Hot Chocolate... What is Half... and Lying...

silverswordFebruary 28, 2010

This is probably the silliest thing ever posted, but here it goes.

This morning DD asks me for some Hot Cocoa. I say sure, go ahead. She gets her stool to get it down. DH comes in, says "what are you doing". She tells him, he says he'll get it for her (I put it up too high and had forgotten). He looks in the box, says "where's the half from yesterday" and she says, "I used the whole thing". He says "why" and she says "because I forgot what half was".

ok. we do the hot cocoa in half all the time because she won't drink a full cup and she likes a ton of milk in it. She knows measurements and helps me bake all the time. WTH? So I say, DD, you know what half is. and she says she forgot.

Now... this is silly, I know. But I can't help but think DD is just testing DH. I explained to her she needs to ask if she doesn't know, not just go ahead and do what she wants.

She gets her whiny, crying face on and then it's just hard for me because that just drives me crazy. I absolutely hate the whiny face.

And then DH walks out of the room and I'm left holding... well... the *whole* bag, so to speak.

So we talk, she asks to go play in her room, I tell her to get her stuff from the living room first, she does, and cleans her room, and puts away her laundry without being asked. Do I give her the hot cocoa? Do I get the lamp? I just want to throw something at him!!!

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lamom old is she? DS7 does the "I forgot" "I don't know thing" as well when I know that he knows and he knows that I know that he knows!

I would congratulate and praise her for cleaning her room and for doing it without being asked which is big. Then give her the hot chocolate AFTER she explains how much is half. It's a game.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 3:04PM
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I don't think I follow. I am seriously confused what happened, so she used the whole thing, who cares. Since she's being questioned about silly stuff she possibly made up some explanation. You know stupid questions deserve stupid answers. I don't understand why shouldn't she get hot cocoa now? what is this issue about? and what guy checks if there is cocoa left or not? and who cares?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Except for Silversword stated the reason at their house is the child never drinks much, so why use a whole mix to drink half and dump out , I can say, Finedreams, that I care very much about half when I say half at my house.

My reason is likely very different than this posted case, but for me, my daughter can not have much of this or that and I need to know how much of certain foods/drinks she actually has consumed. So, no at my house it would not be a stupid question and my hubby would get clobbered with a lamp and a side table if he let DD10 have some and did not know, check, care.

"I forgot". Wait till she starts adding '...but I'm just a little kid, mom, do you expect me to remember everything?'. I hate when DD10 tosses that one at me cause not only did she fib, she then tries to justify fib. That's usually when I give her say in this case the hot chocolate make myself the other half, sit down at kitchen table together and talk about how even little fibs count and if we want others to think we're trustful blah blah blah.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 6:26PM
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"Except for Silversword stated the reason at their house is the child never drinks much, so why use a whole mix to drink half and dump out , I can say, Finedreams, that I care very much about half when I say half at my house."

I realized that..... I just saw no issue or no problem in the fact that the whole thing was gone. i realize that in other households it might be an issue. i am not saying I am right and others are wrong, it could be the other way around.

if she would eat the whole pack of 10 small packs i would worry about it since it is very unhealthy. also if cocoa was meant for guests or other kids and she knew and still drank the whole thing. then i could see how it is an issue. but if not I would never ever remembered or noticed that there is a half or nothing left. those packs aren't that huge. it just seems weird. just doesn't seem to be worth it. maybe she truly forgot, didn't notice or maybe lied to avoid punishment or disapproval. Kids lie for a reason.

I am also surprised DH noticed half of cocoa is gone, most men are not that observant. LOL Cannot imagine my dad asking me where is half a pack of cocoa. what is he cocoa guard? haha

maybe it is just me, i rarely noticed minor things like that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:26PM
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I guess I'm with Finedreams on this. Unless your DD was asked to leave that other 1/2 for someone else (or had health issues like justmettoo described) , who cares?

I don't understand why you are mad at DH either. Why did you ask if he deserved the lamp?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:36PM
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maybe both mom and dad deserve the lamp, and DD deserve some coco. LOL

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 8:01PM
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--"I don't understand why you are mad at DH either. Why did you ask if he deserved the lamp?"--

--"maybe both mom and dad deserve the lamp"--

I understand the concern. The child lied to her dad and dad just turned and walked out of the room.

Yeah, it's hot chocolate. No biggie in actual missing half packet, the chocolate is not the issue. If dad knowingly listens to a child lie, whether it's a big lie of any substance or a silly fib about justifing little things like a sudden memory loss, it's still lying to dad.

By turning away and walking out, dad just about told child it's okay to lie to him. So what's dad gonna dad when child lies over something big? Parents teach their children it's wrong to lie, not oh, if it's small stuff than no problem.

I see why turning and walking out could come back and smack dad in the head if child is caught in a lie at a later date.

It' not about the chocolate. It's the fib/lie/selective memory.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Of course I understand it is not about cocoa justmetoo.

In my experience (and not only as a parent but also working my whole life in education) children lie as a defense mechanism- to save themselves (would you blame them?). If parents are not going to fuss over everything, then what is the need to lie.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 5:56AM
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finedreams, I would assume then that you know teachers in school don't accept "I forgot" nor "the dog ate my homework and the cat peed on my project" and give the student top grade for assignment when student eventully gets around to doing it and/or turning it in?

I gave an example here of how I'd drink chocolate with child and discuss fibbing and that's what I'd do. I don't think it's okay to instead teach children lying to parents is okay sometimes but not other times. That lesson for me would teach kids that it's okay to lie, that it's not important to gain trust by truthful honest behavior and actions.

You get to teach your children your way, I get to teach my children/grandchildren mine. Mine works for me. I don't consider it fussing to teach a child to be honest. I don't recall saying I punished and/or tossed a hissy fuss in my example. Perhaps you're reading into what I said what you want to read there for agrument sake?

Not only do a have a daughter with real needs to know her eating/drinking intake, I also have a grandson (GS7) who is rapidly becoming an in-training pathological liar. I mentioned in a different thread how my DD29's husband is the biggest horse's behind I've ever known, what I did not mention is SIL's inabilty to speak a word of truth. It highly concerns me that I see my GS7 beginning to lie just to lie. I take every chance I get to discuss with GS7 fibbing/lying when I hear him and know he is.

My GS7 is learning to lie just to lie from his father. He's not learning from me he has to lie because I might 'make a fuss over everything', so I guess your textbok 101 kid psychology 'lesson' you think you'd like to 'teach' me about my family and household you know nothing about is being wasted on me( you've blown what and why for me in my family/household twice in just this thread with your generalizations).

'In your experience not only as a parent but blah blah...' that all children lie as a defense mechanism because their parents 'fuss' over everything, did you also learn that not everyone fits into your neat little nutcup of world views from Finedreams own backyard?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 8:08AM
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I don't think this is a *huge* deal, I would just have a talk with her (or maybe you already did?) about the importance of being truthful. If lying/fibbing becomes a pattern, then I would have some consequences.

I think some of it is the "age" thing. My kids (SS and DD) are just weeks away from turning 8. I've noticed testing/fibbing/manipulating from them.

SS is the "I forgot" or "I didn't know" or "I didn't hear you" one. That is his excuse for everything.

DD is more sneaky. Yesterday, for example, we were at my mom's house and DD kept eating little pieces of licorice candy. I let her have some and then after a bit, I said 'ok, DD, no more until after dinner." As I turned away, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her slowly sneak one more piece in her mouth. I told her to go spit it out immediately and I said 'too, bad, no more after dinner, either." Now--these are those TINY little licorice pieces, Good N Plenty (I think?) and it really wasn't a "big deal" that she ATE one more piece. It was TOTALLY the fact that she HEARD me say no more and then she tried to sneak another bite. It was the dishonesty/sneakiness I was angry about.

I think that is what you're getting at here.

We had a similar issue with SS about 2 weeks ago. He and DD were in his bedroom and they got into some sort of argument over the game they were playing. DD came out crying and said SS had pushed her off the bed, and she'd hit her head on the hardwood floor. She was crying, but SS vehemently denied pushing her off. He kept insisting---"I REALLY didn't do that, she's lying' blah blah. He seemed very sincere. So I threw my hands up in the air and just split them both up. Well, SS immediately started grumbling that he wanted to finish the game, and I said they couldn't, that since they clearly couldn't get along, there was going to be a timeout from the game...and SS says "GEEEZ, I did not push her that hard, it wasn't my fault she hit her head.'

I said 'what did you say?" and he started stutering about how he 'forgot' that he pushed her. So I asked him to tell me what had happened, and he admitted he'd pushed her off the bed, but it "wasn't that hard" so he didn't think she would get hurt. I asked him why he lied about it and he said he "forgot that he had pushed her."

I was more ticked about the blatant lying than anything else---so SS lost his Wii priviliges for the day, not so much for being physical, but for the lying. If he had just admitted to having pushed her in the first place, I would have had him go to a time-out for 10 minutes, and that would have been the end of it.

I guess what you need to emphasize with DD is that lying/being half-truthful will ALWAYS make a situation worse.

Again, I realize the cocoa itself is the issue, but the sneakiness about it. I do think it is probably a testing/boundary phase.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 9:47AM
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I'm with lovehadley. The punishments get tougher when lying or artful forgetting are involved. DS7 doesn't lie outright but he does do the "I don't know" "I forgot" lie of ommission business. I really try to not let him off the hook when he pulls that because it is all a form of lying and defintely, strategic forgetfulness. Plus, it irritates me when he pretends he doesn't know something that he does know just so he can get back to his Wii or TV programs.

Like I said, I would praise her for cleaning her room, that was wonderful and probably her way of taking some of the heat off. My DS often does something really good to take the heat off of something else! But, I would go right back to the cocoa incident and make her tell me and DH what half is to learn the lesson. Your DH might get a bit of a lesson too.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:26AM
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First, thank you all for responding. I'll try to address everyone.

LAmom, she's almost 8. I praised her for the room, made sure DH heard me, he praised her too, gave high-five, big hugs, etc. We talked about how much is half, she didn't want to admit she knew but finally told me. (This is the girl that can crack 12 eggs in one go without getting any shells in the mix, read a recipe, get out all the ingredients and measure them out. She KNOWS half!) I agree it's a game.

Finedreams, it's not as if he's policing the hot cocoa box. We give her hot cocoa once or twice a week, usually on the weekends. After we noticed she wasn't drinking the whole thing a few times we started only using half bags. It's not the cost (what is it, .15/bag?) it's the waste. Why use a whole bag (and a whole cup of milk) and throw away half? If she wants to drink the whole darned bag, she can, but regardless of the reason she asked for cocoa (I was sleeping), he said go ahead, use half a bag. She didn't listen to him and used the whole bag, and instead of saying, I wanted the whole bag, I drank the whole thing, or can I have the whole bag, I'm extra thirsty today- she made up some roundabout story. We've had talk after talk about how if you tell the truth up front you won't get in as much trouble (if at all) than if you lie or evade the truth. I think FD, that if you said "only take half" one day, then reached for the same item the next day and there wasn't a half packet in there, you'd remember too.

