Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The magic of logical consequences

The other day my children decided to play the game "Tangled" in J and O's room. For Christmas M received a Tangled wig so they play this make believe game a lot. Well in the movie Rapunzel paints all over her walls because she can't leave the tower so what else is she to do, right? Can you tell where this story is going? So while they are playing "Tangled" the kids have this brilliant idea to color all over the walls in J's room!

After the walls are beautifully decorated, my husband walks into the room to check on the kiddos and sees all the crayon on the walls and when he asks them who was responsible the older two point to O and said he did it. Of course they blamed the 2 year old! My husband takes them at face value and starts disciplining O while M and J sit by and watch. I have yet to see the room and am thinking it is just a little bit of coloring . . .

While we are eating dinner J then tells us that he has to be honest and says that he also colored on the wall. M then fesses up as well. I am curious now about the coloring so I go back and look and it is blatantly obvious that it was not the 2 yr old! Those stars are just a little too perfect, the word welcome on the door . . . I mean really the 2 yr old can't even draw a circle on purpose! Not only did I see who was responsible I was shocked at how much they colored on the wall, the doors, the dresser, and even the ceiling! I asked my husband if he actually looked at the coloring because then he would have known exactly who did it! We expressed to our children that we were very disappointed in them and that they would no longer be allowed to play in their rooms or have any art supplies anywhere but the kitchen.

M's a people pleaser BIG TIME and all I had to tell her was that I was disappointed and she was devastated where as the boys just thought it was fun. So I knew I needed a discipline for them to really understand that what they did was wrong. Well every Saturday we have a family fun day where we take our kids out for some fun activities and they have really come to look forward to this special time on Saturdays. So I decided that for family fun day the kids would have to scrub the crayons off of the wall, which is next to impossible with just soap and water.

Yesterday was the big day and when the kids woke up they came running in to our room and were anxious to find out what we were going to do for family fun day! I told them I had a big surprise for them and that they would find out after breakfast. While they were eating I started filling up a bowl with some dish soap and water and got out 3 washcloths. M is quick and the minute she saw what I was doing said, "Oh great we have to clean the crayon off the walls!" I was a little proud at that moment that she knew what the consequence was going to be, we do a lot of logical consequences at our house.

After breakfast I gathered the kids into J and O's room and handed them each a washcloth and told them that before we could have fun they had to get the crayon off the walls. In the beginning they thought it would be great fun, but after ten minutes of scrubbing the same spot and not having that crayon budge one bit they started getting frustrated. I left them to the cleaning while I ran to Walmart to pick up some magic erasers, because that is really the best and easiest way to get crayons off the walls. When I came back my husband told me that the kids were extremely frustrated and were repeatedly vowing that they would NEVER color on a wall again. After I gave them the magic erasers and worked with them the crayon was completely gone in fifteen minutes and we were able to have a fun family day.

I loved that I decided to not give them the easy way to clean it first, but instead had them struggle and work hard with no results. This way they learned that while it is fun to color on the walls it is not fun to clean up those walls and therefore are less likely to make that choice again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm still alive

Life has been busy, as usual, with four kids and by the time I get a minute to think about a thought provoking, inspiring post my eyes and brain are fried and I just end up going to bed. I have so many ideas in my head about what to blog about, I just can't seem to get it all straight in my head, so right now I am making a list and am making plans so that starting in January I can really get back in to blogging on here daily! So is there any one subject you want to know more about? Leave me a comment and let me know so I can make sure to blog about it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expectations in parents

As I mentioned last week I have been thinking a lot about expectations and its effects on relationships. I have especially been thinking about the expectations among the parents and how that dynamic can influence the whole family unit. You know the expression "Happy wife, happy life?" I really think there is some truth to that. I think the woman sets the tone for the mood of the home. There is the other saying that says, "If momma ain't happy then no one's happy." Why is that? In my opinion it is because the woman serves a lot of roles in a family and so if she is feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or taken advantage of then those emotions leak in to other dynamics of the home.

Often times the reason the mom is so stressed out isn't because dad isn't willing to help but is more because he doesn't know he's supposed to be helping! Think about it. How many of us who have kids now can honestly say that their dads helped their mom out all the time? Not many. The family dynamic has changed a ton over the past decade and dads are helping a lot more than they used to. My father was the bread winner and discipliner who occasionally took us camping or some other fun activity, but he was the ultimate head of the house. Rarely did my dad cook dinner or wash dishes. He never picked us up from school or took us to an extracurricular activity because he was working and that was mom's job. Dads weren't known for getting on the ground and playing Barbies with his daughters - that was almost unheard of. So of course it is harder for most men to stop and say, "Hey that basket of laundry needs to be folded" when they would rather throw their sons around or clean up the backyard.

