“Don’t Lie to Me, Mommy!”

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Sean and I have a bit of a habit of "kidding" each other, and it's something we've carried over to how we interact with the children. To explain what I'm even talking about here, I'm going to have to give an example. "Mommy, are we rich?" Sally asked me recently. "Well, we have plenty to eat and a safe place to live and lots of friends, so I'd say yes, we're rich," I responded. This was not the best answer, maybe, but I wasn't exactly in the position to explain things like global inequalities … [Read more...]

Emotion Control

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Michael and Debi Pearl's five children are now raising children of their own. Each says they are following the same methods their father laid out in To Train Up A Child, which he first published in 1994, and several of them have begun writing regularly for the No Greater Joy newsletter. As I read their articles, I often wonder whether they are adding their own spin to their father's childrearing methods.The Pearls have begun applying this three-part personality system to children. A recent a … [Read more...]

And Then She Called Me “Libby”

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Over the holidays my preschool age daughter Sally started calling me Libby. For a couple of days, it was all she used to address me. "Libby, can you get me a drink of milk?" "Libby, can I have a snack?" "Libby, is it okay if I go play in the basement?" I think I can now understand why some parents go by their first names with their children. There is definitely something leveling about it.Sally has long occasionally called Sean and I by our first names. For instance, I'd say "Sally, could … [Read more...]

Little Bundles of Sin? I Think Not.

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"My legs are tired mommy, my legs are tired!" Sally was insistent."We're almost home, honey, you can make it," I assured her. Bobby was in the stroller, and as he is just moving from babyhood to toddlerhood I wasn't going to make him walk."No I can't! My legs are going to fall asleep!" Sally was again insistent."Come on honey, I know you can do it," I said. "Just a little farther!"And at that moment, Bobby climbed out of the stroller, looked at his sister, and pointed back at the … [Read more...]

Raising Little Terrorists: Threats and Ultimatums Gone Wrong

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"Mommy, stop your typing right now, or I'll color on the table with this marker.""Sally!" I burst out, "I will not let you threaten me like that!"And then I had a sudden realization and my annoyance evaporated. Sally, age four, had been issuing ultimatums like this with increasing frequency over the previous week, but it was only at this moment that I put two and two together and figured out where this was coming from. Sally had learned to issue threats to get her way from me. Stop … [Read more...]

And Bobby Wore Heels

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I was getting ready to check out at the second-hand children's clothing shop when I realized I had a problem. When we had first arrived at the store Bobby had brought me a pair of white heeled girls' dress shoes just his size and had asked me to put them on him (he doesn't really have words yet, but that doesn't mean he can't communicate!). So I had, and he'd been running around in them with smiling from ear to ear ever since. And now that it was time to go, well, now he wouldn't let me take … [Read more...]

No Spanking Necessary

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I was nervous. Bobby is a year old now, and fast on his feet. He loves watching his sister Sally in her dance class. Usually we stay outside the room and watch through a long window, and I hold him up to see. But one day a semester, the parents are invited to sit in on the class to watch. Sally was excited to have us in the room. There was a slightly inset area that ran along one side of the room, with space for folding chairs and a bit of room around them. But how in the world was I to sit … [Read more...]


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