We've started "rationing" her on several things because of the waste. I got a big soup ladle for cereal. She can have two scoops in her bowl because when she poured her bowl full I'd have half a bowl of nasty goopy cereal and milk EVERY morning. She can have as much as she wants, but only two scoops at a time (which is around a cup). Usually she only has 2-3 scoops total. And she eats EVERY bite. And, it tastes better because it's not all soggy with milk. Same with apples. I used to cut the whole apple for her, until I realized she wasn't eating the whole apple anymore. Now I only cut half. She can have the other half if she eats the first. It's not food restriction, it's portion control.

LA, Justmetoo, Love: you got it exactly. The Good n' Plenty is the perfect perfect example. It's not the licorice. It's the attitude. We'll give DD cookies, and she'll sit sideways and eat them over the floor instead of the table. It's a conscious raspberry she's blowing. It's a test. And if you don't make the kid spit out the tiny candy they'll have won their little battle. And the battles will grow bigger. Nip it in the bud.

My point is this is DH's battle to fight, and he walked away, leaving me (the innocent bystander) to deal with it. But the Step relationship is hard and weird and I admit sometimes I am more lenient and step in to "protect" her and she knows it, and my DH understandably get frustrated...and at first I was like, who cares about the stupid half bag but then I realized it was more than that. The bag was just a representative of the deeper issue.

As for her lying because we fuss over everything... well. We are strict. We have rules, I don't think they are draconian, but there are rules in the house. Here are some of the big ones:

Chew with your mouth closed.
Don't talk while chewing.
Take your plate/bowl etc. to the sink when finished eating.
Clean your room before going to school.
Wash your hands after coming inside, eating, bathroom time.
Hang up your towel.
In the morning: Get dressed, get shoes/jacket/backpack ready by the door.
In the afternoon: Put school stuff away, wash hands, do homework.

Chores: sort her laundry on laundry day. fold and put away own clothes. help with yardwork on occasion. get personal stuff from common living areas. clean room.

The big ones are talking with her mouth full and chewing with her mouth open and not washing hands. She will do it, and she will do it ON PURPOSE to see if we catch her.

For example, I gave her a cookie yesterday. She ate it, then came into the living room, crawled across the carpet to me to "give you a hug mom". I asked "did you wash your hands?" she pouts "I was just coming to give you a hug!" Me: "go wash your hands, then I'd love a hug".

Did I feel like a drill sargent? yes. I felt incredibly pedantic. But she was testing me... And if I let it slide... it's a slippery slope. The rule is, wash your hands. The rule is, wash your hands. The rule is... Unless the house is on fire, that's what we do.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:34AM
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And, she didn't get the cocoa. The room was just a manipulation, IMO (although I praised her for cleaning it without being asked, and for putting away her clothes without being asked) it doesn't work that way.

The problem is, if I let her "get away" with not being clear about the reason for the cocoa she will use it in the future, to her detriment. She needs to stand up for herself, ask for what she wants, explain her actions, etc... The cocoa is just practice for real life. She didn't get in trouble for drinking the whole bag, but when she was not clear about her reasons and started fibbing, she was not rewarded with more cocoa.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:39AM
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Silversword, you are right on with your approach I think. The didn't wash her hands but will give you a hug to distract you from that is a great example. I just made DS7 put his own already folded clothes in his drawers for the first time a couple of days ago. Either I do it or the cleaning lady does it for him. Your girl is Folding her clothes and putting them away? That's awesome. Clean your room Before going to school? Unheard of at my house but I'm going to move on that one. It will be more like, clean your room at night before Wii, TV or going to bed for a cuddly night night story. My son has taken to doing his homework on the school bus so it doesn't cut in to his "relaxing time", his words, at home. It's not neat but it is done so it's hard to argue with and that's the point with these little people.

Backpack by the door? He does that one OK but just this morning while he was supposed to be dressing I found him naked sitting on the edge of his bed playing with a Magic 8 Ball he discovered in his toy box when I made him clean it out last week! Instead of brushing his teeth he was fiddling with the light up feature on the toothbrush. I need to learn from you!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:07AM
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"For example, I gave her a cookie yesterday. She ate it, then came into the living room, crawled across the carpet to me to "give you a hug mom". I asked "did you wash your hands?" she pouts "I was just coming to give you a hug!" Me: "go wash your hands, then I'd love a hug". "

This sounds just like something my SS used to do! We had issues with him getting out of bed repeatedly. We always put the kids to bed around 8 pm, and DH always reminds SS to brush his teeth, go potty, get a glass of water for his nightstand, etc.

Bedtime is a nice time for them. DH reads to him, sits with him for a few mins, hugs/kisses him goodnight. It certainly isn't a rushed or hurried time and SS knows the routine.

Well, for a long while, he would get out of bed about 3-4 more times over the course of the next 20 mins---he forgot his drink, he wants to get something out of his backpack, he wants to say goodnight to the dog one more time, etc. ANY EXCUSE to come out of his room. DH would ignore, ignore and finally get mad and says "if you get out of bed one more time, I'm going to take ____ away" or whatever. Inevitably, SS would throw his hands up and say "But DAD, I was only coming to give you a KISS! You're so MEAN!"

This same scene was repeated probably 5 or 6 times before finally DH woke up and laid some consequences down immedaitely. Our general rule on this issue is he can have one 'freebie' or 'warning' where he comes out of bed to get a drink, get a book, put socks on, whatever. But after that, it's too bad. Whatever he needs or wants will have to wait until morning.

That might sound harsh to some (and, of course, we are not NAZIS, if he was sick or TRULY had to go to the bathroom, that would be acceptable.) This is just a small issue that WE have to remain firm on because if you give him (or, really, most kids this age) an inch, they will take a mile. My DD doesn't have the getting out of bed repeatedly issue, but she certainly has her own issues!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:08AM
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LOL. My dd tried the "thirsty" thing for awhile. It would just so happen that 5 minutes after sitting down for dinner she'd be "thirsty" or "have to use the bathroom". Finally it was implemented to "try" to use the bathroom prior to sitting down and if you didn't think ahead... well... no water or no bathroom during dinner. PERIOD.

LAmom, we got her a multi-hook thing for the wall. She puts her backpack there when she comes home (it's in her room) along with her shoes and jacket. Her night clothes hang there too, along with her robe.

Before she can watch TV in the morning her backpack has to be at the front door, along with shoes and jacket, and room has to be straightened. If not, no morning TV. Since she gets up with me at 5am, and doesn't leave for school until 7:15 she has a lot of time in the mornings (and she gets up on her own, no one is forcing her to wake up at that ungodly hour). She's realized too, that if she cleans in the morning she won't have to in the afternoon, leaving more fun time. And it's easier to enforce in the mornings. In the afternoon it could take an hour to clean 10 animals and books off the floor (she's tired, grouchy, etc). In the morning it takes 10 minutes cause she wants that TV time.

She sorts laundry before washing, folds clothes, puts them on hangers and puts them all away. She's been doing that since she turned six. Doesn't mean she doesn't complain. A "beat the clock" with a reward for the two of you if you "finish" in time could make it fun. "ok, if we get this done in 10 minutes, let's have cookies and milk". I do laundry once a week usually, so it's 6 or more loads (three of which are mostly her clothes)

I do need to get more involved in bed time. It's kind of fallen by the wayside. But the advantage is I let her have 15 minutes to read on her own and she's choosing chapter books, so maybe it's been a good thing that I haven't been in there as much. Prior to that it was Brown Bear every night!!!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 1:06PM
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justmetoo, I don't care how you raise your children, I am not even replying to you in particular, I am talking about this particular cocoa issue, why acting so defensive and angry? My general opinion is that it is not important and not worth making a big deal about and if you don't make a big deal over things, kids won't lie. I believe in natural consequences.
Of course this is only my opinion, I am not saying anyone needs to be doing things my way. It is a public forum. take it or leave it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:02PM
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What would a natural consequence be for not listening/doing what your parents asked you to do?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:06PM
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I read your posts silverswood, and I see that i am so much more lenient parent than you, I just can't relate. i guess that's why this cocoa story just does nothing to me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:16PM
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That's fine, I'm just trying to look at it from the other side of the coin. I was raised by VERY lenient parents and I don't see it did me any good. I'm going the other way (typical, right!?).

So I'm wondering, if you told your kid something and they didn't do it and they had a lousy excuse, what a natural consequence would be for that?

Maybe homework... Kid doesn't turn in homework. You find homework at home weeks later. It's not done. What do you do?

Do you leave it to "natural consequence" which is to just let the kid fall behind because they're not doing their work? Or do you make them do the homework and turn it in, or do you make them do that homework, PLUS more work you print up because you want to make the point that it's easier to just do it the first time, procrastination will get you nowhere (my solution)?

Or since you said you could understand the cocoa fuss if there was a need to leave some for other kids; what would you do if that were the reason for leaving half? (by the way, if she finishes the first half and wants another half she gets it, just like the cereal. We just don't give her full servings all at once anymore)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:37PM
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"For example, I gave her a cookie yesterday. She ate it, then came into the living room, crawled across the carpet to me to "give you a hug mom". I asked "did you wash your hands?" she pouts "I was just coming to give you a hug!"

Silversword, this is one of DS7's best tactics. Last night it was past his bedtime and he wanted out of his room. I was dozing in my bed watching the crucifixion scene in "Ben-Hur" with one eye open. He climbs up on the bed, snuggles up and starts asking me questions about the movie, who killed Jesus and why, how did Adam and Eve fit in and so on. All in an effective attempt to get me talking about the movie, Charlton Heston, ancient Rome, anything in the Big Bed instead of making him go to sleep in his own. Offers to go get his book to discuss! I was half asleep but finally saw through it. What are you doing here in the first place?!

These kids know what to do.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:07PM
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YES! Lamom... they do. They know what to do. And it can be very very tempting, because they are so cute and snuggly and darn it! just trying to LEARN! that how can you not just play right into their chubby little paws?

BTW, I used to let a lot of "little" stuff slide. My DH told me and told me I needed to crack down and I thought he was just being a hard a$$. But it came back and bit me in the butt. Had I nipped some of these things in the bud the issues would not have dragged on as long as they did, to the detriment of everyone.

Now it's immediate. She knows what to do, and she does it, and if she doesn't there are consequences. Why should she get to watch TV if her chores aren't done? Being manipulative will only get her so far in life. I'd rather raise a strong person who understands reason.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:22PM
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big surprise, I'm pretty much with FD on this one. To be honest, I'd have problems remembering this rule as an adult. And if someone asked me why I poured the whole packet instead of half, I'd probably answer 'i don't know' too lol. Cause I was probably looking out the window or going to answer the phone/talking on the phone while I was making it. As an adult it would be a very, very hard rule for me to follow and as a child....

*however* I'm not going to quibble about parenting differences so I can see Silvers point. What I suggest is that if waste is an important topic than maybe try different ways of eliminating waste. Get the big bucket of cocoa mix where you scoop out as you're making a cup (I don't know but I'm going to assume it is more economical this way anyway.) Or if you buy in packets, empty all the packets at once in premeasured little reusable baggies etc. I think it can be fun/informative AND respecting Mom/Dad's rules at the same time.

