10 Things I Said My Children Would Never Do

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The people who can raise a perfectly well behaved child are those people who don’t have any children. You know who these people are because they don’t have dried pudding on their jeans. There wasn’t a toddler close enough to quietly put a booger in their hair while they struggled to adjust the cart seat strap.

The people who can raise a perfectly well behaved child are those people who don’t have any children. You know who these people are because they don’t have dried pudding on their jeans. There wasn’t a toddler close enough to quietly put a booger in their hair while they struggled to adjust the cart seat strap.

Before I had kids, I was also an expert on raising children. Here are some of my “expert declarations” and a brief rundown of my “actual” findings…

1. My kids will never behave that way in public. By “behave,” I meant they’d never throw tantrums in the store. Those hysterical fits that sound like they’re being chased down the cereal aisle by an actual shark. When tantrums actually happen in public, I react the way anyone in my situation would. I ask random people if these are their kids. Or, I’ll whisper to the people next to me: “I’m the nanny.” Occasionally I compliment my children on their form as they thrash and contort their body in ways that defy both human biology and physics.

2. I will never leave the house looking like that. Oh, but I do. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look. I mean, mostly I don’t really care how I look, but a lot of times I actually forget to do things like brush my hair or put on makeup or brush my teeth. I have, however, never forgotten pants. You’re welcome.

Related: How to Identify a Mom of Young Kids

3. My kids will not eat crappy food. My toddlers are picky. So, getting them to eat anything that isn’t a sticker or a crayon is a small victory. If they pass on green beans and carrots and choose to inhale chicken nuggets or pepperoni, it’s an amen-arm raising-hallelujah-kind of moment. I always toss in a gummy vitamin twice a day, this is how I live without guilt.

4. My house will never look like that. My house looks like a Build-A-Bear Workshop exploded in it. There are stuffed animals, clothes and toy parts scattered everywhere. I’ve learned that cleaning up after kids while they’re awake is like trying to clean up splattered food from an open blender, that’s still running. It’s exhausting. The only way my house will ever be clean is if it spontaneously combusts.

5. I will never be late anywhere. The slowest my children ever move is when we have to go anywhere that has a start time. On any given day, my kids burn around the house like their pants are on fire. They move with the energy of 80 toddlers, breaking the sound barrier as they circle the dining room table for the billionth time. The second I have to be anywhere, time goes backwards. It turns into negative time. That’s how long it takes them to get to me. -15 minutes. Don’t get me started on putting coats and shoes on. Let’s just say that no one can put their arm through the coat holes when they’re too busy trying to put their shoes on their ears.

6. I will never negotiate with my children. Negotiation is a powerful tool. It gives my children the chance to exercise decision making. Thus pushing them towards successful independence. Just kidding. It gives me my way. For example, if little Susie wants ice cream, she has to eat three more chicken nuggets. If she doesn’t eat them, everyone else at the table gets ice cream. Raising a child is like a business. It’s all about incentives. Okay, maybe it sounds more like bribing. To-may-toe. To-mah-toe.

Related: How to Properly Threaten Your Children

7. I will not allow my children to watch TV. During winters such as these, when your family is one snowflake away from mumbling themselves into full-fledged cabin fever, TV is a sanctuary. A magical box that emits irresistible sounds and colors that buy me at least 15 minutes of motionless activity. Where I can resume banging my head against the wall without interruption.

8. I will never get annoyed by my children. Sometimes I initiate a game of hide and seek that I don’t tell anyone else about. Then, I’ll hide in places where a 3-year old would never think to look, like inside the dryer. And I eat candy.

9. I won’t let my kids stop me from traveling. Taking a trip to Target requires more items than settlers needed for the westward expansion. If our forefathers had mostly toddlers in tow, they’d have made it as far as Ohio before one of them realized they left a toy behind. After the meltdown was over, everyone would mutually agree that Ohio was “west” enough. We do travel now that we have kids, but I’m not up for discussing our experiences. I’m still trying to sort it all out in therapy.

Related: The Top 10 Things Moms Do At Target

10. My kids will listen to me. I honestly believe that early childhood development doesn’t include the ability to listen. Hear, yes. Listen, no. For whatever reason no one hears me until I’m in full blown auctioneer mode, rattling words off at 115 decibels. By the time anyone in my house responds, I’ve sold a sheep and four tractors at a farm auction six counties away.

