Next month:
February 2016

6 entries from January 2016

Knock the confidence out of your kid

         I often hear from teachers and friends “Your children are so well-behaved and confident.” It is true, they are however it has not always been that way.

         I remember the nervous feeling that came over me dropping Kendra off to kindergarten. Joe and I had searched high and low for the perfect school for Kendra. We finally, decided on a Christian school. We were so excited to watch Kendra grow and learn! The opposite happened. The teacher did not like Kendra, at all! Everyday we picked her up and the teacher had a new grievance

“She talked out of turn”

“We met Mr. BORING today” when asked what that meant we were informed that Kendra told her, when asked if she liked an activity, that she thought it was boring.

“Your daughter started talking before I even said AMEN that is not acceptable!”

54ca7b129fc2e_-_kids-tools-10-1208-60579064Soon parent /teacher conferences came around and the teacher explained to us that our daughter was too confident and she was going to knock the confidence out of our kid. She saw it as her mission.

She succeeded that year. She knocked the confidence right out of her.

Joe and I had choices to make.

We could be angry

We could see the situation as hopeless

We could rebuild


We chose to rebuild.


How did we do that? How did we teach our daughter to be confident?

  1. We taught her that failure is not final.
  2. We taught her that people will hurt you but they do not define who you are.
  3. We taught her that when you get knocked down you get back up again.
  4. We told her everyday that she was beautiful, loved and nothing would change that love for her.
  5. We allowed her to ask questions and express frustration.
  6. We convinced her she had a voice and others needed to hear it.
  7. We taught her at very young age that she had a belief system and we let her form her own.

I will never forget the day my husband had her read a very controversial book. She came to me with all sorts of questions and stated she didn’t know what she believed anymore. I was panicky and called him to find out what she was reading.

He laughs and says “It is ok I purposely picked that book because I want her to start forming her own belief system.”

We allowed her to talk

We invited her to wrestle with life at 9 years’ old

Ultimately we have taught her to be her and our confident girl came back. She is now 13 still confident and beautiful. I am proud to be her mom. I hope she will never stop discovering who she is.

15 minute dates

Clock“Dad where are you going?” This was the question I often asked my dad as he was grabbing his wallet and putting on his shoes. He would reply “To the store.” “Can I come?” I would ask with excitement! My dad never said no. It was his 15 minutes with me. My dad seemed to know something I often forget in the craziness of life and that is one day my children will grow up. Our trips to the store were always an adventure. We talked, played games and reminisced about life. Soon it was not just the trips to the store that allowed me alone time with my dad but also our little bedtime routine. A few nights a week he tucked us into bed and sang us songs, played goofy games, or told us made up stories. You know what though? Those 15 minute dates with my dad played a role in the adult I grew up to be. I love being a parent and often think about the fond memories I have with my parents.

My life is a little crazy right now and a typical week for me could include 8-10 hours in the classroom, 8-10 hours seeing clients, and 20-30 hours of administrative work. Plus, I homeschool our kids and manage our home. I am running kids here there and everywhere. Last year, during one of my classes, my professor said “You only need 15 minutes a day per kid to refill their cup”. I was under the impression I needed hours alone with each child. 4 kid’s times hours of one -on -one time equals another part time job! When I feel overwhelmed I remember my 15 minutes’ dates with my dad.

It only takes 15 minutes!

Think about it, these crazy children of ours really do not have long attention spans. Its not the quantity that matters but the quality. Spend 15 minutes a day

Reading to them

asking them about their day

Playing a game

Baking cookies together

Doing chores together

Taking a run to the store

15 minutes a day helps them feel



And heard by you.

15 minutes of quality time will even change their behavior. Just try it. Are your kids angry, acting out in some sort of way? Try to 15 minute dates and see if you notice a change in behavior.

Time to put away those spoons

  Wooden spoon    It was a normal day in my house, mom was cleaning, I was playing with my dolls, and my oldest sister was listening to records on the record player. (Does this show my age?) My sister’s favorite song just came on the stereo, “Take this job and shove it”. I can hear this song still in my head as if it was yesterday. My mom came into the living room, where I was playing, and told me I had to clean my room. How dare she say this! I was playing dolls! They were all lined up ready to hear me preach a sermon and she wanted me to clean my room? I told her, “No! Take that job and shove it!” Boom! I told her!

Not only did I have to clean my room now but I also got a whack with the wooden spoon. My parents were spanked, my siblings and I were spanked. You know “Spare the rod and spoil the child” an ancient proverb that is better translated as “refuse to discipline and you get a spoiled child”. My parents were not abusive by any means but I would argue even they could’ve put away those spoons.