As far as Stepdad, what are his feelings about this issue? I guess if it were me in the stepparent place I'd have trouble enforcing this rule myself and would leave it to the bio. It's just not something I'd want to tangle with.

And yes, my DD does the same stuff at bedtime. I think it's cute and I have built it into the bedtime ritual. Her thing is to come give me a "surprise" every night after bedtime, it's usually a made up song that I think is adorable and it's a good way to end the night.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:43PM
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I understand your point, but I don't think it's too harsh to expect someone to pay enough attention between "can I have some cocoa" and "yes, half a packet"... and actually making the cocoa. And, (here's the main point) if someone did space out, which I know happens, that when it happens to say, "whoops, I poured the whole thing in"... and come up with a solution, like "I'll drink it all" rather than something dumb (yes, I think that was a dumb answer, but I didn't call her dumb) like "I forgot what 1/2 is".

She didn't say she "didn't know why". She said it was because she "forgot what 1/2 was". Big difference, IMO. And I don't want her to grow up and not be able to follow simple, one step directions. Yes you may have hot cocoa. Only use half the packet. Yes, you may have half a soda. Yes, you may ride your bike. Only go halfway down the driveway. Yes, you may take a bath. Only fill it halfway up. And yes, I understand mistakes happen, and I'm not in the kitchen with a measuring spoon making sure she takes exactly half. But when a person asks permission for something, it is only respectful not to be doing other things that distract you so much that you can't live up to your side of the agreement.

She and I agreed (after there was 1/2 cup of cocoa every time for a couple of times) that a solution would be to only use half at a time. When things like this happen we talk them out, and come to an agreement.

If we went through enough cocoa to buy the big vat, sure, that would work. But I don't know how she'd get it down from the cupboard. And I think little baggies are just silly, I'm sorry. She's old enough to pour half. That's just pandering. I don't understand why little baggies (ach! the waste!) are more fun than the packets?

The importance here is not the waste, but the scooting around the issue. She very well may be old enough to drink the entire cup now. I could give a hoot if she does, as we spend maybe 2.25 a month on cocoa. Maybe. And I buy the good stuff.

It's not the cocoa.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:01PM
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I didn't say it was harsh lol. I just don't think it's a big deal. I know what people say about lying, but everyone lies. And if they say they don't, they're a liar lol.

I get it's not the cocoa, it's the lying. I think there are ways to set people up and ways to show your point. I don't think kids think like adults. I know as a child my SM at the time had very arbitrary rules for just about anything including food (I'm not comparing you two just sayin') and I think her meaning got lost on all the children in her care.

The pre-measured baggies (and I did say reusable) were just a suggestion. I like illustrating the stuff to DD I consider to be important, that's just one way I thought of.

That said, it's your house, your rules and your headaches lol.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:14PM
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natural consequences: if you didn't clean your room, and your have your neighbour friends over you will be embarassed when they enter your room and then gossip how messy you are. natural consequence of a messy room.

as about grades or homework, i never had to help or oversee homework, can't relate. DD was generally a good student. for some time she was getting bad grades in the middle school, but she wanted to go to IB high school where you cannot do poorly. so i told her that if she continues poor grades in the middle school then she will not be able to go to IB school, so she had to improve. In her high school if you get below C, you have to leave and go to your local school. She knew it would be natural consequence, i didn't have to fuss. She did not want to go to a local school, so she had to try. If she would not try she would ahve to go to a school she did not like. and so forth.

I did spend a lot of time with DD reading to her, and taking her places and educating her about the world. DD always knew above and beyond about everything. But i spent very little time overseeing stuff like cleaning her room or chores or cocoa or homework or even grades. i am not saying it is good parenting. maybe I had to pay more attention to some things. But it did work in a long run. She is graduating college in few months and is a decent person. well, her room is still far from clean LOL

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I reread some posts, and I cannot help but laugh. I mean seriously, I hope it all works in a long run, but it is just funny. I like nivea's point. Kids don't think like adults. They might not comprehend full deap meaning of importance using half of packet of cocoa. She was clearly caught off guard with interrogation where her cocoa went, so she came up with silly excuse- rather creative one. She is 7. She had to think quick, not bad for a 7-year-old. haha Every time i drink cocoa, I'll think of this story.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:31PM
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FD, totally off topic (sorry Silver and everyone else) , DS7 also goes to an IB school. One of the few in the US at the elementary level. He also has to do well or be shipped out. We know it, he doesn't yet but he sees the standard.

We still lean on homework (he's only in first grade) and of course, back on topic Silver, the truth and nothing but the truth! :)

Thanks for sharing that.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:59PM
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I see lamom, good for him. a lot of work, isn't it? even at elementary level, but it sure worth it in a long run!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:02AM
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I'm not sure what to think in regards to school and natural consequences.

I definitely stay on top of DD's homework and make sure she is doing what she needs to do. She attends a private school and the academics are pretty rigorous. They work a grade level above the public school curriculum, so in 2nd grade, DD is doing 3rd grade math/science/social studies, etc. In reading and DOL (daily oral language), she is doing really well, and she's working around a 4th grade level in these areas.

She has a lot, and I do mean A LOT of homework. She had a fair amount in 1st grade but there has really been a big increase in the homework load for 2nd. She has an assignment notebook. It is HER responsibility to copy down from the board the assignments she needs to complete; then her teacher signs it at the end of each school day, and then I sign it at night.

I do NOT make DD do her homework. She does it on her own and on her own time frame, BUT she completes everything without my prodding. If she weren't, I would definitely be on top of her, helping her to manage her time.

I AM so thankful she attends the school she does because they really emphasiz personal responsibility AND encourage a good work ethic.

DD's teacher is REALLY strict, but in a good way. She is VERY fair. She has high expectations but I think it's because she knows her students can meet them. At the parent orientation this year, she said "if your child forgets a book or assignment at school, PLEASE do NOT bring them back to school to get it. It is THEIR responsibility to remember their things and if they forget, then they will simply have that work to make up the next night, in addition to reg. homework.'

THAT seems like a natural consequence to me and that is one I am okay with. I can let things like that slide, so long as my child learns from the mistake. But if my DD were failing classes, and not doing well (well, she would not be allowed to stay in her current school, in that case) I would definitely have to impose more than natural consequences.

I feel like her education is too important for me to just let what will happen, happen.

I think setting high standards and helping a child to create a strong work ethic and to effectively manage their academic time is so important early on. Then, hopefully, you can avoid problems in the future!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 9:27AM
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Well, I guess it's just a different style of parenting. I like to be able to have a clear path to her bed in case of emergency at night. I can't imagine a bunch of 7,8,9,10,11... year olds gossiping about how messy another child's room is but maybe that's just me. Her room is clean every morning. Kind of like my kitchen is clean (most:) mornings. I'm not a dust-bunny Nazi but I do like a clean house.

Personal responsibility. This morning I noticed the entire wad of napkins was out of the napkin holder and on DD's placemat. Hmmm. The napkin on the bottom was pink. So was the next one. I asked her if she spilled something, and she said yes, cranberry juice. So I told her, honey you have to tell me if you spill something like this, because it stains. No big deal, no one in trouble (for drinking juice without asking, LOL) just a simple request. DD is able to go into the fridge and take what she likes. There is a fruit basket she can help herself from. I have a snack bowl with individual sized snacks (nuts, dried fruits, etc) that she can eat from. She has her soy milk accessible to her, she has bread and honey and peanut butter available at all times too. For a 7 year old, she is pretty self-sufficient. I encourage that.

I do limit juices, because they aren't that good for kids. I also limit sodas (maybe one per week). She rarely gets fast food.

As for the natural consequences, with school I don't think a 7 year old is mature enough to make the right choices without guidance. I do believe in having them feel the consequences of their actions (forgot homework, have more the next night rather than driving back to school to get it).

Like brushing teeth. Yes, I make my dd brush her teeth for three minutes every night. I don't think it's right to just say, well, natural consequences say that you'll just be teased for your black teeth! They're little people in our care, it's for us to guide them.

As for the comment of the "interrogation". I don't know if you know what that word means. It was a question, and a reasonable one. She could have put the half packet somewhere else, rather than back in the box. That does happen on occasion. So, "DD, where's the other half?" is not an interrogation, IMO.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:34AM
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"DD is able to go into the fridge and take what she likes. There is a fruit basket she can help herself from. I have a snack bowl with individual sized snacks (nuts, dried fruits, etc) that she can eat from. She has her soy milk accessible to her, she has bread and honey and peanut butter available at all times too. For a 7 year old, she is pretty self-sufficient. I encourage that.

I do limit juices, because they aren't that good for kids. I also limit sodas (maybe one per week). She rarely gets fast food."

Silver, you sound very similar to us. We keep fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, etc.) on hand and the kids know they can have them whenever they want. My DD also loves to snack on raw carrots, so we keep those on hand, as well, usually a bag of the peeled baby carrots.

We keep yogurts in the fridge, whole wheat crackers, pretzels, chees sticks, etc. The kids have to drink milk with dinner, but other than that, we don't keep anything else in the house for them to drink, except the occasional carton of apple juice or orange juice. If they're thirsty, it's milk or water most of the time. Drives me crazy b/c SS's mom packs his lunch for him a lot, and he always has Gatorade or Kool-Aid, or sometimes root beer. AUUGHHH.

I know ultimately our kids' eating habits are up to them, but I think if you teach them early to develop good ones, then there is less of a chance of problems down the road.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Yep. I agree. I was raised by a "food nazi" so I don't make her eat wheat bran flakes or spirulina shakes. But eating healthy is important. I try to model good eating habits for her.

I think (and am told by others, friends, family and strangers, that) compared to most of the kids her age she's independent and well behaved. I don't radically control her actions.

Part of the reason I think is that I expect her to make CONSCIOUS decisions. "I don't know" is not acceptable. If you think about it, when someone says "I don't know" it's usually with a little whine. It's a get out of jail free card. Very rarely does someone say "I don't know" and that's exactly what they mean. Usually it means "stop bothering me, leave me alone, I don't want to tell you".

I think clarity for children is very important.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 3:09PM
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In regards to natural consequences I didn't mean kids need no guidance, of course they do. I meant teaching natural consequences instead of grounding or punishments. I don't believe in punishment.

Not only different styles of parenting but also different children require different amount of overseeing and monitoring.
I think children need to be given chance to fail and make mistakes too.

LOL Of course I know what interrogation means, but I don't know if DD knows. See, you asked if she spilled something and she said yes, yet when SF asked where is coco she lied and then cried. Is he hard on her? Did she feel interrogated? Did she feel in trouble? There is a reason she felt that upset over simple questioning. That's why I called it interrogation and was surprised he even bothered to ask.

I don't think kids eating habits are up to them though. It is up to us to teach healthy habits by example. If parents eat and buy junk, kids will eat junk. Just don't have it in the house.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Sorry. I didn't mean she actually cried. I meant she got the "face". And it was after I talked to her that she got that "face", not when he was talking to her. He asked her in a very mild tone. We rarely yell, if at all.

