Little House in the Desert

Boo is experiencing some tough love recently. I know she’s testing us.  It’s working.

I’m nipping it in the bud……

There will be no sense of entitlement in this house…by anyone…ever.

I took the TV out of her room.  She lost about 15 toys this week for being disrespectful…..and I’m not sure she’ll ever get them back. The toys now reside at “Sunnyside” on the top shelf of my closet. Honestly, I was prepared to throw every. single. toy…..forever. That’s my commitment right now.

I made her watch selected scenes* from “Machine Gun Preacher” yesterday (a true story from Sudan)……like where the children get their first playground, and the scene where they have one tattered soccer ball to play with among 30 kids, and the part where the children trek into town at night on their own from the village to sleep wherever they can.  She teared up and hid her face when the children saw their crudely-built-car-tire-jungle-gym for the first time. Later, I overheard her telling Mr. LBB:

In Sudan, the preacher sold his car and all his tools to buy a playground. The kids didn’t have anything…..they didn’t even have parents Daddy.  It’s a true story.

And now her TV is limited to Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons and Anne of Green Gables. I think we all could use a little bit of “Ma” and “Pa” parenting, right? Oh, and the reminder that Nellie Olson isn’t truly happy….despite having anything her little heart desires….

Little House in the Desert (Prairie) via

Boo and I made a pact that we will not raise our voices to one another. It’s a two-way street.

By going backwards……we are moving forward.

Yesterday, after hearing “I’m sooo bored. I want to watch TV” she was told “well, look at all these crayons, scissors, papers and journals Mommy has sitting out…..surely you can find something to do here.

And guess what…..she did.

She has everything she needs.


Recently, I read a newspaper article posted on Facebook and I wrote some of it down in my journal to remember….for myself, and one day as advice to Boo:

The world does not owe you anything. It doesn’t owe you a living.
You owe the world something.
You owe it your time, energy and talents so no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again.
In other words, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone.
Start behaving like a responsible person.
You are important and you are needed.
It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday.
Someday is now and that somebody is you.
-(adapted excerpt from a Dear Abby column from 1960)


I’m an American. I MAKE my destiny.**

This is why I choose joy every day.  I know that no one can create joy for me.  It’s up to me. It doesn’t mean I have the best of everything. My life isn’t perfect. I’m given second chances every. single. day. I worry about finances, vanity, health, war, politics just like everyone else. And every once in a while I have to take a step back and tell myself: I have everything I need. Something good is going to come out of today.

Now to pass this on to my daughter…..


*Warning: Machine Gun Preacher is not a movie for kids…’s very graphic and has many disturbing (and true) parts.  I only showed selected scenes to Boo that were appropriate.

**Update: I moved the quote credit down here to the bottom. The quote was by Romney. If you don’t like Romney, then just pretend that I said it instead: “Quote by Ashley Hackshaw”…..because that’s not the focus of this post…..nor do I want it to be.  Also, Romney doesn’t even write his own speeches. Neither does Obama. So technically neither of them has ever really said anything. If you see red from anger, or try to make 7 words the focus of this post, I’m sorry, I can’t help you out there……

Update 2: Does anyone else miss Michael Landon as much as I do?


  1. Ravae says

    Love.This.Post! You’re an amazing mom, Ashley! Boo is going to grow up to be one of the “good kids”.

  2. Krystin says

    Thanks for the awesome reminder…I like the idea of a pact with my kids…that way I am as responsible as they are!! Thanks for being such an inspiration…It’s just what I needed to hear!!

  3. says

    LOVE that quote from the internet and I especially love how you parent your daughter…too way street and all. We limit our kids video game time to just the weekend. Most of our kids have far too much and dont even realize how much they have.
    Thank you for posting yet another great blog. I don’t normally like to comment but sometimes they just hit home.

  4. Heather says

    Good for you! When my girls turn 6 I read them the Little House series as their bedtime stories (it takes about 4 months). If you think the show is an eye opener you’ll think the Ingalls are living Posh on the television prairie after reading the books. I think it helps my kids see how great they have it living in North America though my 12 year old may be doing a second reading of the books in the very near future, lol.

  5. SarahJ says

    Great post! I love it! I read a book that described a character as being wronged early in life so that she felt like she owed nothing to society and gave nothing back to society. It reminded me of my sis-in-law. BUT, that’s the complete opposite of how I want my children to turn out. I want them giving, giving, giving instead of taking, taking, taking.

  6. says

    “Joyful” growing pains… We are dealing with some of these issues with my soon to be 4 year old. She has started in with saying things like … “Well, you are not my friend!” My response, You are absolutely right, I am NOT your friend…. I am your mother …. and spatting (not spitting) … like after I ask her to do something or say something that she doesn’t like…. she has been in time out a few times today for that alone! Sara the elf is totally dropping in for a visit tomorrow… with a letter from Santa!

    • says

      Oh yes…..I’ve heard that too. I give it right back to her: That hurt my feelings. How would you feel if I said that to you? It wouldn’t feel so good, right? And then she usually says something like “well, it’s true….”

