Good SHT's

Introducing... individuals who could be described as dogged, persistent, giving, TALENTED rule-followers. Bloggers who understand me, who understand the hard work and dedication it takes to pass awards on and who don't back down in the face of foolishness! They honored my rule that requires a Stupid Human Trick (new and orignal, no repeats!) in order for me to accept and pass on awards, and I have to say I am very glad they did!

Semi Slacker Mom may have slacked a little, but who am I to minimize tongue-twisting talent? I think she's incredible for even having the nerve!

Nonna, with a trick Kendall should try.

Blogging Momma didn't try to wiggle out of it.

And who could forget Zoesdad? :)

But finally, the one that inspired this special place of honor, Mel:Thanks, you guys! You're the best!!

Now here's a guy desperate to be successful at his SHT!

Just kidding. He has nothing to do with my blog or SHTs, but he is extremely stupid, so I figured the video fits.

Updated 1/18/09 with Jennie B's new classic!

Update 1/26/09 Weaselmomma, leaving no doubt as to what she majored in in college:

Updated 2/7/09 That Mel is incredibly talented!! She can not only stand on her head, but she also can do this:
Updated 4-8-09 Looks like Grace is up for anything. Here she is, displaying one of her many talents (I'm sure.) Is she sweet, or what?! That is a lot of trouble to go through to give an award. Thanks, again, Grace!ectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}">

Updated [10/19/09]  Here's a pace-setter for you...Freegal1000, of MOO offered this evidence of her SHT --appearing in public half-naked and ridiculous! Wow.  
Roccio [10/15/09] took it to the next level. What a sweetie...

What will they think of next?!

Preventative Discipline-Planning and Structure

It takes planning to be a good parent. Planning is also important in other ways. For example, if your kids are tired, hungry, or sick, don't take them shopping, out to eat, etc., unless you want to invite problems. If you must take them out, don't blame them for being kids; it's your fault for poor planning. Take snacks, expect the worst, and hope for the best. That's all I'm going to say about that.

We all parent on the fly, but if you can learn to just do develop this one little/big skill, you will be far ahead in preventing discipline problems: Alert your child to upcoming transitions. I cannot emphasize this enough; you will have a lot less conflicts getting your kids to leave the house, or a playdate, or just switch from one activity to another if you give them a heads-up. Let them know that a transition is going to occur; don't just say, "It's time to go," and expect them to drop everything. If you want to be really proactive, ask your child at the start to tell you what the plan is for stopping. Tell them, use a visual timer, and ask them to tell you what the plan is. (Get their eye contact, first.) Making transitions is much easier if you provide the structure that planning provides. Planning = security.

The first thing Super Nanny does when she works with a family is set up a routine/structure for their family. That's because structure is very important to children (and most adults). The relative predictability of a routine provides security. To me, the most important thing you need to structure if you want happy, healthy kids and parents is bedtime. SuperNanny has plenty of episodes that show how to get your kids to bed, but she never talks about structuring the bedtime routine itself. It truly breaks my heart when I hear people say, "This is how they always 'go to bed," they just run around until they wear themselves out and then crash wherever. When they're sleeping, we put them in bed. Later, they wake up and get into our beds." This is crazy, people! If your kids do not have a bedtime routine, you are cheating them (and yourselves) out of an opportunity for some wonderful, intimate quiet time together. I guarantee you that if you work on the attention piece as I've suggested, instituting a bedtime routine will be much easier to implement.

I'd be happy to talk more about how to set up a bedtime routine, but in general, a basic routine at our house included: Snack. TV show. Bathe. Teeth. Story. Prayers. Kisses. Good night. They learned the routine and took comfort in it. In fact, their routines today (as teenagers) are pretty close to the same as they were when they were kids. Aside from Kyle's first year (when we Feberized him), we have never had a single problem getting our kids to bed and having them stay there. They did cuddle in bed with us, but that was part of a morning routine.

If you don't have a routine now, it will be harder to establish one, but your kids will eventually love it; trust me. If this is an emergency, and you are desperate to get this started now, email me. Otherwise, watch for a post on this soon.

Preventative Discipline-Follow Thru

Who can remember a parent actually pulling the car over on the side of the road in that last threat before, "I'll turn this car around?!" If your dad/mom did this, you knew they meant business, didn't you? If you say you are going to do something, do it, even if it is inconvenient.

The first trick is to not make empty threats. If you really wouldn't pack up and leave the restaurant, don't say it. If you're usually a mushball in this regard, say to your kids, "You know how Daddy always says, "We're going to go home if you...but then he doesn't really do anything? From now on, I will be following through with this." Expect to be tested. Be prepared to follow through. It should only take one time for your kids to test this, as long as you follow through. Yes, they might test this when YOU are doing something fun, so choose your consequences/threats wisely. If you are at a party and don't want to have to leave early, be prepared to have a back-up consequence.