And she didn't get punished for not only using half, she just didn't get what she asked for. That was a natural consequence. We didn't send her to her room or anything. If she cannot follow simple instructions, there is not a basis for trust. I think it's important for children to learn "ours is not to question why, ours is to do or die". Not that they should always follow without questioning, but in the beginning it is essential to have that understanding. To me, it's partially a survival tactic.

We sailed as children. When the boom comes around, you duck. When your parents say "duck" should you ask "why" or should you just duck?

I'm trying to teach her the difference. Be assertive when you want something, don't sneak. If she had said, I want the whole cocoa, she could have had it!! It's not the cocoa. It's the communication.

If your child was not ready for school but had turned on the TV, what would be a natural consequence? Going to school in their underwear or would you just take away morning TV privileges? I'm interested in how this "natural consequences/no punishment" works.

My mom would say "get a sweater" and if we didn't, well, we were cold. It only needed to happen once. I understand that. There are opportunities for learning all the time.

But when we're talking general household rules, if they leave their dishes on the table, is the natural consequence eating from a dirty bowl or is it having bugs in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:50AM
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lamom FD's point "Kids don't think like adults. They might not comprehend full deap meaning of importance using half of packet of cocoa." well, reverse it. What if she had been caught using two packets of cocoa because she wanted extra strong and said she didn't know how much is two? Really the same concept. Would that be a more clear example of lying?

DS7 has used that one saying that while he knew he was only supposed to have one granola bar, he said he took two because they were small. Huh? One is one and two is two Mr. First Grade regardless of size, volumn or whatever. But he thought on his feet creatively and brought the relative size of the various granola bar brands in to the discussion reasoning powerfully that two smalls only equals one large. Err, no. To me it's the same principle at work. You were told one, you took two. You were told half and took a whole. And scrambled up a semi-truth to cover.

It ain't the cocoa or the granola. It's the attitude, I'm caught so let me make something up to get out of trouble. I get it Silver. Hang tough! Semper Fi! But to FD and Silver, if you aren't supervising homework and you've got a little person doing cleaning, laundry and organization my hat is off to you both!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:41AM
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THANK YOU LAMOM!!! It's 2 or 1/2 or I don't know or I thought or or or.... It's not the words. It's the unspoken reality. "Two is two, Mr. First Grade" I love that! Seriously. This is the child who knows her times tables and can bake a cake from scratch with little assistance (with the oven and the mixer, that's it). Tell me you don't know what is half!

And, I do supervise homework :) To the point of checking it before it gets turned in, marking the incorrect ones and having her re-do. And, I do that because she wasn't doing the work, she was just writing random things in the answer boxes, or she was figuring out the answer without doing the work and just writing it in. Example, one of those, if you have to borrow, color the box red, if you don't, color it yellow, then write the numbers in the yellow boxes to form a word. The clue is "The dinosaurs became _________." She saw seven letters, asked if this is how to spell extinct and I confirmed it... hmmm... 12 or so math problems? Why do them, she knows the answer!!! I checked it and had her go back and do the work.

I try to organize her life so that it follows the Montessori method. Everything in it's place, and a place for everything. Everything she will use within easy access. Her cups, bowls, silverware are all in a cupboard so she can reach them. Her cereals on a low shelf, her milk on a low shelf, her clothes set up so M-F she has an outfit picked out prior to the week starting. Children thrive on structured freedom, IMO.

We set up a routine when she gets home, take off shoes, hang up backpack, wash hands, get snack, do homework. It works for us. She knows what is expected, she knows that my job is to go to work and her job is to go to school. We all have important duties in our family so that our family works together and our household runs smoothly. I try to make it like a team effort.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 11:47AM
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LOL, this is a funny thread. I think FD's point about natural consequences (which I mainly follow too) is that when asked about the cocoa she said "I used the whole thing" MY response would've been "you drank it all?" not "why?" It wouldn't cross my mind to ask more questions as she already answered what happened. She used the whole thing LOL.

First the point was not to waste cocoa, then it was the principle of not wasting cocoa but this incident she didn't even get the cocoa. Just seems inconsistent and rather silly, I don't think most kids are able to differentiate some things like that. If you explained to her that she was only to use a half pack so as not to waste it, then it seems obvious that when she wanted the whole thing she would use the whole thing.

Stepdad asked, she answered the first time. Unless she was hoarding every days worth of half cocoa packets I can't imagine that this would even be an issue worthy of further questioning lol.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 1:28PM
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Ok, makes sense Nivea. BUT... Here's a VERY simplified run-down of what happened.

1. SF - want some cocoa?
2. DD - yes
3. SF - Ok, go ahead and make some, but just use 1/2 packet.
4. DD - ok


1. DD - can I have some cocoa?
2. BM - ok, go ahead
3. SF - Where's the 1/2 from yesterday
4. DD - I drank the whole thing
5. SF - Why?
6. DD - because I didn't know what half is.

I KNOW this is silly. That's why I put that in the very first post. BUT... admit it, most interactions with kids are pretty silly.

Sdad was asking why because he specifically asked her to only use half, and she DELIBERATELY and without saying ANYTHING did not follow his request. If she wanted more than that, she should have said "can I have the whole thing" and he would have probably said (like we always do) "make half, if you still want more you can have more".

The question of "why" was more in relation to "why did you take the whole thing when I specifically instructed you to only use half" rather than "why did you drink a whole hot cocoa".

It's not the principle of not wasting cocoa, it's the principle of "take all you want but eat all you take". I don't make her finish her plate, I just give her VERY small portions and when she finishes she can have more. Sometimes she has thirds, which is the equivalent of a "normal" serving. Or I'll ask her, "this much, or a little more/less" and she'll give an indication of how much she wants.

Example: DH asked her if she wanted a quesadilla the other day. He was making some for himself. She said yes. She took one bite and said she was full. I saved that quesadilla. I don't think it's right to ask for food and then not eat it and I don't want to encourage that behavior.

I cut an apple for her the other day. She asked for one. I only sliced up HALF. She said, is this half? I said yes, if you eat it and want more, it's here. I was tired of cutting the whole apple, then she wouldn't eat it and the slices get all brown and nasty. If you only cut half, the other half stays good in the fridge for a later snack. If I had said "only cut half" and then I came back and the whole apple was cut, and she was eating it, I would have called her on it too.

The point I stressed to her was "IF you want more __________, ask for more ____________."

Let's put this another way.

Me: DH, can I have some of the cheesecake in the fridge?
DH: Sure, but just eat half.
Me: Ok.

Next day....

DH: Where's the other half?
Me: I ate it.
DH: Why?
Me: Because I didn't know what half was.

Don't you think it makes a little more sense to just say, DH, is there a reason you are saving the other half? I really want to eat it. Do you mind? OR... I ate it because it was so good. I'm sorry. I know you said to only eat half.

This is not "free-for-all" on the fridge. There may be a reason. And if someone tells you half, regardless if you know the reason or not, or if it's a good reason or not, or if it's completely arbitrary....

ASK if you want more!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Yeah, see I wouldn't thought of it anywhere near the same since the begining of Cocoa-Gate. LOL.

First of all, unless DD was making it obvious that she was wasting cocoa or doing something extraordinarily strange with it (and believe me, it's happened with other food stuff) - I would have never even noticed. Like she'd have to literally be in my face with cocoa wasting mania. Just leaving half in the glass would have never made it on my radar, seriously. Perhaps I'm just wasteful.

As far as what happened the day before, I can't really relate. My style is more like "yes, you can have some but either use half or drink the whole thing" IF I had noticed in the first place lol. And IF she even asked me. And it's doubtful that I would have remembered to follow up if she used half or drank the whole thing. It's just not my style.

Maybe she's picked up on that and is hoarding all kind of powdered goods somewhere lol. Sorry, I'm not saying you're wrong or anything and I could probably pick up some organizational habits. It's just funny to me.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Nivea and FD, keep your smiles on,

I have a question...your child says she need some extra money for school for pizza day. You leave cash on your table regularly and the whole family knows there is around $10 at any time. Your DD says " I need money for pizza tomorrow and pizza is a $1 per slice. You say, OK, take money for pizza tomorrow assuming she's talking about a dollar, two or three. You later check and see that the whole $10 is gone although you know really only authorized $1-$3 max for pizza based on the past and how much you know pizza costs, how much they will eat etc. You DD (not really so don't take this personally please) shrugs and says, "I didn't know how much the pizza was, 1 slice vs 1/2 vs 3 plus a soda I just didn't know so I took it all." NO change of course. What happens then?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 5:52PM
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ok, to make the hypothetical more along the lines of the op, I told DD she can get half a slice of pizza (since she doesn't eat the whole slice at home.) and to take the money for half a slice from the table money. And then she takes the whole amount for one slice and eats the whole slice at school.

Alright, I don't relate lol. I already said that. Even with your hypothetical it doesn't even match with my reality. I don't keep cash in the house, DD is the only one with any which she gets from me once a month for her allowance and that's pretty much all the cash I take out. I write checks for her school functions or she pays out of her allowance. The most I can go with this is I'd have her pay me back? Take out of her allowance? And this is stretching to think my kid would actually do something like that.

I mean, she'd take some eggs to try to hatch lol. Or she tried to save poo for her "garden" last summer. She cost me a thousand in plumbing bills one year for her toilet experiments. I'm not saying she's perfect or I'm a perfect parent or anything. You'd probably find a lot of things I do to be funny. My best friend says I'm like a Dad and her Dad is like a Mom, whatever lol

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:48PM
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"I mean, she'd take some eggs to try to hatch lol. Or she tried to save poo for her "garden" last summer. She cost me a thousand in plumbing bills one year for her toilet experiments. "

~Oh Dear! Lol!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Nivea, I'm so relieved to read what you wrote. This thread has disturbed me - mostly because it made me feel totally inadequate as a parent, LOL. I was reading about these super focussed and enviably consistent parents and I know I didn't measure up. I've been reading with the guilty fascination I used to feel when my friend would tell me that she knew where every toy in the house was before she went to bed at night. It was like looking at a parent from another planet. I can safely say that in the past 23 years of being a parent, I never once knew what toys we had, never mind where they were. Not even close. And honestly, not interested. That was not what I thought I could bring to parenthood or why I had children.

I can remember being "somewhat more organized" and concerned about the implications of situations when my oldest was a baby but by the time his siblings came along three and six years later that was done. I didn't have time or the interest to analyze every interaction for its deepest meaning. Nor am I inclined towards finding negative interpretations for my children's (or anyone's) behaviour. I assume that they, like most of us, are doing the best they know how and when their behaviour isn't effective or is harmful, it is my job to teach what they don't know. I wont assume I know why they do what they do. I'm not always sure why I do what I do and I have spent many years looking at my own motives and behaviours in mindfulness practice and meditation; I know I can't accurately assess someone else's. For that reason, I don't worry too much about what their motives were when they seem to be saying something that doesn't fit with my understanding of reality. Mine isn't the only way (obviously!)