As I have mentioned in previous posts we all bring something to the table in parenting and the biggest thing we bring is our expectations. I remember my mom used to wake up early every morning and pack my dad a lunch for work, so when my husband went through the police academy I felt like that was something I was "supposed" to do. So for a few days I got up early and packed him a lunch and sent him off and then went back to bed. Well I am NOT a morning person and after a few days I was tired and really didn't want to make him lunch and he told me he didn't need me to make his lunch, in fact he never expected me to in the first place and boy was I relieved because I wanted to sleep! That is why it is so important for you to talk about your expectations with each other, maybe you are stressing yourself out over something the other person doesn't even care about. Maybe they are resenting you because they expect you to do more. In order to be a good functioning couple I think you need to sit down with each other and really talk about each others expectations and see if you are on the same page or if you have completely different views!

So out of curiosity, what is one thing you expect from your partner and think every man/woman should do? For me I expect my husband to be completely involved in my child's life - meaning he helps put them to bed, he helps feed them, he helps change them, he picks them up from school, he volunteers at school, he goes to all of their performances and games, etc. He is not just to be a sperm donor or discipliner but a parent! (which he is an amazing parent and sometimes my kids prefer him over me)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It seems like everyone I am close to and talk to pretty frequently is having struggles in their marriage or with their kids, including me and my spouse. I have mentioned in previous posts that we grew apart and now we are trying to rebuild and reconnect and it is easier said than done. There are a LOT of conversations about our situation and why we are where we are, how to improve and what is bugging us right now. As I have been thinking a lot about myself, my relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my friends I have realized that there is a recurring theme over and over again in my thoughts and that is, what do I expect from them and from myself in those relationships.

My husband is a great guy and very helpful . . . on things he thinks needs to be done. For example, one day there were literally about 8 baskets of washed laundry that needed to be folded and put away and it was obvious that I was pretty stressed out and trying to get a lot done and when my husband woke up that day instead of saying, "Hey I can see you have been working hard all day so let me fold this laundry for you" he went outside and spent an hour cleaning up the backyard, taking care of the dogs, and sweeping the pool that we are no longer able to swim in because it is too cold. He then had to rush to get ready for work and eat dinner and then left for work leaving me with those 8 baskets of laundry, plus the dishes from dinner, plus the responsibility of making dinner, and taking care of our four children and well you get the idea. The main problem was not so much that he left the laundry unfolded, it was that I expected him to help around the house but didn't vocalize that expectation and therefore he was unable to meet that expectation.

Let's apply this to kids. How often do you expect your children to behave well at the store only to get there and have them try escaping you, scream when they don't get what they want, knock things off the shelf, etc. Or do you expect them to come home from a long day of school and immediately sit down at the table and work on another hour of homework only to have them come home and fight you every step of the way.

The problem is not the behavior of the people in our lives the problem is our expectations and the way we are expressing them. Sometimes we expect too much from people, other times we expect too little. So how do you set the right expectation? The main thing is to look at the individual and their own special circumstances. Is it reasonable to expect a two year old to share his toys with other two year olds? NO, two year olds do not share! You can help them to share, you can involve yourself in their play to ensure they share with others but to expect them to immediately be o.k. with sharing with another kid is setting yourself up for disappointment. If you are aware of the fact that two year old don't share, or that a fourteen year old believes they know everything about life and you know nothing, then when they behave in that manner you aren't disappointed or frustrated (well maybe a little frustrated) but instead you can focus on ways to help them be the best two yr old or fourteen yr old or even 50 yr old they can be. Now this is going to go against what I just said, BUT, it is important to set expectations high so people can stretch and grow to reach that expectation, but you also have to find what you are o.k. with until they reach your expectation. For example, I expect my children to grow up to become well behaved, smart, respectful adults and therefore I am going to teach them how to become that but am not going to become upset or disappointed when my child behaves like a normal 6 yr old, 5 yr old or 2 yr old. Does that make sense?

