How To Get Your Kids To Behave So You Don’t Lose Your Mind


I’ve seen it all NOW! I came across a blog that was about “getting your kids to behave.” At first, I thought it was a joke… but oh no, it was REAL!

I’m a mother of five kids and have read a massive amount of parenting books. I was desperate when I was raising my troop of little angels who were all born in seven and a half years. We were swinging from the rafters some days, and I desperately needed help, so I didn’t lose my mind. But I can tell you I am quite happy I never fell upon this advice when I was raising my bundles of joy.

(Kyle on the Left. Charity, Aryanna and Eythan top right. Devyn, lower right)

The blogger said she had gone to a parenting conference and learned all these fabulous trick on how to get your kid’s meltdown from ten minutes to two minutes. Are you ready for them…drum roll…

  1. Give them a lollipop
  2. Give them gum
  3. Give them screen time
  4. Let them blow through a straw
  5. Give them a trampoline to jump on
  6. Give them bubbles to blow

It reminded me of training a dog. But even with a puppy, you don’t reward their bad behaviour. Yet many dog owners have obedient dogs and many own terrifying creatures. We as parents are the same, some of us have lovely children, and some of us have animals no one wants to be around.

Sometimes it seems as a society we are dumbing down parenting.

I was thinking to myself,  “I wish I could go back forty years and have had my mom use these tactics when I was a kid.” I would have been pro in the temper-tantrum department!!! I could have earned my self one hundred suckers a day…and been the lollipop-queen of the neighbourhood, and set up shop.

Instead, guess what I got if I had a tantrum? A whooping right on my behind with a belt, a Hot Wheels orange race track, or wooden spoon. Before you go thinking my mother was abusive, most of the parents in our little town of Wawa disciplined their kids this way. None of us went running to our school counsellor screaming, “child abuse.”

How many temper tantrum do you think we had? Yeah, you guessed right…almost zero.

I had it all figured out when I had kids. I was going to spank them if they directly disobeyed my commands. Not for childish irresponsibility or behaviour, just for defying Mom. If my kids were starting to have a meltdown because they couldn’t get what they wanted I warned my little hooligans they were going to be disciplined if they didn’t put a lid on it.

This worked perfectly on my first four kids. Then I had a strong-willed child. Have you ever watched a western where the cowboys stare each other down? That was Eythan and me. This kid was determined to win EVERY TIME.


If I took him aside and spanked him, he’d turn and look at me and say, “That didn’t hurt!”  That earned him a spanking that REALLY hurt.

Now I loved this child to pieces, and eventually, I learned Eythan was tougher than nails, and I was going to have to come up with some better ideas.

In our modern times spanking is outlawed in some countries and can no longer be used. So what can a parent do to have children they absolutely love being around and everyone else doesn’t find annoying?

Tactics We Found Helpful

1.Remove the Audience

If my kids were having a temper tantrum, I would turn my back to them and say “Go yell at the wall, I’m not listening.” Some kids want an audience to watch them have their tantrum. They want negative attention. Removing this can deflate their ego and cause them to simmer down.

2. Take Away Screen Time

It’s really uncool to have to tell your friends when they come over that you lost your screen time for having a temper tantrum. Plus screen time was my boy’s favourite pastime when they were young. They hated losing screen time.

3. Make Them Do Dishes

Not too many kids jump up and down with excitement over doing dishes. Mine hated the job! So dishes for a week was torture. If your child loves this job, find a chore they don’t like doing and use that.

4. Time Out 

This was something we used until about age six. We would give a one minute time out for each year of their age. A six-year-old got a six-minute timeout. Children forget quickly, and by the time they were done their cool down, usually, they have forgotten what they wanted.

5. Take Away A Privilege.

If a child were really rude and obnoxious, I would have something fun planned like lunch to McDonald’s and have a babysitter come over and stay with the child who needed to learn to be respectful while we went to McDonald’s. I’d promise them they would be included the next time we went if they had a change in attitude.

Our kids now

Tactics We Didn’t Find as Beneficial

1. Grounding. We chose to not ground our kids because it punished their neighbourhood friends too. Plus it seemed to only cause a child to stew and feel resentful. Grounding lasts a long time, being grounded from your friends for a whole week kind of feels like jail-time. Pretty soon home doesn’t feel like a home.

2. Counting.  You’ve seen it a million times. 1…2….3…….4………………………5. This puts the child in control instead of the parent, and they never have to obey until you get to five. You want them to listen when you ask them to, not when your done counting.

3. Yelling. There is no need to shout unless your child has hearing difficulties. You can train your child to obey you even when you whisper. I remember one child saying they never listened to their school teacher till she was on top of her desk yelling at the class, then they knew she meant business. She had trained the students to only obey when she lost it completely. If your child doesn’t obey after you ask calmly, then use one of the five tactics above. Eventually, they will know you mean business.

4. Belittling.  Peppering a  child with cruel words or comparisons is a no-no. Our words should always come from a kind and loving heart even when we are angry. “You’re stupid, you’re an idiot, why can’t you be like your sister?”  These words should never come out of a parent’s mouth and are abusive to the child.

5. Empty threats. “If you don’t stop that now, I’m not taking you to the movies on Saturday.” Then on Saturday, little Johnny is stuffing his face with popcorn and guzzling down a 32 oz cup of Coke. ALWAYS, carry through with your words! Your kids know if you mean it, or if you don’t. If you don’t carry through with your threats, they will NEVER listen to you.

Praising your children for their good behaviour will make for faster progress than disciplining them for their bad. Kids thrive on words of praise and their parents’ approval.

Having obedient kids can make for a happy and joyful family life. But you can discipline your kids till to your blue in the face and still have children who are unhappy and resentful. Plus we don’t want to be a communist home where everyone just acts like an obedient dog out of fear.

The greatest discipline you can give to your child is your time. I know you’re confused right now by that statement. Sometimes children have negative behaviours because they are acting out their loneliness and unhappiness. It’s important you ask yourself if your child just needs a little time to sit on Mommy or Daddy’s knee and have some one-to-one.

The more quality time you give to your child, the more their heart is tied to yours. A child who adores their parent is one who usually wants to listen and earn their parent’s approval.

What happened to my little Eythan? He grew up to be a nice, respectful young man and brought us great joy! Last summer he was married to our beautiful daughter-in-law Jazmin.

Eythan and Jazmin

We made lots of mistakes in our parenting and you might too. But in the end, it will all come down to whether your child felt loved by you and a priority in your life. This will be the greatest catalyst for having children who will learn to chose what is right. They will model the good behaviour of the people they love the most.

You, as their parent, are what they want more than anything in the world. They crave your time and attention. If they are starved in this area, their behaviours will escalate.

Mother’s are better than lollipops, gum, bubbles, screens and trampolines. A mother’s children desire to be close to her and loved by her.

No mother on earth can replace you. Your time and love can transform a childđź’—

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:1-3
Believing and hoping,
Cindy Seatonđź’—


Author: cindyseaton69

I am the author of Beauty From Ashes: A Mother's Journey from Bitterness to Hope.

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