leaving the child in their room all day, but I think that’s too harsh, at least it is for my kids.)  I explained that since it would take time away from my work to drive them to school, they will have to pay me back for my time.

Then I paused to lean in, and in a grave voice I said, “And I’m a VERY expensive chauffeur.”

Eyes wide, one child said, “What does THAT mean?”

I sat back, and in a lighter tone I explained that they may have to do one of my household chores or owe me part of their allowance.  They would have to wait and see.  (An element of unpredictability isn’t necessary a bad thing when it comes to implementing consequences.)  I answered a few of their questions, and once I was satisfied that they understood the new plan, I sent them on their way.

The first couple mornings went okay.  Both kids bounded downstairs for breakfast on the dot of 7:30 and managed to get to the bus on time.

But then Wednesday happened.

One child couldn’t seem to get it together.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from nagging.  Because they aren’t all telling time, I did give a few matter of fact updates.  “15 minutes till the bus,” I’d say.  But that was it.  I didn’t nag, I didn’t ask if they would be ready or if they were doing what they should be doing.  When the child was playing instead of putting on shoes, I just said cheerfully, “5 more minutes,” and went about cleaning up breakfast dishes.

Then the scrambling started.  I continued to act unconcerned.  As I put dishes in the dishwasher I said conversationally, “I sure am looking forward to getting to my office as soon as you guys get on the bus.  I have a lot of work to do today.”

But despite my little charade, I found myself starting to get agitated and frustrated, like our new plan was failing because it seemed the threat of the consequence wasn’t motivating the child to make the bus.

That’s when I realized, I had it all wrong. I wanted the child to miss the bus. I mean, I didn’t of course, but the point of the plan was for the child to actually experience the consequence, not be motivated by an idle threat.  This new parenting technique is a total shift in thinking.  But once I made that realization, I relaxed.  The old me would have started scurrying around, trying to help, yelling when the child wouldn’t move faster.  But the new, improved me kept doing dishes and said in a friendly, unconcerned voice, “The bus just drove down the street.  What are you going to do?”  (Again, putting the responsibility on them and off me.)

Upset, my child started crying and saying that it wasn’t fair.

“No problem,” I said nonchalantly.  “I will take you.  Just wait until I finish the kitchen.  You can pay me back on Saturday when you get your allowance.”

Crying turned to howling.

“It’s okay,” I said, maintaining the same friendly tone.  “You’ll have another chance to make the bus tomorrow.”

With that, the child ran upstairs and sprawled on the bed in a display that would have put Scarlett O’Hara to shame.

But would you believe it, in 10 minutes the same child came downstairs, fully ready for school, dry-eyed and calm and said in a composed voice, “Mom, instead of paying you to take me to school, can I do dishes after dinner tonight?”

I smiled kindly and said, “Possibly.  I’ll let you know after school.”  (I’m learning that buying myself some time to think through my options is better than pressuring myself to always answer right away.  Plus, giving them time to stew isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

That evening as we were finishing up dinner, I said conversationally to my husband, “Since I had to take so-and-so to school this morning, they are going to do dishes for me while I make up the time I missed from work.”  I could tell he was about to start in with questions and lectures, but gave a quick shake of my head and continued, “I’m going to do some work, can you keep an eye on things in here?”

He got the hint, and I went to my office while the child in question compliantly did the dishes.  There were no lectures, no reprimands, no re-hashing of the events of the day, just a friendly reminder to do one of my chores to make up for the time I missed from work.

And that is one example of how I’ve been taking off the bumpers and allowing my kids to roll their bowling balls right into the gutter.  Everyone has been on time to the bus since.  (Or bowling strikes, haha.)  I’m sure it’s not the last time someone will miss the bus, but when and if it does, I’m prepared.

Now before you write in and tell me what a cruel mother I am, let me ask you.  Isn’t that better than spending half the morning huffing and puffing and nagging and deriding and finally yelling?  I mean, sure the kids always made the bus, but there were mornings when they must have walked down the street feeling an inch tall.  It pains me to think of it.

This way, the responsibility is theirs, not mine.  I don’t get angry and frustrated, and they learn a valuable lesson.  By letting them fail in non-threatening situations, they learn that their actions have consequences before the stakes get too high.

Here are the keys to frustration-free discipline:

1) Have a plan.

2) Follow through consistently.

3) No yelling, no lectures, no nagging, no threats.

4) Don’t rescue.

5) Remain unemotional.

6) Show empathy rather than anger.