I do think that all, or almost all, people will lie sometimes and most of us do so for all kinds of seemingly good reasons. I don't think lying helps relationships, though, and have had many discussions with my kids about lying and why it is counterproductive most of the time and why trust is important and has to be earned. I try very hard to not lie to them with exceptions for things like Santa, the Easter Bunny and "why is your bedroom door locked?"

My children have lied to me at times and I sometimes lied to my parents and I think that is normal. But I think that my kids and I are all trustworthy people who don't lie when it matters. All of them have had teachers and friend's parents comment to me that when they want to know what is going on, they ask my kids because they will get the truth even if it gets them in trouble. So I guess my inability to understand your concerns in this situation hasn't prevented my kids from growing up to know how to tell the truth. But maybe they would be better if they had been exposed to better influences. I honestly don't know. Quite likely.

This thread seems to have a lot to do with our expectations for ourselves and our children. I guess I see myself, my children and most people generally as quite flawed and still very worthwhile. I don't expect perfect behaviour and can't imagine a household where children always remember to wash their hands before and after they eat. Goodness, I don't remember to wash my hands every time I eat so why should they? I guess I just don't think that is all that important. Germs can be good for you. (I do have a rule about hand washing after using the bathroom and before preparing food just so you don't think I'm a total slob! But my kids sometimes break both rules.)

I would never have expected a seven year old to express herself as clearly as an adult nor would I worry if in the moment she misspoke herself or did a less than adequate job of expressing her thinking at the time she made the cocoa. Maybe she just panicked because she couldn't remember why she did what she did. Maybe it was an accident and too much went into her cup and she didn't know how to get it back in the packet. Maybe.... whatever. Even she might not know why she did what she did at this point because our memories get all mixed up and are notoriously unreliable when we experience any stress. (And even though you say that you didn't make a big deal out of the situation, Silver, it is likely that she knew that this would matter to you. She is your daughter, it did matter as evidenced by this thread and she knows you very well. That might have stressed her just enough to make her look for a better answer than "it spilled" or "I forgot and poured it all in" or ... so as to not disappoint you. She might think you would be more upset about her spilling than forgetting fractions. Who knows?)

Maybe my comments are all just my rationalizations for why I neglected this piece of the parenting puzzle. I know that I admire parents, like you Silver and others, who can be this focussed but I never have been able to manage that. Quite possibly I should have paid more attention to those areas people described here but my kids seem to have turned out well. They are all academic and athletic achievers, not very artistic, kind, romantic, messy, both very lazy and highly disciplined and motivated. A real mixed bag. I guess I'm saying that whatever you do, if you love them and care for them, they will turn out fine. Don't sweat the small stuff. And this (like most things) is small stuff when you get right down to it. Maybe I was overly influenced by the Bruno Bettelheim book "The Good Enough Parent". It gave me permission to enjoy my children and worry less.

Just two (or ten) cents worth from the perspective of someone whose youngest is now half way through the terrible teens. Sorry this was somewhat off the OT.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 2:58AM
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Mary - that was perfect.

I understand Silver your concern, but I really have to agree "dont sweat the small stuff".

As a mom of two teen boys - I 'get' what you are worrying about, but I think you need to hold on for a much faster ride in the future.

The issue I think is that you and DH need to be on the same page....NOW! The terror teen years are not the time to be working out what your values, rules and punishments should be.

So sit down with DH and workout what your family rules and values are. Trust me, you need to be a united partnership. No weaknesses - kids (steps, bios) are experts in seeing and using them.

Talk to them, and then talk some more when they want to. Why did she do it? Really - why? Make sure she knows she is safe in telling you exactly how she feels (even if its stuff you might not want to hear). She may not be able to tell you why and thats normal and ok.

She is only little, but you dont want to be dealing with much bigger lies later on. But dont be so tough that you forget what its like to be 7 years old. Have a read of Piaget and his theory of development.

Here is a link that might be useful: Piaget theory of development

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 7:35AM
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Silver - I would say that she, being 7 years old, didn't know how to answer DH when he asked her the question. She just popped off with something.

I agree with don't sweat the small stuff thing, unless you are buying copious amounts of hot cocoa (like I have been with chocolate syrup).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:57AM
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I also tend to agree with don't sweat the small stuff, but this issue---being vague or half-truthful, the importance of good communication--is clearly an issue that Silver feels is important. It's not a small issue to her, and that is her perogative as a parent. As parents, we all pick and choose what values we want to instill in our children.

What is "small" to one person might not be small to another and vice-versa.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:13AM
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Ok, the pizza analogy. I'd rather teach my daughter that if she wants a whole piece of pizza that she says, "Mom, can I take a dollar because I want a whole slice today" instead of just taking what she wants and dealing with the repercussions later. It's called integrity.

I don't know where every toy lives, and I hardly think I'm the strictest parent out there. I just think that if you're not going to be consistent, what's the point?

I haven't forgotten what it's like to be a 7 year old. When DD took a box of GS cookies out of the case we were selling for her troop and snuck the cookies, and I found them stashed later, I laughed. DH laughed. We told her the stories about how we did the VERY same thing when we were kids, and explained why it wasn't ok. 1, they weren't our cookies and it's not ok to just take something that's not yours. 2, she stashed them so bugs can get to them. We live in a warm area and if you leave food in your room we will get ants and spiders in the house. There was no Cookie-Gate.

I was not a big hand-washer before I met my DH either. It took me a year of thinking he was pretty silly before I really came around to his POV. It is literally the first defense against illness. We wash hands after coughing and sneezing too. And yes, it's for the full 20 seconds recommended, washing between the fingers. I'm not a germaphobe, I think a little dirt never hurt anyone and I know studies say those with a moderately clean house are healthier than those with a filthy or fully sanitized home. I remember to wash my hands. When we go to restaurants after we sit down and order, we go wash our hands. And I'm one of those who opens the door with my used paper towel.

I'm not "sweating the small stuff". My main irritation was that DH just walked out. He didn't want to deal, which is understandable but still irritating; because this pattern is something we're going through right now with her. It's normal, but that doesn't make it easier. We're on the exact same page with how to parent most of the time, and I don't think any two people can ALWAYS agree on the best method. It's give and take, and supporting the other parent. Which can be hard, even if you aren't involving steps.

" So I guess my inability to understand your concerns in this situation hasn't prevented my kids from growing up to know how to tell the truth. But maybe they would be better if they had been exposed to better influences."

I dunno. We all do the best we can and we're all products of the parenting we received. There's no manual for child rearing. My parents were super lax about everything. And I don't think that helped me but I turned out fine. But I'm doing it a little different than they did. I'm not making arbitrary rules and expecting her to follow them. I have standards for behavior and I explain why they are important to me.

And Mary, you're right... any one of those "maybes" could have happened. So... is the answer to ignore the cover-up or is the answer to break it down right there for her and explain that the truth is the right answer? The way to deal with all the cocoa in the cup? "Hey, I accidentally poured the whole thing". Not covering it up!!! DH would have most likely said "well, you'd better drink the whole thing then!" (and it would not be said in anger. We're not angry with her.)

It's not the cost, or the waste particularly, it's noticing portions and only taking what you'll use. She can have the whole bag. But why use the whole bag unless you're actually going to drink it?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 11:48AM
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"It was like looking at a parent from another planet" lol, Mary and I loved your post. My best friend and I usually rent a beach house together every summer and it's seriously like worlds collide! We both laugh about it, but I seriously would not want to parent like that. And I think she secretly thinks my dd is going to grow up and be a hobo lol.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Two more case I didn't go on long enough before.

"Why?" is a really hard question for many people to answer. If we are going to be competely accurate there is often a myriad of thoughts and feelings that propel us into a course of action. This is even more true for children than adults who hopefully have developed a pattern of thinking before we act.

Your DD may simply have not known how to choose between all of the thoughts and feelings she had at the time she made the cocoa. When your DH asked her "why?" how could she be sure if she did it because:
- she was wishing she was a big girl and could drink a whole package
- she was going too fast and it spilled
- she was trying to disobey just because she is a naughty child
-she was sitting on the cupboard when she did it and knew you wouldn't like that she was sitting there
-she momentarily wasn't paying attention to what she was doing
-she had a thought about sharing with someone but then changed her mind
-or something else all together that she might have forgotten by now.
My point is that there is rarely only one way of answering a question like "why?' and your DD may not have been able to decide in that moment which one was the most true.

On another point, I agree that we all get to decide for ourselves and our families just what is "the small stuff". For me "small stuff" would be wondering about whether this child was "really" lying or "really" confused or "really" trying to upset her SD. Buit for Silver and others, it is obviously big stuff. That's okay and I'm glad you wrote what you did so I can learn more about what matters to others and why.

I was known as the easy going, open doors neighbourhood mom who had a a couple of hot button issues that would cause all play to stop and "the talk" to commence. Racist, sexist and homophobic comments (things like "you're so gay" or "you throw like a girl" - usually said in jest and without any malicious intent) would be enough to get me worrying the way that others have on this thread about honesty. I'm quite sure some of the other parents would have rather I dealt with honesty instead of stereotyping and social equality, but as I've said before, that is not where I thought I could make a contribution to parenting. Lots of kids now in their teens and early twenties don't use "gay" as a pejorative term because of me. More just think I was nuts but made good snacks and let them eat until they were full. That's okay, too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:18PM
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"Racist, sexist and homophobic comments (things like "you're so gay" or "you throw like a girl" - usually said in jest and without any malicious intent) would be enough to get me worrying the way that others have on this thread about honesty."

This is changing the subject, but your "throw like a girl" comment reminded me of something. My SS takes baseball lessons (specifically, batting) and my DH was laughing a couple weeks ago b/c the coach refers to the boys as "Sally" when they don't hit. As in "Come on, Sally, step it up!" DH thought it was funny because SS said "Dad, why does the coach call us Sally?" And DH told him "because he thinks you're hitting like a girl!"

ACK. I was so ticked! HELLO, we have a daughter! I reminded DH that DD swims competitively AND played softball last summer and that it would NOT be good for her to hear that comment---nor is it the correct attitude to be teaching SS.

DH agreed. BUT I still think it's annoying that the coach says things like that.

I am also on the *stricter* side when it comes to these things. I do not let the kids use the word "retarded" and I also take issue with "Oh my God." I know adults say it all the time, I say it myself occasionally, but to me, it sounds very inappropriate coming from the mouth of a child.DD has never said it, but SS used to and we broke him of that by reminding him consistently to say "oh my gosh."

Othe than that, we've not had an issue with bad language, but my kids are still at the age where they think STUPID is a bad word. LOL.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 1:24PM
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"But for Silver and others, it is obviously big stuff."

Actually, when I posted it was more about DH... if you look back, that was my irritation.

I wrote ..."Now... this is silly, I know. But I can't help but think DD is just testing DH. I explained to her she needs to ask if she doesn't know, not just go ahead and do what she wants...."

That is, until I felt I was being called a Cocoa Nazi. Things written down sometimes sound harsher than they are in real life. If you met me you'd probably find me pretty easygoing, most people do.

