Hello from beautiful Montana:

I wanted to add a small note on this today, because someone stopped me at a lecture last night and asked;

“Every time we go in to a store, my child begs for candy or a treat.  I don’t have money for that and I end up feeling resentful and angry at him for whining and at myself for  giving in.  What should I do?”

My question to her was “Do you tell him before you go shopping what he can and can’t have and how you expect him to behave?  Or do you wait till you are in the middle of a stressful situation to try to teach him?”

Define the Boundaries Before Enforcing Them

The most important step in disciple is to establish reasonable expectations and determine boundaries in advance not during the stressful situation. Define what you mean when you say “be good.”  Many parents expect the children to know what “Be nice” “Don’t whine” “Be patient” means. 

You need to be specific so the child can grasp not only the meaning of the word but what consequences are for acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

“We are only going to get the things that are on our shopping list today, so please don’t ask for a toy. However, you may take one of your favorite little toys to play with in the cart and if you play quietly while I shop, we will have a Popsicle together when we get home.”

What is Acceptable Behavior

A child should know what is and what is not acceptable behavior before something comes up. He cannot be held responsible for rules and boundaries if he did not know what he was supposed to do.

Be firm, but kind in your discipline.  You are teaching responsible behavior and delayed gratification as well as money management. Don’t become angry or say mean things to either the child or yourself.

Simply state the rules and be consistent.  You can do it. This is a teaching moment and the lesson is a thousand times more valuable than the trinket.

For more information on raising responsible children please go to http://www.ResponsibleChildren.com for an eBook and bonus items which will help you.

You will also want to check out http://www.ArtichokePress.com for the free teleclass every Thursday on some aspect of family relationships.  There is bound to be one that is created just for you.


Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship coach and author

Discipline by Defining Boundaries