Build Em Up – Creative Correction

I’m so excited about this one! I need your ideas.  Gimme… all you got on Creative Correction.

1) Write a blog and then link up at the bottom.

2) Or, just give share in the comments below.


Erin, Jennifer, Kelly and I would love for you to join us for the Build ‘Em Up series once a month.

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Creative Correction – My Hopes & Dreams

Here is my heart’s desire around correction. I want my kids’ hearts in the game. I do not want kids just to obey to make me look good. I LOVE LOVE this article by Carey over at Orange. He said it way better than I ever could. What happens I am out of the room and can’t give them the evil stare down? Or the “you better behave” eyeballs” I also want my kids to respond from a heart of compassion and true remorse. I want them to truly care when they have hurt me or a friend or a sister. I want them to know the difference between right and wrong. I want them to learn from their mistakes. I want them to know my yes is my yes and my no is my no. I want them to stop when they hear me call their name because they respect my authority. And, because I’d rather them not get run over by a car. These are lofty goals I know.

It makes “correction” a little bit more intentional and less annoying when I realize I’m training adults vs managing annoying toddlers.


Creative Correction – My Reality

The reality is kids are kids. And, my patience runs thin. And it takes work to get them to behave. And I say things 100 times. And I said I’d never bribe and I do. And I reward and beg. And then I give them a treat so just I can get through Target. I also don’t follow through on many consequences because it inconveniences me – it messes up my morning to take away that show. It takes away from my social time to leave the restaurant. The reality is that parenting and training kids is flat out exhausting. It’s so easy to let them run wild. When you loosen up and let them “be who they are” – they run the show. And that is no way to live.

The reality is some days I am on it – and my kids prove to do so much better in a home well defined by rules and structure. Some days I let it go and WHEW it shows. Some days nothing works and they have clearly lost all hearing in their ears. Some days they make me cry because we’ve worked so hard and  they are showing no sign of improvement. Then, some days I cry because I see a glimpse of beautiful decisions because they were listening. I know I have many many years ahead and each phase is different. Reality is I REALLY struggle being consistent in this area – so please, please know I have a lot of big ideas and strong desires but people like Katie are the ones killing it. She actually gets up and leaves restaurants and says NO so often. It’s so inspiring to watch. I’m a correction wuss in real life.

Reality is I need Jesus, prayer, friends and creative ideas. My kids needs tons of love, structure and grace. The glimpses of progress make me keep working. When I see how much they do better when correction and structure are consistent – it gives me hope and motivation.


Creative Correction – Some Ideas/Thoughts

  • Obedience – I think from 0-5 years old, the main thing is the main thing. They have to learn obedience. If they can’t respond to authority and learn to obey – it’s going to be a long road. The heart stuff will come after 5 when they are more mature, but basic obedience is the name of the game. So not easy – but so critical for home life, school and their future jobs. They are just not the center of the world.
  • Timer, Warnings and Redirect – There are things like the timer and warnings that HELP them succeed. I don’t want my kids in trouble all of the time. I don’t like just surprising them in the middle of something – of course they are going to lose it. My mom has taught me the art of redirecting their attention. We don’t always have to catch them for a wrong – revert them over to something else. Help a sister out!



  • Siblings – Whew! two girls fighting over the same passions has been tough. One rule – you fight over it, I take it. That has helped. We try to teach them to work it out too, but sometimes they just lose the privilege of playing together. It is a privilege. So, room time away from each other if they can’t seem to play nicely.



  • Nose-to-Nose – My sister-in-law taught me this. If my girls are just picking on each other all day. They have to stand nose-to-nose and repeat after me. I make it up. “I am sorry I hurt you. You are my best friend. I love you. Will you forgive me. Let’s play together. etc.” By the end they are giggling.
  • Hard Lesson – I let mine “free play” together too early. I learned they needed me to show them how to share, how to resolve conflict. That is the reason I was home. I had to put down my to do’s and get on the floor with them and teach.
  • Speak Less – Mine will negotiate and whine and keep talking. I just have to cut them off. I learned that I was using too many words and letting them think they COULD negotiate. Keep it simple, to the point. “If you ask again or mention it again, I’m adding 5 minutes to your room time.”


