Friday, 9 November 2012

Creative Parenting 101

So lately people have been asking me for creative parenting ideas. For the life of me I can’t figure out why J

So here are some ‘non-traditional’ creative parenting techniques that I have used or my friends have shared with me. I hope you giggle but it may confirm that I actually have no idea what I’m doing. Meh…I’m sure having a hell of a good time trying to figure this parenting thing all out.

I also have homework for you! I am asking you to send me any strategies you, your parents or your friends have tried. Only creative ideas please, I already know how to orchestrate a perfect time-out and how to count to three. Shhhh….I actually have no idea what is suppose to happen when/if I get to ‘three’.

Share this with your friends!! Leave your innovative parenting wisdom in the comments, email me through the blog, post on my Facebook or tell me if you see me out and about. We can use a secret operation code if you have your kids with you. Just whisper in my ear ‘The trolls fly at midnight” and we will go from there.

I won’t tell you which ones worked and which ones were strictly for entertainment purposes, but I can promise you that I laughed…mostly at myself.

·      Ok, this one is not rocket science but I am an EXPERT at removing doors as a result of slamming. Doors are a privilege, not a right at my house. I can have those bad boys off their hinges in under a minute. Oooh…look at that; I just thought up a new Minute to Win It Game.

·      We have a ‘Friendship Tie’ at my house. When the sibling fighting just won’t end…I tie one arm of each offender to the others arm. Don’t stress, it’s not a rope or handcuffs; it’s a fuzzy bathrobe tie. Learn to work together ladies. Like a three-armed obstacle course if you will. Same idea applies with the ‘Let’s Get Along T-Shirt’. Just buy a large men’s t-shirt, they will both fit in it just perfectly. You can even bedazzle it if you want.

·      Growing up my mom made my sister and I bake a ‘co-operation’ cake together when we were fighting. I wish you could hear my inside voice even as I write that.  Like nails on a chalkboard. To this day Fruit Cocktail Cake makes me vomit…but we do get along, mostlyJ

·      Lying an issue? Tell them you are going on a special mommy date for ice cream. Get them really excited…hype that shit up!! Just as you are about to leave the house…tell them you are not going.
When they ask why....calmly tell them “I lied”.

·      When computer privileges have been lost and I am out of the house…I simply put the keyboard and/or mouse in my purse with me.  Way easier to transport than the desktop. It makes me smile that they can still see what privilege has been lost…but sadly can’t use it.
Yes, you may say naa naa naa naa boo boo here….quietly.

·      Messy room? You clearly have way too much stuff to organize.  Here, let mommy help you with that. Voila…a pillow, bed and blanket should be much easier to keep tidy.

·      There is one ticket out of grounding at our house…clean up the dog pooh. No shovels or buckets allowed. Baggies only. May I remind you I have a Great Dane. I am much, much stricter and hand out way more groundings in the spring when the snow melts. Like layers of grounding if you will. I have also had dogless friends bring over their kids. I provide the baggies…aren’t I niceJ

·      And of course may I suggest a Silent Strike. Although I’m pretty sure I have used up all my mileage on that one.

I have more...but I can’t give it all away can I?

Your turn!! What have you done as a parent when the expert advice just didn’t work out?


Please be aware that I am not liable for anything you try blah blah blah. I think I need to say something about not endorsing any specific idea and I cannot guarantee any results. Ooh, and if you choose to apply any methods you are using them at your own risk. That’s should cover my ass rightJ Oh yeah, I should probably mention that by sharing your ideas with me you are giving me permission to use/print them. Well doesn’t that sound all legally and grown up?? Don’t worry; I’ll give ya all a shout out.


  1. How to deal with Halloween candy? I choose not to. As a matter of a fact, I insist that the kids keep their candy in their bedrooms. I do not complain about the copious amounts of candy that they eat - even just before dinner. After about a week, give or take a day or two, after a belly ache or two and emptying garbage cans full of wrappers (kids' job), they can't wait to get it out of their bedrooms. As a matter of a fact, they are actually happy to see me throw it all out! Often they are cured of requests for candy until Christmas!

