Standing against the hurricane-making choices that work


Storm's Fury

Storm's Fury ©Garry


Having raised two lovely daughters to adulthood, worked side by side with my family for over seventeen years and my husband and parents for another five, I have discovered there are a lot of similarities between being an effective parent and a productive business person.

They both require dealing with all kinds of challenges and behaviors that sometimes make us want to just go live on an island. By ourselves. Forever.

But we don’t.

All of us carry on, ever hopeful, ever learning new techniques to be a better parent, business owner, boss or employee.


As parents, we confidently sailed flailed our way through the thicket of challenges our young daughters created. We did our best to lead by example and to teach, calmly and confidently. There were times we felt so accomplished, as though we had nailed the perfectly wonderful parental response, or even better, had headed off a potential tantrum.

Then there were all the other times.

The I’m-embarrassed-to-admit-to-it times, when we hollered, punished, took away, cajoled, bribed, and were petty, all in the name of keeping the peace, or teaching the girls to be responsible.

Oh, yeah, that was a winning plan.

I’m just grateful there weren’t cell phones with video capability hooked directly to Facebook.

My dear hubbie and I both knew what we were doing was not working.

We discovered the book Positive Discipline and the beauty of natural consequences and instituted the author’s suggestions right away.

Which our children began to test. Immediately. With a vengeance.

We steeled our resolve with this thought: If we give in, they’ll know we aren’t serious and we will be in the same boat we’ve been in. We may “win” a temporary peace now, but we will pay later.

If we stick to our guns, firmly and fairly, we will face the hurricane force of their anger now, but we will have increased calm later.

We chose to say “no” to those behaviors, so our girls would learn to say “yes” to behaviors that would move them towards goals that they really wanted.

My daughter picks up the thread of the story here with her post “What are you saying yes to?”, a piece she wrote about the opportunity cost of saying yes vs. no, and her sharp memory of a positive discipline, positively defining moment.


What are you saying yes to?

Whenever we make a choice, we’re really making two: we say yes to one thing and no to another.

In economics, this is known as the opportunity cost – the value of whatever is behind door #2 when you choose door #1.

We say yes or no to a million different things, every day, and we have for our entire lives.

That’s a lesson I learned early on.

When I was four or five years old, my sister and I went to daycare while my parents were at work. Like many other parents, mine faced constant battles with us about getting up and getting ready to go.

“Alexis, it’s time to get up.”

“NoooOOOoooOOOoooo I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiired.”

(repeat x5)

“Alexis, it’s time to get dressed.”

“NooOoooOOooo I don’t waaaaannaaaaaa.”

Around this same time, my Mom read a book called Positive Discipline. This book proposed a revolutionary idea: as long as the consequences of your child’s actions don’t result in anything truly bad happening (mayhem, injury, death, that sort of thing), let them make that choice.

Like all kids will do, I tested the boundaries. I was SURE that my parents would fold like a house of cards in a hurricane.

One morning before daycare, I pushed the limits a little too far.

Quick! Click this link to find out how Alexis’ testing of the newly drawn boundaries worked out…


This post is linked to No Ordinary Blog Hop

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  1. Great post Kim-
    I had to say “no” last night during a hurricane that occured at the dining room table.
    Five year old cutie boots do need “tough love.”

  2. I was always amazed at the speed and force of toddler/elementary hurricanes. Glad you were able to say no, as it is investing in your cutie boots’ future. She will remember and be grateful one day for the boundaries.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I’m heading over to read the rest of Alexis’ post. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say. I already agree with what you are saying and it confirms that this see-saw that I’m on between caving for temporary peace and holding out, braving the winds needs to come to a stand still. I wish it was easy!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Jen. Take heart. Kids are masters at figuring out where every button is that you have. However, if you just stick to your guns, take a deep breath, and know that a baby step at a time will get you where you want to be. Remember, too, that things that take time and effort are very worthwhile. Although you may only see glimmers of your teaching until the girls are much older, the time will be exceedingly well spent.

  5. Thanks for following and I am following back. Heading over to read the rest of your daughter post. I so relate to everything written so far. I have a very wonderful but strong willed daughter who gives me my greatest joys in life but also makes me feel as if I am failing her every day. Great post and thanks for linking up to the NOBH and can’t wait to read more of your posts:)

    • Anna-Marie, thanks for following. Our youngest was incredibly strong willed, too, and in addition was incredibly angry at us when we moved to a brand new town at the start of her sophomore year of high school. I joke with folks that if murder were legal, none of us would be here…

      To say that she made our lives difficult is to put it mildly. However, somewhere during her freshman year of college, she shared with us that she realized that our moving was a turning point in her life, and it was the best thing that could have and did happen to her. More welcome words were never spoken.

      There is hope. Be firm, be fair, be loving, and provide clear and constant direction, structure and gentle correction. You can read some of our “for worse” and “for better” at these links:

      Five Minute Friday-The Hard Love

      True Colors

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