Archive for Behavior Anticipation

Three Do's of Discipline

Housekeeping Note:

Welcome to my blog.  Thanks for the feedback on my slideshow presentation for Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.  For those who haven’t seen it, click on the About the Book section located at the top of the blog.

Next Friday, I will have a question/answer blog.  Though I haven’t done this in a while, they are very popular and the parenting questions I get are thoughtful, serious, and sometimes zany (which I enjoy).  If you have a question about a real or hypothetical parenting situation, send it to tantrumstroublesandtreasures@yahoo.com.

Too often, parents think of discipline in terms of “How to get that child back for what he/she did” or “How can I punish my child sorry for all the gray hair he/she is causing me.” Although consequences/punishment can be a form of discipline, it’s better to think of discipline in an overall behavioral context.  Discipline is simply a means of teaching right and wrong.  When a parent uses discipline effectively, they can often solve a problem before feeling like they have to pull out their hair. With that in mind here are three do’s of discipline.

1.  Make sure your supervision coincides appropriately with the child’s age. For example- If your 3 year old gets in a drawer, finds a pair of scissors, and cuts their hair to the scalp while you were busy watching The View, I would worry more about you taking it as a learning lesson in supervision versus getting on the child for the inappropriate behavior.  3 year old children shouldn’t have that type of access to scissors nor the time to do the deed.

The same principal can be said of the 11 year old who is struggling in math.  If, for example, you know your child struggles in math and you don’t help them- how can you consequence his academic behavior?  Of course, if you do help the child and he/she still struggles, there could be a deeper issue and consequences still would not be warranted.  Contrarily, if they are not giving any effort to improve their work despite your due diligence, consequences may come into play.

2.  When a child misbehaves, reflect back to assess what you could have done better. Something I’ve noticed is that children don’t always mess up on their own accord without a reason (unless we are talking about toddlers who are in their own world).  When a child talks back to their parent, fights their sibling, or misbehaves in school, there’s usually a reason.  Although consequences may still be warranted, sharp parents will dig to the root of the problem to avoid a repeat performance.  In past blogs, I have referred to this as keeping your finger on the pulse.

3.  Turn down the burner before stirring the pot. When I cook spaghetti, I turn the burner on high, boil the water, and turn the burner back down before I place the spaghetti in the pot and stir it.

This analogy is used because something similar happens when discipline is needed with children.  When a child is angry and misbehaving, the blood is already “boiling.”  At this point, I have a couple of options.  I could decide to consequence the behavior on the spot or I could wait for the child to calm down while staying close enough to keep him/her safe.  Waiting is very difficult and sometimes takes an extreme amount of patience.

If I consequence the child on the spot, it would be like never turning the burner down on the stove.  Eventually boiling water will escape the pot.  Children are not fun to work with once things have gone this far so I typically take a different approach although I have the right to use either method.

I like to turn the burner down on children.  By this I mean my own voice is under control, I will be a good listener, and I will apply consequences (if needed) based on the facts of the situation.  With smaller children, some parents may choose to use intimidation to get a child to calm down an angry child.  As a child gets older though, they are less apt to be intimidated-especially during the teenage years.  Turning down a child’s burner before stirring the pot with consequences has been a more effective way of dealing with difficult children for me.

If you’ve noticed closely, all 3 suggestions focused on us- the parents.  Don’t get me wrong, children misbehave all the time and there are times consequences have to be applied.  Regardless, the most effective parents I’ve seen and worked with have the three do’s down to an art.  The ones who didn’t were typically confused with why they were the parent of a “bad child.”

I’ll write to you again on Tuesday.  Until then, have a great weekend with your family!

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A Quiet Effect of Bullying

This is a revised post of an article written several months ago.  It is timely though because school is back in session.  I hope a day will come where children don’t have to worry about bullies in school because the mechanisms will be in place to stomp it out.  As a former teacher, I never tolerated bullying and even helped teachers in other classrooms with the problem.  I hope you’ll have a deeper understanding of bullying and what you can do after reading this post because the “quiet effects” aren’t discussed often.  Best wishes!