There’s nothing more humbling than becoming a parent. There’s no experience in life that challenges your character, patience and endurance like raising children. Well, maybe surviving the Alaskan wilderness in the winter after being chased by a pack of ravenous wolves is more challenging. Hopefully those wolves were chasing you at -40 miles per hour and mostly kept their boogers to themselves.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Lisa says

    “There’s nothing more humbling than becoming a parent. There’s no experience in life that challenges your character, patience and endurance like raising children.” Aint that the truth! The REAL you will shine bright after having kids, not who you thought you were or wanted to be.

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  2. 4

    Layla Oates says

    I love this. I was so judgey before I had three children (now I just judge parents with one child) and so militant about stuff. This year I actually allowed Barbie in our house. And you know what? It’s OK.
    Thanks for this post. X

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    • 5

      Mary says

      Omg yes!! LOL I hated Barbie too…
      So of course my mil insisted upon buying them for my then-2-year-old. Many of them.

      We’ve reached a sort of truce, Barbie and me. We’ll never be friends, but it’s pretty tough to hate on a gal when the mental image of a happy, sleepy 2yo, clinging tight to her favorite doll as she falls asleep, is embedded so deep in my mommy-brain.

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      • 9

        Layla Oates says

        :-) I was running a toddler group with kids 2&3 in tow and doing the school run every morning with my eldest, and this woman helper with 1 toddler told me she couldn’t commit to being there at 10am. Grit. Teeth. Just. Say. Alright.

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    • 10

      Scott Thompson says

      And I judge people with only 3. Cry me a river. I have six. OR how about we realize that all parents are now actually dealing with the reality of raising an actual child rather than offering their theories on what it would be like. Judging indeed…

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    • 12

      Jenn says

      Please be careful with posts like this. I get it all the time at school. I have an only child and your know “he behaves like an only child.” I have a good kid, not a perfect kid. But what gets me is not everyone has “one” child by choice. Sometimes that “one” child is a blessing that someone wished and waited for and when she got it was told there would be no more. Don’t judge. I don’t judge you and think you are crazy for your 3 (its tough raising a child to an adult) so don’t judge me not knowing my battles.

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      • 14

        Layla says

        Maybe its a us/uk thing but that comment in parentheses was totally tongue in cheek. I generally try not to judge any person. If anything, I am a little wistful for the days when I only had one. Each to his own.

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        • 15

          k says

          i laughed about your tongue in cheek comment. i knew if you were in a room of my girlfriends, including only child moms and others, we all would have been laughing. we all try not to judge and we all make some mistakes along the way. i totally heard your humor and sympathy to the moms of one who are being judged. too bad the others here are offended and can’t see you were actually giving sympathy for those who get judged. brits must have a superior sense of humor (lets see how bashed i get for that one. lol)

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      • 16

        says

        Amen! I only have one…and she constantly demands MY attention. Each of my 5 siblings say its just as draining, if not more with only one. I’m the only one with an only child. Siblings do entertain and perhaps aggravate each other. However, much of what one child needs, can be done at the same time for more than one…like baths, meals, and stories.

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        • 17

          Jennifer says

          See I totally get what you mean. I have 4. My 10 and 6 year old are my extra eyes and ears on my almost 2 year old twins. They definitely offer up their own complications but happily occupy, play, soothe, teach, snuggle and love our twins. If only that would change diapers.

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      • 19

        Brandi says

        I was thinking the same thing. Not everyone plans on having only one child. Sometimes they are lucky to have that one child at all. I was raised with 3 siblings, I never wanted an only child, but that is what I have. And I love him, except maybe when he acts like an only child, then I wonder why I had a child at all. ;-D

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      • 21

        Granny says

        Where is the law that says you have to have more than one or any? I don’t understand the judgement against people who only have one child – or even worse against those who decide not to have any.
        In the old days farmers had ten to help with the farm. Those days are gone.
        My daughter has one. She is happy. Her husband is happy. I am happy. Some of my other kids have decided not to have any. It is up to them. As long as you are good with one or ten – as long as you can handle it (responsibility-wise and financially) – then good for you! I personally have had nine – four of my own and five adopted kids. They have made their own way in life and made their own decisions. How many kids or none at all is very personal and this Granny refuses to get involved (except babysitting – lots of that please!).

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  3. 22

    Mary says

    AMEN Sister!! lol I loved this. And yes, I was one of those who “knew how to raise kids” before I had my own. Seven years of daycare, baby, I had this kid-handling thing DOWN.

    And then I had my own.
    And she’s a strong-willed child. And a second, also a swc. To the point that a teacher actually recommended having him tested for ODD. Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

    A teacher. Said my kid. Had a freaking DISORDER.