Another thing to remember is that consequences don’t have to be immediate. I always thought that it’s better to handle problems sooner rather than later, but I’m learning that sometimes it’s best to wait.  Sometimes you need to buy time because you can’t think of a good consequence on the spot (planning is great, but you can’t foresee every situation) or because it’s not convenient to take action at the time of the offense (we all know what it’s like to have a child wig out in the middle of Target.)  Giving myself the freedom to delay the consequences until a more convenient time has been a huge relief as I strive to find ways to effectively guide and discipline my children.  Unless they are younger than three, they don’t forget what they did wrong, and letting them stew in their own juices for a while can actually work to your advantage.

See all posts in this Raising Responsible Kids series.

Disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS a parenting expert of any sort.  I am just sharing some things I’m learning as I navigate the muddy waters of motherhood.  I figure, if they work for me, they may work for someone else.  Good luck!

Disclosure: All links to books are Amazon affiliate links.

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62 thoughts on “Raising Responsible Kids: Take Off the Bumpers

  1. I don’t think that what you did was cruel at all. As adults we have natural consequences to our actions so I think that you’re doing your kids a huge favor by teaching this now.

  2. Thanks, Jo-Lynne. I needed to hear this. I often pray that my kids will make good decisions as they grown up, and learn from their bad decisions. But it’s tough not to want everything to be perfect for them. Mine are only 1 & 3, so they/I still have a long way to go. I suspect the perspective you offered will be valuable as I continue my journey of learning to be a mom.

  3. I think that is brilliant. When my neice lived with me I kinda did the same thing with the waking and the breakfast. One morning she laid back down and missed the bus. I told her if it happened again she would have to wear an outfit of my choosing to school the next day. Well my niece was a super tomboy, jeans and a pullover every single day with a pony tail and no bow. She knew that if I got to pick the outfit then I was going with the pretty Christmas dress of the fancy (not too fancy) number that I got her to wear to my brother’s wedding. She in no way wanted to go to school like that so she made sure to never miss the bus again.

    But I still have a question. What is a good consquence to not picking up or cleaning up their room? This is something we really struggle with. We battle, yell, nag, threaten. It is horrible, for all of us. I would really like something that is effective that doesn’t make us all want to hurt one another.

    1. Last night I heard this same question asked to a seasoned mom. Her response was to take things out of the child’s room and he would have to earn the items back into his possession over time.

    2. Both books I’ve read have suggested that you tie a clean room to getting to go out to play or coming to a meal. Basically, you can’t go outside and play with your friends till the room meets Mom’s standards. Or you can’t come to breakfast (or dinner or whatever). The idea is to tie it to something they want to do, state the expectations clearly and unemotionally, and then stick to your guns. Keep it simple, don’t nag. Just say calmly, “When your room is picked up, you’re welcome to come to breakfast.” And repeat that line if you have to. If they miss it, oh well. They can eat lunch. Or, I usually tie it to a privilege like playing video games or playing with a friend. Or even playing at all.

      It also depends on the age – if they are younger than 6, then it’s appropriate to help them. One book suggested taking turns – you pick up a toy, they pick up a toy, etc. That eliminates the risk of you cleaning it all up while they watch. 🙂

  4. Excellent post! I recently went to a seminar on raising responsible children. The speaker’s “key words” instead of questioning the kids non-stop were, “Do you have the freedom to do ________.” Do you have the freedom to be playing right now, riding your bike, etc. I talked through what the kids responsibilities were each day, and I no longer became the mom that asked 1000 questions each day.

    1. I like that phrasing. We have a checklist on the fridge so they know what has to be done before they can play. Or eat, lol.

  5. Love it (and I need to buy that Love & Logic book!).

    One thing that helped with our morning routine this year was to take pictures of my children doing each ‘step’ of their morning routine (eating breakfast, brushing teeth/hair, getting dressed, making bed, then playing) and posting them on a poster board in their rooms. Then the board is the reference point for the morning – not me.

    Here’s my post with each of the pictures… http://themerrittsintx.blogspot.com/2009/08/mcivers-morning-routine.html

  6. Way to go. I had this epiphany about a year ago when I found myself raising my voice and losing my temper during morning time. I’m no expert, but a year later my 13 year old gets herself up—as she learned the consequence of htting the snooze alarm, and my 6 year old had no shower to wake him up this morning because he didn’t get up in time. However, I’m not questioning my self because they both left for school with happy faces today and no “mom” bruises (that’s what I call the harsh words or raised voice). And I have a clear conscience! And we are totally raising responsible kids who aren’t going to fail in life and then blame us!