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About two weeks ago, I reconnected with a girl I had not seen since grade school.  One thing she said which really struck me was my mom seemed so “sweet” and I seemed so “sad.”  I don’t dispute her claim. But, I was shocked that was her memory of me after 25 years.

The reason I seemed so sad back then was because I was miserable.  The primary reason was bullying.  Every once in a while; bullying is brought into the national conscience because it drives someone to their death.  In my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, I use Phoebe Prince as an example.  Prince made national news because bullying helped lead to her suicide.  Over time, the topic subsides until the problem claims another victim.

I would argue that the problems and effects of bullying are more subtle on a day to day basis.  This is something that concerns me greatly.  One of the many consequences is sadness/depression.  Don’t get me wrong.  This blog is not meant to be a pity party because I was “sad.”  The problem of bullying is too difficult for anyone to quantify but I’ll tell you what it did to me and let you make your own conclusions.

True bullying started for me by, of all people, a football coach in third grade.  It carried on in some way, shape, or form until high school.  By the time I made it to high school, I was a mess.  I didn’t have any self confidence. My grades were average to below average.  It wasn’t until years later I considered myself intelligent.  The fact is I had to work harder than some others in high school because certain building blocks of education I should have had in elementary school weren’t present.

In grade school, I was always worried about what was “next” instead of the lessons in front of me.  When would I have another problem in school?  When would I have another fight on my hands?  Would I find pornography in my yard when I returned home? Would there be another egg to clean off my bedroom window?  I can safely say when I was more worried about factors outside the course work in school than the work itself; it reflected in my overall learning.  I don’t think I realized how much intelligence I had until I completed my Masters program at Bellarmine University with a 3.7 grade point average.  Turns out I wasn’t as dumb as many had perceived- including me.

Although schools have a big part to play in solving the problem, my regular readers know I don’t like to rely solely on any school.  There are too many kids and too few adult eyes.  My advice to parents has two simple parts.

1.  Teach your child about bullying before they enter a classroom. Some parents stink at teaching manners to their kids and your children should be well aware.  Children without good manners are excellent bullies because they don’t know any better.  It’s also a good idea to create pretend bullying situations at home and then discuss how they can be handled. Bullying takes on different forms the older a child gets.  Therefore, if you do this before 2nd grade and expect that lesson to last through high school, odds of success are minimal.

Also, if you wait to teach your child their lesson when the bullying occurs, you run some risks.  Perhaps the biggest one is the damage accomplished before you get wind of the problem.  To use a boxing analogy, I’d rather teach a boxer how to punch before a fight than after he steps in the ring with a trained professional.  I’m not saying that you have to teach your kids how to fight.  That is your decision.  But, I want kids prepared for problems they may face in school.  It’s harder for your child to be prepared if you do not train them.

2.  Keep your finger on the pulse. When you see mood swings in your child, that’s a warning.  Some of us attribute mood swings to hormones or “kids just growing up.”  I’ll argue that while those factors are in play; there’s usually more to it.  Dig deep enough in your child and you may discover the underlying problem.  Once a problem is discovered, it can be attacked with vigor.

This may sound obvious to some of you but all bullying situations in school should be reported.  Don’t assume that children will grow out of it or the teacher won’t do anything.   I have witnessed times when bullying happened out of earshot of the teacher in charge.  There are lots of children in a classroom so this is more common than you may think.  If a teacher doesn’t handle the situation quickly- report the problem to the principal and document each case.  I have worked with many principals and all of them took bullying seriously.

I’m sorry if I left out a lot of aspects of bullying.  It simply can’t be covered in one blog.  I wrote an entire chapter for my book and I’m still not sure if I did enough.

I wish you and your family the best.  I hope your child never goes through what so many others have. More importantly, if they do, I hope you can help provide the tools to give them the support they need.