    • Hayley says

      @Zoe, I am right there with you with my daughter. She turns 4 in December and has become the biggest sassy pants. The whole spatting thing. It makes my blood boil. I am glad she is using words (sometimes) though, like “I am really angry at you” instead of hitting me, which she used to do. But the sassy back talk. Not sure how to get to her at this age, because time out turns into a screaming kick fest, which then means her father wants to give her a spanking (which I hate because I don’t think it is an effective way of addressing the behavior.)

      • says

        @Ashley…. Yep…. I have been getting that too… :)

        My Lillian turns 4 in December as well. Our girls sound similar… I’m sure glad that we get to witness the tantrums less now. I suppose I’d rather have the vile words and spatting… LOL I often get the same response as you with time out but here lately… I let her know that she needs to get in her chair… then go into the kitchen and set the microwave timer for 3 minutes (today she had 5 b/c she spat at me then spat at me again after she got to her chair for the time out) then I go into another room and refuse to participate in anything that she says.. the only thing that I say is, when the timer goes off we will talk about it in the calmest voice ever. Takes gobs of practice but here lately she is giving me plenty of opportunity! HA! Good Luck… 😀 You are not alone… as I hear mine getting out of her bed for the 10th time tonight… (and she has only been in bed for 15 minutes) Sigh……….

        • Mandy says

          Oh ladies….I’m not laughing at you, I am laughing with you. My three daughters are 9. 11 and 12 and just wait until you move into the really heavy stuff….like I hate you or I don’t think you love me. It gets harder and harder not to take it personally. But alas, the vile gets worse but the apologies are so much sweeter…because I think they really get it (you know, once I force them to sit in their room with no TV, internet, kindle, radio, phone, etc for hours on end…eventually they come around).

          • says

            Ahahahahaha!!!! I’m right there with BOTH of these scenarios!! I have an 11yr old going on 14. And a 2.5yr old going on 6 sassy pants yr old.
            We do spank. And corners. And take privileges away. Each kid is different. The 11yr old HATED spankings. And privilages/toys being revoked. She couldn’t care less about the corner or time outs. The 2.5 yr old HATES spankings. And the corner/time out is 50/50 for how she reacts. Sometimes it’s the worst thing ever. Sometimes she couldn’t care less. And taking away toys only bothers her for a minute. Then she doesn’t care.
            Also, I’ve been having to remind the 11yr old that she CAN be spanked, grounded, stood in the corner, or privileges revoked at ANY time. She’s usually an excellent kid. Until that 6th grade sass comes out. I don’t think anything makes me as angry as that know it all mouthiness! Except her feeling she is entitled to anything. That might tie for 1st place!! lol

  7. Stacey says

    Ashley – Amen Sister! I am right there with you. With 3 little boys ages 8, 7, and 5, we have the same entitlement convo in our house. I love this post and I love the quote:
    The world does not owe you anything. It doesn’t owe you a living.
    You owe the world something.
    You owe it your time, energy and talents so no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again.
    In other words, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone.
    Start behaving like a responsible person.
    You are important and you are needed.
    It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday.
    Someday is now and that somebody is you.
    Keep writing – you’re a great Mama to Boo and an inspiration to your readers.

  8. Michele M says

    Love the post! I am going through a time with my soon to be 4 year old so thanks for this. Zoe… your post is exactly what my little girl does… tells me I am not her friend when I am trying to be stern with her. She will also tell me not to “talk mad”… to talk like I do when I read bedtime stories. She is the master of changing the topic when she is in trouble. HA! I might I have to get the elf to send a letter too. Thanks again for the post!! Choosing Joy and sending Hugs!!! Michele M

  9. Karen says

    I love what you’re doing with Boo…I did the same things…it works! And it’s so important to expalain things to kids, even when they’r really little, because they do understand and they do ‘get it’. Much better than saying “NO, just because” or “because I’m your mum. People used to tell me I was very strict with my kids but guess what? Everywhere they went they were complimented on their maturity and good behaviour…that malkes them sound really boring! lol They were little devils too! 😀

  10. Karen says

    Perfect! As a breast cancer survivor who has in the last ten years lost my my two year old daughter to an accident, my husband to a stroke, and both my parents to heart disease, I try very hard to focus on that with which I have been blessed. Because in spite of my losses, I am surrounded by blessings and I am thankful for them. Every. Single. Day.

    • says

      ….and you set a wonderful example for others Karen. If you can see the blessings…..others will have hope that they can too…..thank you.

  11. Angela says

    Just today I bought a magnetic responsibility chart for my little one.Time to learn about responsibility and accountability! We watch Little House at my house,in fact its my favorite :):) Love your quote,Im going to share if you dont mind

  12. says

    you are a gem Ashley! i love your parenting style and your open heart. the sense of entitlement I see lately scares me! & sometimes I find myself guilty of it too though, wishing for more research for incredibly rare diseases.
    ive been on a mission lately for fresh ideas for fundraising for ourcause that is so so tiny. this morning I took a photo of my daily arsenal of meds, to remind myself how lucky I am, because in the past it has been so much more!

  13. Betsy says

    As a teacher, I thank you – I taught pre-k for years, and I think that was the very first time many children have ever heard the word “no”.

