Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ask, Tell, Make (Me being "mean")

Ask, tell, make is a parenting strategy that Ryan and I have used since Kacy was very little. It goes like this: Ask your kid to do something, tell them to do it, and then if they still haven't done it, make them do it. An example: "Kacy, please go get your shoes so we can put them on." She doesn't do it, so the next step is to get closer to her, make sure she looks at you, and you say something like "Kacy, get your shoes." If she doesn't do it then, you go over to her, take her hand, put her hand on her shoes, and then walk her over to where you were with her shoes. This works so good when the kid is walking and starting to understand you. When they get a little older, the "make" part might come with a punishment like time-out or whatever. Or one of my favorites- a natural consequence. But those only really work when children get a bit older and start to understand logic- true logic is generally developed around ages 7- 8, but even a four year old can understand that if you don't eat dinner, you will be hungry later on (a natural consequence of not eating=hunger). I used the ask, tell, make method with Kacy and Will, and they are pretty well behaved. I've gotten out of the habit with Ed. I've done a lot of asking and telling (and of course, yelling!) but not much follow up, and it is starting to show. New baby? Crazy pregnancy with Jessie? Possible reasons for getting lazy. Now starts my two weeks of following through (what I call being "mean"- because mean mommy makes me do things I don't wanna do!). It's going to require a lot of me getting off my seat to "make" Ed do whatever I'm asking him to do. Getting him off the top bunk myself, instead of just saying to myself "Oh well, I'll just ignore him." "He's full of energy today" "I hope he doesn't get hurt"...Or, me chasing after him even a short distance and holding his hand while walking him to the car and putting him in his seat (he likes to run far away!) I like the ask, tell, make strategy because it gives me a plan- one that lets me know that I don't have to yell, which is something I do too much of. But, it is hard work with so many kids- you really have to mean what you say, and make sure it is something worth following up with. Kacy and Will both hate being treated like puppets- like with the shoe example, taking their hands, grabbing the shoes, and walking them back to where you were- they hated it. It's non-violent, emotionally nuetral, and they had to do what you asked them to do in the first place. They quickly learn that they have to do it anyway, so they just start to do things the first or second time. Both Kacy (5) and Will (4) do things fairly quickly after we ask/tell them. I always tell people that you need to picture your what you want your kids to be like in 5 and 10 years, and do things now to get them there. Happy? Kind? Obedient? Creative? Faithful? Mean? Unruly? Disrespectful? Drug addicted? Whatever it is, go for it. And if the ask, tell, make can help me make my kids respectful and safe and obedient (and maybe clean!) and keep me from losing my temper or yelling, then I'm going to use it.


  1. Wow, I yell way too much ... I love how Will and Kasy behave. I think I'll try it your way (right now, I ask, yell, spank - it rhymes!). Heaven knows your idea worked wonders for nap/bed time - you are awesome!

  2. I started out as a yeller (I am still a little) but I have came a long way. I think it gets harder and we become a little immune with child 3, 4, and so on. Things that child 1 did doesn't seem as bad when child 3 or 4 did but when they get older (like Trever, 8) it starts to show with the behavior and the spoiled act. Your doing a great job, just remember Ed is different than Kacy and Will, break his behavior but not his spirit. Your a great mommy just keep yourself sane!