How long is your leash?


As wrong as it seems to compare our children to dogs, I see so many parallels. Children need to be trained just as much as dogs do. And we can compare the freedom we give our children to the leash we use with dogs. Yes, I mean leash in the figurative sense. The thought of putting my child 0n a leash brings up so many images, including a hilarious episode of Modern Family. But think of the leash as a measure of your child’s freedoms.

When my kids are being uncharacteristically disobedient, I tell them and my husband that they are going to be on a short leash. This is my short way of saying that I will:

  • Limit their choices
  • Make most of their decisions for them
  • Require that they hold my hand everywhere we go
  • Call their names and require a “yes, mommy” and eye contact at every turn
  • Require that they ask permission for almost everything
  • Give no leniency when they act up

They don’t need to be on a short leash for long. It works very well in reigning in their behavior. They quickly go back to the obedient kids they are. As with most everything in parenting, they will be as obedient as I expect them to be. If I actively train (or retrain) them, they will be obedient. If I slack off, they will too.

In addition to keeping our children on a short leash, we also need to recognize when to lengthen their leash. When our kids are characteristically obedient, they have earned the freedom to be on a long leash. They are kids, so they can’t be free of the leash completely, but the leash can be long. If we give the freedom and flexibility to explore their world–with the trust that they will treat it well–we can give them that freedom.

The untrained parent

As many seasoned parents know, more than half the battle in parenting is training ourselves in what to say and what not to say to our children. This applies to everything from training in first-time obedience to getting a child to stay in his room during roomtime. Here I’ll present a few examples of the differences you might see between the trained and the untrained parent.

The untrained parent: freedoms

Mom: “Johnny, do you want ham or turkey on your sandwich today?
Johnny: “I don’t want those. I want peanut butter and jelly.”
Mom: “Johnny, we don’t have any peanut butter. Do you want ham or turkey today?”
Johnny: “I want peanut butter and jelly!!!”

The conversation ends with mom loading Johnny into the car to buy peanut butter or with Johnny throwing a giant tantrum (or both).

The trained parent: freedoms

Mom: “Johnny, it’s lunch time. Go wash your hands and sit down to eat.”
Johnny: “Yes, mommy!”

Notice that Johnny is not given a choice as to what is served for lunch.

The untrained parent: clean-up time

Mom: “Johnny, will you clean up your toys please? It’s almost time for your nap, and we like to keep the house clean. So do mommy a favor, and clean up your toys.”
Johnny: “No! I don’t want to!”
Mom: “Please, Johnny. It would mean so much to mommy. You like to make mommy happy, don’t you?!
Johnny: “No!”
Mom: “Johnny, you’re making mommy angry. You don’t want to make me angry, do you? Now I’m going to count to 3 and you’re going to clean up your toys. 1…2…2.5…, Johnny, you better start before I get to 3. Okay… 3.”
Johnny: Spits raspberries at mom.

Mom gets so angry and frustrated that she just puts Johnny down for his nap–and cleans up the toys herself.

The trained parent: clean-up time

Mom: “Johnny?”
Johnny: “Yes, mommy?”
Mom: After making sure Johnny looks her in the eye, “It’s time to clean up your toys now.”
Johnny: “Yes, mommy!”

Johnny picks up his toys.

Those of you with little ones should pay attention to this. It’s when they are babies and young toddlers that you need to start training yourself. Very soon, the day will come when your little one decides to assert some independence. He will realize that he has free will, and, if untrained, he will realize that he doesn’t always have to do what you tell him.

There’s one little–but so important–action that happens in the life of almost every toddler I know. Mom calls the child’s name as she always does. And one day, the child gets a twinkle in his eye and runs in the other direction. After suppressing a laugh, mom will have to decide what she’s going to do about it. This simple little act signifies the end of your training time. Once this happens, the game is on!

If you’ve done little reading or planning, you won’t know what to do with the child when he runs away from you. And if there’s anything I can tell you when it comes to parenting, you don’t want to wing it. Do your reading, have a plan and train yourself to follow that plan!

If you haven’t ready my eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience, now is the time! Whether you have a little one who has yet to assert his independence or if you’ve been winging it for a while, this book will set you on the right path to training yourself to achieve obedience and ultimately a life of peace and harmony with your child. It takes some work to train ourselves and the child in first-time obedience, but the payoff is huge and so worth it!