I was irritated because he is strict/was being strict (although upon reaching for the cocoa I would have asked if there were half a bag too simply because there always is, just like there is always a half of an onion somewhere in the fridge in our house.) even though I know that his tactics are working. I overcompensated for her not having her dad, for taking her away from her dad even though it was the healthiest thing at the time. I had a lot of guilt and had weird SD/co-parenting issues for a while. It takes time to learn the nuances of another parenting style and my defenses were WAYYYYY up for a long time, which doesn't bode well for the children because they can tell parent/sparent are not on the same page.

She's really stopped pushing pushing pushing so much and we've had a much more relaxed home environment. She used to sit at the table and wait until I wasn't looking and then "zone out" and chew with her mouth open, looking right at me, until I looked at her and then she'd snap to. It was conscious. She's testing us, and that's why when these little "let's see what you'll do when I don't listen" instances come up we deal with it immediately instead of sweeping it under the rug of "kids will be kids".

DD had a major TEST of me a few weeks ago where she got grounded (first time in her life) and then repeated the EXACT behavior she just got grounded for in plain sight of me, etc. It was the first time I have ever actually YELLED at her because talking was just not working. The cocoa is just a continuation of behavior that I see emerging and is not ok with me. It's not this instance it's the cumulative repeated behaviors.

Love, my DD told me she found the "S-word" in the dictionary. When I casually asked her about it she got conspiratorial and whispered "...stupid". LOLOL!!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Okay!!! ... way off topic ... 2 issues!!!

SS14 has picked up what I will call a bad habit in the last year he might have done it before but I never noticed it until this year ... well once in a while before ... so I am guessing he continues this "bad habit" because he knows it gets under my skin ... and it drives me nutz the first time he does it I remind him ... he waits a bit and while staring at me with what you called "zoning out" he will do it atleast 3 more times ... before I remind him you are doing it again .... and he stops again ... I ask do you do that at friends houses its really annoying please stop.

What could this bad habit be???

HE DRAGS HIS UNTENSILS ACROSS HIS TEETH... omgosh (haha) it drives me nutz ...we tried the use your lips to get the food off the fork and a few other things so about 2 months I decided I had to fix this issue... so how did I fix this problem .... he eats with plastic untensils while everyone else gets "real" utensils. Every meal he gets mad can't cut his food ... can't get big enough bites whatever till you learn to eat I don't have to hear you dragging your teeth across the fork ...

My other new issue both boys... they seem to have forgotten all manners ... one shoves so much food in his mouth he nearly chokes the other as soon as he takes a bite he wants to have a conversation. Loud eating noises heavy breathing over food moaning with each bite lol Guessing its the age or just noticing their bad habits I guess ... then I am the mean SM because I correct them ...

one aggrivates the other is just gross ...


and silver I will say ... stop having your DD wash her hands so much ... some germs are good ... :) too clean she will catch every bug out there!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:17PM
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That just made me nauseous, Pseudo. I don't really care about names (other than obvious politically incorrect stuff) but table manners....

My SO does the same exact thing. I'm going to hand him plastic silverware tonight. He also will fix his plate in the kitchen and stand right there and start eating. Or he will get a snack and come up behind you to eat with all that lip smacking. So disgusting and he really thought his speed of eating was something to be proud of. And just when you think it can't get worse, his entire family eats like that. There's slurping, smacking, teeth scraping utensils, gulping down fluids. I can't even look up from my plate, I lose my appetite.

And the worst part about all this, HE thinks I'm overreacting about his table manners. He really doesn't understand how repulsive most people find this. He'll close his mouth (all I have to give is the look lmao) but he still does it cause afterall, he's only doing it as a courtesy to me. I wish I had some way to explain to him that it's barnyard animal behavior.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:25PM
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OMGosh ..... the gulping of drinks!!!! another one

Like they haven't had a drink in weeks ... drink put it down pick it back up gulp away put it down and pick it right back up and gulp it again all while sucking in a ton of air so then the burping starts!!!! the drinking and picking back up is a constant no break it hits the table and back up for another gulp! ! 5 minutes later looking for a second/third bottle of water to inhale!!!

All 3 of them do it ... bottled water is the worst!!! I stopped buying bottled water (hahahahaa) and they complain no bottles!! oh well there is purified water from the tap.

I call it the "jitters" ... like its crack to them !!! the way they devour bottled water I giggle about it and point it out to hubby and he tells them to stop but they do it every time!!!

the JITTERS!!!!! absolutely!!! drive me nutz too!!!

I have left the table because of the way they eat many times ... I am the one standing at the counter eating ... I am by no means a "manners nazi" but come on guys!!! give a girl a break!!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:41PM
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How I fixed name calling!! I have 3 SC's ...who can't stand each other (haha) so it worked really well.

Little background ...

My SC have an aunt and a cousin who are mentally retarded one from each side of the family.

So one day they came home from mom's house bickering like fools calling each other nasty names idiot retard etc.. went on for about 20 minutes in that 20 mins had called each other those names repeatedly .... called them into the kitchen for a "snack" as they sat there .... I gave them the speech

Look for people who have mentally retarded people on both your mom and dads sides of the family chances of one of you having a mentally challenged child are pretty high so in the future when you have a child think of someone actually calling them those words and how it will make you feel ... said how would your cousin and aunt feel if they heard you using those words etc... then I instituted a "new rule"

New rule:

Every time you call someone an idiot or retard it means "I love you" so the rest of the day ... and for couple weeks after that each time they called each other a "name" I would say oh isn't that sweet how much you love her/ him or when called the name that child would say I love you too... the name calling soon stopped because we did it from of friends and rather than be embarrassed they stopped the name calling.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:54PM
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Pseudo, I know some germs are good. I posted about that. I have her wash her hands at these times, specifically:

When she gets home from school
Before she eats
After she eats
After she plays with the neighbor's dog or plays outside
After she goes to the bathroom

I don't use hand sanitizer unless we are away from the house and there are no other options. She gets dirty. She plays in the mud. My house is not a sparkling germ-free zone.

I'm not going to reduce the hand washing. It's the first line of defense against getting sick. Hands are one of the dirtiest parts of the body. We use plain soap, not anti-bacterial. She's not "too clean" and she is in very good health. I don't get her the flu shot nor do I get it myself and we have yet to catch any flu this year. She got a cold for a few days in the winter and fought it off. She has not had antibiotics for over two years (strep throat was the last illness).

Did you know you can catch Hepatitis A from a handrail, or from shaking someone's hand? That when proper hand washing is utilized that the incidences of childhood pneumonia (the leading killer of children under 5 worldwide) are decreased by 1/2? When one out of three Adults don't wash their hands after using the restroom, and over half of middle age/high school age people do not wash their hands after using the restroom... there is fecal matter everywhere. Don't worry, even if my daughter washes her hands several times a day at school she's still going to get her fair share of poop on them.

I feed her healthy food, she gets good exercise and plenty of sleep and she WASHES HER HANDS.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:58PM
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"Don't worry, even if my daughter washes her hands several times a day at school she's still going to get her fair share of poop on them. "

That's hysterical!!!

!!! but does she chew with her mouth closed!!!


    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 4:06PM
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Pretty much, yes she does. After being diligent about the "mouth-closed-no-talking-while-chewing" she actually has really good table manners. She also takes her plate/bowl to the sink and scrapes/rinses it. She puts away her dishes after they are clean too. She's no angel, but she's a very good kid.

My DH hates it that I eat with my fingers sometimes, even if it is supposed to be finger food. He also doesn't eat after anyone nor does he eat food if other people have touched it. We have one member of our family who will touch all the items on the communal plate. There's a reason Mom always says to only touch what you will take. Most manners developed from cleanliness factors.

I would enroll my boys in an etiquette class if they behaved like that at mealtimes. They may never need to know how to eat properly but like I tell my DD, I want you to know these things so that if you ever need them you are prepared. You may end up living in a hut eating cornmeal with a banana husk and bathing in the river. But if you get invited to dine with the Queen, I want you to know which fork to use.

Knowing appropriate behavior and when it is ok to scarf pizza and burp after every schlurpy soda gulp and when it is not is important, IMO. Not knowing, or not thinking it's important to know these manners can be a real social handicap.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 4:30PM
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I cannot imagine anyone ever turning on TV in the morning. DD never watched too much TV because neither I nor eX ever did so where would she learn turning on TV in the morning? I never ever touched TV in the morning. I believe in teaching by modeling. No need to punish.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:26PM
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lamom I never said DD did everything, of course she did not. Far from it. I just didn't make a fuss over stuff. I am happy who she is now, and who cares if she used half or the whole pack. Maybe if I was overbearing parent watching her every step, she would be forced to lie, I don't know. Life is hard as it is without making it even harder and more stressful for children and adults equally. Too much unhappiness in the world and too many people have awful relationships in their families. Not worth it

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:33PM
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I think style of parenting described in this thread has a danger of raising very stressed and nervous human beings constantly watching over their shoulders. It also sounds somewhat OCD. My SIL has that along with other disorders and she tired to make her son to be OCD as well.

All she accomplished that he was very nervous child and now has very poor relationship with her. Funny thing is both her children are very sickly with all her hand washing obsessions, constant stomach problems and colds etc when my nephew became a teenager he started getting very frustrated with his mother, and my niece is getting there too.

I love mary's post. great, just great.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:55PM
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I was at a party once where a woman in her 50s-60s was cleaning her teeth with a fork, awful

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:03PM
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Oh my goodness FD, do you ever make assumptions.

1. we never turn the tv on in the mornings. I rarely have it on at all. she's a kid. she likes cartoons, and she gets up early.

2. I am just about the furthest person from OCD that you will meet. I guess this one just went over your head.

carry on...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:28PM
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silverswood, I didn't make assumptions, you are the one who asked what consequences would I apply if my child is turning TV on in the morning and is late for school. My response was that i cannot relate, DD never ever turned TV in the morning, simply because we never did that. I don't know what your DD watches in the morning, I was not the one who asked. You keep asking what consequences I apply in this and that, but I cannot relate to any of that.

i don't know if you OCD, but many of the facts you share are signs of mild obsessions. It is neither good nor bad. it sounds stressful to me, but it might work for you.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:58PM
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I find it hard to believe that you "cannot imagine anyone turning on the TV in the morning" but, whatever.

I also asked consequences for leaving bowl on the table. Has that really never happened in your household? Surely you could understand my point, unless, as I suspect, you are being deliberately obtuse. My point was that sometimes the "natural consequences" of actions do not work. With "grab a sweater" there is the consequence of being cold. With other things, there isn't something so cut and dried.

I think we all have personality traits that may sound harsh or strange when in black and white, without any grey to even out the edges. But really, mild obsessions? Because I have my child be accountable for her actions and I strongly advocate hand washing?

This is just one of the glaring examples of why people have issues with this board. Rather than working around the issue it becomes an attack, a defense, a my-house-is-better-than-your-house situation.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:45PM
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...sorry I missed that one..of course people occasionally leave bowls on the table in any household, but I never thought there should be consequences for it. I can't think of any. I think maybe asking a child to pick up the bowl, that's not a consequence though? In my household whoever sees the bowl first, picks it up. Or ask each other? i don't know, i always lived in a small place, if you leave too much stuff out, you won't have a place to sit at LOL must clean up, would that be a consequence?