    I think that my kids are God’s little joke on me, for being so uppity about all I thought I knew about parenting.
    Luckily, I can laugh about it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

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      • 24

        Mary says

        Oh dude… Trust and believe you do NOT want to go there.

        Yes. We had him tested. They came back with NO learning/emotional problems. And the SCHOOL did the testing. The principal continued to insist he be treated for “ADHD”, in spite of the tests, a counselor AND a psychiatrist all coming together to say he did NOT have it.

        Actually, since you sound like a teacher, I’ll mention that it is ILLEGAL for teachers to say things like that. They can mention specific concerns, absolutely, and recommend testing, but to offer a diagnosis is stepping way outside their boundaries- they do not have medical training and have no business “diagnosing” kids. Unfortunately, it’s a very common thing because teachers, because they are around these kids, start to think they know what disorders look like, when in fact, many disorders are way over-treated without proper diagnostic testing being carried out. When 70% of elementary-aged boys are on some kind of behavior altering medication, that points to a problem in the system, not in the kids.

        Long story short, my son had some behavioral issues related to anxiety, which was exacerbated by the bs from the principal. When he was expelled, we were advised by both his psychiatrist and an educational advocate to sue the school. We declined on the basis that putting him back into a shitty situation would not improve his outcome, and homeschooled for 3 years.

        He’s back in public school now, and struggling but succeeding. It hasn’t been an easy road, but we’re getting there.

        School personnel can be a great resource and team when they work WITH parents and counselors. Or they can be a complete disaster when they start getting arrogant and figuring they know more about our kids than we do, nevermind that the parents are the ones who’ve been raising them and having them one-on-one for years, while the teacher sees them in a group of 30 kids, for one school year at a time.

        We were unfortunate to run into the disastrous sort in elementary school, but so far at the middle school level, with a whole new set of teachers and a new-to-this-district principal, the cooperation, communication and teamwork are much better. It’d be easy for me to be bitter and lump all teachers together into the “these people suck” pile, but it’s not the case. They’re just people, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

        It just sucks that my son has had to suffer as much as he has because he ran into some who don’t understand the meaning of professionalism.

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        • 25

          faifai says

          Wow! Sounds like you’ve been through a lot, but you’ve handled it with grace. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you for being so strong. Keep up the good work, and remember: those days when you think everything’s so veryvery bad that it has never been so bad before and you don’t know if you’re going to make it, remember that your track record for getting through bad days is 100% so far, and that’s pretty good.

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          • 26

            Mary says

            Aw thanks. There were plenty of days I wasn’t “graceful”. lol

            Yes, ADD meds CAN be extremely helpful for the few who actually have ADD. There are new studies out in which docs are discovering ways to get a physical diagnosis, which will (hopefully) reduce the number of kids who are on meds who shouldn’t be.

            In my son’s case, the meds made him worse because he didn’t have it- thus the expulsion.

            Teaching is like any profession. Some idiots, some jerks, and some pretty awesome people. We’ve run into a pretty broad spectrum. He has two teachers this year who are just phenomenal, and no trouble really with any of the teachers for him. This year, it’s my daughter’s turn- she has one who’s just unreasonable… but at 17, she’s much better able to handle it, and it’s a good life-lesson in diplomacy.

            Teachers do go to school and learn to do what they do, and I appreciate, so much, the hard work they put in. After 3 years of homeschooling, nobody understands how hard they work like I do. It’s when they start thinking they know more about the individual kids than the parents (a very pervasive attitude in this district), or start taking it upon themselves to give out medical advice, like diagnosing kids with ODD and ADD, that the problems come in. A degree in education =/= a medical or psychiatric degree. Pointing out issues is one thing, but mentioning specific disorders and pushing parents to medicate their kids is not ok.

            I’ve spent almost 4 years learning about the legalities of the education system, and about the Big Pharma influences- which are both more and less pervasive than you might think- Big Pharma has a lot of weight, but it depends on the doc. Some are very medication-happy while others are far less so.

            The 4th grade teacher, not the one who said “ODD”, told me all I had to go was to go to our pediatrician “and she’ll just write you a prescription”.

            How about no? How about I go to a PSYCHIATRIST, who has actual training in this stuff, and have him TESTED first? THEN we’ll talk about prescriptions… Yet I’ve talked to other parents who did just that- went to their ped and got handed a prescript. THAT scares and sickens me, especially considering the potential side effects…

            But that’s a whole other conversation. Bottom line, every kid is different. Some need meds, some don’t. It’s up to the parents to have them tested, to champion their kids, and to make these tough decisions. We all just do the best we can.

