Preventing Brat-ism

Image from funmansion.com

Chicky and I were chatting about creative parenting in the wee hours last night. It really got me thinking about parenting in general and how it is our responsibility to prepare our children for an unloving and unforgiving world. No one likes to go to Walmart and see a bratty kid throwing him/herself on the ground. No one likes seeing the parent pretend that it is acceptable behavior. Or even worse, wailing on the kid. Neither is a good thing. What is worse than that is seeing a young adult get the proverbial smack-down because this world doesn’t give a flying-flip about them and the person/people responsible for teaching them failed.

Image from funmansion.com


I’ve talked about parenting often because it’s something I am familiar with. My children are getting older now and I can look back and see my mistakes clearly in hindsight. <Gasp> I made mistakes? Yes, and many. But I have learned from one too many humiliating (for me and the kids) situations that I have to be strong and consistent for them. Their well being as well as my own really do depend on that structure.

Proverbs 23:13-14

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol(hell).

Sometimes, we must take our children to the woodshed. Be that literal or not we must enforce a level of discipline they can understand and respect. That does not mean striking out when they get on your nerves or bullying them. But at the same time, you must not be a weakling. To me, that is a form of abuse that sets your baby up for misery and a lifetime of failure.

With five, I have had to be creative in my methods. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Kids are bickering? Great! Give me fifty squats and then hold for two minutes and give be fifty more. That is what I call putting fire on their behinds. Physical exertion for Momma? None. Although I do laugh at them. Go ahead, call me mean. Doesn’t matter how angry they are at the start, they will ache too much by the time we are finished to care anymore. Really gives them a chance to examine if it was worth it.

2. Kids are bored? Great! Toothbrush, bar of soap and the the kitchen floor…we have a party. That’s not enough to take away those rainy-day blues? There are two toilets with your name all over them. Go for it! This method encourages the active pursuit to occupy one’s time all on his/her own.

3. Kids screaming in the car? Great! They don’t really want the ride. Allowing the child to run alongside the car is a great motivator and good exercise as well. Shoot, they may be a marathon runner some day and all because of you. You go getter, you.

**Note** This only works on old country roads or mountain roads. I do not recommend highway or city discipline. Come on, people, use your head. 😛

4. Kids won’t clean their room? Great! You’ve been meaning to donate more to the local Hospice Thrift Store. Can anyone say Hefty, Hefty Hefty? Mighty fine of the kids to sacrifice their stuff like that. This method teaches a strong value to charitable work and eventually leads to children appreciating what they have. They tend to take very good care of their rooms after just one lesson.

5. Kids want allowance? Oh this one is so fun. There are actually two very effective methods.

A. Give your child a check each week for $50 in an envelope. Also include their bill…food, rent, clothing…anything it cost to keep them. It usually works out that the child owes a large amount of money to you. This is like a double bonus. You pay them for doing absolutely nothing extraordinary and the return on your investment is triple. Woohoo. I have five. I am still waiting on one of them to ask for allowance.

B. Food is an excellent motivator as well. You want to eat, my lovlies? Great! Do your chores and there will be no problem. Three squares a day(home-cooked, a snack and usually a delectable dessert.. Otherwise, you get nothing. I have no problem sending a child to bed hungry. It is all their choice. The food is available for all that contribute.


The fate of the world is in our hands. We must prevent brat-ism. Get creative and for goodness sake have fun with it. We only have a little time to warp teach them.

Peace, love and God’s will.

About Diane Graham

Diane Graham lives in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma with her husband, children and many dogs. She is an avid reader and lover of all art forms that encapsulate imagination and goodness. Her debut novel I Am Ocilla was released in March 2012.

22 comments on “Preventing Brat-ism

  1. Whoa. We must be related somewhere along all those mutt puppy lines we share. 😉

  2. Loved it! I needed that little giggle today. 😆
    I am, however, a little disappointed that I won’t be able to set my kiddos running alongside my car. So much for city living. 😉

    • 😀 There is a deep joy to living country life, De. You never know what God has in store for you. LOL

      • I enjoy country living. Never expected to be taken away from it. Guess God has some sort of lesson for me to learn here. 😉

        When I was little, I was made to feed the chickens. They’re mean! Thanks to my “sitter” I now have an irrational fear of the buggers. 😛

      • Ha! Peyton is the only one that can feed our chickens without fear of the rooster. The darn thing will sit on Peyton’s shoulder like a parrot.