Now DD lives in such a tiny place, it is like a closet, two of them in a studio and kitchenette is right in the room, it is so tiny, i have never seen anything like that. DD must put everything away all the time. Last time I visited, i left some stuff out not thinking, she yelled at me that in a tiny place one must put everything away. maybe she had to apply some consequences to me LOL she forgot how she used to leave stuff. haha I don't know...I just can't relate, not a big deal.

I don't understand punishments. My parents were the same way. we are all OK and have decent lives and never have been in any trouble. I think I could be a bit stricter parent in some cases, but it just didn't see the point.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:11PM
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My DD22 and her SO do not have TV at all, I do not mean they have no cable, just no TV at all. Mind you we are not backwards people. Just everyone is different. We use computer a lot, as you can see. LOL

when she was little I had no cable and ex didn't have TV at all. that's maybe why she didn't have a habit. so we clearly are crazy too, just in a different way.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:23PM
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Well, I guess I fall in between the slacksters and the sargeants here. My kid DOES watch a little TV in the morning while eating his breakfast after dressing, pjs in hamper, hair and teeth brushed and so on. It's not a right, it's a privelege.

Yesterday morning DS7 wanted to watch some TV. I asked him had he brushed his teeth, he said yes so I said yes. When DH asked him about his teeth he said no. Wait a minute Hoss, you just told me you brushed your teeth! He then said "I don't remember." OK, we are on fib #2 now ala the cocoa. Now, did he get a time out for those brazen attempts to play fast and loose with the truth in order to watch Batman? No, his show was turned off. He knew he lied, we didn't make a huge deal but let him know that it was not OK and that we were on to him. He lost a small privilege, 10 minutes of TV before the schoolbus. Both my and DHs parents were strict disciplinarians and we are far from the true faith on that. But that doesn't mean lies, even little ones, go scot free.

On neatness, if I find toys, video games, DVDs etc. on his floor they become "mine." Meaning, I confiscate them for a day or two. In toy Nazi mode I usually take his favorites that are on the floor and leave the jetsom and flotsam. That has been effective since he was 3. He is a naturally tidy person although can be slack as well. Just call me Simon Legree.

I'm still with you Silver. And by the way, you are right, handwashing is very important. Why do doctors wash their hands before even looking at you? Without elaborating, we became a family of handwashers while my son was in cancer treatment last year and have continued the habit. It's a good one. Now if only I could get him to use those anti bacterial wipes at school, that hotbed of disease...har har har

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:57AM
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"My kid DOES watch a little TV in the morning while eating his breakfast after dressing, pjs in hamper, hair and teeth brushed and so on. It's not a right, it's a privelege."

DITTO. My kids also sometimes watch a bit of tv in the mornings. They generally wake up around 6:45 AM. SS especially will either watch tv or play his Wii because he doesn't leave for school until 8:20 AM. (I have to leave with DD at 7:40 b/c her school starts at 8:00AM.)

Anyway, the hard and fast rule is that they must be ALL READY FOR SCHOOL before the tv or Wii can go on. This means---they must eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth and hair, and have their backpacks zipped and ready to go.

DD generally does all this within 30 mins and is ready around 7:15 AM. Same with SS. Sometimes they will go in the basement and play the Wii for awhile, sometimes DD will watch cartoons, sometimes they BOTH will watch cartoons.

And it IS a privilege. If DH or I catch either of them watching tv or playign video games without being fully ready for school, the tv/game goes off.

And we wash hands a lot too! The kids know to go STRAIGHT to the bathroom after school to scrub up :) We are less strict about washing before dinnner, but if they've been playing outside (which lately, given the warmer weather, they have been), they must wash their hands when they come inside.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 11:49AM
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Thank you Love and LAmom, I feel better! When I said "we" never turn the TV on in the mornings I meant me and my DH. DD will, after teeth brushed and dressed and her breakfast dishes are put by the sink and her room is straightened and she is ready for school (that means backpack, jacket, shoes by the door), she may turn on the tv...sometimes. Or she can play in her room.

Is that a lot for a 7yr old to do in the mornings? Sure! Does she have time? Yes! I was raised without television (didn't have one, none of our friends had one, I didn't see MTV until I was in college) and I can't say I'm more or less intelligent than the rest of my peers. I didn't own my own tv until after I had DD. I've experienced the "no TV" lifestyle and I prefer for my child to be able to partake, in moderation. I had other addictions as a child, mainly my books, and I had them taken away from me when I was out of line. I was raised both completely hands-off and by a strict militant. I try to "middle-road" my parenting. Doesn't always work :)

I too take away toys and make them "mine". Taking away the 10-min of Batman sounds like a totally reasonable consequence to me. It's immediate, it's directly related and it has impact. And, I may be overstepping but "I don't remember" sounds an awful lot like "I forget what half is".

So, FD, it sounds like, in your house, a direct consequence for leaving dishes on the table would be that there would not be a place to eat because the table would get full. It seems to me this would take a few meals before it would occur. I can see how this would work. A person would see that if they did not pick up their dishes they would not have a clean place to eat. But what about everyone else in the family? Do they have to look at gross cereal bowls while they are eating?

I can see how this may work in a household, but that just isn't how I was raised. Growing up in the tropics, you put your dirty dishes away immediately unless you want to have giant cockroaches swimming in your bowl. It's a personal preference of mine to have a clear table when we are not eating so it can be used for other things.

If I were to attach a direct consequence to not clearing off the table it would probably be that the time for doing fun stuff would be reduced or eliminated.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:58PM
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lighten up silverswood, of course dishes go in the dishwasher in my house, I emphasize that in my household everything needed to be put away fast because there is just no place for anything to be left nowhere. Maybe in larger houses people have plenty of counters to leave stuff on, we didn't. As about no place to sit on I put LOL after it assuming it is clear I am joking. LOL again.

I think it is important to explain things to children. If they know dishes left out will get bugs in the house it will be easier to accomplish what you want. if they just do it so they don't get grounded, I don't know...It doesn't work in a long run.

What i do not understand is what consequences you were talking about. We all just help each other, if someone forgets to do something we remind each other or even do it for each other, why consequences? Not like i am running a boot-camp.

I had a habit of leaving lights on, i got much better though. Since DD was little she would tell me how i damage environment by leaving lights on and she would turn it off after me and give me a speech. She was like 4 years old. It doesn't matter adults or children. We just do things for each other, like reminding or explaining or sometimes doing stuff for each other. Hey DD you forgot to put this bowl away. Mom, you left lights out. I don't think it is that hard...

On the other hand if a child is engaged in criminal activity or flunks out of school or does drugs, it is a very different story but it is not what we are talking about here...hopefully

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 7:41PM
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Ok, I probably do need to lighten up. I feel a little attacked ;)

I DO explain my bug reasoning (on the dishes). By consequences, I mean if there are rules in the house, like taking the dish up or whatever, and other people in the house do not follow those rules, what is the consequence? I have tried talking, talking, talking, explaining (because I hate to yell and I very rarely need to) but when you're just NOT GETTING THROUGH... what is the consequence?

DD tells me the same thing (you left your light on, you're talking with your mouth full) whatever I've told her I hear back like a little parrot.

It's SILLY, I know... but when it's deliberate... then what?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:28PM
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well, it is impossible to explain anything here, it would be so much easier to talk in person. DD told me to turn off the lights not to be a parrot but because that was important for her. It was not silly, she was/is concerned/obsessed with environment. I told that story to show that we just did things for each other, whatever we found important. maybe I picked her bowl up for her and she turned my lights off since she was a young child. I had a completely different agenda in telling that story. Oh..internet..

as about consequences, I know what you are saying, some things worked some didn't. DD was not allowed to make a mess in a living room or a kitchen and she did not. But she kept her room very messy and i just gave up and closed the door LOL

I still have her room in the house, but it is clean because she doesn't live here anymore. Your kid will grow up and leave maybe far away from home and it won't matter if she had that half pack of cocoa or if she put a bowl away and even if she washed her hands. It is important to teach them values and educate them. But some stuff is just not worth it, it is just not important enough for me.

They won't be children forever.

I am OK person so is my brother. My mom never worried about consequences, she is just not the type, but we turned out OK. I think it is doable.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:56PM
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ok, maybe parrot was the wrong idea. DD tells me similar things but I think it's more she's heard that it's important to me and adopted it as her own. IDK. I pick up my DD's bowl too. I'm not the bowl nazi.

But when it piles up... when it's apparent it's MORE than the bowl or the lights or the damn cocoa... then what? When you can tell it's possibly the S-family b-s and don't know how to handle the situation, want to back up the DH but probably wouldn't have picked THAT particular battle.. then what?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 9:18PM
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"But when it piles up... when it's apparent it's MORE than the bowl or the lights or the damn cocoa... then what? When you can tell it's possibly the S-family b-s and don't know how to handle the situation, want to back up the DH but probably wouldn't have picked THAT particular battle.. then what?"

You pick and choose. I think we all know where you're coming from here, SS. I don't think you're wrong or that you're totally bizarre. And yes, things look different in black/white.

BUT, is something like half packets of cocoa things you really want to fight over? On your weekends, etc?

I get that you want to back your DH up and I agree with that. BUT, is it possible that you are overcompensating for how you parented before? (I'm not saying you're wrong, either way) I do think when people make drastic changes they have trouble finding a balance and that is what I read from a lot of what you posted in this thread.

And I think you've said before that your DH sees his daughter eow or sporadically due to the distance, correct me if I'm wrong. But is it possibly that some of his expectations are unrealistic? Not just due to not living very much with a child before but also with your daughters own distinct personality? There are people who are ok with those kind of expectations but other people it places a great amount of stress on to them. The "MORE" stuff may have something to do with that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Possibly Nivea. I've definitely had to make a shift because what I was doing in the past wasn't working. I know what you mean about over correcting.

I don't want to pick cocoa battles. But once it's all in motion, it's better (I think) to back your spouse up with the rule they set and then talk about it later.

DH had a much stricter life than I did. His whole family has a really set way of doing things that I both admire and laugh at on occasion. It works for them, but I wouldn't want to be that uptight in my own home.

DH's expectations may be a little unrealistic, we've touched on that before. But I've noticed time and again that if I don't stand my ground my little angel will walk all over me, and the issues get bigger than hot cocoa.

I'm a little sensitive right now too with all that's been going on in my area. We've had two girls kidnapped, raped, and killed very near to my home. I'm stressing the trust issue because I really need to trust that DD is going to do what she says she will do. I'm sure a lot of this is just reaction to my current environment. I feel pretty helpless.

It's hard to blend a family. I feel caught in the middle a lot. I think a lot of this too has to do with DD's bio-dad, he really doesn't (or didn't) pay attention to parenting and for a while was just letting her run wild. He's come around and actually asks what my rules are and how to maintain them when she's at his house because he's noticed it works better. She's really quite smart and able to manipulate the situation to her liking. It helps to be a tiny thing with curls and big eyes, lol.