  14. Heather says

    Ages 4-5 is a precious but challenging time for children. I have 3 children ages 14,12, and 9. I am a former kindergarten teacher. The sooner you start this process the better. Mine used to get so mad because I would say “would you talk to your friends mom this way? Or your teacher? Using phrases like your words make me sad teaches empathy which will help them with their peers later on. Eli used to make mine a deal. Read for 30 min = 30 min of TV or computer. The phrase “I’m bored” makes me crazy!! I look at mine and say “I’d give anything to be bored!! I love the Nellie Olsen Analogy! We use the character Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory often! She say “I want a golden egg and I want it Now!” We were at the American Girl store on a trip this weekend and my 9 year old started rattling off all the things she wanted in line. All I had to say was that quote and she said ” maybe I’ll put some of those things on my Christmas list.” I love your blog and your are a great mom to start these lessons early!

  15. Kim says

    Loving it! The reminders we have to give our kids to just see how darn lucky they are. Somedays I feel like we are all (myself included) surrounded with the “I wants.”, when ultimately we can look around and see what we have, and usually it is a lot. A lot more than many, many others. Loved the post! I have just started DVRing Little House for my daughter, can’t wait for her to see it!

  16. Tammy O. says

    Great job Ashley! I raised 5 children and heard “I hate you” more times than I can count. But I gave lots love and fairness and required respect from all. My kids now range from 30 to 18. They now say they are all thankful for the lessons they learned at home which have helped them in life. (Of course they never see it when they’re little)! And my thanks to you for your energy and getting me from in front of the TV to actually make stuff instead of just watching saying “I could do that better”. Now I’m accomplishing more daily. The TV wasted so much of my creative time!

  17. says

    I soooooo needed this today, Ashley. I’m going to be printing out that quote (both of them, actually) and putting them up in my kitchen. My kids are testing me non-stop lately and I’m just about at the end of my rope…things is gonna change ’round here. You are amazing. I adore your outlook, your spirit, just…you. Thank you.

  18. Rachel says

    I have said it before, and I will say it again…. YOU ROCK IT LIKE NO OTHER, ASHLEY. Thank you for ALWAYS sharing your stories.

  19. says

    AMEN!! More parents need to raise their children this way. And I 2nd Romney’s quote. So many people live in Countries that aren’t free. They have limited choices in life. We are free, free to make our own choices!

    One of my favorite set of verses is Matthew 5:14-16, and I think you do this so well (especially since I don’t think you even know you’re doing it!)

    “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5: 14-16

    Keep being a LIGHT!!


  20. says

    Sometimes blogs/FB/IG/etc get to feeling like a “see how wonderful my life is” contest. It’s so nice to read a post like this and all of the comments and know that so many of us are in this together! My almost 5 year old daughter and I have just gotten started on the Little House books and thy’re such good discussion starters. I definitely want to check out that movie to see if any of it is age appropriate for her. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Oh it’s definitely not a movie for children! It disturbed even the hubby…..but it’s GOOD. I only showed her a few scenes that wouldn’t scar her for life. I recommend it for adults though. It’s eye opening about the violence in Sudan…..

  21. says

    Oh this made me smile, so I just had to comment. I don’t have kids, so I can only imagine what it must be like… but I do remember being a little bit of a Boo as a child and my Mum did exactly what you are suggesting Ashley!

    Just in case anyone is interested I read last week that children apparently don’t have any empathy until they are about 6 years old… and then only small bits. Maybe that is why it is so hard to get them to understand why it hurts, but I like everyone’s suggestions on taking the time to explain to children and turning it around to ask them how they would feel. I can’t help but think you aren’t just teaching them manners, but also empathy.

  22. Allison says

    While I do truly love this post and the way in which you are parenting, the Romney quote and the end bothered me a bit. Our society in the United States is set up in such a way that many people are not given a chance at all. No matter how hard they work, no matter how positive their outlook, the laws and societal practices force them to remain in a trap of dispair. Many of us were blessed with incredible circumstances and opportunities, but we must remember that so many will spend their whole lives working much harder than anyone could ever imagine, and still be stuck. I think your Sudan clips will help bring that idea home for Boo, but always remember that the same situation happens in the United States all the time.
    I truly love your blog and your incredible attitude, but just wanted to put a quick clarification on a quote from a man who doesn’t quite understand the true meaning of dispair and need.

    • aby says

      EVERYONE has a choice. Everyone.

      No, I don’t have the same chances as a kid of a billionaire. No, some kid doesn’t have the exact same chances as the billionaire. We still have choices, whether different or fewer choices. I went to a terrible K-12 school district, but I chose to study well (and work, start at company at 14, volunteer 10-20 hours a week, etc.). I chose to change teachers when I had teachers who didn’t try. I chose to stay away from the bad kids. I chose to get SAT and ACT books at the library. I chose to make good grades and seek out free resources to do better. I applied to top tier colleges on my own accord. I took out private loans on my own, and went to college on my own.

      EVERYONE has choices… but you have to choose them and WORK for them.