  • After 5 – I have struggled with Ella after toddler age. The timeouts and other common consequences weren’t working.  So taking away a favorite toy or show or having her do room time has worked. She is HUGE quality time so it kills her to be away from the action. I set a timer.
  • True remorse – I am huge about having them say “I am sorry. I was wrong for X. Will you forgive me?” If they can’t do it with the right heart – they might have need more time. Or, sometimes I’ll have them write a note. Today Ella came out an wrote Larson a note on her own! Victory!!!
  • Writing 25 times – I had her write “I’m sorry I diresprected mom and dad.” 25 times when she was first learning to write which took her forever but she was really sassy and it was not OK.
  • Big things – For hitting or lying or things that have to be nipped, I think BIG or drastic consequences that they will never forget have to come into play. We don’t ever hit another person, ever. We don’t lie in our home. It is a major deal. So, major consequence.
  • Others First – The very nature of a little ones is MINE! ME! So, I take every opportunity I can to show them how to love on others. We try to let our friends pick their snack first. Or, choose the toy when they are over. It doesn’t always work because you come near Larson’s favorite fairy.  That will result in some of the biggest tears you have ever seen. I said we TRY. I really look for ways to remind them they aren’t the most important humans in a room.



  • Practice – Some of our best ways to avoid correction is practicing. We practice the right behavior and talk about what we expect before we got into a restaurant or setting. We practice walking down a street and stopping at the end. We practice hiding in the house and running to us when we call your name with “Yes ma’am!’ It’s way easier to learn when you aren’t crying and in trouble.


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  • Praise! This should really be at the top. For every negative word – there should be at least 10 positives. My kids do MUCH better when I’m harping on the good over the bad. Try just pointing out where they are doing well for an entire day and watch those little spirits change. And yours. You’ll realize you have a really really good kid right in your own home.

Those are just a few of my ideas and what we do in our home. I am clearly no expert. Come over and you’ll see. We are normal as normal can be.


I have heard great things about this book Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel. I have it in the pile to read and have read some of it.



I am after my girls’ hearts and to make them the best wives, best classmates, best friends and little ladies after God’s own heart. I don’t want to stick their noses in a mistake. I want them to learn why it hurts another human. I want them to know how to handle life the next time they face a similar challenge.

So, as they get older and the stakes get higher – I want to think REALLY CAREFULLY about their consequences. This might require me praying and waiting on it. They can wait. Often, I can and should wait. I don’t need to react out of anger. I need to do the right thing so they will learn – not get punished and PAY for what they did to me!

Whew – this topic is hard because these days are so hard! Hang in there sweet mommas. You are doing awesome. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending those kids away to their rooms when it’s gone wrong to think, to call a friend, to pray, to ask God for wisdom when you simply don’t know what to do. They can scream. Their disagreement with your decision doesn’t make you a bad parent. Stay strong.


Now… gimme gimme… your wisdom. your thoughts. your ideas. I need them!


You are helping the common bond of mothers. Tell us what is working for your moms. How you are dealing with whining. Kids getting out of bed. Calling your name 400 times after they are in bed. Sassy pants attitude. Sibling fighting. Bad attitudes. Spill it!!


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  1. One saying that I use often to quell my 3 year old is: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” I use this one in situations where I picked a slice of pizza for her plate and she wanted a different one.

  2. These are such good tips! I’ve been struggling lately trying to figure out what will work with my 2 1/2 year old son. I’m going to keep working on it!! I know this is one of the most important jobs I have as a parents.

  3. “Touch your ears if you’re listening” really helps if your little ones like to claim they didn’t hear you. Usually their arms will fly at least half way up to their ears before they realize what they’re doing! Now you have proof of an actively listening audience 🙂
    We also ask them, boys 4 and 6, what the Bible says about whatever issue is going on. Usually they can come up with a scripture or Biblical concept – if not, Mom and Dad know what heart issue we need to focus on.
    For discipline, we assign exercises . . . push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks (the wildly awkward attempts lighten the mood for Mom – but save giggles until child exits:). It helps give the child a moment to get his attitude under control – nobody enjoys correction. If the attitude persists so do the exercises.
    I’m anxious to hear other suggestions and will definitely look into Lisa Welchel’s book!

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