Trying Three’s

   This post 2 for the day, make sure you don’t miss post one:

Orange Cream Cheese Brownies.  YUM!

  You know how people always talk about the Terrible Two’s? 

 Yeah, our kids skip that and save it all up for the “TRYING THREE’S”.

  The sweet angelic babies of days gone by, take a temporary leave of absence. 

And in their place?


These volatile little people that get set off at the TEENIEST thing!

  We have a method we use for these Trying Three’s called:

“You Have 2 Choices”. 

(Brilliant name, I know.)


   This allows our 3 year olds to feel like they have a bit of say in their out of control worlds, while still allowing us, ultimate control.    {Muahaha MUAHAHAHA!}

   No really, all laughing aside, I am dead serious about this, every single blessed one of our kids has gone through this stage and it’s tough people.  It makes me weary just writing about it. 

“Avery Lyn! You have 2 choices…..”


“(Pointing to index finger) You may stop crying and play with us.  OR (pointing to middle finger) you may continue this crying fit in your room alone. Which do you choose?”

This is a tough decision…….



  But, they tend to pick number one and then proceed to shut it off. 


  On the occasion that they cannot get it under control, they are then removed to their room where they sit on their “Boo-Hoo Bed” until they are ready to turn off the water works and be happy.

  This has worked very, very well for us!  And hey, it works for clothing too!
“Avery, do you want to wear your black leggings or pink leggings with your sweatshirt today?” 

  She thinks she is choosing for herself, but she is just safely choosing within the boundaries we have set up for her.   It’s worked like a charm around here!

Now someone, PLEASE tell me what to do about FOUR:

Unnecessarily under
Routine circumstances.


So many tears.  And sniffles.  And the blubbering {sigh}, oh the blubbering.  (This too, is something big sis went through at age 4……)  

  Well, that’s it from here! Happy day to you and yours, I’m off to go see what the caterwauling is about this time………

  I’ve got a 3 and 4 year old, at this point, it could be ANYTHING!!!!  🙂


Good-bye Pushover Parenting, Hello Happy Kids…Part 3

 Just tuning in? Catch parts 1 & 2 here: Starting Discipline and The Rod  

As Destiny has gotten older, we have started giving her the responsibility of choosing her punishment.  One especially difficult evening, Dale had enough of her disobedience, and told Destiny that she had until the end of supper to make a decision:

  • Lose a new Christmas toy for an undetermined amount of time


  • Get a spank

    Her meal was spent in silent contemplation, as she considered her choices.  And boy, did that last bite sit on her plate for a looong time.  We could really tell she was struggling with her decision.  Dale decided since it was a first offense and the first time we had offered such a decision, to show her grace, this time.  He told her so and clearly layed out what would occur the next time around.

  Later, she left him this note:

026 (2)

To Dad:

It was a hard decision. Thank  you for showing me grace.

Love: Destiny

  Think she got the point? 

  Yup. She sure did.  From start to grace, she got it.  And it hasn’t happened again, not yet anyway.

  We also have some “back up” disciplines for more minor offenses:

   We have a “Boo-Hoo Bed” for whiney, tearful children. They must go sit on their bed until they are ready to be happy, then they may choose to come out.

  We also have “The Toy Prison” on top of the fridge.  If toys are fought over, they become mine and I hold them hostage on top of the fridge until they can play nicely together with that toy.

  “The Trash Monster”, this is a giant white trash bag that comes out after the timer goes off, signaling clean up time is over.  Any toys not cleaned up or not put in their appropriate home after the timer goes off, get eaten by The Trash Monster and stay in his tummy until further notice.

  As our children get older, we plan to implement some of the following “Creative Discipline” techniques we’ve adapted from Focus on the Family: (Click this link for full article series, it’s a good one!) 


  • For every article of dirty clothing left on the floor rather than placed in the hamper, have your child make five trips from the place where the clothes were dropped to the hamper. The child must pick up the clothes, walk to hamper and put the article in, take it back out, return to where it had been dropped, drop it again, pick it up again, and then repeat the cycle.