      Only people who feel entitled say “poor me,… I don’t have a choice.” But, yes, they do have a choice– with constant work. Some people make much, much less doing hard labor. They still get money from it and eventually can get themselves out of the ghetto. They may still have hard jobs forever, but they can eat and live a meager life… which is better than they started. WORK and time and choices are key.

      • Lisa B. says

        Choice is only half of the equation. Choice plus opportunity equals success. My I suggest you read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and all people our society consider very successful had more that a good work ethic and good attitude.

        • Aby says

          I have read those books.

          Like I said, some people have more CHANCES… but everyone, everyone has choices. Some have more choices, some have better choices, some have fewer choices. But, everyone has a choice.

          For every Bill Gates with a middle class background, there’s a poverty striken kid from the hood who grew up with nothing and CHOSE to study hard, work hard, and make something for themselves. That’s CHOICE.

          Not everyone gets to be a millionaire, of course, but we can chose a better life for ourselves than the one we started with. People thinking otherwise is why society has become so entitled, and so lazy.

      • Michelle W says

        I chose to have children after I was married at the age of 30. After I had already gone to college, which I paid for. After I spent a few years running around doing what I thought I wanted to do at the time. My husband on the other hand comes from a different story completly. He came from the “ghetto” as you say; he had to set with a hungry stomach, and watch his mom on more than one occasion sell their items ex: lamps, couch, toys, and any other items just to be able to feed he and his 4 siblings as a single mom without financial help. Later he graduated high school went into the military and educated himself with any means possible. Now he has a job which should pay the bills and then some. As “grown ups” we have purchased a nice home and have 2 great kids. We have worked our butts off to have what little we have. Now after 14 years of marriage due to circumstances; not choices. We are finding it hard to feed our kids. Our son had cancer that is a circumstance not a choice. It was our choice to invest every penny we had into making him well (lots of prayers were the real answer). He is now cancer free. Thank God. But, now we continue to pay the medical catch up game. Was it all worth it…ABSOLUTLEY. My point is you have a right to be proud and toot your own horn. Just remember that one day your whole life can be a great big happy summer day, and the next nothing buy rain storms and tornados. In thankful for being all of your blessing, not just the successful ones. Besides success isn’t always measured in monetary value.

        • Aby says

          Your choices made you have more than you started with. Terrible things happen… how you respond determines whether or not you can land on your feet or not one day. You’re going to land on your feet once again, just like your husband did before.

          Everyone has their tragedies, their chances, and their choices– how you handle both and what choices you make to improve your life for the future determine the end result… whether you’ll land on your feet one day and recover, or not.

      • Heather E says

        I agree Aby and unfortunately I believe this is the society our current Pres encourages. The feeling of being entitled instead of working for anything. My dad left my mom with 4 kids under the age of 6 when I was 2. Instead of my mom playing the “poor me” card, she worked 3 jobs to make ends meet. I agree that people have to make choices, and those choices have a huge bearing on what you do with your life. My sister complains and does the poor me thing all the time, and as I tell her…she made the choices she did that led her where she is today. Unfortunately choices comes with consequences, but this society of “give me give me…I deserve it (even if I don’t want to work for it” makes me mad.

        • aby says

          Heather E–

          Excellent comment.

          Amazing how many people play the “poor me, I didn’t have a choice” card, huh? It’s not only today’s choices that affect you, it’s years of

          People want everything handed to them on a plate, and when they can’t get it, they pull the “no choice” card. I’m not sure when this mentality started, but you’re right… it’s scary. Some people are born into privilege and some aren’t– but we all have a choice in what we do, what we work for, and our entitlement/lack of entitlement attitude. Too bad there aren’t more people that respond to life circumstances, like a husband living, like your mom did. I know too many people who expect a free welfare ride.

          Wow, 4 kids under 6? Your mom sure set a good example.. 4 kids with 3 jobs. Impressive.

          • Heather E says

            Exactly. I have more respect for my mom because of what she did with what she was handed. Heck, she delivered me and drove herself home from the hospital and went back to work 3 days later. My younger sister was 6 mos when my dad left…yeah he was a steller person :) I just admire the fact that she didn’t think she deserved something from someone because of her/his choice. My sisters mentality of poor me makes me irate…CHOOSE to make something of yourself instead of living in self-pity because of choices she made! I am not entitled to anything. My husband and I worked for what we have and don’t think we deserve more than what we have. I just hear more and more of the “I deserve…I am entitled excuses” and yet they don’t think they should have to work for it, but yet I should…grrrr!!!

    • Lisa B. says

      I’m so glad to finally see a comment that said what I was feeling. It is much easier for a white middle aged man of privilege to “make his destiny” than many of the other people that make up this incredible nation.
      Ashley, I understand the vibe of your post and appreciate the content but Mitt’s comment rubbed me the wrong way.

      • Allison says

        Thank you! I am so sorry if my comment offended anyone. I am currently in college and one of my main areas of study is on the equality issues with our current education system and our society. I have read many articles and done my fair share of research. I was not implying that the quote was upsetting to me because of who said it, but rather because of what it said. LIke Lisa said above, there is much more to the equation than simply hard work.
        I in no way meant to attack anyone or start a political argument, I simply wanted to voice an opinion that I felt was missing. Ashley’s post was excellent and her ideas were absolutely on point, the quote just didn’t seem to match the rest of the article. Again, I am so sorry if I appeared to be attacking anyone, or trying to push a political agenda.