I’ll check in with another post Tuesday.  Have a terrific weekend!

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Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

For today’s post, I want to change things up a bit and use a humorous story to illustrate a point.  About a month ago, I told my eldest child to clean his room and go downstairs to play after he was finished.  My bedroom is on the same floor and I was finishing cleaning the bathroom while he worked.

When I came out of the bathroom, I walked down the hall to my child’s room.  I didn’t hear anything (which is a bad sign) and wanted to know what was going on.  Upon entering his room, I found everything clean and in order.  Therefore, assuming all my directions were followed, I decided to take clothes out of the dryer to my bed and sort them.

As I was sorting them, I noticed I hadn’t made the bed yet so I stopped and reached underneath the comforter for the bed sheet.  As soon as I did, my child rose quickly from underneath the covers and scared the (insert curse word) out of me.  I’m not sure how high I jumped but I’m confident I set a personal record.

While I understand it’s important to know where our children are for a variety of reasons, I have placed the scare factor as one of them.  The boy really got me good.

Though unimportant to the story, here are two additional notes.  The first one is after I regained my composure; I jumped on top of my child and tickled his ribs for quite a while for pulling that prank.

The second note is that he has tried to scare me since but I’m on to him.  I could make him stop by using consequences but that would take the fun out of it.

I’ll check in with you again on Tuesday.  Have a great weekend with your family!

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Cross Country Blues

As regular readers of this blog know, I like to talk about parenting, teach about parenting, and learn from other parents.  I find great satisfaction in becoming a better parent and helping others become better as well.  Please pardon me though because for today’s blog, I have to construct a couple of levels to the soap box.  A lesson was reinforced to me last night that I hope others can learn.  Allow me to explain.

My oldest child participates on a cross country team for the YMCA.  He was recruited by the coach and seems to like it.  While cross country isn’t my favorite sport, the rule has always been for my children to be active.  What they do is up to them.

During tonight’s practice, there were two children crying while running.  I understand pushing children to become better at what they are doing but I just don’t get why a child needs to be pushed that far.  To me, all sports should be used for the purpose of fitness, promoting competition, building confidence, and learning how to work with a team.  Oh, and I forgot the most important reason for sports.  It’s a thing I like to call HAVING FUN!

In Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, there is an extensive section on how sports are positive for many walks of life (even outside of sports).  There are so many sports from which children can choose.  Why push a kid to tears when they are in a sport they don’t enjoy?  What is a parent trying to get out of the sport?  In last night’s case, it was completely the parents’ fault.  The cross country coach is competitive but has a laid back personality.  The parents of the children crying wouldn’t let them stop running.

For all of my readers, let me leave you with this.  Sports are like food.  There are some things children like and others they don’t care for.  To this day, you won’t catch me eating a mushroom for some of the same reasons you won’t catch me driving my child to tears in a sporting event.  If they don’t like it then they don’t like it.  Children are individuals and they will find their passion in a sport (even if it’s only for recreation) over time.

Since I referenced my book once, how about I do it one more time?  At the end of every chapter, there is an assignment which is short but meant to reinforce what was taught. Therefore, here is your assignment.  Ask your child over the weekend what sport they would like to play and go play it with them.  You may totally stink at the sport but your child will appreciate the time you are spending with them.

My next post will be on Tuesday.  Until then, all my best to you and the ones you love. (Now, how I do climb down from this soap box anyway?)

Minnesota state meeting – Cross Country

This spot can be fun if parents are not driving their children to tears!

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The Belly Floppers

Disclaimer: Although I am not certain “belly flopper” is an actual term, I am using it to describe a person who belly flops figuratively speaking.

Over the weekend, my wife told me that my oldest child is going to start school in two weeks.  My first thought was where has the summer gone?  School supplies have already been bought and there’s nothing to worry about.  When my wife told my son about going back to school; he looked surprised but acted ready.

