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Being a single mom can be tough, as my sister, Mary Ellen, found out a few years ago. In order to make life easier, she and her son, Lucas, shared a home for a while with our sister, Kathy.

Don’t get me wrong. Mary Ellen is a good mom. However, during this time, it may have been more difficult for her to correct Lucas’ behavior when he needed it. Kathy, having reared four boys of her own, was able to give Mary Ellen valuable advice. And it didn’t take Lucas very long to put this advice to the test.

I don’t know what triggered this incident, but Lucas was sent to his room, upstairs. So, he went–stomp, stomp, stomping all the way. Here’s how well that behavior went over:

Mary Ellen: “Lucas! Come back down here.”

Lucas stomp, stomp, stomped back down the steps.

Mary Ellen: “You need to obey me without the stomping. Try it again.”

Lucas walked quietly half way up the stairs. Then—stomp, stomp, stomp.

Mary Ellen: “Lucas, come back down. You are going to walk up those steps until you do it quietly.”

So Lucas made numerous trips up and down the steps. Once, he got all the way to the top, trip, trippity, trip, trip; then, STOMP on the last step.

In the meantime, Mary Ellen (apparently going power mad) also sent Kathy to her room, in Kat’s own house, natch, for jeopardizing the obedience training by laughing.

After about 18 tries, Lucas made it all the way up the stairs and went to bed, where he slept soundly that night.

But I think Kathy, Mary Ellen and Lucas all learned a lesson that evening. Lucas learned the importance of obeying his mom. Mary Ellen learned the value of consistent discipline. And Kathy learned to be very careful what advice she gave to Mary Ellen, lest she get sent to her room also.

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.



  1. What a fun post! I’ve made students reenter the classroom multiple times until they can do it correctly ;). I’ve never sent my husband to our room for laughing at my efforts to be consistent, though ;).

  2. Love this! Consistency is key in which I am finding out everyday. It’s so hard not to laugh at the things kids do sometimes (even bad behavior). But, then they will just keep doing it thinking, “Oh! Mom finds that funny!” Hilarious that Kathy got sent to her room! But totally understandable.

    • I had such a hard time with that when my daughter was young. She was so funny! I remember telling her, more than once, that just because I laughed didn’t mean she got out the the consequences.

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