Simple logical consequences

Source: realsimple.comLast week, I wrote about some of the more extreme logical consequences I’ve heard about. I thought I would present an alternate view and talk about some of the more simple logical consequences that have proven to be highly effective with my kids.

My friend Manda commented on last week’s post, saying how the Ezzos’ approach to the funnel gives us a very simple, common sense approach to logical consequences. There are some parenting experts, like the authors of Love & Logic, who make us think that we have to get creative with logical consequences for them to be memorable. But some of the more simple consequences are more effective because they relate to the issue at hand. As Manda said, if you can’t handle a freedom, you lose that freedom.

I could not agree more. There are times that I worry that I rely too much on timeout as a consequence, but I always come back to the idea that a timeout is very much a logical consequence. Typically, I issue timeouts because my kids are doing something that isn’t appropriate around other people. Being isolated in their rooms is very much a logical consequence. You can’t behave appropriately around other people, you can’t be around other people. So simple!

Here are some other very simple, yet very effective, logical consequences that I’ve used:

  • Problem: Acting bossy toward your sibling.
  • Consequence: You lose the freedom of playing with your sibling. If you have a bad attitude with everyone, you go to your room (losing the freedom to be around anyone).
  • Problem: Speaking disrespectfully toward mom or dad.
  • Consequence: You lose the freedom to speak. I first learned about this idea from the Mom’s Notes, and I use it all the time. My kids don’t often speak disrespectfully, but I’ll use it when they’re too loud in the car, experimenting with potty language, etc. It’s very effective. Of course, it requires a healthy dose of first-time obedience to get them to not speak.
  • Problem: Whining during a game of catch.
  • Consequence: The game is over. My kids get frustrated if they can’t catch or throw the ball as well as they’d like, but when the frustration turns into whining, the game is over. We’ll try again when they’re ready to play without complaining.

Ultimately, the point of this post is to say that you don’t need to get creative or crazy with logical consequences. The point is that logical consequences are logical, which means that they relate very simply to the problem at hand. And because they relate to the matter at hand, they work!

What are some of the simple logical consequences you’ve used? Are they just as effective as some of the more creative consequences you’ve used?

P.S., The July 4th sale on my eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience, ends Friday! Get your copy today!

Stop behavior problems before they happen


One of the most important considerations in parenting is prevention. I cannot stress enough how much prevention can save your sanity and induce compliance in your child.

“Prevention is the best form of correction,” (On Becoming Childwise).

There are several parenting tactics that allow you to prevent behavior problems before they happen. Some of these tactics include:

As important all of these factors are–and, make no mistake, they are important–there is one factor that really drives prevention: freedoms. Avoid trouble by limiting access to items that aren’t within the child’s realm of responsibility (like the markers in the photo above).

I discussed the idea of having your child ask for permission. That’s one way to limit a child’s freedoms. As you go about your day, think through possible freedoms your child has (or takes on his own) that could be getting him into trouble.

“You should continually evaluate what you allow your child to do and whether those freedoms are appropriate considering his age, understanding, and abilities. Are you giving him inappropriate freedoms?

Let freedoms be handed out carefully as the child demonstrates contentment with your authority and responsibility in previous freedoms given. Granting freedoms consistent with a child’s level of self-control equals developmental harmony.

Freedoms come gradually: from the playpen, to the backyard, to the neighborhood, to the world at large. As your child demonstrates responsible behavior and sound judgment, he earns another level of freedom. This type of training results in a child who is a joy to everyone and who has achieved a sense of affirmation within himself,” (On Becoming Childwise).

What more could we want? Make sure your child’s freedoms are equal to his level of responsibility (not his age), and always focus on prevention. As always, if behavior problems are avoided altogether, that’s less disciplining and correcting that you need to do.

Have them ask for permission


It can be so incredibly important and effective to have our children ask for permission as they go about their days. If you have a child who tends to roam the house at will or who takes far too many verbal freedoms, having him ask for permission can immediately curb attitude issues.

I first learned the importance of this when I was on the phone with my contact mom one day (when William was about 3). He had started to put his boots on to go out into the backyard, and I asked her whether she thought that was okay. She said, “Did he ask for permission?” Of course he hadn’t, and I quickly realized that was at the root of many of our problems. He was just taking freedoms at will, and we never stopped to have him ask.