Never say yes under pressure. Don't say no and then change your mind. Take a deep breath and think about your answer when your child asks you for something. Tell them you need a little time to think about your answer. If they persist, say, "If you want an answer immediately, the answer is no. If you give me some time to think about it, the answer might be yes (or no). If you ask me one more time, the answer is no, because you are harassing me, and I don't like it. Would you like me to answer now, or would you like me to think carefully about my answer?"

Be prepared. If you change the way you parent (even if you tell them you're going to do so) they will remember the one time they were able to get you to cave. It's called intermittent reinforcement. An example of this is your dog remembering that one time someone fed him from the diningroom table; even if it's been months since anyone did so, he's still there begging, isn't he? When you change your parenting and say no, your kids will "up the ante" so-to-speak and will try and try and try their darnedest to break you. Don't break!!! If you do, it will be ten times harder to break their habit the next time. Be strong!!

And finally, if you are not going to be consistent, you will lose credibility with your children. If you yell, swear, hit but say that they are not to yell, swear, or hit, you have lost your ability to influence your child through relationship. They'll respect you out of fear, but they will follow your example when frustrated. Get some help if you need to break your own bad habits; that will be modeling for your kids, too :)

Thoughts? Concerns? Questions? Anecdotes? Do share!

Preventative Discipline-Attention

[For previous posts on Family Identity, Respect, Education and Limit-Setting, click on the links you see here.]


Kids will do anything for attention, even if it has to be negative attention. In my experience with my own two children, as well as a couple hundred behaviorally-disordered adolescents, I will say unequivocally that the best tool of discipline is praise; catching a child being good and positively reinforcing that behavior is the most effective way to get your child to behave the way you want them to. When you praise a child, pretty soon they see themselves as good, smart, and kind. They want to please you, and they will do everything to do so. Conversely, when you describe a child using terms such as lazy, hyper, or sneaky, they identify themselves as such, and those kinds of labels stick a lot longer than the positive ones, for some reason. If you're of the "Don't teach them to value external approval," philosophy (and I am), you can frame your positive reinforcement another way. For example, instead of saying, "You're such a good boy," you could ask, "How did that feel when Grandma thanked you for your help??" Teach them that there is a connection between their actions and how they feel.

Kids know when they deserve praise or not. If you are praising them overly so, they begin to wonder why you have to go so overboard; maybe they aren't as great as you claim? Kids just aren't stupid. Be sincere about your praise, and let your child hear you talking to someone else about the kind of kid they are (cares about other people, listens very well, etc.) Don't worry about mistakes they may have made even that day; just reinforce their good behavior, and they will repeat it.

Especially when the kids were younger, but once in while now, we have "One-on-Ones" with our kids. We each take a kid and do something with them. When it's me with Kyle today, we usually go to a movie, but back in the day, we'd go out to eat, Bay Beach, bell-ringing, library, out for ice cream, fishing. We've also done things as simple as planting some flowers, tossing a football, cooking, swimming, taking a walk, etc. The important thing with a one-on-one is just that you spend the time giving your child your undivided attention, without your other kids. My kids would tell you this is one of the best things they've loved from their childhoods.

Yes, I know many of you have more than two kids. You could do like the Duggar's do, and have the other kids take each other as partners in one-on-ones, taking turns doing what the other wants to do. Another way to institute some one-on-one time is to just set aside a certain time each day that you have 15 minutes of one-on-one time with your child, doing whatever they want to do. You can call it "Joey Time" or One-on-One time. I guarantee you, if you make this time, and give your child your undivided attention, he/she will value it a great deal and will behave better because you are showing how special they are to you.

I said I would write a post about sibling rivalry, and I can, but I believe firmly that if you follow the principles in this post, you will have less sibling rivalry, because sibling rivalry is about needs not being met. It's about needs for attention, structure, and limits.

What do you think? Are these post any good? Useful? Should I keep doing them or quit? Questions? Comments?

Next Topic: Preventative Discipline-Follow Thru

Preventative Discipline-Education, Limits/Boundaries

If you've been waiting for this post, I apologize. It's just such a broad topic, and I have so much to say about it that it's taken weeks of notes, organizing, and drafting to come to some type of sense. Thanks for your patience.

