Category: Rules

June 17th, 2012 by Lisa

It’s important for children to understand their boundaries.  And in this case, the boundaries I’m referring to are the literal kind. Physical Boundaries.

There are times when you need to keep your child close to you for safety, or times you need them to stop moving toward something dangerous like the top of the stairs or a hot barbeque.

The word “stop” is a good one to be sure to teach your child at a very young age I taught my oldest boy the word “stop” shortly after he began to walk, around10-months old. Here’s how I took some time to teach this word.

  • First I held his  hand and walked a few steps and then I said “stop!” and we stopped.
  • I repeated this several times until he seemed to be stopping on his own even though I was holding his hand.
  • The next step was to walk and let go of his hand having him walk beside me and say “stop,” stopping myself very quickly.  He had no trouble stopping with me, and we continued the little game of “stop” until he would stop automatically when told.
  • Then we both walked around the yard going in our own different directions and I would say “stop”  and we would both stop in our own places. ( It was a fun game, kids like games.)
  •   The next step was for me to stand in place and allow him to roam alone, I would  say “stop” for him to stop clapping my hands  and cheering every time he did it just right all by himself.
  • As he continued to roam around I would have him stop periodically.

I did this on a day when I also wanted to get some yard work done. Our yard is near a busy street and I didn’t want him to get close to the road.  So, I decided that he would be allowed on the grass (separated from the street by a flower garden) and on the walkway (which was separated from the road by the driveway.)  I began weeding some of my plants and continued to play the game, giving generous applause for the stopping.  It worked a treat, and I was sure to let him know “What a good boy!  Look at you!!  You can stop!  Good boy!”

And since kids love to show off, I added reinforcement to it by telling his Dad…”look at this!  He can “stop!”    He was one proud little toddler.  And he had learned a valuable lesson.  Two actually: a safety lesson; and the lesson that people will be pleased with you when you do as you are told.

You might also enjoy reading  When to Teach Your Baby the Meaning of “No”  or 1-2-3 Now I really Mean It!


Posted in Infants, Parenting, Preschoolers, Rules, toddlers Tagged with: , , ,

February 23rd, 2012 by Lisa

The best money advice I was ever given was to live below my means.  This advice was given to me by My Mother, and also by David Chilton The Wealthy Barber.

Living below your means has many benefits.  It can help you pay down debt.  It helps you save for your future.  It develops discipline.  It can also help you be purposeful with your monetary choices.  And if you hit a period of reduced income, you won’t have to make lifestyle adjustments immediately or dip into your savings too soon – because you have a built-in buffer.

The best thing to do is establish a portion of your money that you choose to live without.  The Wealthy Barber recommends  to “pay yourself first” 10% of your income.   This is a nice amount to try, you might be able to achieve more or perhaps that amount is too ambitious.  Put this money away every single payday.  If possible, have your bank auto-transfer it a savings or investment account that’s not connected to your debit card.

The second thing you should do is set a reasonable amount of pocket money for yourself to use weekly.  This should be 5% of your income or less.   Use this money as pocket money.  It’s for times when you want to buy a non-essential treat like a coffee or snack, and use it for your entertainment budget.  This might mean that you need to pack lunches from home, or bring a thermos with some coffee in it.  But it’s a way to constrain your discretionary spending.  And if you have money left at the end of the week, put it in a jar to put towards something you’re saving up for.

The 85% that remains is your living budget.  It covers everything else.  Food, lodging and utilites, transportation, clothing, insurance, entertainment and gifts.  Your lifestyle should fit comfortably into this budget.  If it doesn’t, then it’s time to consider what changes you will make.  If you are not living within the 85% I believe you are living above your means.  Perhaps you need to downsize your home, or adjust your expectations about the type of car to drive, or the amount your spend on wardrobe or entertainment.  Some changes are easier to make than others.  The areas you choose to adjust will reflect your priorities.

The next thing you have to do is stop living on credit, or at least budget to pay your credit card bill monthly and not use it for impulse purchases.

This is just like the piggy banks I recommend using with children.  Only it’s the grown up version of spending.

Posted in Money, Rules Tagged with: , , , , , ,

February 14th, 2012 by Lisa

Respect.  Sock it to me, sock it to me…

There’s a big buzz these days about a man who made a youtube video to, essentially, humiliate someone publicly.  I use the word “someone” because I’m not entirely sure who he has humiliated.  It’s one of 2 people: his daughter, who was his intended target or himself.  If you ask me I think it was him who ended up being humiliated.