How does discipline work without the spoon?

  • Identify the problem

(You are looking for more than just their sin nature here) Why are they disobeying? Throwing a fit? Or being mean? If you do not know ask them what is going on.  Are they tired?  Are they hungry? Are they feeling sad over a recent event that has affected them or your family? Are they exploring and learning new things? Is it information overload?

Example: Johnny you just hit your sister. Why did you hit her?????

Johnny “Because she took my IPod from me!”

  • Identify the emotion

Is your child feeling sad, angry, depressed, guilty, determined, frustrated, threatened, or lonely? By finding out what the emotion is they are feeling you can better handle the problem.

“When your sister took your IPod you felt ___?"

“I hate her! She is always taking my stuff!”

  • Teach them to change the emotion

Johnny hit his sister because he feels like she is taking her stuff all the time. Most children only know two emotions: love and hate. It is important that children learn to identify more emotions because it will make them much healthier adults.

“Johnny you hate your sister?” When your sister took your IPod what other emotion could you have felt besides hate? How about angry? Sad? Annoyed? Instead of getting angry and hitting her what could you have done differently?

  • Teach them to problem solve

The ability to problem solve is a skill that will carry them through life and help them be more responsible adults. We problem solve when we look at a problem and think of different ways to handle it.

“Johnny instead of hitting your sister what is another way you could’ve responded?” (Have Johnny come up with several different ways and talk through each of them)

  • So what is their punishment?

I am a huge fan of making the punishment fit the crime. Johnny hits his sister and then mom spanks him.  This teaches Johnny that when I feel emotion it is ok to hit. Instead of spanking try:

  • Time outs - Consistency is the key. They sit in time out one minute for every year they are old, if they get up, you say nothing to them, and you just put them back.
  • Take something away - Since the IPod was involved in the incident take the IPod for a reasonable time period. I suggested a few hours to a day.
  • Have them write a note - Sometimes when children are really angry with someone it is punishment enough to have them list all the things they like about the person they are angry with.
  • Talk it out - Children, just like you and I, have bad days and do not know how to express emotions. The best gift you can give them is to teach them life skills that make them a better adult.
  • Give them a hug - sometimes, especially tots, throw fits because they are overstimulated and just need a hug to make everything better. (Remember as adults we also need hugs.)

Spanking them is too easy, it’s a great frustration releaser for the parent but it is not effective in teaching life skills. No one is going to spank them as an adult. You should stick with punishments that model life to them. Take the time to teach your child in the midst of conflict. Also, remember that change does not happen overnight. Just like you and I, it’s a process. Be consistent. Be patient and be loving. It will pay off in the end.

Welcome to my Blog

I will write my thoughts on life, love, therapy...almost everything here. Check back often and join the conversation!

What to do when your child is constantly misbehaving

My child is constantly misbehaving and I cannot deal with it anymore!


My husband and I have this phrase we often like to use “Where is the handbook?” Seriously these precious little beings coming into our world. They have a mind of their own, their own personality and no one bothered to send a manual with them! I mean how nice would it be to turn to page 5 and read about


“When my child constantly wants to miss school do this.”

Instead we get to figure it out on our own.

Steps to behavior modification

  1. Find the source of the problem. How is your child winning by the way they are choosing to act?

Maybe it’s the only time they get your attention?

Do they get their favorite treat when they act up?

Do they get to sleep in if they choice not to get up in the morning?

  1. Create a rewards/ punishment system

Children between the ages of 3 and 12 need very specific steps.

Create a reward and punishment

Make sure to follow through

Need an example?

Susie is not getting up in the morning. A few changes have recently happened in the home. The most recent in the addition of Susie’s little sister Aubrey. Mom and dad are busy attending to the new baby. Susie has realized that if she puts up a fuss in the morning and refuses to get out of bed, she misses the bus, therefore her father has to take her to school. Susie has learned that by missing the bus she gets alone time with daddy. Her dysfunction is serving a function.

(Its important that Susie learns she can get alone time with mom and dad without missing school so set up date nights or one on one time with her)

To get her to school:

  1. Make expectations clear. Susie you have to be up at 6:30 a.m. dressed and downstairs by 7:00 a.m. and ready to be on the bus at 7:30 a.m. with coats and mittens on. If she meets those goals she gets a reward. It has to be a reward that she really wants.
  2. If she fails to meet the expectations, then she loses the reward or has to give it to someone else.
  3. Don’t give up

Behaviors do not change overnight. They involve awareness of the problem and consistency.

Try a behavior modification and see if it works! If you have questions just ask!