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Stranger Safety

What should your children do, if a stranger grabs them? Yell and scream and kick and resist? And how many times at the mall have you seen a screaming, kicking child resisting the adult with them? How is a bystander to know whether the child is an abduction victim, or a brat? I tell my child that if anyone grabs him in a public place, yell, "I DON'T KNOW YOU!!" That way bystanders would know it's an attempted abduction.

On a related subject, how do you tell them who to trust, who to believe? I don't know either, but one thing I do know: NO SECRETS! I tell them that if anyone says, "Just don't tell your mom," to tell me immediately, no matter what. No good adult will want them to lie to their parents. I especially point out that if someone tells them that if they tell me, someone will get hurt, that person is lying, and I can protect them from anything as long as they tell me. Basically, if someone wants you to keep secrets from your mother, it's because they want to hurt you, and you need to tell me so I can protect you. Of course, this policy has meant my little one informed me, in advance, about every birthday present I was going to get, but that's a small price to pay!  

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Fire Safety, Matches

Do you tell your children not to play with matches? Did your mom tell you not to play with matches? Did you ever? I did, but I made sure to do it where she wouldn't find out. I know of a child who hid in the closet to play with matches. When the coat on the hanger caught fire, he left and closed the door behind him, so she wouldn't find out. Yes, all was lost. So I tell my child that if he wants to play with matches, come and get me, and we'll do it together.  

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"I'm sorry, honey, I can't understand whining language." If you NEVER can understand them when they whine, it'll generally stop. OR remind them that when the tone is unpleasant, mommy can't hear, and the bedroom is a good place to practice good manners. OR when the children whine for something, set the timer for five minutes, and after that they'll have another opportunity to make their request in a pleasant manner.  


"Honey, feel free to have your tantrum for as long and as loud as you want. But you'll need to do it in your bedroom. Food stays in the kitchen, and tantrums stay in your room. I'll even close your door for you; let me know when you're finished." The instant he's under control, he can come out. It's not punishment, just the proper place for tantrums.  

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Food Preferences

Does your husband have certain foods he REALLY dislikes? My husband's is Parmesan cheese, mine is tuna. Do you make him eat it? Probably not; no one makes adults eat foods they can't stand, no one should. I propose that, within limits, children be given the same "refusal rights." What limits? Everyone is allowed a list of three foods they don't have to eat. Of course, this list cannot change nightly, and cannot include items like, "all vegetables." But in our house, no one makes me eat tuna, and no one makes our son eat mushrooms.


Life Partner

I always tell teens that when the time comes to consider marriage, watch how your partner's parents treat each other. e.g. I tell the girls, watch how his dad treats his mom. Ask yourself, how would I feel if my husband treated me that way? The fact is, in 10 years he likely will. It's not 100%, and many young people will deny that they will ever follow in their parent's footsteps. But the fact is, he learned how to be a husband from watching his father, and she learned to be a wife from her mother. When the butterflies settle, we tend to settle into those familiar paths. So girls, if you look at his father, and decide it would be awful to be married to a man like that, watch out or you will be.  

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Impulse Spending

I read this one in some magazine: get a 3x5 card, and keep it in your purse. When you see something over a certain amount ($10? $20?), that you just must have, write it on the card, with today's date. You may buy it in three weeks (or some other time span), if it's still on the card. But here's the catch: you may not have more than three items on the card. So when you have three on the card, and you see a fourth thing you really want, you have to scratch something off the list. If you're very impulsive, nothing will ever last three weeks on the list. But when things do last three weeks, you know it's something you truly wanted.  

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Phone Solicitors

Are you tired of phone solicitors? Would you like to never again speak to one? Then join me, and put this message on your phone machine: "We've decided to stop speaking to solicitors, so we screen all our calls. After the beep, please say your name. If we're here, we'll pick up. Unless, of course, if you're a solicitor!"

The advantage of this system is that callers don't assume you're away when they hear the recording, so they're likely to leave a message. My friends aren't offended by the message because they're equally annoyed by solicitors. If several people did this, and encouraged others to, soon everyone would avoid the solicitors, and they'd quit!

There is another way. If they do get through to you, ask them to put you on their "Do not call list." Use those exact words. The law says that they can't call you again for ten years, after you've made that request. According to the details on the web site, each violation entitles you to sue for a civil penalty of $500. The instant I utter those magic words, "Do not call list," they halt their spiel, and say nothing more than, "Thank you, goodbye."  

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Listening to Gossip

It's a sin to gossip, but it's also a sin to listen to it. When I listen to gossip, my opinion of the victim is tarnished thereafter. Gossip is like rats that scurry in and gnaw at my respect for another. The quickest way I've found to halt someone who's gossiping to me, is to tell the gossiper something I admire about the victim. It almost always awakens the conscience of the gossiper, and she often covers her guilty tracks by finding something positive about the victim, too. Maybe it's just because she doesn't want to appear nasty to me, but either way, the gossip stops.  

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God's List

Cast thy burdens upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. But when you turn something over to God, do you find yourself repeatedly returning to pick it up and worry about it some more? "I know God will take care of us, I'm just worried what will happen if..." It's so hard to truly release it and trust God to take care of it. Here's a simple action the Lord showed me, and it makes a huge difference.

You probably have a grocery list, so you don't forget eggs. You have a payments list, so you don't forget to pay the water bill. So make a God list, so He doesn't forget to worry about your husband's job, or whatever. Write it down! Write, "God's List" at the top, and list all the things you've given him to worry about (just so He doesn't forget). And then, when you start to worry about that angry neighbor, look at the list, and remind yourself, "Oh, yeah, that's on God's list to worry about, not mine."

If you want, you can make your own list on the other side of the paper. Write your name at the top, and list the things you're supposed to worry about. It should be empty.

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