Do you know the video I am referring to?  It’s the one where a man’s daughter uses facebook as a means to express her teenage rebellion of authority. She makes some pretty harsh statements about her parents and their expectations using her laptop which he just finished repairing for her.  It doesn’t end well for any of the characters of this story, especially not the laptop.

I feel badly for the man.  Surely he wants to have a respectful daughter.  And he is clearly frustrated.  But, I don’t know if fighting fire with fire is the way to go about this.  In fact, it’s not.  Firemen use water to fight fire.  More fire only makes the situation worse.

What should this man be doing in this situation?

Once you’ve made your bed, do you really have to lie in it? Or could you say, gee this isn’t the bed I was trying to make.  Let’s try a new approach.

I fear, if this video is not a hoax, that the divide between father and daughter has only been made deeper by this public humiliation.

All I ask is for a little respect, just a little bit.  When you come home.

If you really want to watch the video, here’s a link.  

Posted in Love, Parenting, Rules, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

February 14th, 2012 by Lisa

photo credit: flickr

If you don’t believe in your authority who will?  Children are quick to pick up on fear, inconsistency and uncertainty.  It’s like they can smell it.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  They can’t.

So my advice is “fake it until you make it.”  Be firm.  Be loving, but be firm.  Don’t let their cute, sad little faces cause you to bend the rules.  Don’t allow whining and tantrums to weaken your resolve.

You are the parent.  That’s right – You.  You make the rules and it’s up to you to be sure that they are adhered to.

I bet some people don’t even realize that they don’t believe in their own authority.  They just think that people don’t take them seriously, or don’t listen to them.  Or worse, that they have bad children.  shudder

The fact is that we teach people how to treat us.  If we allow our children to disrespect our rules, then we have allowed them to dilute our authority.  We have taught them that we are not serious about laying down rules.  We have shown them that we don’t believe in our own authority.

I imagine that all of this came to be during the time that we were in school.    Something changed in society.  Children were given more freedom and adults less. So, in the end we have parents acting like children and children who are out of control (literally:  No one is controlling them.)

I urge you, as the next generation of adults and parents, to take your role in teaching discipline very seriously.  Teach it by example as self-discipline.  Teach it by direction as rules and consequences.  If you don’t…who will?

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Love and Rules.  or Counting or The Time Out Space



Posted in Parenting, Rules Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 22nd, 2012 by Lisa

Have you heard parents counting while they wait for their child to comply with their instructions?

I don’t believe it in.  I believe in children doing what they are told to do.  Children should do what you said because you said it, not because you started counting to 3.  It’s like a threat.  (And sometimes a hollow one, don’t get me started on that one.  That’s another post!)

“Give Mommy your toy.”  Mother is gather playthings so they can leave to go home.  Child continues to play with the toy.

“Mommy said, give me your toy.”  Child continues playing and ignores her.

“Give me your  toy…..(big pause)…. Mommy’s going to count…..(pause)…One (big pause)  …..twooo (longer pause)….” Child plays with toy and either does or doesn’t hand over the toy.  Regardless of whether or not the toy is handed over this whole interaction was a waste of time and it only teaches kids that you only mean what you said if you count.

Honestly, I’m always a little embarrassed for the Mom using this “technique.”  To me, she is demonstrating that she hasn’t taught her children to respect her words only her threats of punishment.

Here’s how I got results with young children.

    • “Give Mommy your toy.”  Child continues to play with toy.
    •  I get down on their level, look them in the eye and say.  “Did you hear me?  I said give Mommy your toy.”
      •  If they don’t do so immediately, I put my hands on their arm above the wrist, and make them pass me the toy.
      •  If the child was looking at me when I said it the first time and I’m sure they heard me, I skip the middle step and simply make them do it.
        • If I am met with defiance or negative attitude, there is a time out immediately or at the soonest opportunity.  Delaying a time out for long is not effective for young children.  You just seem like you’re doling out random punishment.


Believe in your own authority.  If you don’t, you can be certain no one else will – not even a two year old.



If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Believe in Your Own Authority or I’m Sorry I Can’t Understand what you’re saying ( a post about whining.)

Posted in Infants, Parenting, Preschoolers, Rules, School age, toddlers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,


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