  7. I have a hard time not nagging and remaining unemotional. It drives me completely crazy to not have someone doing what they’re supposed to be doing and YES I’ve driven to school where we are all in the car practically crying. It’s no fun.

  8. Oh, I LOVE this. Right now, I definitely have the mentality of getting them to do everything and just right. As you were telling the story I was hoping that one of yours would miss the bus just so I could see how they responded! Now that my daughters are 7 and 5 this natural consequence/failure thing is becoming more and more important. They don’t need to just take our word for it, they need to be capable of making their own decisions. Love, love, love this! Thanks!!

  9. I nag petty badly so your posts are helping me out alot. My boys are still toddlers so I’m trying to get it all down now so I don’t end up with horrible kids LOL

    I’m reading Boundaries with Children right now by Cloud & Townsend (it’s really good!) and it looks like I need to pick up the Love and Logig book too!

    1. For the younger kids, I really like John Rosemond’s The New Parent Power. He’s very old school, not as much choices and questioning, just set your expectations, and then implement a consequence right away. No warnings. I’ve been doing it with my 4-y/o for whining, and it’s fabulous.

  10. Love this post! It is definitely an area my family needs to work on. I have to drive my 6 year old daughter to school in the morning because her school does not have busing. I am a stay-at-home mom so I don’t have to be to work at a certain time. What would you suggest the consequence be for her not being ready on time? She would probably be more than happy to stay home all day.

    1. The Rosemond book often used no playing outside/with friends/whatever works in your case for a consequence for this type of situation. It depends on your child’s habits. You could also link it to a TV show in the afternoon, although I currently have my kids on a TV ban so that definitely takes away a great incentive for getting them to do things like be ready on time and keep their toys picked up. It’s a matter of finding what works in her case.

  11. This is great stuff. I have a follow up question: how do would one apply these principles to the nightly bedtime routine which is a total.nightmare. in our house?! I am open to all suggestions. The problem is, what consequences can one dole out when it’s the end of the night and there’s nothing specific to take away from your kids at that point? The point when mama is going out of her mind and just wants some down time for the love of all that is holy….

    Ideas? (bearing in mind my oldest is 4 and half)

    1. One book (the Rosemond one, I think? The link is on the amazon widget in the sidebar) talked about a ticket system he used at bedtime. I do believe the consequences he suggested were delayed, though, to the next day. So it would take a few nights to get it working. But at 4, they can remember from one day to the next.

      With mine, I used to ask them if they want the door open or closed. If they cried, it had to be closed, but if they could be quiet and stay in bed, it could be open. That seemed to work, they HATED having their door closed.

      And as for repeatedly getting out of bed, we resorted to spanking on a couple rare occasions. I know spanking isn’t popular, but there are times when I feel it’s about my only option.

    2. I also implemented the ‘light’ routine. I actually made a big fuss out of a pretty night light for one daughter – just so I couldhave something to TAKE AWAY! lol

      With another girl, I had to remove nearly EVERYTHING from her room. I’m completely serious – stuffies, toys, anything on the floor. Eventually she was left with her blanket and pillow! She was one STUBBORN girl. Now, we still butt heads, but when we’re not in a battle, she and I can connect, I understand that most of the time she is gentle and extremely empathetic – a great leader. And she understands that I get my panties in a knot when she picks a fight with me. I understand that she won’t always submit – she’s an alpha female. Like me. 🙂 And the older she gets, the better our relationship becomes. It will happen for you too – just keep the big picture in mind.

      Speaking of which – as I write, one daughter is biting the other… Sigh.

  12. Love these tips! I don’t think you’re cruel at all, in fact, you are a loving mother and your children are blessed to have you as their mother! I have a 16 month old who is starting to throw temper tantrums and do “naughty” things on purpose (i.e. throwing Cheerios on the ground right after I tell him no). I feel like he’s too little for things like time outs. Do you have any suggestions or books that might be helpful for this age?

    1. I highly recommend both books I’ve mentioned – Love & Logic and The New Parent Power (links are in the Amazon widget on the sidebar). Love & Logic has a preschoolers edition too, for the younger set. He has this “uh-oh song” he talks about, and probably places them in their room or in a crib. Parent Power talks about having a “tantrum spot” – I’m going to post about it in a few days. Both are similar concepts — calmly removing the child from the situation for a short time. Or removing the cheerios.

    2. I agree with the taking away of cheerios. I would (& have) politely said, “Okay. (smiling) All done! Let’s get down now….” and proceed with the day. Not mentioning the cheerio incident. And the next time he looks up at you and throws something, or grins *that* grin and drops something to the floor. Do the same thing. “Okay, sweetie. All done. Lets go do….”