For a lot of families, what I described isn’t exactly the norm.  Parents stress about school shopping and the stress passes along to their child.  Parents stress about the next grade and the stress passes along to their child.  Parents stress about the teacher and……..you get the picture.

Being the on the other side of the desk as the teacher, I watched these stressed parents year in and year out.  Some children were unfazed by their parent’s stresses but others took their cue and had a lot of stress at the beginning of the school year.

Secretly, I thought of these kids as “the belly floppers.”  The impact of returning to school for these children was like belly flopping into water off a cliff.  They knew school was going to happen but the “landing” was shocking.  The children who “belly flopped” were always the ones who looked like they were in a trance the first week of school.  It was almost like school work was foreign and they didn’t remember the most basic concepts taught the previous year.

There may be some who are reading this and do not quite realize how serious this can be so let me put it this way.  I only could think of 3 children, in all my years of teaching, who “belly flopped” into school and finished in the top half of my class academically.  All children settled down mentally in my classroom eventually.  But, perhaps the stress and/or lost time were too much to overcome.  I would argue it was at least a contributing factor.

I would like the children of anyone who reads this to be the opposite of a “belly flopper.” There are many kids who enter school hitting the ground running.  Teachers like love these types of children.  Here are some suggestions on how your child can hit the ground running.

1.  School shop early.  When you get the supply list, beat the procrastinators and make school shopping a pleasant experience with your child.  I would even suggest things like buying the backpack your child chooses (if it’s within your means) because it gives a child that little something extra to look forward to going back to school.  You may spend a couple of extra dollars on their preferred choice; but your child will be in a better frame of mind going to school.

2.  Meet the teacher(s).  Schools usually have times when parents and kids can get situated and drop off supplies in their classrooms before the first day of school.  They get to pick their desk and get the general lay of the land.  This drastically decreases the shock on the first day.   Teachers like seeing the parents before the school year begins.  They keep mental notes of which parents go out of their way to meet them.  A favorable impression is important and will most likely be passed along to your child.  It’s human nature.

3.  Start the school year with your child before it begins. You can do this by purchasing an inexpensive workbook that correlates with the grade your child is going into.  The child will get a feel of the material that will be taught.  Also, when the child runs across a concept that they don’t understand, they can get help from you before the school year begins.  This also greatly decreases the shock value of a difficult school lesson during the school year.  When other children are struggling with the material, your child will look like a star.

Returning to school can be rough for some children. I wish all of your children the best of luck!!!

My next post will be on Friday.  I look forward to having you back.  Don’t forget, if you place your email in the subscription box, the blog will come directly to your email without having to remember a thing.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

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Handling Anger

Today, I want to teach and discuss anger management.  This can be a hard topic because families live under the same roofs for a long time.  Everyone sooner or later gets angry at something or someone.  It’s important though to teach kids some ground rules about anger.  It may seem counter-intuitive to have rules for a child who loses control.  But, I will tell you these strategies work.

At St. Joseph Children’s Home, one of my main charges was to prepare a kid for an adoption or foster home setting.  Anger management was one of the big hurdles.  Kids who were able to manage anger were much more likely to be placed in a home.  Please notice I didn’t say my role was to suppress anger, eliminate anger, or shut them up. Managing anger is a life skill everyone should have to be successful.

One way I dealt with anger in children was to keep my own emotions in check.  For example, if a child started to yell, the last thing I would do would be to yell back.  Look closely.  I didn’t say I would never yell back but I would keep that option in the bottom of my “tool box.”  When I raise my voice to a child, it literally startles him/her because it’s so out of character for me.

Another trick I used for angry children was to get them to center their anger.  Last week for example, my oldest became angry after learning he wasn’t going to be able to go to a carnival.  When I talked to him, I made sure he knew not to take out his frustrations on my wife due to being angry with me.  All anger was to be taken out on me because I was the one who made the decision.  This is a trick some kids use to get back at those to whom they are angry.  In other words, he/she might demonstrate anger towards mom or their teacher over something dad said or did.