Throwing a Fit

  • Does your child slam the door when she’s angry? You might tell her, “It’s obvious that you don’t know how to close a door properly. To learn, you will open and close this door, calmly and completely, 50 times.”
  • If your child likes to stomp off to his room or stomp around in anger, send him outside to the driveway and tell him to stomp his feet for one minute straight. 
  • If your child asks for something and then argues or throws a fit when you tell her no, tell her that no matter what she asks for, from that moment on the answer will be an automatic no until she can accept the answer “no” respectfully.

Controlling the Tounge

  • You’ve heard the reprimand “Hold your tongue!” Make your child do it — literally. Have her stick out her tongue and hold it between two fingers. This is an especially effective correction for public outbursts.
  • Kids can lose the privilege of talking when necessary. Explain that being able to express yourself is a gift. If they abuse that privilege, either by hurting someone’s feelings, speaking inappropriately, or just making needless noise, they cannot speak for a predetermined amount of time. This is especially painful if during that time they have something important to say. It underscores the privilege of speaking and makes them think more carefully about their words.

Bedtime Battles

  • Adjust bedtimes according to our children’s behavior that day. For each infraction, they must go to bed five minutes earlier, but if they’ve been extra good, they can earn the right to stay up an extra five minutes.
  • Having a struggle at bedtime? Try this: Next time you’re dealing with the usual bathroom trips, cups of water, giggling, and talking, call off bedtime. Declare, “Nobody has to go to bed tonight!” Inform them that they may stay up as long as they like — the operative words being stay up. Then have each child stand still in the middle of a separate room of the house. Their warm, comfy beds will look awfully good after just a few minutes of standing alone.
  • Down time with your husband in the evenings is important, we put our kids to bed very early compared to their friends’ bedtimes. For instance, as a Destiny gets old enough, we may continue to put her to bed at seven, but she’ll be allowed to stay up and read until eight. If your child is notorious for leaving her clothes on the floor, however, try this: For every piece of clothing lying on the floor when mom comes in to say goodnight, the reading time is reduced by 10 minutes.
  • If you have trouble enforcing the “lights out” rule in your house, make it easy on yourself with this rule. If you put your children to bed, only to look down the hall and see the light shining under the door, simply unscrew the light bulb until they can learn to appreciate the privilege of responsibility.

Mealtime Madness

  • Does your child tend to act up during dinner? Try sending him, along with his plate of food, into the other room to eat alone at the dining room table until he can settle down.
  • If you have a chair tilter, or a child who can’t seem to stay seated to eat, the child is required to remove it from the table and finish her meal standing.


  • If you have a child who continually forgets to turn off the lights, make her go a day without using anything that requires electricity. She’ll soon get the point.
  • This correction works well if you have a child who is constantly leaving his jacket, backpack, or any other personal belonging behind: Require him to baby-sit the item for the rest of the day. It must be carried during mealtime, playtime, bath time, and bedtime. If your child is caught without it at any time, an additional day is added to the sentence, beginning when they arrive home from school the next day.
  • Destiny is constantly taking out her headband or hair bow and leaving them at school.  We charge her a dollar a day for the forgotten item.


  • When the kids run up and down the stairs after having been told not to, have them crawl up and down on their bottoms. Use the same principle for running through the house, only have them crawl on all fours to get to where they were going in such a hurry.
  • Kids intuitively know that we’re reluctant to correct them in public. Call their bluff. The next time your young one starts acting up in a restaurant or store, warn her first that if she doesn’t straighten up she will have to stand in a corner in public. If she doesn’t believe you and continues to misbehave, point to a nearby corner in the restaurant or store and require her to stick her nose there for five minutes. It’s sure to make a lasting impression!

  Help your kids grow into healthy and godly adults, by balancing love AND limits!  You’ll never be sorry, and life at home will be so much better!

