Discipline V. Control (Part 5): Regrouping

How to Regroup When You’ve Totally Lost It with your Kids (Or How to Start Your Day Over)

Welcome back, you marathoners! We are in the sprint toward the finish line! Congrats (and thanks) for having hung in with me this far: You are awesome!

We’ve spent the last few posts talking about discipline, control and the opportunity to learn. (If you missed them, click here for the first, second, third AND fourth—and don’t forget to come back!)

Okay, parents, or anyone who works with kids on a regular basis. We’ve all lost our cool and said or done something regrettable, yes? Raise your hand if this applies. Come on, no one will know but you and your screen—and remember that confession is good for the soul!)

I’m sure I’ve lost my cool and composure in numbers approaching the triple digits. Comes with parenting territory, a place I’ve lived for about twenty years now. (My stepsons were eight, four and six when I met my honey, and they were regulars at my house for the first five or six years we were married. They then moved with their mom and her husband, but by then I had two full-time kids of my own.)

This incident took place with my full-timers, on a day off from school for all of us when they were grammar-school age. I wanted to take them out to breakfast. All I’d asked is that they make their beds (i.e., pull one measly comforter neatly in place onto their beds) and get dressed.

Well, boys will be boys (clichés are clichés for a reason, folks) and mine did…nothing…related to what I asked. After my fifth (?) or so time of repeating the direction, I lost my temper. Big. Time. Said things I’m fortunate memory loss has washed away (can I blame hormones?) but wouldn’t dare repeat if I did remember them. (In other words, when I couldn’t control the situation I got MAD.)

Rather than beat them senseless, I left their room and went downstairs. Most likely, I cried and wondered how in the world I’d undo my behavior (in essence, a tantrum—yep, grownups have them too). Luckily, I remembered an invaluable quote: Whenever I choose, I can ‘start my day over any time.’

As I stated in my previous post, don’t ask me where I get this stuff. For inexplicable reasons, I got three erasers out of the pencil drawer. I went upstairs and handed each of the guys one of them. I then told them that Mommy had behaved badly and that a lot of ‘bad behavior’ had taken place in their room and that we were going to erase all the bad behavior away.

Well, we did just that–air erased all that ‘bad behavior’ away. I’ll be darned, that insane little idea changed the mood for the day. The boys got their acts together—as did I—and we had a great breakfast and a good day.

Have you lost it as a parent? If so, what did you do to ‘turn it around,’ as my hubby likes to say? What were the results?

Thanks so much, folks, for indulging me during this mini-series. Amazing how three simple words (the original nugget for one post, Discipline or Control) took on dimensions all its own. Please note too, that children with severe behavior problems might have underlying issues going on. Talking with professionals who deal with kids on a regular basis can be very helpful. If you’re struggling, get in touch with a teacher, pediatrician, psychologist, related service provider (i.e., physical, occupational or speech therapist) or behaviorist. Read parent forums and use information there as a springboard to give you an idea of what your child’s need might be. Remember that none of that information is gospel and should be used only as a guideline for further action that might be necessary.

Finally, look at your own motives and your own behavior. IMHO, it’s not about what I want. It’s about guiding my kids to be the best adults they can be by providing them an opportunity to learn via discipline.

One final request: if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a second and click the  Facebook, Twitter and/or any of the share buttons below? (Feel free to post share links at any site not represented here you feel might benefit from the content as well.) Reblogging is nice too, and helps get word out to others in cyberspace. By working together, we can each get our content and our names out to that many more people. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

Have a great day,


When the Past and the Present Meet

Hi everyone,

Just for fun, here’s how Ms. Mauer McNabb helps hubby paint. (BTW, hubby did a gorgeous job on the downstairs bathroom):


Prayers going out to survivors of Sunday’s storm, that all will fall into place in time and that everyone who needs it will feel empowered by the strength to do what needs to be done.

Finally got this post written! It’s been on my mind for some time now. I was thinking about how the past and the present come together in ways unexpected—but not necessarily all that surprising. (Please note: In the interest of privacy, names have been changed.)

When I was a kid my mom became friendly with Kathy, a neighbor who had three kids. Because Kathy’s boys, myself and my brothers were close in age we played together quite a bit. To this day, we’re still very good friends and easily pick up where we left off.