    • Heather says

      No, we can’t always choose what circumstances come our way. We cannot choose whether or not we are born in the lower, middle, or upper class, and we cannot always choose to change that! But we can change our attitudes about how we face that. And in that way we CAN choose/make our destiny! If someone lives in the lower class and is always saying things such as, “I’m so miserable” it’s not going to ever feel like that changes. But if the same person changes their attitude and says something like, “I’m thankful for. . . today” it will change their perspective and therefore change how the circumstance appears to them. In my opinion, it isn’t the circumstances or choices made that make people who they are, it’s their attitudes when they are faced with those circumstances and choices.

  23. Amber L says

    Oh I feel your pain. My kids are testing my patience too. I read what you wrote to my kids. I have been taking priviledges away too. Some days it helps, but then they are back to their same ways. Guess I just need to take everything away for good. Thank you for sharing your story.

  24. says

    As a 21 year old who doesn’t have kids, all I can say is that the ‘entitlement’ lesson is one that I see peers my age trying to learn because no one ever taught them that life is what you make of it; not what you can get because you think you can or should have it. My mother and father worked so hard to get to where they are now and have always tried to instill those same values in my brother and I. I have to remind myself from time to time about what it means to work hard and be grateful for what I have every single day. We never stop learning and we’re never too young (or old!) to learn. I think you’re doing an amazing job with your parenting!

  25. says

    ((hugs)) that’s all I can muster right now. perfect timing. true words. thank you for ministering blessings, joy and truth to my weary heart tonight Ashley/ i needed it.

  26. doray says

    I read this post — totally feeling it, until I got to the Romney quote. Then I read the comments, and realized, I may really enjoy the tutorials and Choose Joy — but I am definitely not part of the larger demographic that follows this blog. So I said “self, just walk away, do not comment”. And I did walk away. But I came back. The comment from Aby has me so disgruntled, so upset. No, not everyone has a choice. This is true and sad. There are SO MANY CHILDREN growing up in homes where they are not being taught they have choices, so many teachers at school NOT teaching children that they are stronger than their surroundings and can choose to be smarter, stronger, happier. People with wealth can get that education that teaches them they can do — people with money are those that can say they “make their destiny”. I know MANY people who right now, have no choice, no matter what they’ve been told, what they feel in their heart is right or wrong. Do you think the folks who work their fingers to the bone with sh*tty healthy insurance had a choice when they were denied coverage for surgeries, medications, treatments? I could go on and on…and you can post however you feel back, but I never come back and read comments. So you’ll get no fight back from me.

    • Kelly says

      Don’t worry. She isn’t looking for a fight. However, I happen to know people who didn’t think that they had a choice and guess what? It turns out they did. Everyday, people who are not “white middle aged men of privilege” make the choice to have a better life. I’ve met people who were born into almost nothing, had terrible childhoods, and were told all of the time that they didn’t have a choice, make a choice. They chose to work hard…most likely harder than those with more opportunity. They chose to believe that they did, in fact, have a choice. That doesn’t mean that they have a lot of money or that they went to an Ivy League university. It only means that they chose to better themselves. They may be a server in a restaurant, a teacher, or a lawyer, but they built themselves into the people they are now because of the choices they made along the way…and if they are happy in their lives, they’ve made the right choices. Everyone is in charge of their own destiny. EVERYONE…Not just white, middle aged men of privilege.

        • Lisa B. says

          If you reread my comments I said I appreciated Ashley’s post- just not the Mitt comment. I also stated that OPPORTUNITY comes much EASIER to “white middle aged men of privilege”. It takes both choice and chance to make a successful life. :-)

  27. says

    Wait until she gets to Middle School age = then pull out the big guns ‘7th Heaven’. My tweens are forced to sit and watch with me all summer. Actually they love it and I cringe when they talk about sex and drugs and abuse, and sex.. did I mention sex??

  28. Adriana M. says

    My daughter is getting some tough love recently also. I will admit it. I have spoiled my children. I grew up with next to nothing in a home with very little love. I told myself my children will never know what I endured as a child and would never go without. My husband sat back as I lavished them with toys and clothing and special outings. I rarelywas disciplined them andand never raisedknow my voicr. Occasionally my husband would tell me this was going to come back ti bite me but I always responded with “I never had this. They will have this”

    Then last month there was an incident at the store where I refused to take her to the toy department because we just didn’t have time. She yelled that I didnt love her and she wanted a new mom because I was the meanest worst mom ever. I was hurt and angry and embarrassed. Later that day while she was out with her dad i removed everything from.her room save for a few outfits and her bed. When she asked where everything was I told her that she is a very blessed little girl because there are children who don’t have any toys or nice clothes or even parents who take care of them. I told her when I was little my room was empty like hers was right then and my mommy didn’t take care of me and I didn’t have any toys and my clothes were always dirty and too small. That night we went through her toys together to pick out ones to donate to the children’s home. I gave her a few special ones back but since then she has slowly been earning the rest back. And now with my husband’s help I have realized that my children enjoy story time or a day at the park just as much if not more than tons of toys and clothes and multiple trips to Disney Land a year.