“Do you let your three-year-old go into the backyard to play without asking permission? Do you let your five-year-old decide for herself when she can go next door to play with her friend? Think through your day. How many times do you hear your child say, ‘Mom, I’m going to…’ rather than, ‘Mom, may I…?’ Is your child asking you to do things or just telling you what he’s going to do?” (On Becoming Childwise).

“The child who customarily tells you what she is going to do is assuming a level of decision-making freedom which she may or may not have. And if this continues, it is because her parents have allowed her to take this ground and hold it,” (On Becoming Childwise).

There are two great benefits of having your child ask for permission. First, it prevents problems before they occur. Rather than having to discipline a child for taking a freedom after the fact, you can stop the child from taking the freedom in the first place. Second, it allows you time to decide whether you will allow the child the freedom.

There is nothing wrong with letting your child have certain freedoms. The problem lies with who ultimately decides what he can and cannot do.

“There is a simple technique you can use to keep this problem at bay. Have your child ask permission rather than informing you of his decision…. Seeking permission helps a child realize his dependence on your leadership. It also helps prevent a child from becoming wise in his own eyes,” (On Becoming Childwise).

If you never require your child to ask for permission, he will assume that it means he has the freedom to do whatever he wants. We all know this cannot be healthy.

The Ezzos caution us that we must always follow through when our response to a request is a “no.”

“One warning: this technique will only work if you actually play your parental role. If your child asks permission to go next door and you say no, you may witness a case of spontaneous combustion right there in your living room [especially if you’re new to this rule.] If the child throws a tantrum (or threatens to in front of your company) and you give in, you haven’t made an adjustment at all. The child is still telling you what he’s going to do—you’ve just changed the vocabulary,” (On Becoming Childwise).

You will have to decide what you will require them to ask permission for. But if in doubt, have them ask. Many times, when my kids start to do something, I stop them and have them ask. I may still go ahead and say “yes,” but it makes it clear to them that they aren’t the ones to decide.

Understand how important this simple technique can be. It can eliminate attitude issues almost immediately, and is very effective in ensuring the child doesn’t think he’s running the show. If you do nothing else, start implementing this right away!

What I’m Reading: “Bringing Up Bebe,” The Cadre

One of the most important ideas in French parenting, according to Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman is the cadre.

“Cadre (kah-druh)—frame, or framework. A visual image that describes the French parenting ideal: setting firm limits for children, but giving them tremendous freedom within those limits,” (Bringing Up Bebe).

The cadre seems to be a combination of the Ezzos’ schedule and funnel. The schedule is the framework that defines the structure of the home. The funnel defines firm limits that equate to the child’s level of responsibility. And the child is afforded freedoms based on that same level of responsibility.

“To the French couple [referenced in the book], it seemed like the American kids were in charge. ‘What struck us, and bothered us was that the parents never said ‘no.’ … It suggests that the American kids don’t have firm boundaries, that their parents lack authority, and that anything goes. It’s the antithesis of the French ideal of the cadre, or frame, that French parents talk about. Cadre means that kids have very firm limits—that’s the frame—and that the parents strictly enforce those limits. But within those limits, the kids have a lot of freedom,” (Bringing Up Bebe, p. 67-68).

The book goes on to suggest that kids are more content when they are kept in the cadre.

“He’s a little bit lost. … In families where there is more structure, not a rigid family but a bit more cadre, everything goes much more smoothly,” (Bringing Up Bebe, p. 68).

This idea is further explained as a source of comfort:

“The point of the cadre isn’t to hem the child in; it’s to create a world that’s predictable and coherent to her. ‘You need that cadre or I think you get lost.’ … ‘It gives you confidence. You have confidence in your kid, and your kid feels it,’” (Bringing Up Bebe, p. 84).

One of the parents interviewed in the book explains how the cadre plays out in daily life:

“’I tend to be severe all of the time, a little bit,’ Fanny says. ‘There are some rules I found that if you let go, you tend to take two steps backward. I rarely let these go.’ For Fanny, these areas are eating, sleeping and watching TV. ‘For all the rest she can do what she wants,’ she tells me about her daughter, Lucie. Even within these key areas, Fanny tries to give Lucie some freedom and choices…. ‘Dressing up in the morning, I tell her, ‘At home, you can dress however you want. If you want to wear a summer shirt in wintertime, okay. But when we go out, we decide,’” (Bringing Up Bebe, p. 84).