Kathy’s middle son, Peter, was very close to the older of my brothers. (He’ll go by Jon.) When Jon passed away from leukemia just three weeks shy of his twenty-second birthday, we were all devastated. Peter and the younger of my brothers, who’d been best friends since the ages of seven and five, grew even closer.

Because there is no choice for the survivors, life continued, taking its fairly typical progression. Peter got married, had a son and named him after my brother Jon. Go figure, Jon was born on the anniversary of my brother’s death, right around the time of day my brother moved on from this life. I’ll never forget how we were at my mom’s house, the phone rang and Peter made his announcement. Strange, beautiful and oddly coincidental; far as I’m concerned, God-orchestrated.

Jon is the very image of his dad. Although his hair is a bit lighter, he inherited Peter’s curly hair, big brown eyes, rosy cheeks and infectious smile. He also has Peter’s fun-loving, boisterous and terribly big-hearted spirit.

Fast-forward about eight years to an early morning phone call from my sister-in-law. At thirty-nine-just-turned and with no clue about his condition Peter sustained a heart attack and died. My brother Jon may as well have passed away again.

My mom and Kathy remain close friends to this day. (Kathy was always there to comfort my mother when her pain was new, and now they share that scar as only parents who’ve lost a child can.) One day Kathy called and asked if she could bring Jon to my house to play with my boys, since they’re pretty close in age. Long story short, my younger son and Jon immediately hit it off. Unfortunately, Jon doesn’t live close by, but the boys hook up whenever Jon visits his grandmother and via cell phones and X-box Live.

Like Jon’s dad and my brothers before them, these boys are as close as if they’d grown up together. Makes me wonder: what connects them? Similar personalities? (My younger son is a LOT like my surviving brother.) Or just another example of God’s hand in the overall picture? Probably a bit of both but either way, I get tremendous joy watching these boys create a backstory all their own while history sort of repeats itself.

All thoughts and reflections welcome. Have a wonderful day, friends.


Learn WITH Your Child!

Hello everyone! Hope you all find yourselves well! Today my good friend Diane Lang extends her ‘Back to School’ tips by offering all of us ideas on being active supporters and facilitators when it comes to helping our children learn!


Encouraging your child to learn

Encourage conversation – extended conversations – keep asking the children questions, show interest with non-verbal communications like smiling, nodding the head and touch. Pat their arm or shoulder while they talk.

Encourage them to describe events in detail; let them express their emotions: Example – wow, you went to a horse farm – was it fun? What did you do there? What were the horses names? Were you excited?

Add new words with their meanings every week (i.e., “Word of the week”): use repetition to keep them from forgetting. Use real life sentences/examples so they understand. Use visuals.

Read out loud to kids – story/circle time – use books with pictures – kids are visual learners, they understand new words/stories when they can connect them with pictures

Ask kids open ended questions: let them be creative, make up their own stories, rhymes, jokes, songs, etc.

Encourage children to draw and write. Let them draw a picture and then write a story underneath. Then have them read the story back to you and ask questions. This shows your child that writing is fun!

Preparing for Back to School- August 24th  12-1:30 pm  FREE Workshop

Where: Whole Foods in Madison, NJ

Join Whole Foods Market Madison and Diane Lane, MA for tips and suggestion about the best way to prepare your child for the upcoming school year.   The end of summer break means no more going to bed late, sleeping late or playing outside till dark. This is the time when kids think new classrooms, teachers and friends.  Whether your child is starting pre-school or elementary school, it can still be an anxious time for both the kids and their parents. However if you prepare your child for school you can help sooth their nerves and have a smooth transition into the school year.  A complimentary light lunch will be served to all participants. Register via email at rcm.rsvp@wholefoods.com or call customer service at 973-822-8444

Be a positive parent – read my latest article on positive parenting tips!

FREE Meet & Greet Ingrid Prueher and Diane Lang!

When: Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:30 PM

Where: Metro Minis;821 Park Avenue,New York,NY10021

Join us for more information on our Parent Prep classes. Come meet us and ask questions about any parenting topics. We look forward to meet you!

Check out Savvy Mami website for more information: