10 Things I’m Learning About Discipline

So, discipline and kids is not for the faint of heart.

Is anyone else exhausted from staying “on it” and

wanted to just let em run loose for a few weeks?


I’ve read probably as many books as you have

over the last 5 years of being a mom.

They all say conflicting things and it can make your head want to explode.

So, I’d thought you’d enjoy…




This was a light bulb for me the other day when an awesome expert, Tara, sat with me and tried to help me with my Larson. My sweet Larson is an ANGEL at school, but has some explosive tantrums at home that are truly scary.

Tara mentioned a thought that got my attention. I am guilty of using far too many words when correcting and not enough words when affirming. How many times do we just look over and gush on the things they are doing right? I don’t! I am waiting to pounce on the one thing they did wrong in an hour.

For example, I spent 5 minutes trying to convince Larson some ladder was too dangerous for her pretend jump house and could hurt her. I should’ve just said, “Larson, that is dangerous and mom said, NO!” Then, taken the ladder and been done with it. Oh, I love Tara’s thinking. Reverse it. Way fewer words when correcting (you can’t reason with a 3-year-old) and way more words when praising.


I’m not sure what took me so long to get this timer thing going. They don’t fight the timer, like they fight you. And, us moms are HORRIBLE with our internal clocks. We say 5 minutes and 30 minutes later we are chatting about something. I wouldn’t trust my word either. The timer makes us believable.

“5 minutes and we are getting out the pool!”

“10 minutes and we are cleaning up and leaving.”

THE GREAT TIP BY TARA – use for FUN things too.

“5 minutes and we are headed out for ice cream!”

Make a game. I’ll give you 2 minutes and see how many toys you can throw in this bin. Now, she also made this our main thing for time outs for Larson’s tantrums. As soon as explosive city begins. I don’t even look at her, no emotion – and move her to the bathroom and say I’ll see you in 3 minutes if you have self-control. If you she hasn’t calmed down in 3 minutes. Outside the door, I’ll say “Oh, larson – you need to calm down and get self control. I’ll set it again and be back in 3 minutes. I know you can do it.” She’s actually doing great. I love this SOO much better than just leaving in there until she stops – which took FOREVER. This has forced her to gather control faster. We haven’t had one in a week.



Another Tara AH-HA. Like air and water and food, our kiddos need our attention. They really do and that frankly annoys me and annoys us. If I think about my day and when things go wrong – 90 percent of it is because they just need me for something and I’m busy or I’m too lazy to be get involved or get what they want. My world should NOT and will NOT revolve 100 % arond them.  However, I chose to be a mom and a stay-at-home mom at that. They deserve my attention and to feel loved. I never want them feeling that blogs, facebook, pinterest or cleaning the house even trumps them. Never ever. There’s time they can wait patiently if I’m on the phone, but there is SURELY a time when I can drop what I’m doing and actually look them in the eyes and say “Yes, angel – what do you want to show me?” or “Yes, I sure can read you that book.” I typically give them the FULL BODY, FULL EYE contact once they start whining or ask me the 18th time and Tara says we have to reverse it. We ignore and we don’t respond or hear whining. When they ask nicely and speak in calm voice – reward them with their biggest need/want attention. Get on their level when they do it right – and say YES! I love helping you when you ask me that way. When they are whining or asking in a rude way, no time for those kiddos – keep movin.



This little sweet thing gets down and out – basically when I’m over it or when she’s tired. It’s a vicious cycle. She starts losing her cool and then I do and we go toe-to-toe all day. Instead of blaming her, Ella if YOU WOULD JUST BEHAVE! I would JUST BE A HAPPY MOTHER! I could hug her tight, take time to soften up instead of giving her dirty looks, spend time with her, choose to change the day for all of us. Easier said then done but she’s the 5-year-old and I’m the 35-year-old – I gotta take the lead.



There are just too many ways of discipline to discuss. I don’t want to go into spanking vs time outs. There are hundreds of books. I can recommend a few at the end. However, I think what I’ve learned is that Ron/I read a little of everything then we come up with a game plan and the KEY is always consistency. It never matters HOW we are going to correct an issue – it matters HOW OFTEN and how consistent. That is our biggest mistake and the kids are no dummies. I can see them sitting in their beds at night, “well, if I just wait until Wednesday… they’ll forget about this plan and I can start being bad again.” 🙂 Locking arms and holding each other accountable for WEEKS is the way we’ve kicked some major moments.