This is similar to the structure that I have established in my home. I have very firm limits about eating, sleeping and media (all devices, not just TV). I have other limits related to our structure, but within that structure, my boys have freedom. For example, roomtime is a playtime defined by me, and it’s a time when they play alone in their rooms. But they can play with whatever toys or books they wish.

Or when we’re on walks, they know they are to stop at corners, not walk on neighbors’ lawns, stay on the sidewalk, and not cross the street alone. Aside from those rules, they are free to run ahead or stop to pick up sticks as they wish.

It all comes down to balance. We need to let our kids be kids, but we also need to give them limits to keep them healthy and safe. For both the parents’ sake and the child’s, it’s important to decide what those limits are ahead of time. And then when there’s opportunity for freedom, we can allow it.

First-time obedience: first things first


First-time obedience (FTO) is a phrase you commonly hear in Babywise parenting circles. But what exactly does it mean? It’s really quite simple to understand. First-time obedience means your child obeys your instruction the first time, no questions asked.

First-time obedience is important for many reasons including:

  • It sets clear expectations for the child.
  • If you teach obedience, you don’t have to teach anything else.
  • It helps you decide when a correction is necessary; disobedience is disobedience.
  • It teaches your child to obey your word and not rely on bribes or rewards for motivation.
  • It teaches your child to submit to your authority and adopt an attitude of submission when obedience is required.
  • When your life is not fraught with disobedience, your days are happier and your relationship with your child grows stronger.
  • If you teach moral values (through obedience) when he’s little, you give yourselves many years of a trusting, loving relationship.

What does first-time obedience look like?

First-time obedience is a fairly simple to identify. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Your child responds to the call of his name with “yes, mommy”.
  • Your child gives you eye contact when you call his name.
  • Your child immediately complies with any instruction you give, whether it’s putting his shoes on or cleaning his room.
  • Your child obeys with an attitude of submission and a happy heart.

What does first-time obedience NOT look like?

Would your child be characterized by first-time obedience? Be honest with yourself. Do any of the following go on in your home?

  • Your child ignores you when you call his name. Or worse, he runs away when you call.
  • You repeat your instruction 50 times before he complies. (This is 50th-time obedience!)
  • Your child counts on your inconsistency and will keep pushing the envelope to find out how serious you are.
  • Your child whines or talks back when you give an instruction. If it worked once before, it might just work again.
  • You offer threat after threat to get your child to comply.
  • You count to three in a threatening tone when your child doesn’t comply.
  • You bribe your child with stickers, marbles, pennies, or promises for ice cream to get him to obey.
  • You guilt your child into complying with your instructions.
  • You beg your child to obey.
  • You and your child end the day frustrated and stressed out.

Don’t worry if you recognize any of these scenarios. I’ve been there and I’m here to help!

First things first: Ezzo fundamentals

By now you’re probably convinced of the value of first-time obedience. It’s so very promising for us as parents and for the moral and ethical health of our children. Now, are you ready to put in the effort to make it a reality?

The first thing you need to do as you attempt to instill first-time obedience in your child is forget the idea altogether. Yes, you heard me right. Set it aside for now. There is a much bigger foundation you must lay before your FTO work can even begin. I realize that it’s tempting to jump into first-time obedience training with both feet, but I promise that it will be much more difficult if you don’t implement the Ezzo fundamentals first.

Make your marriage a priority

What does your marriage have to do with parenting? Everything. If you have read any of the Ezzos’ books, then you are no stranger to the idea that the marriage must come first. As Ezzo says in On Becoming Childwise, “Great marriages make great parents,” (page 43). Your marriage is the ground upon which your child stands. Practice couch time to proactively show your child that you value your marriage. Also be sure to maintain your roles as husband and wife, not just mom and dad.

Avoid child-centered parenting

Too often, once a child is brought into the marriage, parents focus extensively on the child. Though it is often done in the name of good parenting, child-centered parenting actually does more harm than good. Instead of integrating the child into the family as a welcome member of the family, they make the child the center of their world. This creates within the child a false sense of self-reliance. The child becomes wise in his own eyes and attitude issues run rampant.

Schedule your child’s day

When you direct your child’s activities, you drastically reduce the risk that he will be bored and stir up trouble. Create a daily schedule that includes activities like nap time, quiet reading time, independent play time (room time or playpen time), sibling play time, outside time, and more.

Establish your funnel

Envision a funnel or inverted cone. At the bottom, the opening is narrow. This represents the freedoms you allow your child when he is young. As he grows (in maturity and chronologically), you increase those freedoms. Keep your child in that funnel. Don’t allow your two-year-old to roam the house at will or require your 12-year-old to keep his hand on the cart at the grocery store. Make sure freedoms are age-appropriate and award new freedoms based on responsibility, not age.

Say what you mean; mean what you say

Trite as they may be, these eight simple words have great power over your first-time obedience training. The underlying principle of “say what you mean; mean what you say” is that you clearly communicate to your child what you expect of him and follow through on every word you say. Take your time before you speak and be sure that whatever you say are words you can stand by. The Ezzos say, “Never give a command unless you intend for it to be obeyed,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 126.)

Teach your child to ask for permission

If you have a child who roams the house or goes into the backyard at will, you will greatly benefit from this simple technique. Having your child ask for permission stops behavior problems in their tracks! You can even teach a non-verbal child to do the sign for “please” to ask for permission.

Encourage and love your child

There are parents who feel that they desperately need first-time obedience because they spend their days yelling at and barking orders at their children. Frustration is the name of the game. These parents often skip to the discipline section of the book in an attempt to nip behavior problems in the bud. But let me be clear: love and encouragement go a LONG way toward improving your child’s behavior. So be sure to encourage through praise, spontaneous rewards, physical affection, and goal incentives; and speak your child’s love language to make sure he is receiving your love. Most important, enjoy and have fun with your child!

Be intentional in your parenting

Planning and intent are key to establishing first-time obedience:

  • Start as you mean to go on. Don’t start a habit you won’t want to continue.
  • Read, read, read!
  • Understand why you do what you do. Ignore parenting experts whose theories don’t make sense to you. (Many of them offer only short-term fixes anyway.)
  • Create a discipline plan and decide on consequences ahead of time.
  • Work with your spouse to identify the values you wish to instill in your children.
  • Identify the behaviors you’d like to see in your children. Set the bar high but also be realistic in your expectations!
  • Keep your attitude in check. Find a tone that communicates that you want your child to succeed in first-time obedience, but that you hold authority over him if he doesn’t.
  • Be sure you understand the difference between childishness and foolishness. Always give your child the benefit of the doubt if you’re unsure.
  • Model for your child what you expect from him. Avoid hypocrisy at all costs.
  • You are your child’s teacher. Never forget that all discipline takes place to teach a lesson.

Don’t forget attitude

External compliance is great but it’s not our ultimate goal. Compliance with a happy, submissive heart is our ultimate goal. If your child complies with your instruction but sulks off after, make him do it over. Discipline for attitude just as much as you would for behavior problems.

Begin first-time obedience training

Once this all-important foundation has been laid, you can move on to your first-time obedience training. Understand that first-time obedience is a skill your child needs to learn. It will be difficult at first, especially if your child is used to ignoring you, but the payoff will be so rewarding.

Stay tuned for specifics on first-time obedience training. In the meantime, explore the links above to learn more about each layer of your parenting foundation.


Freedoms equations

Thanks to the Babywise and Beyond Facebook page, here are three equations to keep in mind as you manage your child’s freedoms.

Freedoms > self-control = developmental confusion

Freedoms < self-control = developmental frustration

Freedoms = self-control = developmental harmony

Are your child’s freedoms greater than his level of self-control? If so, you’ll end up with developmental confusion. The true litmus test for this is making sure the child knows how to use the freedom responsibly. Any object should be used for its intended purpose. For example, a toddler should not be playing with a remote control because he has no idea what the buttons are supposed to do, nor should he be allowed to operate the TV on his own.

For the second equation, decide whether you restrict your child’s freedoms too much. His freedoms should grow as he ages and as he shows more responsibility. If they don’t, you’ll not only frustrate him, but you’ll hinder his development as well.