I also don’t want anger to be taken out on property.  At St. Joseph’s, I would have kids who would want to slam doors or beat their head against a window/floor.  When they tried to do this, I’d ask them, “What did that _____ (insert door, window, etc) do to you?”  Destruction of property was a cause for restraining a kid at St. Joseph.  I doubt if I initiated 10 restraints in all of my time there partially due to this psychological ploy.  If any child is angry with me, I want their anger to be centered on me alone.

Finally, the best time to teach about anger is when the child is calm.  If there has been a recent anger episode that wasn’t handled well, sit the child down and teach what he/she could have done better.  I will caution you though to have a plan for what the child can do.  Most parents will only tell the child what they can’t do.  It’s simply not the most effective strategy.

For example, when a child is angry, maybe you should allow them to throw stuffed animals in their room (if it’s age appropriate) or squeeze a stress ball.  Maybe the child can read or watch TV.  What I am trying to say is that there has to be a positive alternative presented that you know the child would enjoy or benefit.  When you don’t do this, the anger episodes will last longer, be more frequent, and possibly escalate to an altercation.

When you are first employing these strategies, it might take a while for them to be effective.  That’s because the child is used to the arguing, screaming, and/or other negative responses to anger.  It may also be because you play into the anger by raising your own voice.  Self discipline is really important.

I hope this helps all who have dealt with angry children.  Once a child is calmer, they are much more likely to open up and talk about/ work through their feelings.

There are other techniques that can be used to deal with anger in the home.  Feel free to leave a comment if a strategy not mentioned worked for you.

My next post will be on Friday.  If you know a parent or two who would like this, please feel free to pass it along.

Have a super week!!!

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Making Cents (Sense) Out of Dollars

Before I get started, I want to share a story.  When I woke up Monday morning, I had some ideas for a blog in my mind but nothing in stone.  I went to the gym (as is my routine) when I noticed a magazine (maybe it was the Wall Street Journal)  There was an article that dealt with retirement myths.  It was well written and I thought writing a money article for parents may be a good idea.

Later, I was looking through some blogs. I came across a new one with an outstanding post by Joyce Wheeler titled Teaching Children About Finances. (http://networkedblogs.com/hy4SU) I highly recommend it.

Finally, I received an email from our local chapter of All Pro Dad.  It said that the next meeting will have to do with striking a balance between children saving and spending their money.  (There comes a point where I wonder whether someone is trying to tell me something)

Money is a pretty long topic to deal with so here’s what I learned at St. Joseph Children’s Home and how I applied the lesson in my home. Before I get into my stories, I promise you this.  Most schools do not teach money sense to any great degree.  I suspect one reason is that it is not covered on standardized tests to any great extent.  So here’s the question.  Who will teach your children how to handle their money if you won’t?

At St Joseph, we used fake money called Luckbucks.  They were earned based on chores and behavior.  Even our 4 year old residents received these.  If your kids are small, you don’t have to use real money.  Luckbucks were used when the children had group outings or wanted to play Nintendo.  Looking back on it, we probably underutilized them although they were still effective.

I believe children should be allowed to earn money but they should also be forced to spend it.  Usually what I see are kids who earn money but mom and dad still pay for everything.  The point of money is not only to accumulate it but to spend it wisely.  Now, if a child chooses not to spend their money after weighing their options, that’s great. It’s the discretion of the parent in determining when their children should be using their own money.

I had a child at St. Joseph I’ll call Daniel whose sole purpose with Luckbucks was to save them.  He never spent his “money” because he wanted “to be rich.”  In some small way, I hope his attitude towards Luckbucks transferred to life after St. Joseph.  If that’s the case, he could retire very early in life.