This has become too big for a single post, so I've broken it into to general areas of discipline problems: Prevention (A proactive approach to discipline) and Intervention (What to do if you need help undoing some mistakes you've made.) I'm not an expert, but I do have the following credentials:

*Mom of two healthy, well-adjusted, respectful teens
*BS Degree in Human Development
*Masters Degree in Special Education
*More than 15 years experience working with students with emotional/behavioral disabilities
*10 years experience teaching special ed
*Married to a man with ADD (just kidding; he's never been diagnosed, though I have my suspicions)

To me, there are many proactive things you can do to raise happy, healthy, disciplined children. This post is focused on that. I've narrowed my focus on the topic of preventing discipline problems to six themes, followed by the dates that I will post them here on this page (with links from Half-Past Kissin' Time) :

Education (today)
Limits/Boundaries (today)
Attention (1/14/09)
Follow-thru/Consistency (1/15/09)
Planning and Structure (1/19/09)

After that: Discipline Intervention (Problem-solving. Email me with any questions, and I'll work them in!)

Discipline means teaching. When it comes to discipline and parenting, I believe strongly that most of us need some guidance before embarking on parenthood. Even most grade schoolers are smart enough to know when adults are not confident/competent parents. If you are not competent, it's your responsibility to gain competence. My own background in Human Development helped me tremendously in my later parenting. Learning, for example, that an infant is not willful gave me a perspective that kept me from shaking my son when he was a colicky baby (and I thought about it sometimes, believe me; I gained a new-found respect for single parents and teen parents during that time!) Knowing about and understanding each stage in the development of children will give you confidence and tools for being the best parent you can be.

I'm not saying you have to go to school to be a parent; there are many resources available (including grandparents, other family, books, etc.) If you had poor role models for parenting, don't just decide to do the opposite; get educated. Get therapy if it's relevant. I believe strongly that parenting situations that bring out the extreme emotions in us (anger, sadness) come from a place of unresolved issues of our own. Addressing those issues through education and/or therapy are a gift to your children.

Mr.4444 and I took our parenting roles very seriously when we embarked on this "trip." The "bible" that I read cover to cover back when Kyle was a baby was Kids Are Worth It, by Barbara Coloraso. We even met Dr. Coloraso at a speaking engagement. Even though some of her ideas were focused on older kids, we put her overall philosophy into practice from the start and continue to use it today. I feel so strongly about the value in Barbara Coloraso's book, that I wrote to her recently and asked if she would like to participate in a giveaway to celebrate my 444th post, and Guess what?! She said yes! (more on that in another post soon!)

So, to sum that up; ignorance is not a good excuse, and parenting is serious business. Getting educated about it is key to being the best parent you can be.

We've all seen other people's children who have no respect for anyone or any thing. Children need guidance, and in the absence of guidance, they feel afraid. Because they are human beings, they will cope with that fear by behaving badly. Kids want to know that someone competent and strong is in charge. Imagine the fear that consumes a young child who knows that his/her parents aren't in charge, so he is. A screaming child is a frightened child, begging for some adult to take control. Be the adult; set limits on their behaviors.

As much as children test boundaries, they do so to find out the limits. Knowing there are limits provides them security. Secure kids are happy, well-behaved kids. Don't be afraid to say no or to be unpopular with your children. Do not act like your child deserves an explanation for every denial of their desires. Sometimes, "Because I said so" is the right thing to say. Soften it with, "Because I am the adult and you are the child," if you must, but do not cave to your child's demands for an explanation, unless you want to argue. I promise you, setting boundaries for your child in your home will help them when it comes time to appreciate boundaries in the real world.

What kind of boundaries? Boundaries between what belongs to adults and what belongs to kids, for example. Personal boundaries, like leaving you alone when you're in the restroom. One example is knocking on closed bedroom doors before entering. We always do this for our kids, and they do the same for us. My kids have never dug through my purse or used something of mine without asking. Boundaries regarding what is on the television for adults, and what is for kids is yet another example of teaching kids that they are not little adults and that our job is to teach them respect for all kinds of boundaries. Even making your child sit in a carseat or wear a seatbelt is a lesson about boundaries. They are never too young to learn this.

Laughing at your child's behavior is also somewhat related to teaching boundaries and limits. I know some of you are going to see yourselves in this, and I'm sorry about that, but it has to be said. If your kid drops a bad word and you laugh, you are causing yourself problems, as well as your kids. You are reinforcing poor behavior. If you don't mind having bratty kids, by all means, keep laughing. And that is not to say that Mr.4444 and I have never laughed at naughty behavior on the part of our kids, but when it happens, you have to turn away or go into another room. I know, it's hilarious on one level, but you can't teach your kids that obnoxious behavior is charming. Laughing together about misbehavior does create a kind of family bond, but it is an unstable foundation. Find other ways to bond as a family.

