Sunday, May 27, 2012


I can’t remember for sure how old I was when I received my first allowance, but what I do remember is that it was a quarter, dime, nickel, and a penny.

My parents would give my brother and me our allowance once a week. I always looked forward to the dayusually Friday. I also remember that I was the only one of my friends that had an allowance and they thought I was so lucky. I also thought I was lucky until I realized that every time I would want my parents to buy me something, they would say, “Did you bring your allowance?” Or, “How long do you need to save until you can afford it?” I didn’t realize until I had my own kids how easy this made it for my parents to say, “No,” without having to actually say, “No.”

I started giving my oldest son, Greyson, his allowance when he was 4-years-old. I agree that this was the perfect age to start, although, I will be starting a few months earlier with my youngest son Reid who won’t be 4-years-old until September. I am starting earlier with Reid because he quickly caught on with Greyson’s allowance and the benefits and naturally he wants to be just like his big brother, and Mommy wants to be fair.

Once again, my husband wasn’t too sure about giving a 4-yeard-old $4 a week. He believed that it was too much money for a 4-year old. I reminded him how much we spend on all the little stuff every time we go somewhere, and that by giving him an allowanceit would save us money. Also, I explained to him all the values of receiving an allowance.

  • Teaches children to save their money
  • Delayed gratification
  • The value of a dollar
  • That you receive an allowance because you’re a part of the family (you can always earn extra buy working for it by doing “jobs” around the house).
  • Counting, addition, and subtraction
  • Loans (If your children forget their wallets) that have to be paid back.
A few days ago we were at Legoland and Greyson was asking for a Star Wars Lego set. I asked him if he had enough money? After figuring out how much it cost, he was able to understand that if he saves last weeks and this weeks allowance then he would have enough money next time we camewhich is this Monday. A few days later he saw a toy that he wanted at TargetI asked him if he preferred to have that instead of his Star Wars Legos? He thought about it and decided that he would rather save his money. The most amazing moment of this story was when we were in both stores he was able to quickly agree that he preferred one toy over the other AND he could wait until the following week. I loved seeing him practice patience and even moreI loved that I didn’t have to battle a full meltdown temper tantrum the way I had anticipated.

The Positive Discipline Tool for Allowances is not only beneficial for the child but, just as much for the parent.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Put Kids In The Same Boat

Putting my kids in the same boat (treating them the same when they fight) was actually more peaceful for all of us.

It's so easy to get caught up in my boys fight and defend my youngest son who's 3 1/2-years old. I find myself feeling sorry for him and angry at my oldest for hurting him. We all know (especially since I'm the youngest) that the younger child usually provokes the older sibling.

I finally feel comfortable that my youngest son can hold his own—he's at the size and age where he can defend himself. Therefore, when he antagonizes his older brother and then gets upset with the results, I have faith that they can figure it out and work it out eventually.

The reason this tool has provided more peace in my home is that when I'm not in the middle taking sides and or defending one of them—it is easier on my blood pressure and temper and I don't flip my lid the same way they just did. Even more amazing is how quickly they resolve their problems when I stay out of it.

When I remind them that I will not be involved and that they can come find me when they're done; they handle it and problem solve better than I could if I chose to be involved.

By putting my boys in the same boat—I eliminate one of them learning to get attention by being the victim while the other gets lots of training in being the bully.

There's an activity that we do in the Positive Discipline Parenting classes  called The 3B's (Bear it. Beat it. Boot them Out) that illustrates three way to put kids in the same boat.

Beat It—You leave the room while the kids fight and them let them figure it out.

Bear It—You stay in the room while they fight and you stay out of it by doing nothing (this one is impossible for me)

Boot Them Out—Separate them without taking sides and tell them that when they and you are all calm they can try again.

What parents realize after participating in this activity is:
When the kids aren't getting the attention they're used to from their parents, they're usually confused and will come together to figure out what's going on.

This week my boys started fighting and I told them, "It looks like you guys are fighting and I don't want to be involved." I let them know that I'd be downstairs and they could let me know when they were done so we could finish our bedtime routine. I also told them, "I hope you can resolve it quickly so that we still have time for books and sharing happiest and saddest times."

I hadn’t reached the bottom of the stairs when I heard Greyson calmly explaining to Reid: "The reason I took that toy from you and hit you with it was because you weren't letting me have a turn." Reid then said, "But I wasn't done playing with it." Greyson then said, "How long until I can have a turn?" Reid replied, “Let's play a game where we can both use it. Greyson then told Reid he was sorry and asked him if he could have a hug?

I honestly couldn't have been more pleased. I know the results would not have been that good had I been involved. I was so proud and amazed at the same time.

Once again, my boys get to prove to me that when we use these Positive Discipline tools—they really do work!

