Kids push, and push, and push, and then push a little more to test their limitations and our patience.  And it’s our job, as parents, to push back and draw the proverbial line in the sand.  But because we are human and fallible, that line often moves. As a result, it sends a message to our children to continue that quest of pushing us to the brink of giving in to their every whim.

Don’t do it. Stay the course. Stay strong.

It can be even more difficult when there are two (or three!) of us trying to set those limits who have all have drawn our own line in the sand. So the tantrums, the yelling, fighting, and sometimes hitting continue. Good stuff.

So what are we to do? How do we be consistent with our rules when we all have different schedules and aren’t always together to set those boundaries collectively?


Once kids understand the concept of choices and the ensuing consequences, they begin to weigh their options and make their OWN choices. If you do X, you get Y. If you don’t do X, you don’t get Y and you lose Z.

Simple math.

But it works, at least most of the time. And it teaches them invaluable lessons about life and consequences while simultaneously empowering them to determine their own fate and the fate of their use of that iPad that they so love.

Our kids are given choices and are reminded that they themselves are empowered to make those decisions.  They listen, pause, and then act.   While sometimes they make the right choice, other times they don’t.  But with each bad decision and ensuing reaction, it reinforces the fact they they don’t like consequences.

And it’s that enlightenment that might just make my house, and yours, a little less chaotic, loud, and stressful.

Give it a try and let us know if it works for you or if you’ve found other options that work for your family.


April 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Continue to enjoy your blog, Kip! It’s refreshing to hear a man talk about parenting. You clearly relish being a Dad, and that makes your family very lucky indeed.

April 14, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thanks Laurie… very nice to hear. And I too wish more guys would talk about it but I guess that’s why I’m here! I do love being a Dad for sure although I’m the first to admit I’m not perfect and it’s certainly the hardest job I’ve ever had – But also the most rewarding! Thanks for reading and coming along for the ride as I try to figure this all out.

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