      Good luck! 🙂

  13. Brilliant! did you ever get that email that was circulating several years ago- “the world needs more mean moms”? Gist of it was being “mean” by setting boundaries/limits is sorely lacking & what’s best for kids!
    I was one of the kids who never had any consequences for missing the bus & my mom always drove us & she was always late for work because of it. And to this day I am perpetually late! But I always felt sorry for the kids whose parents made them walk to school (which is a consequence I read- maybe in Love & Logic?) I like your consequences much better- and having to do one of *my* chores would totally motivate my 11 year old!

    1. Yeah, walking to school was an example in L&L I think. It just depends so much on each family’s situation. My kids could walk that far, but it’s not a great road to walk on, even if I was following in the car. The book also gave a scenario where mom made the child stay in her bedroom all day, saying she had housework to do and wasn’t used to having a child underfoot so he’d have to stay in his room. That just seemed too extreme. Doing a chore seemed to work, but clearly having her pay me from her allowance was not desirable so if it happens again, I know what consequence to implement. 🙂

  14. This is great, traditional parenting. The new mode of over-protectionism produces insecure, apprehensive children.

    I’ll add that, although we do hope that allowing children to fail in small situations will help them not to do so in large ones, this doesn’t always work. My 19 yo old college freshman lost the opportunity of a guaranteed job this summer, b/c he procrastinated in sending in his application. I didn’t rescue him, or nag him. He’ll suffer the consequences. He may be a procrastinator for years to come.

    You see, the goal is also to separate the child from yourself, harsh as that sounds. You are two different individuals, and he must go live his life. I become a spectator to that life. After 9 months in college, his new girlfriend, who I’ve never met, is the most important person in his life. And that is normal. “Attached” parents, I think, have difficulty with this.

    Did you ever watch Super Nanny?

    1. Mary Kathryn, you make a good point. It doesn’t guarantee they’ll never make mistakes. Nothing does. And Rosemond actually makes that point in his book. But I think your example of your 19-y/o is still minor in the grand scheme of things, considering the temptations that are out there like drugs, etc.

      I never watched Super Nanny but she sounds like my kinda nanny. 🙂

  15. We started doing something like this with Hunter last year with his homework. Natural consequences did the trick, he didn’t get something turned in so he wasn’t allowed (by the school) to go to the amusement park. He had to sit at school with about 30 other kids and watch education movies and do make up work all day long. He was not a fan. Things got much MUCH better after that, but they (both kids) are aware there are consequences when homework doesn’t get done, both natural and not.

  16. I’ve believed in this for-ever. I never had a problem with DD #1. (who is now 9). But now, with three, they regularly have “mom bruises” uggg. That is a horrible, and yet somehow appropriate term. It seems that my good intentions ‘leak’. I constantly have to read stuff like this to keep up the momentum and patience, and hope that it will work. For a couple weeks I had a solution to sibling rivalry. And for the life of me, I can’t remember the book, because I need to PICK IT UP again. It drives me batty.

    Another point, that i think adds to this topic, is the different cultures. I live in a predominantly Asian city – and it is common place for mothers to still be wiping noses of elementary school children. It was a total shocker to see mothers carrying 3 backpacks to school, while the children carried nothing. At first this seemed to be complete disrespect. But I do think differently now that I understand the culture. Their goal is NOT for the children to be independent, but for the family unit to be strong – bonded – above all else. And I DO mean, ABOVE all else! After 3 years here, I’m beginning to think that there is a lot of benefit to the way they do things. Children do start out very dependent (in a lot of ways, we’d consider them spoiled), and yet there are other techniques used to teach their kids responsibility, hard work, high expectations, they turn out to be extremely competitive, and high achievers – go figure!

    But definitely = IF your goal is independence, the Love & Logic way is the best way to go.

    1. Interesting about different cultures. And I can see how it would help to be immersed in this stuff all the time. It’s going great, but it’s always at the forefront of my mind right now.

  17. Great post. My husband and I have talked a lot about discipline, and wanting to let our kids experience consequences to learn from them – it seems like so many kids are coddled and then end up expecting life to treat them that way as adults, too. I think the hardest part for me (right now, anyway!) is trying to figure out what age we can start realistically imposing consequences. Our oldest will be 3 this summer, and we’re always assessing, trying to make sure we keep our expectations realistic – not too high, but not too low either.