    My daughter didn’t act like a spoiled brat just because that was her personality. She’s actually a sweet, loving and sensitive little girl. I helped her acquire her bad attitude and now I need to help her get rid of it.

  29. says

    Great blog. I have 3 grown sons & used the same basic principle while raising them. They each had jobs (even though it wasn’t really financially necessary). It made them appreciate the value of a dollar. 2 out of 3 have finished college and the last one is a Sr this year & will be commissioning in the military upon graduation in May. I’m so proud of their work ethic, but it would have been so easy to spoil them. One of my fav quotes has always been Mark Twain’s “The world doesn’t owe you was here first.” Thanks!

  30. Natalie says

    Ashley I LOVE reading your posts! You should really just ignore anyone “rubbed the wrong way” about your Romney post! It’s your blog, your thoughts! I love how you always say what you feel, it makes your blog so much fun to read!

    • Susan says

      Agreed! I loved this post and ALL. OF. THOSE. QUOTES. especially Romney’s!!! It was a good quote, it doesn’t matter whose name is attached to it. It’s YOUR blog, your post, and your insight–it’s not open for anyone else to judge or try to correct you or your thoughts. Who said the quote is NOT the point of the story.

      Anyway, as an only child for all of my 21 years, I really wish my parents took control of me at an early stage in life, before I picked up bad habits. :) You really are an amazing parent and Lil Boo is one lucky little girl!! <3 xoxo

  31. Koryn says

    When my 11 year old son started that argumentative talk-back stuff, I actually found myself engaging him and got sucked into it! We are both very much alike and always have to have the last word. But I finally got some good advice and put it to use. I walked away. I took away his target. His bullseye. No longer would he have his audience. It worked! I had to say “I will not be spoken to like that. Goodbye”. Then I went into another room and left him dumbfounded. When I claimed back my due respect, he had to give up. The real world will not tolerate that type of behavior from our kids, not teachers, not employers, not retail clerks, not law enforcement, etc. So why teach them that it is okay? Great job Ashley! One day your persistence will pay off and Boo will thank you.

  32. says

    I totally agree with you! The sense of entitlement is rampant these days and it begins with the parents. I did some of the same things with my kids and that’s been eons ago. They are very, very appreciative now of “being raised right” as they say. :) I’ve taken the grands to buy toys for children without at Christmas and tried to enforce the fact that some kids have nothing, nada, zip, zero ~ food, clothes, toys and yes, parents. Heartbreaking that any child is in that position!

    Ok, sorry I got caught up and ended up on a soapbox! Thanks for sharing…I really do agree.


  33. says

    They all have phases don’t they. Our oldest (3yo) uses “I need…” for nearly everything as of two weeks ago.
    “I need candy, ma. I need it. I really need it.”
    “LP, you need some things in life but candy is not one of them. You would like candy – you don’t need it.”

    I like the mutual agreement to not raise your voices at each other. Many times I can hear my raised voice in our son’s tone. Makes me sad. Will try my hand at that agreement.

    Fun post.

  34. natalie says

    I’m actually glad I didn’t know the author of the quote because I think it would have changed my perspective. You’re dead on that politicians don’t write their own speeches and I still love the quote!

  35. Heather E says

    I loved this post! I also loved your quote by Romney (yet not really him but his writer :) ) I will never understand why people get their panties in a wad over an opinion just because it doesn’t align with theirs. It is your blog, your thoughts and your opinion. I have to laugh when people get offended about anothers PERSONAL opinion. I wouldn’t agree with anyone who supported Obama, but hey it is their opinion not mine! I can’t wait to see how Boo deals with the changes, but love the ideas and Little House on the Prairie!

  36. iza says

    i love this! entitlement is something i hope my kids never have.. i’m a 1st generation filipino american and i have seen how my less fortunate family lives.. i grew up thankful for all i had because i knew that i could very well have been born in that life.. i want my kids to grow up appreciating that they have more than enough and never look down on those they have more than or feel inferior to those that have the little extras they’d want.. its so true that you can have everything and still want more..

  37. vivian says

    Hey Ashley! Sophies whole life I have wanted to give her what I did not have but at the first hint of entitlement I whipped out my Dvd recording of oprah in Haiti…..oprah was talking to a mom of two little ones who had nothing…..I may spoil but I wont tolerate her not appreciating what we have….I think about those sweet babies faces when I start to feel bad for myself….you are an awesome mom! And you cant make everybody happy…. little house on the prarie…. epic by the way…. I remember getting in trouble and not getting to watch it… lol I was so upset…. I think I was 5 :)

  38. Brooke says

    Michael Landon was my childhood hero & still is one of my favorites. I was intent on naming my son Landon, after him, for years and before anyone was even considering on their baby name lists. I knew no one with that name, and it was between that and one other name when we had our son and we ended up going with the other one, only because we had heard a few too many Landon’s be born right near him. Anyway, I’ve been a LHOP and Michael Landon fan for my whole life. I have the People magazine with him on the cover, from when he passed away, in my keepsakes. I do believe he did amazing things in television and I just adored that show and Highway to Heaven too! My family was raised on Little House, both reading the books and the watching the show and raised on Disney movies and I loved it.