The other thing you do not want to do is set your expectations too low - because wherever you set your expectations people will meet them (as long as they are reasonable and they know what those expectations are). If you expect your child to disobey you then they will. If you expect your children to be lazy then they will be. If you expect your husband to act like your father then he will. If you expect your friends to take advantage of you then they will. Whatever you expectations you set people will meet them!

I encourage you to really think about and write down what you expect from the people in your life, especially from those who seem to be disappointing you the most. Are your expectations reasonable? Are they attainable for the person you expect it from? Have you expressed these expectations to those people and discussed them with each other? If not, do it! There are so many more things I can post about expectations so keep an eye out for more on this subject!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

make your own lunchable

I recently started watching my friends two kids while she finishes up her masters degree. Every time she brings her kids over she also brings a lunch for her kids. Today she packed a lunchtime and when I pulled it out for lunch O went nuts because he wanted one. We don't have any on hand and I almost made him something else, but then I thought hey I can make my own! So I pulled out my turkey lunch meat, and my cheese slices and a little flower cookie cutter and cut out flowers of the meat and cheese. It made quite a bit of flowers, then I put them on a plate with some Ritz crackers and ta da everyone has a lunchable!
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Jesus

O is 2 right now and I have to admit that most of the time I love 2 yr olds . . . but I do not love 2 yr old attitudes and 2 yr old power struggles. 2 yr olds are hard because they aren't quite old enough to negotiate with you so you have to be extremely patient and extremely consistent with them. If you give them an inch they will literally take a mile! 2 yr olds are also impossible to distract, once they have in their mind what they want their is no convincing them otherwise so I find myself asking the question, "How important is this issue right now?" IF it is extremely important for his future well being (i.e. no snacks if you don't eat your dinner) then I will fight the fight and I will win because I am the parent and it is my responsibility to teach him. But if it's not that big of a deal (i.e. going to bed in his clothes instead of pajamas) then I don't fight it.

Well the other day it was time to get ready for bed and I told O that he needed to have a diaper change and then get ready for bed. He on the other hand didn't want to have a diaper change, he wanted to play and as he so eloquently stated to me, he wasn't stinky, so he didn't need a diaper change. Well long story short I end up getting firm with him and I change his diaper and the whole time O is screaming like he is being seriously injured when he wasn't - if you have ever had a 2 yr old you know exactly what I'm talking about! My 5 yr old J is observing what is happening and after O is changed and dressed and we are sitting on the couch for stories J looks me in the eye and in his most serious voice ever he says to me, "Mom, are you on Team Jesus? Because I don't think that's how Jesus wants us to act!" I asked him how he thought Jesus would have handled it and he said, "Well, Jesus wouldn't have gotten upset and he wouldn't have let O cry. Jesus doesn't get mad, he just loves us!"

I could have argued with him about how it is my responsibility as a mom to make sure my child doesn't go to bed with a wet diaper that is just going to get more and more wet, and therefore I was completely justified. But I didn't. Instead I thanked Jacob for reminding me that I needed to be more understanding and more patient with O.

Later that night as I was laying in bed and reflecting on the day I thought about how Jesus would have handled that situation and I thought about how I handled it, and I came to the conclusion that I was quick to lose my temper and easily frustrated with him and that I had forgotten that O was 2 and that I need to have more patience with all of my kids. I thought about how my parenting would differ if the Savior stood beside me as I disciplined my kids and if he would say, "well done" or "let me show me how to do it better." So I thank J for that little reminder and I hope that it is a good reminder for you as well!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time and the importance of it

What if in five minutes from now there was a freak accident and your child who you just yelled at died. How would you feel if this morning you frantically rushed to get your kids ready for school and you lost your temper and spanked them and then on the way to school there was an accident and your child died? How would you feel if your child kept begging you to play with them and you just couldn't find the time because there were too many other things to do and then they no longer could play with you because they were gone from this life.

I apologize for the morbidity of this post, but I want to know, do you really realize how fragile life is? Do you truly appreciate the fact that in an instant your child could be gone? I do and that is why I have the patience that I have. That is why I am quick to say I'm sorry to my child and show them how much I love them. Some people make fun of me because they say I live in fear, but I don't live in fear. I know what it is to lose someone in an instant and because of that I do not take this life or my child's life for granted. Imagine the difference in your parenting if you knew today would be the last day you could hold your child in your arms, or hear their sweet laugh, or watch them learn something new. Would you be a different parent than you were yesterday? Would you be kinder? More patient? More involved? More understanding? Cherish the moment right now with your children because you will never get it back once it's gone.