How to get kids to do what you want || As Soon As Method

If you’re having trouble getting your kids to clean up their room, get ready for school or brush their teeth, then this is for you.  

When I was raising my kids people would often say how lucky I was to have such easy kids.  They don’t just pop out of the womb that way.  I put some real work into those kids when they were little and it paid right through the teen years.    

I can’t remember having trouble getting my kids to do what I wanted them to do after about the age of 3, and here’s how I did it …

I taught them that life wasn’t about handouts, they had to be responsible and accountable.  If they wanted to watch TV, they had to make sure their room was clean, etc.  They learned this so early that they formed with this belief system.  I don’t remember ever reminding them to do their chores, homework or even be polite.  They just knew the rules and took responsibility for their actions.    

The only thing they ever did that got on my nerves was poke at each other in the back seat of the car after school.  Once I realized that was their way of saying hi to each other and releasing some steam after a long day at school, that didn’t even bother me.  

So, how do you do get kids to be responsible and do what needs to be done?  Use the “as soon as” method:  

“As soon as your room’s clean you can play video games.”  

“As soon as you’re ready for school you can watch TV.”  

My kids grew up thinking that they had to get stuff done before having fun.  The TV would NEVER have gone on in our house before they were all ready for school, it just wouldn’t have happened.  They never questioned it as never knew any different.  I never even said anything, it was just a known fact.    

Okay now, I realize you may not have trained your kids to have this mindset but it’s still do-able.  Yes, it’s going to be more work erasing bad habits but I’ve trained many parents on this “as soon as” method and they all say once they get it, the kids do too.  Kids adjust to this way quicker than the parents.  The parents often fumble and say they were too tired to follow through and on went the TV first thing in the morning then they struggled to get the kids off to school with the usual yelling, threatening, etc.  

Every single time you fumble like that you’re training the kids that you don’t mean business and they are once again in charge.  You have to face the fact that you trained the kids to act the way they do, and you’re going to have to train them out of it.  You’re going to have a tough week or 2 or more, but would you rather that or have a tough 18 years???  

Check out my article:  “If your child is a Rotten Brat, it’s all your Fault”.

A parent said to me, “My son just isn’t interested in food.  He pushes his dinner around on his plate for 5 minutes then runs off to play video games.” I said, “Does he have access to video games any time he wants?”  Answer, “Well no, but sometimes it’s just easier than fighting with him to get him to eat.”  Me, “Here’s what you do.  Tell your son that from now on he can play video games as soon as he’s eaten his dinner.  It’s his choice, he can either eat his dinner and play video games, or not eat dinner and not have video games.  That’s it, no more explaining, just get up and calmly walk away.”  

Of course there’s a lot more to it as children will often follow parents around trying to get their own way but there are a variety of different ways to handle that depending on the family dynamics.  Parents often get worn down and give in so I teach them how to stay strong as this stuff works, I guarantee it.

Life’s about choices:

You can eat dinner then play video games or not, up to you.

You can put in some work and have great kids or not, up to you.

If you need help with this, check out my coaching page.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach



7 Ways to Boost Children’s Self-Esteem | Parenting

There are probably 70 ways to boost children’s self-esteem, but I’ve narrowed it down to 7:

  1. Spend time with your kids.  Kids don’t really care as much about quality time as just plain old time.  They want to be around you, they feel safe around you, they feel good about themselves around you.
  2. Enjoy their company.  Find some common interests to share.  When my kids were toddlers they loved seeing mom trying to roll down hills, do somersaults, etc. with great difficulty.  They’d wallow in showing clumsy mom how great they were at tumbling around.
  3. No insincere praise.  (“Stop Praising your Kids for Everything”)  Kids are great crap detectors.  They know when they’re great at something and when they’re not.  If you praise them for picking their nose they’re not going to believe you when you’re praising them for a real accomplishment.  Actually I’m kinda guilty of this with my 27 year old son as I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like to.  He walks the room and I become this pathetically over indulgent mother.  He hates being fussed over and says, “Get a grip Mom, all I did was blink and you’re acting as if I cured cancer!”
  4. Give them chores and responsibilities.  You have to give children something to be proud of, something to make them learn about self-discipline.
  5. Give them choices.  My Mom was the queen of this.  She never told me what to do, it was always about giving me choices.  Of course that’s exactly what I did with my kids as it makes them self-disciplining plus gives them a huge sense of confidence and pride.  You are the master of the choices though.  “You can eat all your vegetables and watch TV or not eat your vegetables and not watch TV … your choice.”  I never questioned this, nor did my kids.  We all just grew up understanding that we were responsible for how our lives went.
  6. Praise them just as much for trying and failing as succeeding.  There is no shame in losing, just in not trying.  Make your kids try everything and praise them for being outgoing, adventuresome and open minded.  Poor sports are built on a base of thinking that success is everything.
  7. Teach them that no one’s perfect.  Perfection is impossible and those who strive to appear perfect are boring.  Teach your children to be confident enough to be comfortable with their imperfections.
More on this:


Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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Parents, What Keeps You Up At Night?