  39. Allison S. says

    I’m not even going to bother looking for it, but did people really freak out about who said that quote? Good grief! You could have just as easily linked to this high school teacher’s commencement speech about how kids are NOT special or exceptional (which I totally agree with!). It is about making the life you want for yourself, not waiting for it to just magically happen to you because you’re special or better than others. I love it. And I love that you are parenting Boo, rather than letting her get away with murder. Teach her respect and consequences now and she is going to be one amazing adult. And that’s what this country needs- adults that know the meaning of work and respect.

  40. Jessica says

    Great quote! And yes I do miss Michael Landon. I love my dad, but always pretended that he was my dad! That show still makes me cry no matter how often I’ve seen each episode. They don’t make them like they used to. Thanks for sharing your parenting trials as well. I think in this day and age we all struggle with our children feeling entitled!

  41. says

    I am so in agreement with this post. Kudos to you…KUDOS for taking the step. Chasing after simplicity and priorities and healthy, truly happy children!!!
    I love the quote, I’m not American and I don’t care who said it.
    It resonated with me and I’m going to share it.
    Bring on LHOP…

  42. Leigh Anne says

    So very true! My kids need more of this too! I’m always trying to think of ways to make them more gracious & thankful. Your post gives me great ideas! Raisin’ kids ain’t for the faint of heart……that’s for sure :)

  43. says

    I have missed Michael Landon since the day I found out he died. A good man who provides great television, even if it’s reruns.

  44. shelly says

    I’m just wondering if the same people that don’t think there are choices to make their own destiny, agreed with Obama’s headliner quote “Yes We Can” from 4 years ago. Who can? Certainly not WE, because if we are using the same logic then, obviously not everyone can….because they weren’t brought up as middle aged white men.
    See what I’m saying? Did I whine about Obama saying WE CAN as a whole because some people CAN’T because of the so called “no choices”? Nope, I moved on and let it be.
    So, if you don’t like Romney, great! That’s your total right, but don’t say that his quote isn’t “good” or “rubs you the wrong way” because if that’s the case, Obama’s must have also…and I don’t see anyone bringing up that from 4 years ago (except me!)
    Good job Ashley, your parenting style is always changing and growing and adapting and encouraging. XO

  45. Jawan says

    Ashley…..Libertarian sounds pretty good about now, huh? HA! Just kidding…..I think you’re laughing, though (I am).

  46. says

    MAN I wish I could make my daughter just watch Little House and the Waltons (we’re testing the waters here, too)…..but as it stands, I have three LITTLER children who just wouldn’t quite understand that, NOR would it keep them occupied {while I pack up my house}…and right now, I NEED the TV to babysit for 30 minutes here and there. So sue me…

  47. Anna says

    I have a daughter the same age as Boo. In the past few months she has become quite narcissistic. I have been wondering where her attitude of “entitlement” comes from and when/if it’s going to go away. Is it her age? Society? Something I did? We’ve never been the type of parents who buy her whatever she wants – she gets told NO all the dang time (we do, however, provide for her every need such as shoes or clothing, and I admit I am a sucker for art supplies and creative materials)… why all the sudden does she expect everything she wants? Is this a learned behavior or a developmental one? I must admit, it’s something that troubles me. I’m SO glad you wrote a blog post about it, Ashley. I feel comfort in knowing others are going through this same thing.

  48. says

    While I totally agree with your entire post…I just wanted to give you a shout out for your politcal stance on “nobody writes/says anything anyway” LOL! Aren’t politcs/politicians/political parties hilarious! (Well, maybe not the HA-HA Hilarious….but the who says what of it all)
    Anyway…I know that wasn’t the point of the post, but I just wanted to add my ol’ “HERE!HERE!” to it 😀


  49. Sammi says

    Love, love, love this post. I agree with all of your tactics. My daughter has used taking away toys and privileges for years. I have seen Machine Gun Preacher. It truly is a powerful movie. Very distressing but great admiration for someone who sticks by his convictions no matter. Glad Boo only saw the good parts which were few.

  50. says

    Ashley, you are awesome and I couldn’t agree with you more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If there were more parents doing the job you are doing with your daughter what a better world this would be!!! Thank you – it’s much harder to do the RIGHT thing!!!!

  51. Mary Werner says

    Michael Landon was one of my favorite people. He was Jewish and put part of his heritage into his Little House series without preaching to anyone. Love the part where you said to Boo, here are my art supplies, surely you can find something to do. I have recently learned that by beginning a project with them, they don’t really learn to solve the “nothing to do” problem for themselves – congrats on a job well done!