  2. Brilliant!!! I hate the candy control mission after halloween!

  3. This one is more for the younger kidlets, but worked SUPER AWESOME for us. (Yes, "SUPER AWESOME" was the first thing that came to mind so I am going with it, lol.)

    When our twin boys were wee (still in cribs so under 3), we decided to implement a "lamp system". We prefered to call it, "Shut the f%$k up until the lamp comes on" system, actually. Because we're classy like that. LOL.

    Anyway, nowadays, they make expensive lamps that show the sun and moon, etc. but a few years ago, we simply bought a low wattage dull light IKEA lamp and a timer.

    It was simple. We reinforced the concept that when the lamp was ON, it was time to get up. If the lamp was OFF, it was time for sleep. It only took two weeks (TOPS) to develop a flawless routine.

    To this day (unless there's something seriously wrong, in which case they'll call for us), if that lamp is OFF, they stay in bed and are quiet.

    You must be quite firm and consistent initially (and with any regression of course), but honestly, it's the best thing we ever did. It made the transition to big boy toddler beds easy also. The boys are almost five now and in bunk beds, and I KNOW that when I put them to bed each night, they go to sleep right away (or are quiet at least) and they do not come out of their room (and are quiet - note the theme here) until 0730. Also, the lamp light is dull enough that it does not wake them per se. There have been times that the lamp has lit and they have remained asleep.

    Pure bliss.

    IKEA lamp = $10
    Timer = <$5
    Knowing you can have uninteruppted sleep as a weary parent = PRICELESS!

    Just my two cents!

    Lovin' your blog girlfriend.

  4. Hahaha, I'm ashamed to say that I had my door removed as a teenager...not something I'm proud of.

    Also, this isn't my idea (I saw it on the internet somewhere), but change the password on the wireless every day. Kids want the password? Great! Do your chores/homework and you can have it!

  5. I've heard of reversing doorknobs, so you can lock them out...we use to use a booster seat strapped to a chair and put them in once they could climb over gates and out of cribs. And I also admit to the scrubbing the toilets and grouts with a gets it really clean! You just have to be careful not to use a harsh cleaner. But regular hand soap will work.

  6. LOL! I'm glad my mother never thought of the cleaning up dog poo punishment, I'm sure she would have been tricking us into doing bad things just for the pleasure of watching us clean up all the crap in the back yard!

  7. When my kids were fighting a lot, when I'd heard enough, I'd start doling out chores. You- vacuum the stairs. You-clean the powder room. (I called it a working time-out.) Until they got the message to calm down and settle their differences better, my house was quite clean.

  8. I don't know how creative this is, but if Sarah won't get out of bed we just let the dog loose in her room. One tongue bath later, she's WIDE AWAKE!

    Occasionally we've threatened to visit her high school and embarrass the hell out of her if she doesn't tow the line.... That's pretty effective.

    Beyond that, I think a good old-fashioned display of force - or at least the treat thereof - is what works in our house. But the future of parenting is being written right now - by you, Jessica!
    Good luck.

  9. Jessica! You stopped by my blog and I wanted to return the favor. I didn't know a celebrity visited my blog! How cool is that. I saw your story on TV. And, as the mother of three girls (now grown), I can TOTALLY relate. But now that they are moved out, I kinda miss the backpacks in a heap by the kitchen table. Nope . . . I lied. I don't miss that at all. I miss them!

    For some reason this wants to publish my comment as anonymous. This is Robin Coyle and I posted the question "Why do you blog?"