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        • 27

          k says

          so true about over diagnosing from people who are not doctors. (and even many doctors). my son struggles too, similar description. also a joke on me, a long time nanny who really didn’t understand until i had my own. i think my daughter then came along as a consolation prize because i kept feeling so blamed for my son’s behavior. my daughter came into this world a perfect little peach and has not stopped making me look good ever since. thank you god. lol
          if you haven’t read it yet, try reading “the way of boys”, by anthony rao. it is such a great book for moms like us of high energy (insert various labels here) boys. helped me so much to lessen losing my temper over his behavior.

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        • 28

          MY3sons says

          My DS9 has had a similar ride in public school. I have been vigilant about getting him evaluated and whatever ‘services’ he would benefit from. He’s very smart and does well academically. Socially, not so much. He’s working on it, but he is still singled out all the time at school. If something happens, HE must have been in the wrong. Being objective is something teachers lose, especially as the school year wears on. I’ve also noticed that some of his problems are rooted in the fact that he is a BOY in a female teacher’s class, and that more than once, he’s been placed with a teacher that obviously should have retired already. My son will never conform, I have raised all of my kids to be individuals who think for themselves.
          His ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are bad enough that he genuinely CAN’T help certain behaviors. His teacher last year had the gall to call my son to the front of class each morning and ask if he had taken his meds. She even accused me of not giving him his medicine. Totally illegal and none of their damn business were my exact words to the principal during my unannounced visit to her office the following week.
          I know he isn’t the only kid in class, but a little flexibility would go a long way with my son. I find it very interesting that immediately following my meeting and request for a 504 plan (denied) that he was quite suddenly not such a problem after all. His behaviors are difficult for me too, but I have to find ways to get around them (easier said than done)—so should the school. I will not squash my child’s personality so that they have an easier job. His report card proves that we shouldn’t have to. All children are individuals first, students second.
          This summer, I will once again grit my teeth, cross my fingers and pray the he gets a teacher who will understand him and not one that will persecute him. I thought teachers were trained to teach all kids, not just the ones that will sit and be drones.

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    • 29

      Donna says

      My advice to you is to request a neuropsychological evaluation referral from the pediatrician. That can rule anything out even something as simple as dyslexia. Not that I am making assumptions. It is just a suggestion. My child was diagnosed with ADD at 7 and is 11 now. I have been through the process. Luckily she is dominantly attention deficit and not hyperactive.The school is 100% out of line in attempting to diagnose your son. They are not doctors. To address Scott’s statement about teachers wanting children DRUGGED UP to not deal with them…that is extremely ignorant.My child does take medication and unless I told you you would never know it. She is not a “zombie” who is drugged up. Nor is her teacher’s job easier. In fact, we talk MORE frequently. meet more frequently and she tutors my child on her own free time once a week without pay because it is not in the school’s budget and she wants my child to do well.

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  4. 42

    Tracey says

    I’m glad I’m not alone, this sounds like my house with the minefield of toys, laundry, and snack food crumbs. I’m working on living with the chaos and not stressing over the disaster zone caused by our mini-me’s.

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  5. 43

    Gretchen says

    Thank you, thank you:) My ds3 kept asking me what was funny! I love playing hide and seek, especially when my 4 sons don’t know we’re playing. I have found my youngest in the dryer though, so that spot is out. My OCD tendencies keep my house neat, but I have often looked in the rear view mirror and been appalled that NOONE said anything about the crazy hair, my own boogers, etc!!

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  6. 44

    Aimee says

    I swore I’d never let kids eat in the car. I was pretty judgey about people with kids and their messy cars. Now 2 kids later, I have a messy car, and my kids eat in the car.

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  7. 45

    Melancholy says

    Yes. <3 <3 ! I also swore I'd always be the volunteer mom. But the truth is, I can barely stand the two of them together at one time some days, and you want to stick me in a room with 20 of them? 19 of which aren't intimidated by the evil whisper that hisses "This is the very last time I'm going to say this, STOP it right now!"

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  8. 47

    Autumn says

    This made me laugh out loud, partly because it’s funny, and partly because it’s all true. Every last word. Especially the part about negative time. I didn’t know it was physically possible to move as slowly as my daughter moves when it’s below freezing and I’ve got my arms full of 30 pounds worth of work and day care stuff, just trying to make it into our house so I can start dinner. She’s goes so slowly it’s like she is walking backwards. Aghh!