  52. colleen from alabama says

    Yesterday (before i read your post), I introduced my kids to “The Waltons”. They loved it! We password protected the disney channel because i was tired of the parents looking like idiots or non existent or worse – like they were children! Don’t get me started :) My kids are 10 and 12 and i am constantly reminding them that we are rich. Compared to the rest of the world, most Americans are. A deserving mentality is not allowed but a privileged one is encouraged. Thanks for reminding us all.

  53. Blair says

    I love this post. Everything about it and what it stands for! Thanks for being so real and honest, Ashley. It is much appreciated and refreshing to see.

  54. says

    my daughter, 11 1/2, misses Michael Landon…she fell in love with Little Joe (Bonanza) when she was about 5, then discovered Pa a few months later, and then within weeks saw him on Highway to Heaven. She was so amazed at his aging and was broken hearted that he was ‘old’ in Highway to Heaven and not the young Little Joe anymore. When we broke the news to her that Little Joe was actually IN heaven she cried for weeks!

    She’s moved on, her current old school crush that she’s been crushin’ on for about 2 years is Shawn Cassidy!

    ps…loved the Romney Quote…

    pps…and hold strong to the tough love…our kids get so much even when we take away all their things! first and foremost they have parents that love and care for them and the older I get the more it breaks my heart to learn that children with loving, caring, kind parents are blessed beyond measure because so many children in our world are missing out on the love of a parent.

  55. Alison says

    I don’t think that these words came from Romney. That quote is from a Judge in New Zealand who deals with troubled youth.

    • n says

      Mitt Romney (or speechwriters, whatever) did say this in his acceptance speech.

      “I’m American. I make my destiny & we deserve better! My [kids] deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!” – Mitt Romney

      Numerous news sources, AP and hundreds of others, cite this quote by Mitt Romney. That didn’t come from a New Zealand man.

      It’s a good quote. I don’t care if a purple bunny said it, Romney said it, Obama said it, or Dora the Explorer said it. Who cares about political party, we’re all Americans, #**@it, and it’s about time we worked together as Americans. I can’t believe so many people are hussy about Romney being quoted. He’s a politician, thus he is quoted… just like thousands of other politicians are quoted. Hoorah. :)

  56. says

    Hi Ashley,
    I have not been by your blog in a while and it was refreshing to read this post. boo will no doubt thankyou later on as she develops a great empathy for others.
    I was hoping you could share this story with her?

    My son raised $15,000 ( by walking one kilometre using a walking aide/he has CP) to biuld a Kimdergarte in Cambodia after he learnt about the poverty there. We visited and met all the kids who would benefit.

    Btw that age and gender is hard work! 😉

    • says

      Ohhh!!! This is wonderful Bron :) Thank you so much! I will definitley give this to her…..printing it out now! Tell Cooper we are so impressed…..he’s my hero!

  57. Angela says

    “So technically neither of them has ever really said anything.” Ha!! I have been having a rough couple of days. I really needed that laugh.

  58. Arlene says

    I totally grew up on little house and anne of green gables and i love the Romney quote.. And after reading some of the comments it puzzles me to think that some people dont quite get the quote. We have the freedoms in America to be anything we want! Regardless of race, disability or poverty, people can live the dream and have the freedoms here to do it! Some might have an unfair advantage and some the unfair disadvantage of not being able to but the point is with freedom anything can be possible!

  59. Erin says

    Thanks — I needed to read this! Your section “This is why I choose joy every day…” is worthy of rereading. In fact, I may just join in the journal project JUST to be able to write this down. :)

  60. Susie says

    I too, recently, took away 20 toys from my 7-yr old daughter after some serious disrespect. I had her go outside while I decided what goes. When it was done, she nervously asked, what did you take? She went to look and said, Mom only 2 toys are missing! (Yes I did take 20.) Enough said right?!

  61. says

    It sounds like I am in good company! I cleaned out my twin 7 year old daughters room and took every toy away except their night time stuff toy and some princess figures. All the other toys are in clear storage boxes and they can earn them back. The floor of their room is finally clean and I don’t have to nag at them to pick toys up. Everyones mood has improved and no one has asked for a new toy because they want to earn their old ones back.
    Anne of Green Gables and Little House are awesome!!!

  62. n says

    “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain

  63. Torey says

    I highly recommend reading the entire Little House Series aloud to Boo. The stories are so beautiful (and so much more interesting than the TV show) and when they talk about the one or two little presents the kids get for Christmas (great teaching moment)….I talked about that with my kids for a long time. Also, you can look up pictures of families that live in the slums in India/Africa, etc and show Boo what it looks like to live in a shack with 10 other people. I’ve done that with my kids too when they start talking about everything they think they need/want.

  64. Badminton Queen says

    Ummm…the whole point of this post was about “choosing joy!” Obviously you guys are missing the whole point to this and you have chosen to NOT choose joy! yo fault! by choosing to NOT choose joy, you are obviously not choosing joy, so yo fault again!

  65. says

    You’d love Amy McCreedy from Positive Parenting Solutions. She wrote the book, “If I have to tell you one more time.” I love her seminar on ending the entitlement epidemic. It truly is getting out of control in homes everywhere. Thank you for using your platform to show how it’s working in your home.


  1. […] Via LilBlueboo Share this:EmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. | Tagged lfie […]