And I think I'm headed in the right direction. Everyone always comments on how well-behaved she is, how wonderful it is that I've managed, we've managed, to nurture her as a little girl rather than as a "pre-tween" as so many of her class mates are already. She really is as a 7yr old should be.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:27AM
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"But once it's all in motion, it's better (I think) to back your spouse up with the rule they set and then talk about it later."

I 100% agree with this. Children should never see or sense that there is a division or difference of opinion when it comes to parenting decisions. It is so important that they see a parental unit.

I know some may disagree with this in stepfamilies and I do think it depends on the situation at hand, custody schedule, etc. I can say for OUR family, with two children the same age, a SS who is with us 50% of the time and a DD who is with us 100% of the time, we HAVE to have equal authority. It just DOES NOT work for DH to trump me over SS or for me to trump DH with DD. I realize this might not work for every situation but it does for us. It is actually detrimenta when we kep everything separate and divided.

I think Silver, your situation is somewhat similar in that your DD lives primarily with you and DH, correct? So she does need to respect your DH as a parental figure. And you do need to back him up in front of her, which is the WHOLE POINT of this thread. And which it sounds like you do.

This is not to say that there aren't conflicts between you and DH. My DH and I have them, as well. But we, like you guys, make every effort to address those conflicts when the kids aren't around. We show a united fron TO THEM and then address issues together in private.

Don't apologize for your parenting. Some people choose to be more laissez-faire, some people are stricter, and I think MOST OF US try to be somewhere in the middle; but whatever we choose is a personal choice. We all pick and choose what's important to us. No one knows your situation or your DD better than you and it sounds like you are doing a GREAT job with her. I feel badly for you that you're feeling like you have to defend your parenting choices.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 11:54AM
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Love, I have primary physical and legal custody. She's with me 99% of the time. And, I'm married to DH, so yes, he's her "dad" in every sense of the word. They have a pretty good relationship, he doesn't try to take the place of her bio-dad, he and bio talk on the phone in front of her on occasion, so she sees that we are all in this together.

Thank you for seeing the point I was trying to make. I have to back him up, it was a SILLY circumstance, one I would not have picked personally but once it's going on... well. lol. I was more irritated that he picked the battle and then abandoned me to try to make the point, something I was floundering on. I think it's hard enough to stick to your guns when you initiate the battle, let alone take up for someone else barely knowing the terms of engagement!

BTW, no one in "real life" knows this is such a big issue. They've moved on, (literally within hours) and I'm still here days later hashing it out! One thing we talked about with DD is "play-acting" through the situation next time so she can practice asking for what she wants, or dealing with whatever was going on with her in the 1-3 minutes between "sure, but only half" and the entire packet being poured in the cup.

DH and I have equal authority, but I have final say, just like with his daughter (the girls don't know that, and often we will defer to the other just so they see that they can't play the mommy/daddy card). It's hard for me cause I think I know best. But I've come to realize his input has value too and trusting that he's trying hard to do what's good for her.

Even without the mixed family of kids, crazy ex's, drug-abusing bio parents, selfish step parents (or vice versa), living with a good man, with life going good, being a mom married to a step parent is hard. Being a stepmom married to a bio dad is hard. Being the mother of a kid with a step parent is hard!!! And being an adult with step-parents is hard. I'm still having step-mother issues and I've been out of the house over 20 years!!!

heck... being a parent is hard.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:11PM
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"heck... being a parent is hard."

Amen to that!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:31PM
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I suspect that the issue is with your DH wanting things certain way and maybe overdoing it?

how often does he see his daughter? if not often then could it be he mises her and gets it out on your daughter?

also your DD is 99% with you. it is what, she sees her dad 3.7 days a year? i am still guessting what is true problem here..

com'n she is only 7. if you think it is hard then just wait, you don't know what is ahead of you. I am not even talking about major issues.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 5:10PM
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lol. perhaps I exaggerated. She's with me most of the time. She sees her dad at every opportunity, he comes out here, she goes there. They talk for hours several times a week.

I don't think my DH is taking anything out on my DD. He's exactly the same with his DD. But yes, he does overdo things sometimes, as I do. And, my DD pushes the envelope every chance she gets to see how far she can go. It's a combination of factors.

Yes, it is hard. And no, I don't know what is ahead of me. That's why it's super easy for people to sit from the place of experience and act like a know-it-all once they've already been through something.

I can't wait. Time waits for no one. I'm doing my best, and making my mistakes. I'm grateful for all the constructive advice I receive along the way.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:30PM
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I do not anticipate any problems for you at all. it just seems that 7-year-old girl (unless there are medical issues involved), the only child, is easy to manage. I was surprised you find it hard.

I understand you don't like my advice, but frankly it is simple, don't sweat the small stuff, not worth it. DD is only pushing because adults push her, she has nothing else to do but push back.

I still think your DH is a bit of a problem here and maybe he needs to get more busy with his own DD while you discipline (hate this word) your DD. I don't think he needs to be doing it. But it is just my opinion. take it or leave it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 8:30PM
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LOL. I do find it hard! It's also extremely rewarding and fun and exciting and and and...

Your advice is fine. Our opinion on what is small stuff just differs, that's all. I read more into it because I have the full backstory and you don't. :) What I don't like is what I feel is a smug undertone to your messages. "it just seems that 7-year-old girl (unless there are medical issues involved), the only child, is easy to manage. I was surprised you find it hard." I do find it hard. I find it tiring. You have no idea what my personal life is like, what my medical conditions are, what my schedule or work or anything are like but you assume that as long as the kid is healthy, it's easy? LOL.

DH is the problem in this situation. I stated that. Several times. Anyone else miss that memo? "Do I get the lamp? I just want to throw something at him!!!" LMAO

And, he's not the problem. I'm the problem, because I didn't know how to effectively handle the situation in the moment. And DD is the problem, because she pushes the envelope. We're all the problem! And there is no problem. It was over minutes after it started.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:14PM
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Oh I don't have smug attitude, you can only explain that much on this forum. I don't think my parenting is better at all. My parenting was criticized and reprimanded on this forum plenty of times, once I was told that it is bad parenting on my part that DD didn't do her laundry when she was 6. LOL No she didn't. I don't know anyone who does BTW. and she supposed to pay her own college tuition. LOL Everything is relative, we all get criticized.

I think your DH's approach/attitude is a problem in general not only in cocoa package situation. The very minute you said he asked where the half a pack is I knew he is the problem, not DD. can't fix adults though.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:48PM
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FD, I would have asked where it was too. Maybe we're just anal. I don't know. I remember stuff like that.

My DD did her own laundry at 5. (well, she sorts, folds, and puts away, she's too short to reach the washer.) Once she grows a little she'll be doing dishes and sweeping too. She also vacuums her room (we have a little vacuum just for her and she loves to do it) and takes out the trash from the bedrooms and bathrooms. Her bed is made in the mornings. Her towel is hung up after her bath. Yes, I did have to work on these things, but now it's second nature for her. When I was a kid I did much harder chores... as far as I'm concerned my DD has it easy.

And I see no problem with a child paying for their own college tuition. Every situation is different.

I think for you to judge my DH over one instance is laughable. And I disagree, adults can be fixed. We are constantly trying to make ourselves better, discussing better ways to handle things, trying new ways to make things work.

Maybe that's why I consider it hard. I'm really really trying, not just breezing through it all with a laissez-faire attitude.

Different strokes and all...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:44PM
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"Maybe that's why I consider it hard. I'm really really trying, not just breezing through it all with a laissez-faire attitude."

I can relate. I really try to make conscious choices and decisions in parenting. And there are many times I feel like I need to change a certain approach or attitude, etc.

DH and I have had to ask friends and family to write personal references for us for our adoption. I asked the headmaster at my DD's school to write one and he wrote a fabulous one. I was so touched by the kind and positive things he had tp say about us. One of the comments that stood out to me was how DH and I are always trying to grow and mature as parents. I am pretty friendly with the head of school, as he is also a parent of a child in DD's class; we often talk/email about parenting/families. He said that it is clear from conversations he's had with both me and my DH that we both are constantly evolving and seeking to mature as parents.

I was really happy and humbled that he would recognize that because it is something I feel we strive to do.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:26AM
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Wow, that sounds like a great reference. How wonderful to get back such positive feedback and really feel recognized for the efforts you are putting out.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:32AM
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good luck with adoption, lovehadley. what a great thing, glad you got that reference. wish we can write you a reference too. :) from GW stepfamily forum :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:12AM
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Thanks :)

My point was not to pat myself on the back, but to say that parenting (IMO) is something that we should always be working at improving, changing, and re-evalutating. That is why I agreed with you, Silver, that it IS hard.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:29AM
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No, I didn't get that you were patting yourself on the back at all. I wanted to pat you on the back!!

I'm genuinely happy that you got recognized for your efforts. Rarely are parents recognized unless the kid does something wrong. And thank you, I needed to hear someone else found parenting to be "hard work".

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:12PM
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SS, I find it extremely hard. I just don't say much about it here. Mary's first post above describes a lot of how I feel. And especially when DD was younger. There are so many things you're supposed to be doing to be the best parent, I just think it's overwhelming. I think there's so much competition not just for the children, but for the parents, to get your kid into the right schools, to have the best/appropriate clothes, to do the right sports, to volunteer for the best organizations, have a certain standard behavior instilled by *this* age.

I was overwhelmed when I had DD and I still get that way. I have always had a hard time balancing work and spending time with DD. I feel guilty a lot. But who else is going to put bacon on the table?

Bottom line, I can't do it all and I can't be all. Sometimes DD goes to bed without brushing her teeth, sometimes she eats MickeyD's twice in a weekend. I know I'm not the best parent, I do things cause they are easier sometimes and I feel tremendous guilt at other times for not being the perfect parent. But you know what, that's just how I cope with it all and no one is perfect. I think you do a fine job and I'm sorry for laughing above, I didn't realize this was a little deeper than what you had originally posted. I think you should let up on yourself some.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:30PM
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I did feel guilty all the time, i still do, i hear you nivea, i regret at times i worked too much and was not there. i still feel guilty if i don't help DD etc. i think it is normal, i feel guilty for not being perfect. at times i can't believe i said or did something. DD once told me that she asked me for cookies and I told her she gained too much weight and shouldn't eat cookies. i don't remember saying it but i believe her i said it because she have a tendency to gain weight, it made me phsycially sick that I was that stupid. we all make mistakes though.

then i look at some crazy parents, and I feel better. LOL DD once said "mom, thanks for not being crazy mother like Suzie's mother". LOL you are welcome.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:55PM
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I can't believe this was only 2 years ago. Today I saw the not drunk glass of hot cocoa and laughed

DD doesn't like it, obviously. She likes the IDEA of hot cocoa, but not to drink it. Now that DH and I are separated... I couldn't care less. .25 for her to feel happy about making some chocolate in water.... who cares if she drinks it.

Much ado about nothing...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:11PM
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SS and everyone else who responded, thanks for taking the time to give your opinions and perspectives. I started out in the "who cares, it's only a packet of h/chocolate" camp, but then came to the realization that it's the other side I am on, and I so want to learn more (about lying).

SS, special thanks for providing your most recent post. So ironic, yet what you taught your mini silver two years ago - so valuable.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:28PM
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