The third equation is exactly where your child’s freedoms should be. You want his freedoms to equal his level of self-control. Not too many freedoms; not too few. Give your toddler the freedom to read his own books, but don’t allow him to play with Grandma’s prized photo albums. Give your three-year-old the freedom to put on his own shoes, but don’t allow him to brush his own teeth. Give your ten-year-old the freedom to play at a friend’s house without you, but don’t allow him to go without asking permission.

They key to maintaining developmental harmony is to regularly evaluate your child’s freedoms. When he shows greater self-control, you allow more freedoms. If his self-control slips, you take away freedoms (not as a disciplinary measure but merely to keep his freedoms in check). Think through all of your child’s freedoms and make sure they are promoting developmental harmony and not developmental confusion or frustration.

The new year offers a new start

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. What resolutions have you made? Despite all the failed resolutions I’ve made over the years, I feel particularly inspired this year. Yes, January 1st is just another day, but I’m choosing to see the new year as a fresh start.

I’ve decided that many of my former resolutions failed because they weren’t specific enough. This year, I decided to forgo the usuals: exercise more, lose weight, be healthy. This year, I’m being specific. I’m giving up soda. Completely. Cold turkey. I’m doing it primarily because it’s a healthy thing to do, but I also hope that I’ll shed a few pounds.

While making healthy choices is important, the new year also gives us a chance to make new parenting resolutions. It’s a great time to take stock, reset our goals and make sure we’re on track.

So in the spirit of the new year and the fresh start it affords, consider the following:

Reevaluate your parenting goals. Be specific. Don’t say, “improve first-time obedience.” Say, “have my child respond with ‘yes, mommy’ three out of five times in the day.”

Evaluate your schedule. Is it still working? If you’re having a hard time sticking with it, pare it down.

Take stock of your child’s freedoms. Does he have too many? Too few? His freedoms should grow, not as he ages, but as he shows more responsibility.

Revise your discipline plan. Make sure your child’s most chronic behaviors are at the top of the list. Add new ones as you tackle the old ones.

Pledge to do couch time. Make your marriage a priority. Set a specific day, time and place. Be realistic and shoot for three nights a week if you can’t do five.

Evaluate your attitude. Are you encouraging your child enough? Correction must be balanced by encouragement.

Vow to be consistent. Nobody’s perfect. We all slip sometimes. Just remember this: Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

Have fun. While our job as parents is to train and teach our children, we can’t forget to live in the moment. Play and be silly with your child. Before you know it, your toddler will be in preschool, your preschooler in elementary school and your teenager in college.

Here’s to a fresh start and a fruitful 2011! Happy New Year!

Maturity in children

Have you ever received a comment from a stranger that validates your parenting? Amid the daily ups and downs I have with my kids, I occasionally get such comments. I got one just last week.

Someone told me that William, my oldest, seems particularly mature for his age. Mature. We have our struggles, especially when his SPD (sensory processing disorder) rears its ugly head. If we get basic good behavior, I call it a good day. So why did this word strike me? I can think of a slew of other characteristics that I’d rather be complimented on:

  • Well mannered
  • Confident
  • Selfless
  • Respectful
  • Smart

But the word mature is especially flattering. Mature is how I would describe the children of the parents I most respect. When a child is mature, it means to me that they have all of these qualities and more. When a child is mature, it tells me the child has been taught how to confidently navigate his way through this world.

When a child has been taught how to navigate the world, he is given the foundation that allows him to develop confidence. With that foundation, the child is free to learn and grow.

What is that foundation built upon? Obedience. Yes, everything circles back to obedience.

“Freedom is not found in autonomy, it is found in obedience.” (Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp, p. 27)

I’m reminded of a story my contact mom once told me. She said she and another mom were on a hike with their kids and reached a particularly treacherous area. The path was surrounded on one side by water and on the other side by a steep drop-off. It was a dangerous spot. The other mom held her children’s hands tightly to keep them from running away and to keep them safe. She couldn’t trust them.

Meanwhile, my contact mom had taught her children to obey her word. She was able to tell them to stay near her while still letting them walk freely. Because of their characteristic obedience, these children were given the freedom to appropriately explore their world. They could be trusted to keep themselves safe, and because of this obedience, they were allowed more freedom.

So do I want my children to be happy, respectful, confident and a host of other qualities? Of course. But will I strive most for obedience and maturity? No doubt.