In addition, teaching that poor social skills outside the home are funny is a parenting mistake, in my opinion. If you think being a redneck idiot/farting/burping/attention-getting person is cute, consider if you ever want your kids to have friends other than you. [Disclaimer: Just so you know, other than the redneck thing, we are pretty uncivilized at my house on a daily basis. There's a lot of noises going on in my house quite regularly, but my kids know that there is a time and place for belching the alphabet.]

I also believe that parents need to have boundaries. Mommy and Daddy are going to have Adult time after 7pm. My kids were in bed by 7pm when they were small. I needed that for my sanity, and they obviously needed it, too, since they were asleep by eight and slept til 6 or so. Even when they were old enough to complain about their friends outside playing til 9pm, they still went to sleep. You are the adults. It is your house. You set the rules. Don't let your kids decide the rules.

Obviously, I can't solve the world's problems in one blog post, but I hope I have offered some insights that are helpful to parents. My own kids are almost 14 and 17, so I'm certainly not out of the woods yet, but I feel like my philosophy has served me well so far. If you have a specific question related to raising kids, I would be happy to answer it to the best of my ability. Leave it in your comment, and I will build it into a future post.

P.S. I'm sorry if you are dealing with child-rearing problems related to divorce; I understand that you, as a parent, might not have control over the behavior of your spouse with your children. That one is out of my realm of experience, and my heart goes out to you.

I'm really excited about putting these ideas out there, as they have served me very well. If you'd like to read my thoughts on Respect and Family Identity click on those subjects. And if you have other thoughts on the preventative discipline topics of Education or Limit Setting/Boundaries, feel free to share.

Next topic: Attention


I don't often write about my dad; there are just too many other things I enjoy writing about. I am in the process of writing a lengthy journal about our relationship, but it's a very complicated thing; not something to fit in one post and something I would like to sort out completely before sharing it (if I decide to share it.) That said, there are some things I want people to know about my dad.

*He was raised on a small farm in Stiles, Wisconsin. I know very little about his family (we were not close), but I know that Dad's dad was physically abusive to him. He never, ever said a bad word about his dad, speaking of him with a lot of respect. I think physical abuse was just part of his family's culture, and he knew no other way to discipline us kids.

*Dad was one of the hardest workers I have ever met. In truth, he was a workaholic. He was also an alcoholic, and in later years, a gambler. Obviously, he had demons he spent his life trying to escape.

*He quit drinking for good shortly after I left home in 1982.

*He had strong faith in God and a relationship with Christ.

*Dad died in 2003; he found out he had leukemia on a Wednesday and passed away the following Monday. His passing (the entire process and events that took place during that week) was a beautiful, healing experience for our whole family. This story is

*The last words Dad ever said to me were "You're beautiful," and "You're an angel," when I held his hand in the hospital.

*I loved him. He was my dad, and I forgave him a long time ago for his faults.

*I have no regrets.

These details are important, because while I will sometimes tell some terrible childhood stories in my blog, it's important to me that people know that I loved him and that he was not a monster; he was tortured by low self-esteem, childhood wounds of his own, and the disease of alcoholism. Single posts cannot paint the whole picture, so I wrote this as a supplement, so that I don't need to feel guilty about sharing negative things. It's just very complicated, and this post gives me some peace, knowing that it shows a more complete picture than some of my posts will.

Thanks for reading...

Friday Fragments

Here for the first time? Please refer to this updated link, instead. THANKS!

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post with Mr.Linky and link back to me in your post (please). If this catches on, it might even be fun to Guest Post on each other's blogs with our fragments, giving others a "teaser" as to our personalities and our blogs. So, to recap:

DO's for Friday Fragments:
*Collect your tidbits throughout the week; put them in a Friday Fragments post.
*Grab the button and put it in your post and/or sidebar (it links to this post)
*Refer to my blog in your post and link to my current FF post.
*Add your post to Mr.Linky on my page (the post for that week)

Please DONT's for Friday Fragments:
Add links that do not go Friday Fragment posts (LINKS THAT LEAD TO NON-FF POSTS WILL BE DELETED)

I hope you'll join me!!
Friday Fragment Posts:

February 27th, 2009

February 20th, 2009

February 13th, 2009

February 6th, 2009

January 30th, 2009

January 23rd, 2009

January 16th, 2009

January 9th, 2009

January 2nd, 2009

December 26th, 2008

December 19th, 2008

December 12th, 2008

December 5th, 2008

November 28th, 2008

November 21st, 2008

November 14th, 2008

November 7th, 2008

October 23rd, 2008

October 17th, 2008

October 10th, 2008

October 3rd, 2008

September 26th, 2008

September 19th

September 12th

September 5th

August 28, 2008

August 22, 2008

August 15, 2008

August 8, 2008

April 18, 2008

March 14, 2008