    1. It’s a fine line, for sure. I really like Rosemond’s book, as he breaks his advice down by age group.

  18. I love this. My child is 13 so he also is responsible for getting up on his own, making his own breakfast and then getting himself out the door.

    Last year we started a deal where if he misses the bus, he walks (and it’s more than a couple miles). He’s never missed the bus.

    Great job on keeping your cool! You’re so right, it feels AwFUL to start the day in a yelling match.

  19. Can I just say this is wonderful? It’s like taking the monkey off your back and putting it on theirs – which is where it belongs if we’re teaching them personal responsibility! Thanks for making me think through appropriate consequences for their actions. I look forward to the next post in this series!

  20. Hi Jo-Lynne, great post! I am a big fan of reality discipline (as Kevin Lehman calls it) and we usually have good success with it when there are in fact “natural” consequences that can be imposed – like, if you choose not to do your homework, you miss recess. However, like you, one of our hugest battles every.single.day. is getting ready on time in the mornings. My husband used to own his own business, so if our daughter was dawdling, he would just let her, and then take her to school whenever she got ready. When she was tardy, she had to miss recess. It only took two times before she was never tardy again!

    But now he leaves very early every morning and I also work outside the home. My kids don’t ride the bus, we live across a major 7-lane street from school (so no walking), and b/c of work I can’t wait around for them if they’re dawdling, so the tardy/missing recess thing won’t work. I understand imposing delayed consequences, but that still doesn’t help me get them out the door TODAY…and tomorrow…and however long it takes for those delayed consequences to sink in (seems to take much longer when the consequence isn’t immediate). I need major help with this! The nagging, griping, snapping is a daily thing in our home and I hate it!

    1. Valerie, have you tried tying it to watching a TV show in the afternoon? Or not going out to play with friends in the neighborhood (now that it’s getting warmer)? When my daughter was in kindergarten, she started throwing a fit about getting on the bus. I told her that if she got on the bus without complaining, she could watch a 30-minute TV show in the afternoon. It worked like a charm.

  21. Someone once said, and I think it was in a recent book,
    Do you want to raise safe kids or strong kids?

    That struck me to my core… I parent out of fear ALOT!

    Great posts…. going to go back and read the first one!

  22. Great – I am all about the consequences here too.

    Now if my daughter forgets something for school, she texts me to let me know, and says she will “face the consequences” – her words!

    I agree it is so hard not to jump in and nag – I am learning to bite my tongue (ouch!!!)

  23. I’m really enjoying these posts and look forward to the additional ones. I think this topic is so important. I know college is years down the road but I so clearly remember during the first semester of my freshman year that the girls (I went to a women’s college) who had never had any responsibility for themselves went absolutely WILD, dangerously so. I feel like my parents had given me strong guidance but also enough room to make my own mistakes so that I knew how to take care of my self and be safe in college when I was on my own.

  24. I really liked this and think it is great that you’re teaching them to be responsible.

    My step-sons are 24, 19 & 17 and way too many of their friends were raised with no responsibilities and NO consequences. And now they’re all spoiled brats who think my step-sons have the meanest parents. I revel in it because we’re raising them to be men (whether they like it or not!) Oh, and the 24yo moved out over a year ago – no living at home until you’re 30 here!

  25. I LOVED this post and have bookmarked it to refer to later. I love practical parenting advice that is related to each of us taking responsibilities for our own actions. I’m glad that I found you. You have a new follower. I look forward to your future posts on this topic.

    P.S. I also post on AI!!!

  26. I stumbled across your blog tonight. I really love it. I’ve been dealing with some issues with my almost 4-year old and I’m ashamed in how I’ve handled it. Seems that both of us need a new point of view. He is a well behaved boy, but I think that I am guilty of expecting too much for his age. He is my eldest so I don’t have the experience yet.

    Thank you so much for writing this blog. You have no idea how much better I feel about the future now. 🙂

  27. Spot on parenting. Good on you for thinking bigger picture and not losing your cool in the heat of the moment. Actions have consequences. There are always choices involved and the sooner we realize this in life the better. As a parent of three grown boys i would like to add that being consistent is the key. Thanks for sharing, you are contributing so much to society by raising responsible children.

  28. Oh my gosh. I don’t remember if I read this when you wrote it or not but wow oh wow. We don’t live in our schools district so I have to drive them every morning. But it is a pain to get them up and out the door on time none the less. Most mornings result in me yelling at one or both of the kids. And therefore most mornings result in me apologizing and lecturing on the way to school. I LOVE this idea or putting the responsibility on them. I will be trying this as soon as Christmas break is over!

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