Contrarily, my oldest child saves but he has two conflicting goals.  The first is to buy all the things he likes at Toys ‘R’ Us and the second is to save until he accumulates $100.  (This is his Holy Grail of cash)  A while back, he saw a truck in an advertisement that he had to have.  I believe it cost about $25.00.  He asked me if I would get it for him and I refused. (He has over 20 trucks in his playroom)  I told him if he wanted the truck, he’d have to buy it himself.  After some deliberating, he decided to make the purchase.

The reason I decided to tell you this story is because I can’t remember the last time he actually played with the truck.  He’s also brought up the goal of saving $100.00 on multiple occasions since then.  The irony is if he didn’t buy the truck, he would already have the money!  Of course, I remind him of the truck when he brings up the savings goal.  I am not condescending but I want him to realize the financial choices he makes are a big deal.  As he gets older, I’m sure I’ll hammer this point even more.

Thanks for reading and passing this along to other parents.  It is greatly appreciated!

Also, during the month of May, Lulu.com (the distributor of Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures)  is knocking off 15% on their production costs so I am passing the savings on to you.  When you purchase the book, please enter the code maysave305 to get your discount.  I really appreciate Lulu for doing that!  Here’s the direct link.

http://bit.ly/iArqFa

Have a terrific day!!!

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Correcting Other People's Children

Happy Friday to all of you!  Today, I am going to jump into a question I’ve been pondering a while.  I was asked some time ago about when it was appropriate to correct other people’s children.  This is a bit complicated but I read a blog recently with a story I’ll share.  I have some general rules but I’m not exactly opposed to breaking them as you’ll soon read.  My hope is to give you my perspective but let you decide for yourself if it’s ever appropriate.

Let me start with the easy part.  When I was at St. Josephs Children’s Home, our kids were divided into departments.  The thing was, though, none of us were territorial with the children.  We had a common purpose which was to prepare kids for adoption or foster home settings.  Therefore, kids from another department acted up, I had no problems correcting them and never received grief for doing so.  In turn, I never gave a house parent a hard time when they corrected my kids.

Therefore, the first lesson to be learned is to have a clear understanding with the parents before correcting their children.  You may be surprised to learn that few parents whom I’ve actually talked to have objected to me correcting their kids.  To be honest, I can’t think of one although there may be a situation that has slipped my mind.  This isn’t a taboo topic.  Most reasonable parents understand that as long as you have the child’s best interests, odds are that correcting their children is probably all right.  Don’t get me wrong.  Problems can still occur.  In most cases though, it should be fine.

The second part of this is a bit trickier.  What if I don’t know the parents?  In this case, I am very hesitant before correcting any child unless they that child is causing imminent danger to themselves or someone else.  Though I’ve helped a lot of kids, I can’t raise everyone’s children.  So if, for example, I see your child throwing tomatoes down aisle 6 at the grocery store, I’m likely to keep pushing my cart until I reach the next aisle.  Some parents have no control of their kids while others are confrontational.  In the end, it just cannot be worth it to me.

This leads me to the story I teased at the beginning of the blog.  A mom was fixing lunch for her child and his friend (Johnny) at their house.  Johnny asked if he could have Pepsi and mom said, “No.”  (Her own child was drinking water)  After receiving the answer, Johnny replied, “F*ck You!”  Mom was pretty shocked (understandably so) and asked Johnny if he talked like that at home.  Johnny replied, “F*ck yeah.”

The current Pepsi logo (2008-) with the

How many expletives is a Pepsi worth?

Keep in mind I don’t know how old Johnny was.  In saying that, if your kid is in my home, I expect a general sense of politeness.  If I don’t get it, your child will not be in my home for long— one way or the other.  This is a case where I would correct the child and put them on a short leash. (figuratively speaking, of course!)

I’m fully aware there are many scenario’s left unanswered in this blog.  Yet again I have chosen a topic that could be a chapter in my next book.  Regardless, I’m interested in hearing your opinions and if/where I am off base.

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Thanks for reading this and passing it along to other parents.  It is really appreciated.  I started this blog April 7th and write twice a week.  Would you believe before this was posted, the blog has garnered over 1,000 hits?  You guys are incredible!!!