When you have the courage to “put your children in the same boat,”  be sure to use the other Positive Discipline tools of letting them know in advance what you're going to do and then be brave enough to follow through. At the very least—they'll be upset and you'll still be at peace because you weren't involved.
Good luck ;-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teach Children What to Do

One of the first Positive Discipline tools I learned wasteach your children what to do rather than what “not” to do.  It started for me before my boys were even talking and I still teach them every day. Some examples include:

  • When my son would hit me, or a friend, at daycareI would say, “How do you touch nice?” Then I would take his hand and show him.
  • When my son would scream as a toddler, I would playfully show him the silent scream or ask him if he wanted to scream outside?
  • Dressing themselvesas early as the age of two. This includes brushing teeth and hair. (My boys feels so proud of themselves for being able to dress themselves that they now refuse to let me helpeven when I’m in a hurry and it seems like getting that buckle buckled is taking forever.)
  • Climbing into the car seat and helping with the buckle. Instead of a fight, they seem very proud of their ability to do it themselves.
  • Cleaning up their toysthis included a lot of handholding and modeling.
  • Teaching my oldest son to tell his baby brother what he could do, use, play with, rather than what he couldn’t. (This one is dailywith lots of reminding).
  • Pouring their own cereal and milkand when they spill or make a mess—I teach them how to clean it up. (With encouragement of course and defiantly with no shame or blame)

The main concept of this tool isdon’t do anything for your children that they can do for themselves. Often times, parents will do too much for their childrenin the name of love.  They don’t realize that they are depriving their children of the sense of self-reliance and feeling, “I am capable.”

My husband still has a difficult time with this tool because our boys often don’t match their clothes and their curly hair combed straight can look (in our eyes) absolutely ridiculous. However, when I see their faces and their posture just scream pride and self-reliance. I personally would rather have my boys develop good self-esteem and independence than boys who are dressed fashionably matched. J

One story I often share with people (which they find hard to believe) is that I grew up with a live-in housekeeper and nanny. My mom clearly instructed her that she was not allowed to clean our rooms, do our laundry, pack our lunches, or wake us up in the morning. She wanted us to learn the pride and capability of having those skills. I was setting my alarm, and doing all my laundry by 8-years old.  My mom also made sure she left us at least 2-chores a day. I remember being confused and even sometimes mad as a child, because it didn’t make sense to me. I would ask my mom why we had a housekeeper if my brother and I were doing all the work. I totally understood it during my first year of college and having several roommates who didn’t know how to do anything for themselves. Once again, thanks Mama!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Focus on Solutions

Two Positive Discipline sayings that we're drilled into my head growing up were--Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn and the one relating to this weeks blog--Are we look for blame or are we looking for solutions?

My favorite memory of this saying from my childhood was when my mom was lecturing, and complaining about how there were dishes in the sink after she had just done them that morning.  My brother quickly responded, "Are we looking for blame or are we looking for solutions?". I think all my mom could say was "touché."

Don't we all just love it when our kids can so pleasantly remind us of the valuable lessons we're teaching them.

For this weeks tool card in my home I went out of my way to exhaust the saying  "Are we looking for blame or are we looking for solutions?"

I also stopped my boys several times when they were arguing/fighting and would kindly remind them that I had faith in them to find a solution to their problem. If they weren't able to problem solve we would stop whatever activity they were doing until they could both agree on one or several solutions.
My youngest son willingly came up with using a timer--several times. Or another favorite--we can _______as soon as. (Both ideas are other popular PD tools).

It's so great when we finally start to see the seed that we've been planting for so long finally grow.
An important point to mention is--focusing on solutions is also one of the main concepts of Family Meetings. Often times the challenges/problems on the agenda can turn into a lecture forum, but instead we're in fact teaching our children and reminding ourselves that instead of finding blame we're searching for solutions.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The Agreements tool card this week helped me realize how often my husband and I make the agreements and then willingly or unwillingly have our boys “agree.” I then will follow up by saying, “What was our agreement?” Although, it was never their idea to begin with. What I should have said was, “that wasn’t what I told you, or if you don’t listen/obey then___________.”

It’s embarrassing how often I can forget that the most important concept/tool of Positive Discipline is to have your children involved. The more you have your children involved with the PD tools, the more likely they will follow throughespecially when it comes to agreements.

The agreements tools card is yet another reminder of how important Family Meetings are. This provides the perfect opportunity to practice Agreements.
This week I had my boys practicing coming up with agreements/solutions.
Anytime they had a “disagreement” I would kindly say, “I have faith in you both that you are great communicators and you both are great at negotiating, therefore, I encourage you to work it out through a mutual agreement.”
A valuable lesson that I learned is that nobody is able or willing to come up with an agreement during the time of conflictduh!

Naturally, it was my job to step in and validate their feelings, and then mostly do a lot of distracting and redirecting. Once everyone was calm and out of the situation, that was the time to sit down and focus on agreements that were respectful and mutual for everyone.