Stop Being so efficient!!!

Two days ago my son set up all of his little army figures in army formation and came to me and said, “Mom, will you play army with me?” 

The first thought I had was, ‘I can’t right now, because I am trying to get this canning done.’

The second thought I had was, ‘maybe I can play for just a few minutes to say that I did and then get back to the canning.’

Luckily, I didn’t act upon any of those thoughts.

I looked at the army guys and looked at my son’s face.  I realized that army is not a fast game, and it isn’t meant to be.  It’s meant to be a game where you figure strategy, and di

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Too many reminders?

“With young children like my 3 yr old, I am very tempted to give at least one reminder, another chance, before they get a consequence.  So if he starts to whine and say no to an instruction, I remind him of each of the steps and encourage him to do them.  Is this teaching him that it is ok to whine first and not to start out with the appropriate response?  Or is it just pre-teaching?  Is there a limit to how many times pre-teaching should happen?  How can I tell if I am trying to govern him or just pre-teaching and giving him a chance to understand what choice he is making?”

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Strong Willed 3 Year Old

“I’m trying to figure out how to make this work for my 3 year old. He is very high spirited, very defiant and REALLY can’t take no for an answer. I struggle minute to minute with obedience and with whining and I worry that if I did things the same way I do them with my older children, only using time-outs, he would be in time-out constantly. Actually I don’t know if he would ever make it into time out if I waited for him to be calm first.

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little boy crying

4 Year-Old Stress

We got home late. My four year old fell asleep on the way home. After waking up, he came in to go potty, get dressed and go to bed. From the bathroom I heard crying. He was in there for a long time. He was in the bathroom trying to clean up a mess that he had made in his pants.It was very stressful and disturbing to him to find a dirty pants problem. This stress along with his extreme tiredness made him very sad and he just couldn’t help crying.

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boy waiting

He Won’t Clean His Room?

I’m having trouble figuring out a good consequence beyond time out for my 3 yr old. He and his brother who just turned 6 share a room. I gave them an instruction to clean their room this morning, and he left the room to play with toys before it was done.He went into time out nicely, and loved being praised for being good in time out after his 3 minutes were up. He promised to finished cleaning. But then he did it again. We repeated the process and he had a second time out, but he left time out before the time was up. Is it bad to use the same consquence twice in a row? Do consequences always need to get bigger?

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Girl in doorway

The Times We Live In Part 2

“My husband works at a jail and just a few weeks ago a man we both know from school and church was brought in on sexual charges. His niece was supposedly the victim. Both of us were very surprised, as we wouldn’t have expected him of doing such a thing. Whether he is guilty or not, we will probably never know.However, after discussing it, we both thought that not only is it important to try to protect our children from this type of thing, we also need to take steps to protect OURSELVES and our own reputations.”

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Little girl covering her eyes

The Times We Live In Part 1

A reader wrote to me telling me about a young neighborhood child that introduced things of a sexual nature to her daughter. This is not a fun subject. I have been avoiding putting it on the site, but the more I think about it, this topic is probably one of the biggest things parents face. How do we keep our children free from the disease of sexual impurity that seems to be taking over our world? How do we make them aware while not taking away their innocence?

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Perspective And Self-Preservation

Dear Parents,

    My son happened to lose his hat in the Air and Space Museum in DC.  We didn’t find out that he had lost the NEW hat until we had been kicked out of the museum at closing time.  It took me 30 minutes to find a guard that would break the rules and let me in to retrieve the hat.  Luckily my daughter said that she knew exactly where he put it.  After successfully tracking down the hat, at dinner time, in flaming heat.  My husband seemed a little upset about the matter.  He looked put out. 

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Mother reading to daughter on couch

Mission By Example

I was sitting on the couch today going over plans for our next trip when my six year old daughter, Londyn, sat down next to me and said, “We have to go to Virginia because you want to make the world better, don’t you? Not just our family, but other families too.” I said, “Yes” and smiled. I didn’t need to say anything else. It was very clear to me that she had developed an understanding of my mission. As a family, we talk about mission a lot. We try to analyze what other people’s missions might be. We talk about what kinds of skills we need to develop to find our personal mission

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Child pouting

Helping Young Children Accept “No” Answers

“Nicholeen, I was wondering how you teach these principles to the younger children. My children are (almost) 8, (almost) 6, 3.5, 20 months, and a 2 week old. (not that I expect to be doing this with the newborn right away. *grin* ) I can usually expect my older two to follow instructions, but the 3 year old and 20 month olds do not. I realize that the 20 month old is still learning, and “no” is her favorite word.

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Tantrum Face

Poopy Pants and Tantrums


I have one problem I have not figured out how to resolve. My son (6)is a great kid, but there is one thing that sets him off every time to the point that he hits, kicks, screams, says unkind things, and basically acts like the whole world is against him so why try. This happens every time without fail when he is caught with poopy pants.

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“It’s Time To Go To Bed.”

Nicholeen, I have a 9-year old boy. He is a typical 9-year old boy, I believe, in that his mind (and mouth) is constantly going 200 miles an hour. His siblings are always waiting for him to stop talking so they can get a word in edgewise. He is full of ideas and loves to take things apart. We are having a problem with bedtime. He goes to bed just fine, but once there, he won’t go to sleep. We let him read for about 15-30 minutes once he’s in bed, then we come down and turn the lights out (for him and his younger brother who is 4).

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Tell Them What to Say

Even after we teach our children how to follow an instruction or how to accept a NO answer, our children will sometimes forget that they can choose to say, “OK”. The other day I told my son that he needed to clean his room. I could tell that he didn’t want to do the task. His face started to pout. The second I saw this, I said, “Porter, say OK.” He looked right at me and said, “OK!” Then I praised him. It is alright to tell them exactly what to say. This helps them problem solve the very situation they are in. The child then gets the opportunity to see how easy it is to make the rig

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