Thanks as well for all of the interest in my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed about some speaking engagements in the fall.  Click on the book cover located at the right hand side of the blog for more info.  The entire preface has also been copy/pasted at the top of my page.  The book will make you laugh, cry, and think about your parenting.  One of my readers said she’ll need to read it twice.  The first time would be for entertainment and the second time, she would need to take notes.  Feel free to check it out.

Have a terrific weekend and I’ll have another blog ready on Tuesday.

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Anticipating Behavior

Thanks for coming by the Wednesday behavior edition of my blog. Today we’re going to learn how to be mind readers (almost) and talk about a topic that really sets parents apart.  I will warn you though that this is an easy topic to grasp on a broad scale but applying it to specific situations can be tricky.  The key to being good at anticipating behavior takes time, practice, reflection, and sometimes a little luck.  Here we go!      

In all my time working with others at St. Joseph or as a  teacher, the anticipation of behavior could be pinpointed as an area that set people apart.  In other words, those who could do it were easy to work with and those who couldn’t…. (recess anyone?)  Certain house parents were hard to work beside because they couldn’t see the next move from the children they were working with.  Sometimes parenting is similar to a chess match.  Good chess players may know the basic tenets of the game but great ones know how to win by anticipating and out thinking their opponent.   Here’s a couple of examples to illustrate the point.

An example of early-style Staunton Chess Set

 My mother used to babysit my oldest child while I was still teaching.  One day, she walked out of her house for some reason and Cameron came behind her and locked the door.  He was probably 2 1/2 at the time.  There was no way for her to get back in.  She left the house (what choice did she have) and walked down the road to where her brother in law lived.  Eventually, they found a way to get in but, as best I remember, the process took 45 minutes or so with an unsupervised child in the house. 

This story has stuck with me so every time I leave the house to get the mail, bring in the trash cans, or grab the newspaper, I always bring my house key.  Wouldn’t you know about a month ago, my youngest child did the same thing to me.  Luke thought it was pretty funny until I used my key to get back inside. After I got in, he wasn’t exactly laughing.  

No one is perfect at this skill though.  I’m certainly not the Anticipation King so here’s a story that will prove it.  About a week and a half ago, I was upstairs when I noticed half the doorknob had been taken off on the guest bedroom door.  The screwdriver was sitting on the night stand.  Obviously, my wife did it.  Why, you may ask?  I have no idea.  (If she reads this, I’m sure it was for a good reason- wink wink)

Upon seeing this, I knew it should be fixed but I was busy at the time and thought I would get to it later.  A couple of hours passed and I was in the basement working on a blog.  My oldest son came to the top of the steps and yelled, “Dad, mom needs you.”  I would like to tell you I jumped out of my chair and glided to my wife to alleviate her concern.  The truth is I walked up the stairs thinking, “what now?”

Lauren was at the bedroom door clearly flustered.  My youngest son had gone into the guest bedroom, shut the door and pulled out the other side of the door handle.  Unfortunately, the door locked and he was trapped.  Of course, the screwdriver I wanted was still inside the room.  I worked with the door for a minute but couldn’t find the trigger to release it.   It was at that point when I went into “man mode” and determined I needed my hammer.

By the time I made it back upstairs with my tool of destruction, Lauren had worked with the door some more and successfully unlocked it.  When the family went downstairs, I reattached the doorknob, heavily taped the lock on the inside part of the door, and brought the screwdriver downstairs.

Had I only anticipated things properly, I could have avoided the whole fiasco.  Sometimes, that’s what happens.  You mess up, reflect on how you messed up, and learn form it.

This Friday, I will return to answer another parenting question.  Hopefully, I will not be answering any questions about doorknobs or hardware supplies.  I also want to thank my readers who looked at last Friday’s post A Good Problem to Have.  There were almost 400 hits and 23 comments as best I remember.  All the support is greatly appreciated!!!