How to combat the brat. That rhymes.


I wish I had a nicer word, but kids can be brats. And I was a brat. I cringe when I think about the fits I threw my parents when things didn’t go my way. Or I didn’t GET exactly what I wanted. Gross.

Like you, I am striving to raise responsible kids – not spoiled, bratty kids. A mom can dream, right? I’d love a kid that notices when a door is open and shuts it. A kid that can make their own lunch and their own bed. We are working on all these things. It takes practice and frankly a lot of work on our part. They don’t just naturally jump out of bed and do these things (well, some do – and they don’t live in my house).

3 Ways To Combat the Brat

  1. Saying NO – They just need to hear this word, not every time but sometimes. It’s moderation – if you say NO to everything – consider surprising them with a yes. If you are like me and you give them the world. Try giving them a NO – and when they flail on the ground in shock – that’s probably an indication that they need to hear NO more often. I’ve told mine that they need to handle their NO’s well with this response: “OK mommy!” or “Yes ma’am.” If they flip out after a NO, guess what is coming – another NO. To whom much is given, much can be rippeth way. Amen?
  2. Being consistent – When my start acting a touch spoiled, I know I’ve let up on the structure and boundaries. It’s such hard work on us, but they need to know the rules and we need to stick to them. It helps everyone. They will keep pushing until they know that our yes is our yes. And our no is our no.
  3. Teaching Responsibility – Most bratty kids I know have no responsibility. They get the silver spoon. And I am so guilty of getting everything done for my kids. It’s SOOOO good for them to learn how to do things for themselves. They are so capable. Little things. Grab your bags! Get that trash. Make your bed. Little things can become habits. We say “We are a team here. Working together.” They will whine and huff and puff and eventually do it.

Can I be the first to admit this is HARD? I want to give my kids the world! And I want to have fun! And, it’s often faster and easier to do it ourselves. But we are raising adults – so think long term.

The definition in our home is below: Taking care of ourselves and what God has given us.


Teaching Financial Responsibility

Much of the brat factor comes back to this – money. They often have no concept of money, they just want the stuff. And they want it NOW! We are teaching our kids that no matter HOW MUCH or HOW LITTLE money they have, the principles are the same. God doesn’t have different rules for the rich and different rules for the poor. He intends for us to hold our money with open hands. And for us to manage it like good stewards. Because it is all HIS!

Like every virtue discussed in In This House, We Will Giggle, kids learn through experience over lectures. I know more about GIVING because my parents were generous, not because a “clean your plate, people are starving” lecture stuck.

This month’s activity for teaching Responsibility is to make your own My Lil Money Jars. Like MANY of my big ideas, I am all about the idea and then I am terrible at execution. I had to literally dust off our My Lil Money Jars.

Can I say GRACE to me and you? It’s OK. Dust it off. Try it again.

It’s not to late to rally the troops and have a family meeting. So we did.


It sounded something like this.

Girls – we had a great summer and I’m so glad we had fun. But mom has let a few things slip and we need to get on the same page. I want us to talk about money. And responsibility. That isn’t just Dad’s job to manage our money. It’s up to each of us. It’s a gift and God wants to handle it well and be grateful and wise with it.

So, I drew a circle and got some change.

And we talked about what was biblical. And why we give and whey we save.


And then I told them how Dad and I are trying to change our pie pieces and their eyes lit up. Girls – can you imagine what would happen if these pieces got bigger? What could we do if we saved more? What if we gave more?


We dreamed a bit together about our compassion girls. We brainstormed about our friend’s orphanage in Haiti. We talked Ashley and Kylie’s Care For Aids centers in Africa.

We emptied and cleaned out their jars. We wiped their labels cleaned.

They got to pick what they are saving for.

They got to pick where they want to GIVE.

They got to pick where that want to SPEND.


Side note: There’s a little tension that comes up when child chooses an object they want (iTouch) that you don’t think they need at their age. 🙂

As I gave them money, I let them choose how to break it up with this rule “always give some to your GIVE jar and always give some to your SAVE.” And remember our sheet, your heart and your money will go much further if you do more in those. The spend feels good temporarily, but won’t last for eternity. I was excited to see how much they put in the give and save jars just after that one conversation.

This is the beginning. The conversations will continue and God will continue to work. He is working in me too.  I needed this reminder lesson myself.

You can do this parents! Just talk to them and they will get it. And surprise you with their decisions. God is alive and stirring in their tiny hearts. They will begin practicing responsibility through these jars so early – that it won’t be painful to give and save as adults. It will be a joy.


They will know the joy of feeling God work.

They will lose the grip on their money.

They will hold it with open hands.


More ideas on teaching the virtue of Responsibility in a FUN way in Chapter 8  of In This House, We Will Giggle.

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  1. We have found that very limited TV exposure goes a long way in reducing the ” I wants.” Perhaps evaluating that aspect in a family’s life would be helpful.

  2. I love this and can certainly apply many of these points to my kids. Money is a tough subject and concept for kids. I may have had a child upset recently that she got a $5 bill and a $1 bill – she wanted 6 $1 bills. It was not pretty and it was in public. Cringe for sure! Once when I felt like my kids were getting too bratty – we did not buy anything for an entire month. It was harder on me than them – no Chick fil A, no ice cream, no dollar spot, no bounce houses etc. I focused on how we need to be grateful for what God has already given us and that more does not make us happy. It might be time for us to try this for another week or two. You are such an encouragement, Courtney! Thank You!

  3. I have been dealing with just this very things with my 6 year old. Its been a progressive attitude that has gotten worse this summer. Very bratty. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I know its much better if he has responsibility. Its just SO much easier for me to just do things sometimes. We just have to start again. So right.

  4. This is beautiful. Because it took so many years to get both of my kiddos, I am so guilty at just saying yes to everything because I remember how badly I wanted this life. BUT I’m not doing them any favors by spoiling them. Thank you for reminding me that structure and balance are super important for kids.

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