Goodbye, pushover parenting! Hello, happy kids!  🙂



 Some good reads about this subject:
Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth
Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days

“The Rod”…..Part 2

 You may not agree with what you are about to read.  And that is ok.  You  need to find what works at your house. My job today is to simply introduce you to the way we choose to discipline our children.

 Meet “The Rod”….


   You know, as in “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

(Adapted Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”)

Phase II of our Discipline is introducing “The Rod”.  

  Here’s how it goes down at our house:

  #1 The child makes a wrong choice and needs help making the right one.  Or needs help getting wrong behavior or bad attitude under control.

#2  We send said child to their room, to think about their actions, while they wait to be disciplined.

#3  After we have taken a moment to gather our thoughts and be sure we are not disciplining in anger, we enter their room, take them over our knee, and discipline them.  Usually a swat will do. Not hard, just enough to sting a bit.  Try it out on your own leg if you are unsure.

#4  We immediately take them in our arms and love on them, discussing why the spank was given.  We talk about God’s Word and what He asks them to do, based on the offense. 

#5  The child by this time is done with their sad tears, and apologizes to us and to the Lord, asking for forgiveness from both. 

#6 The child leaves the room to go apologize to any children who observed the wrong behavior, or the child that was hurt by the wrong behavior.

  It’s quite affective!  Disciplining out of love, not anger is the key.  AND, always always pointing them back to the Word of the Lord.

  The best part is, by establishing this early on, our kids RARELY get spanks anymore.  It’s awesome! 

  In fact all I have to do is open the drawer where “The Rod” lives, get it out and set it down near-by, and we go from this……………..


To this…………….


  By doing our footwork early, and helping our kids understand that there are rules and they don’t change, we don’t have to use this form of discipline very often at all!

  Our job as parents is to not only discourage wrong behavior, but to encourage right behavior.  For this we use Sticker Charts…..

This is Destiny’s Cheerful Heart Chart.  The verse on the bottom says: “Do everything without arguing or complaining,  so you may become…children of God.”  (Phil. 2:14) 

  She is filling hers for the 2nd time.  When she filled the chart, she got to pick a reward.  She choose to get a pedicure with her cousin, Julie.  


Here is Tylan’s chart. He is half way done with his.  His chart is an Obedience Chart.  He says when he gets to the end of his chart, he is going to pick to go to Destiny’s school to eat lunch with her.


Here is Avery’s first chart.  I just recently got around to making her one.  With her, we are working on FIRST time obedience, so it seemed fitting that her chart would be about that.




  Here is how it works: you obey first time with a cheerful heart, you get a sticker.  If you obey, but with arguing and complaining, you do NOT get a sticker, but a verbal reminder from mom or dad to have a better attitude next time.  If the wrong behavior or slow obedience continues, the child is asked to remove a sticker from their chart, which is quite dramatic! (but oh-so effective)

     Tomorrow I will post about some of our other discipline options we choose to use, and tell you about the newest stage of discipline at our house.  There are 7 years between our oldest and youngest, so that’s quite an age difference when it comes to methods of discipline and it’s effectiveness!

Proverbs 23:13: Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.




Starting Discipline….Part 1









   In our family, starting solids is not just a new stage for our babies to experience.  It’s not just funny faces and messy mouths.  We take it very seriously, because as soon as our children are old enough to sit up in a highchair to eat their baby cereal, we start a WHOLE new chapter in their lives……..

   We start teaching basic manners and we start to discipline them. 

  We are on kid number 4, but this method started 7 years ago with Destiny, and since it was so affective, we have chosen to continue this with the other 3.

  We pick 6 baby signs to teach them:

Drink, eat, more, thank you, please, and all done.

( Here is a link if you want to research what these signs look like, the only one it doesn’t list is “all done”.  That can be found here.)