I’ve seen some Jesus-loving, precious families (me included) almost crush the spirits of some children. We are often in a quest to be perfect parents raising perfect children and it’s just not reality. We are often ON THEM so harshly in a day that’s it is just cruel. That’s no way to live and no way to learn. I am all for correcting an issue, but oh how I love a home filled with grace and joy and love. An environment where you are being cheered on and affirmed far more often than having your nose shoved in your mistake. Ron/I did a course years ago called “Growing Kids God’s Way” which had many great things to say, but I LOVED the freedom they gave me to focus. Pick the 1-2 big things and go after that – and for the other items: redirect them, help them make the right choice, watch for the good and give crazy applause. My kids LIGHT UP when we notice them succeeding.  And, even if we’ve had a tough day – I love putting them to bed just pouring truth into their hearts of how much they are loved by us no matter what has happened. Same with their heavenly Father.



It’s a beautiful thing being in charge. You could just say, “In our house, we eat pizza on Fridays.” and suddenly (if done consistently) – that’s a rule! It works for fun things and for discipline items.

“We do not whine in the DeFeo home.”

“We do not hear whining.”

“You may not disrespect mom and dad.”

“Our friends always get to choose first when they are here.”

“We obey mom and dad on the first time, every time.”

Make up some rules. Use scripture for many. Just be consistent and repeat so they know every day isn’t a new set of boundaries and hoops they need to jump through to win your love. I feel like if the list is pretty short – they should be able to memorize it and come back to it. Moms On Call (WHO I ADORE) taught me, “Obey Mommy & Daddy,” “Do Not Hurt Others” and “Do Not Hurt Yourself.” When they are toddlers, almost everything comes back to that. Make some rules and make them simple.



My BFF always texts me YOU ARE THE MOM! Sometimes, I just need that reminder that I am in charge and I have the right to run that show during the day. John Rosemond who I also respect and admire tons says to “reclaim your leadership position over your child that was given to you by the Most High.” They want boundaries. My are so much better when there is structure and clear expectations. Tara caught me saying, “Ella, go do sit at that table and color for 5 minutes, OK?” “Larson, do the puzzle with Ella, K” And my “K?” was to make sure they heard and understood and she suggested that I quit that becuase it makes them feel it’s negotiable and she’s right. They think they have an option and most of the time, they don’t. It’s so much about the way we phrase things. “Ella, go sit and color for 5 minutes. What did I say? … Oh good. Great listening.” That tells her I just need to know she’s got it and it’s not an option vs this is up for debate. I am the MOM! And, sometimes, that role makes me sleepy and cranky. Amen? 🙂 And, then we can give them options and be clear – “Ella, I’d like for you to sit and play here for x minutes, would you like to color or paint?”


This is a hard one for me, because my lack of control in the home can QUICKLY lead to losing my temper and some screaming. I have come so far and I am still working on it. I am learning that it doesn’t need to be one extreme or the other. Either screaming or speaking so sweetly with zilcho authority. Founder of All Pro Dad, Mark Merrill, had some great thoughts in this article. I loved that he echoed this thought with, “Some parents think that the only way to get children to obey is to be harsh with angry words or a raised voice.  But children respond better to a firm authoritative tone.” Amen.


I’ve messed up in this area and I will continue to mess up. I just pray for forgiveness often from God and I ask my kids for it. I admit when I’ve done wrong and I beg God for discernment. I ask them what they enjoy doing and I’m clear with what I expect of them ahead of the game. I do not have perfect kids. In fact, this weekend, I totally sat on my bed and cried. I could not WAIT for my parents to come and see how much work we had done with the girls since the last visit. They have both improved so much and it’s like they are wild maniacs again. I was so discouraged because I want my parents to see their very best and see our very best. I guess when others are watching there is a bit of pressure that no one puts on you except yourself. Like I said before, anxiety creates an environment of anxiety. I am also working on a big writing project and one mentor told me that usually you’ll get attacked in the area of the project. My topic – parenting. I won’t believe the lies. I know I’m a good mom and I know I’m doing my best and my kids are doing their best. We aren’t perfect. We are all growing and learning.

GRACE for all is a beautiful thing.


That’s a photo of me coming after them.. just kidding. I have no idea what they are doing.

Oh Lord, please help my girls to know above ALL ELSE they are so incredibly loved no matter what they do, how they act. Nothing can change how you look at them and how I look at them – or their grandparents. They are loved. No perfect “behavior” required.


then_kids_large_new(1)  moc-pdf_new


Book Tara has me reading, not finished, but good stuff.


Please note that your child’s tantrum or cheerio throwing issues or sass-a-frass mouth may not be blamed on me at any point.

I am in this with you, just mere opinions my friends! 🙂


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