  3. I am a living testimony to what can happen when you DON’T use these techniques.
    You’ve been warned.

  4. My dearest youngest daughter,

    Isn’t it amazing how we start to acquire all the right answers right near the end of our tour of duty? Now your going to want to share all that knowledge with your children for your grandchildren. Pfft! …….Not! There going to tell you to go pee in a boot. They have their own ideas on how to raise their children. So Solomon, there goes all that knowledge, right down the drain. The only thing I can tell you is to write a book under a secret pseudonym and maybe, just maybe they’ll read it. ———-Good Times.

  5. I have a particular fondness for the “toys in the charity box” one. I hate clutter. My kids know that if their rooms are a mess, mom will gladly clean it….by giving everything touching the floor to Goodwill.

    We also don’t do allowances because the kids then only do their chores when they want to buy something. Now, chores have to be done period–or toys and privileges are taken. Money can only be earned by going above and beyond.

    Diane, you’re right on when you say to have fun. It’s not about being mad at your kids. It’s about teaching them to be responsible. Setting boundaries lets them know you love them, and teaching them responsibility lets them know they can trust themselves :).

  6. When we lived in Texas, the pastor of our church was rather impressed that all my children had memorized The Lord’s Prayer. So much so that he mentioned it during morning announcements. My children bowed their heads humbly at the attention. Looks can be so very deceiving. They were not humble so much as embarrassed. Where I sent my children to await discipline when I was mad, hung The Lord’s Prayer on the wall. My children memorized this from countless hours standing in front of it over the years. LOL

  7. If you do these things when they are young, it makes for some very well behaved kids from five or six on up!
    Good stuff, Diane.

    • I have a wonderful bunch of children, Frank. But I must admit to starting all wrong. Wasn’t much more than a baby when I started. God has shown me a great mercy and blessed me with creative, independent and intelligent children that are a joy to be around.

      Thank you. 😀

  8. What’s wrong with giving children an allowance? It teaches them that when they work hard, they will be rewarded. More than that, it is an opportunity to teach them how to tithe, how to save, and how to responsibly manage their finances…. something they should learn before they become adults.

    • The problem comes when a child expects to be paid for all they do. As if them breathing entitles them to reward. Kind of the problem with our society, huh? I for one have no intention of paying my children for eating my food and using my resources. I feed them, clothe them, educate them, love them, and give them everything they NEED and do so happily. I guarantee they know the value of things, how to be responsible, how to save (birthday money) and how to tithe. Giving them money for doing what is their part of the family unit is ridiculous to me. Anything they would want money for would be a WANT.

      Now, we do offer opportunities for them to earn money if resources are available. We also have a large secondary family that also offers opportunity for the same. But I know my children rarely take money from their grandparents and great-grandparents. Instead, they do it because it is the right thing to do. If they do take money, it is a fraction of what is offered. That teaches them to honor their elders and be charitable in their giving (which is another form of tithing.) This is not something I force them to do. They choose to be this way and have since a very young age.

      My children open doors for ladies and elderly, know how to cook, clean, do laundry and balance a check book. All this without ever having an allowance. They know nothing is owed to them.

  9. I did not have common family expectations in mind, but hard work above and beyond the expected chores. I should perhaps have clarified that. My brother and I received allowances for doing work beyond our expected chores. We did not develop a sense of entitlement or expectation. My parents weren’t at all wealthy, and my mother was disabled, but I remember with fondness my father taking me to the bank so I could open my own savings account and add to it what little I earned, when I earned it (I think I still have the bankbook stashed away, some 30 years later).

    I suppose an allowance would be detrimental to some children, but for others it can be very motivating and beneficial. It all depends on the context in which it is given.

  10. I always leave your articles until I can give my undivided attention to them and here it is 1 AM Monday morning. I noted the time because on my facebook I wrote something sort of the same. Great minds think alike. Whether you have one child or 5, the parenting always has to be creative. These are good helpful hints, Di….I hope that you can call me every day and demand 50 squats. Need a little drill sgt. to get motivated. You really couldn’t laugh at me, unless we have video telephone….great article , girly-girl.

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