  At first, we just sign to them: Do you want More to Eat?  (signing more and eat)  Or, Drink Please!  But before long, they are sighing to us. What a moment! That moment when your baby looks at you, takes that sweet chubby hand up to their mouth to sign “eat please”!  Super exciting!  🙂

  With some of my kids it was around 9 months when they’d start to sign back, with others, around the year mark.  Either way, it’s a very effective form of communication, one we love to teach and use!  Already Paxton has looked at his water after I sign and say “Drink?”  His eyebrows go up and he gets so excited! 

  On to the discipline part…..

  High chair discipline is very easy and very necessary.  It’s the basis of all discipline to come.  We choose to use a firm “NO” and a hand squeeze with simple phrases of:

“NO. We keep our hands on the tray.” 

“We don’t throw food.”

“You may NOT put your hands in the bowl.” 

   There is a natural transition in the severity of the punishment.  When the hand squeeze stops working, we flick the hand.  Usually at this point, it’s the hand getting them in trouble during feeding time!

  As they become mobile and get into things, we transition to a spank on the hand when they don’t obey our first firm NO!  You would be amazed at how affective this is already at this age.  They know! They know FAR more than parents give them credit for.

  In fact, it gets to the point where we just make the “Ah ah ah” noise as they are approaching the “no-no” (a plant, the remote etc.) and they will shake their little heads no and crawl away. (Or, if your name is Avery, touch it once, while looking at Mommy, JUST to be sure she is serious.) They know what comes next if they touch it!  They know they get a hand spank, and they know they don’t want that.

  As they become toddlers, we introduce a spank on the diaper, transitioning to a spank on the leg around age 2. 

  We use phrases like: 

“I need FIRST time obedience from you.”

  •   This means you CANNOT count!  You know what I am talking about……

  “You obey mommy!  By the time I get to 3, you better be over here cleaning up, or ELSE!  ONE – TWOOOOO – TWO & A HALF – TWO & THREE QUARTERS….THREE!” 

This is the part where they ruuuun over to you to start cleaning up, and from them on, will wait until “3” to obey, because they can!  My mom did this to us, and we TOTALLY waited till 3 on purpose!

  •      This truly only gives the child 3 more seconds of blatant defiance and disobedience to you, and does nothing but allow for that child to know that you don’t mean what you say…at least not right away!

“Slow obedience is no obedience.” 

  • We expect our children to obey and obey promptly.  We tell them…..

“The Bible says ‘Children obey your parents…’ It makes God happy when you obey mommy and daddy.” 

  •   Ultimately, our goal as parents, is to teach our children to live in a way that honors God and obeys His Word.  In saying that, we want our kids to obey us, because they know that is what GOD wants, not just because it is what WE want.  

  Children are happiest when there are clearly boundaries set.  They may push and test those boundaries once in a while, but only to be sure the safety of those walls are still there. 

  Discipline is hard on parents, but life is harder without it!  When my mom used to say “This hurts me more than it hurts you” I thought she was NUTS!  But its true, it is hard to discipline.  Its work and it takes time, but it’s so worth it and  it’s straight from God’s word.

“If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)

  My word has to be gold to these kids.  It has to be true and pure, it has to be firm and real.  What I say needs to be what I do, and PROMPTLY, as the verse above states, or they will question the sincerity of every word from my mouth.

  There are times I have spouted off “Fine! If you don’t finish your supper, we will NOT go to the party.” 

  Guess who had to stay home from the party?  Yup, me and the naughty one. 

     You better believe it will make a lasting impression on that child and if you are like me, it really made me think before I threatened my children in the future.  Saying what I said, meant a bit of a punishment for me as well, it was no fun watching the rest of the family go without us!  But I said it, so I HAD to follow through or forever more be doubted!

  Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Phase II of Discipline at our house and introduce you to “The Rod”.

Work hard today to say what you mean & mean what you say…..little ears are listening & learning!  

 Stick to your guns Momma, and be consistant, consistant, consistant!