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  9. 48

    MommyColeman says

    Oh my gosh these are all me! I also thought my kid will never be into all the commercial toys like Dora, Sophia the First, Mickey Mouse. There’s no way I’m going to be buying her all that kind of stuff. There’s a Dora sticker on her wall (surrounded by Dora toys and furniture) and every day that b*tch gets the stare down… you HAD to get in her head Dora…

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  10. 49

    says

    Love this!! So true. I remember walking around the mall before I had kids and thinking the people who are carrying the baby and using the stroller for all their packages were just dumb. Now, I’m done that so many time I couldn’t even count them. Becoming a parent is humbling for sure!

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    • 50

      Rachel says

      My biggest about-face? Before kids, I’d see parents with toddlers on little leashes/harnesses at the mall, and think to myself “Never!” Now that I have my own brood, I’m open to leashes and muzzles for the little darlings!

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  11. 51

    Kristen Hanssen Goodell says

    How about “My kids will just learn to sleep wherever. I’ll bring them places, and they’ll just have to be flexible”……HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Or maybe sleep will be such a disaster that I’ll have a 10-year old still crawling into bed next to me.

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    • 54

      k says

      so true! and that pointing finger came out of nowhere and i just couldn’t control it! that pointing finger that i swore looked so ridiculous and archaic before i had kids…now has a mind of its own. lol

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  12. 55

    Randi Skaggs says

    I was a teacher before I had kids, so I figured with all my *experience*, of course I’d have it all figured out. Boy, life had some fun teaching me my lesson.

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  13. 58

    Ashley says

    OMG this is SOOOO me! Especially the part about time moving backward! I swear my 4 year old moves thinks talks at a mile a second….. until i utter those 2 awful words…. “hurry up” and its all down hill from there… he suddenly “forgets” how to put on shoes… his coat is on up-side-down…. and he has one speed walking to the car…. slow. lol. I’m glad i am not the only person whose house… appearance…. and general demeanor are that of a person that just barely survived a hurricane. lol. And i’m not going to lie… i get a little judgy and upety towards mothers of only one child as well… I remember being them…. with my one year old… and my “i got this” thinking… I thought i was the parenting queen…. he was so well behaved…. then along came my second son… and then my THIRD son… and i have come to accept that i am outnumbered and sometimes… sadly… outsmarted. lol Mothers of one are the ones on pinterest making their homemade playdough and redecorating their house and kudos to you! nothing wrong with that… but im more like… i managed to brush half of my teeth.,.. and all three of my kids left the house with matching shoes… id call that a successful day! LOL

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    • 59

      cfg says

      I don’t understand the judgeyness towards mothers of one. Just because you had well-behaved, healthy children doesn’t mean that other people do. Also, different people have different tolerance levels, finances, etc. etc. Parenting their one kid might be harder than your three.

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    • 60

      Melinda says

      Haha This is me everyday with only with just one. I am late everywhere and forget half the things I need. UGH!!! I will not be having another one til this little guy is in school!!! Mommies, come and judge me!!! haha I just stare in awe at all you mothers of more than one kid under the age 5. I swear you girls have some sort of secret magic to manage the kiddos!! LET ME HAVE SOME, TOOO!!!!!! haha

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  14. 61

    Stacy says

    I couldn’t have read this at a better time; I just finished dealing with the “tantrum to end all tantrums” from my 7 yr old (my kids will NOT have tantrums) that lasted 1.5 hours. During the tantrum my son 1. Had to be dragged to his room ( my kids will listen to me) 2. Screamed obscenities at me ( no way my kids will talk back) 3. Tried to throw a plastic golf club at me (wtf?). I bribed the little sister with candy to just go away (couldn’t deal with both of them), played tug-of-war with the bedroom door, and said a bunch of stuff like “wait til your dad gets home!” And “youre loosing ALL your toys for a YEAR!” Needed a good laugh; thank you so much!!!!

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    • 62

      ALR says

      I’m afraid I’m heading in your direction with a defiant 5 year old. I read “Have a New Kid by Friday” by Kevin Leman and it helped change my attitude a little bit. No, she wasn’t transformed in a week and I need to reread the book (again), but it gave me hope. The book is full of fun little mind games to play on kids like say it once, then walk away…b doesn’t come before a, etc. I see this tantrum in my future and I’m trying to find anything and everything I can to avoid it. Good luck and I hope you had a good neck massage and tall glass of wine at the end of your day.

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