  10. When my now 14 yr old was little (as in around 2-4), she was the BEST behaved kid in the grocery store. No whining. . . no begging. How did I accomplish this (and no, it did not involve a straight jacket and duct tape)? I used the same principle I've used in dog training --> reward the 'good' behaviour BEFORE any bad behaviour appears. So 30 seconds into shopping I would pause and say: "Wow, you are being the best kid today. You deserve a treat." Then I would reach into my pocket to the baggie of cheerios and raisings and pop a couple into her outstretched hand. I would continue this randomly, catching her being good. Worked like a charm!

    Her dad and I also used a variant of this for general purposes (and I freely admit I stole it from Dr. Phil). At night when we tucked her in we would say: "Wow, of all the kids in the universe and WE got the very best one!" I still remind her that she is the BEST kid in the world. And you know what: SHE IS. Kids will either live UP or DOWN to our expectations.


  11. I just had to comment b/c I am overwhelmed by all these good ideas. I am a mom to a two year old boy, so parenting hasn't been a huge challenge yet, but I know it is coming soon. I love all the creative ideas!

  12. All great ideas I am going to try the Dr.phil one because I have seriously tried everything else. My children were amazing before they turned 3 for my daughter and 4 for my son. They are just 4 and 5 now but it feels like I have been dealing with difficult behaviour forever. We have gotten rid of toys, given them away and even the more upsetting to the child... Actually throwing the toys in the garbage. This with said child watching. I usually do this when toys are being used as weapons or when they refuse to clean their rooms. I give them jobs around the house when they are fighting and can't play nicely. I give them time ins and time outs, my favorite is when they were a little younger and they wouldn't put their shoes on or coats on I would walk out the door tell them to pick up their shoes and themselves because we were leaving. It didn't take too long or too many times of walking out of the house into the snow minus coats and shoes for them to decide to get their shoes and coats on Whrn they are told. I give them their Left over dinner for lunch the next day. We turn off the tv downstairs by turning off the breaker because they figured out how to get around the parental lock by turning on and off the switch on the power bar. I am full of them but most haven't worked for my children. I maintain a positive outlook. They have promise of being strong willed successful adults, creative, smart and determined. It's not so great for me right now though. Lol

  13. My favorite trick with my eight and nine year old is this...

    I warn them for every toy, piece of garbage, or dirty clothes I have to pick up, they have to go threw their own toys and give that many toys away.

    The first time they didn't believe me...

    They each ended up giving away about half of their toys :D

    Now, when I use that threat, they believe me and take it seriously.

  14. I have a teenaged son who finds it heard to get up and on in the morning. It seems that turning off the hot water after more than 20 minutes in the shower helps. As does closing the kitchen for breakfast at a certain time - just this morning i had to tell him that he would have to help himself to something from his lunch box on the way to school as breakfast was over. i've also taken to hiding clothes that they refuse to put away and leave lying around in every creased piles. I often think that parenting is a bit of a game - you just have to stay one step ahead and have a huge sense of humour!

  15. Mine are wee so it is a different ballgame...but basic premis applies to all. My second is a 10 month old mutant. Sweet and snugly, but stronger than an xman. When I put her on the change table for a diaper change, all hell breaks loose. It is seriously about a 5 person job somedays. I tried giving her toys to distract her to no avail until it hit me...boobies. The little panic attack ( her loving nick name) loves boobs. And so out of pure frustration one day I whipped down one side of my nursing tank while trying to change her and ta-da...transfixed! From there on out the challenging diaper changes in our house have an nc-17 nudity warning, but it is better than the alternative. Now if it would only work with my husband....wait a second...we're talking about boobs...and men...duh.

  16. My boys are not quite 2 yet, so we are still working on these. But growing up my sister and I's favorite phrase was "I'm bored". My mom finally got so fed up that she instituted the strict policy that for every time we said it we had to do 15 minutes of house work. That cured us VERY quickly.

    Once we were teenagers our clothes didn't get washed unless they were in the laundry room. And she would only wash them when it was "laundry time". So she put a list by the washer and dryer on how to wash everything, and if we wanted something washed outside of normal laundry time we had to do it ourselves. (Which as a teenage girl was frequent.)