Parenting can be fun, rewarding, beautiful and all those good things.  But it can also be really stressful.




The parents who complain the most about sleepless nights due to worrying are parents of teenagers.  Worries revolve around:

  • sex
  • drugs
  • eating disorders
  • suicide attempts
  • belligerence
  • aggression
  • depression
  • bullying
  • grades
  • etc.

I’ve worked with parents who are up nights worrying their teens are no longer interested in family vacations to parents with teens who have attempted suicide on several occasions.  Some parents are so worried about their teen they’ll sleep outside their room on the floor.  I’ve had several clients who’ve done this so it’s not uncommon.  They all think they’re the only ones going through this, but of course they’re not.

If you’re worried your teens aren’t as connected to their family as they once were, don’t worry, they’ll come back into the family fold once those hormones settle down.  But if you’re worried about the crisis stuff then stop trying to do this on your own.  There is tons of free help out there in the form of school counselors, police, youth groups.  Or you can hire someone like me to guide you through the minefield.  Just make sure they specialize in teens as dealing with a 12 year old is very different from dealing with a 17 year old.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  

If you’re up all night worrying about your kids, get help.  Reach out to other parents who you know are also struggling, talk to trusted friends and family, or get professional help.  Sometimes just getting your worries out in the open can help.

Call me (604-349-8044, Vancouver, Canada) if you think I can help you.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

More teen reading:  


What Parenting Style will Backfire in the Teen Years?

“New Age Parenting” (a.k.a. “Attachment Parenting”) is where you allow the child to be the boss.  Discipline is a no-no as is considered to be mean.

School principals complain about “New Age Parenting”as being one of the reasons schools are having to do so much of the parenting these days.  Teachers are having to spend more time dealing with bad behaviour and less time focused on academics.

Children not only need leadership, they crave it.  

Every single troubled teen I’ve worked with has said they wish their parents had been tougher on them when they were young.  Many have told me they’d get into trouble to test their parents, see if they loved them enough to discipline them.  They understood that discipline is love.  When they didn’t get leadership from their parents, they looked to their peers.

If you discipline children when they’re young they’re self-disciplined when they’re teenagers.  My son had a rebellious side but said (complained was more like it) that he could never exercise it as I was always sitting on his shoulder.  He was wrong, his conscience was always sitting on his shoulder.  I did all the work when my kids were little so we could sail through the teen years.

Friends who raised their children without discipline really struggled through the teen years.  They were imposing curfews that were constantly broken, taking away video games, threatening, yelling, picking up drunk teens from parties … just a mess.  The ones who struggled the most through the teen years were the ones most critical of discipline in the early years.  I could’ve written their future out for them but they wouldn’t have believed me.

Video on dangers of “New Age Parenting”.

If you want to be respected, you have to earn it.  You have to educate yourself on each child’s needs and wants.  All children need strong leadership.  If you don’t provide it, they’ll turn to their peers.  You want your kids turning to you, not their peers, when they need advice, guidance, etc.

Remember that discipline without fun doesn’t work either.  You have to meet all of your children’s needs and fun is a giant one.  Be the fun parent, be the house their friends come to, play games with them, goof around with them.  The relationship you build through fun mixed with discipline is wonderful.

To feel in control of parenting get started with my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” included in my Newsletter.  Sign up button at the top right of page. 


Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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Are you Afraid of your Kids?


Do you have a toddler you give candy to when out for fear of a public tantrum?

Do you bribe your 8 and 10 year olds with special privileges if they’re good at the restaurant?

Do you have a teenager who does absolutely nothing around the house as you just can’t handle another confrontation?

If you can relate to any of this, you’re not alone. Tons of parents are also afraid of their kids.  Afraid of a scene or a confrontation.  I say, “BRING IT ON!!!”  I encourage you to stop bribing and avoiding and take control.  The longer you wait the worse it’s going to get.

I encourage you to use my “3 Step Parenting Plan” (sign up above with newsletter). It’s the tool I use with all of my clients.  It’s not a magic pill, it’s just a tool to use to start getting respect and taking control.  It’s also a sign to the kids that changes are taking place.  It’s free and I guarantee results 100% if you set it up and follow through consistently.  Mistakes are even okay so long as you acknowledge same with the kids and accept your punishment for messing up.  The “3 Step Parenting Plan” has to be the family LAW.

The video in this article has a good story about a mom who was afraid of her 4 boys.  She used every trick in the book throughout the years:  bribery, threats, ignoring, hovering. She really struggled and the boys took over.  As a friend I don’t offer advice and she never asked as justified my relationship with my kids as “luck”.  Her struggle was completely unnecessary and avoidable.

If this article hits a nerve, please watch and follow my “3 Step Parenting Plan”(free in my newsletter, sign up top right).  There are so many lessons in there about how to get respect.