Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Hassle Time

Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk

Today, I want to discuss part two of our short series about loving our kids on purpose. This is the book that we have been reading, Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. There is an accompanying workbook. You can find both on the LOKOP website.

Making Good Choices is What We Want For Her

In our first post, I shared few strategies we’ve learned, some of the tools that we’ve brought home as parents and what we’ve enjoyed about using them. One of the significant themes in the book and the major reason we’re doing this is because we want to teach our children how to become responsible citizens of this world.

We want them to learn how to make good choices starting at an early age.  We want to give them the freedom to make good choices and understand that it’s not necessarily about punishment, but more about understanding consequences and repercussions of the decisions they make.

In the first post about this subject, we talked briefly about one of the things we have been doing, which is the fun/no fun option. You can check out that post, but I want to discuss a couple other things we have been implementing here at our house that are also working well for us.

Hassle Time: What is It?

The first one is hassle time. Hassle time is not necessarily a time-out, it’s a bit more involved than that, so I’ll give an example. Our four-year-old is pestering me because she wants a burger. “Mom, I want to go get a burger. Mom, I want to go get a burger.”

“Okay, I hear you, and maybe if we have time, we’ll do it.”

“But I want to get a burger,” whining, “I want to go get a burger.”

At this point, I’m feeling hassled because she won’t stop whining about it. Rather than me saying, “Okay, you’re going to have a time-out if you don’t stop,” the whole idea of hassle time is, “Honey, if you don’t stop, I’m going to have to start the hassle timer,” or “I’m going to start the hassle timer right now because you’re hassling me.”

Sorry….You Owe Me Some Hassle Time

Right then and there… with younger kids it doesn’t have to be so specific, because she’s only four-and-a-half. I look at the clock and say, “Okay, it’s 4:30 and the hassle timer has started.” I take note of the amount of time because later after dinner when she usually gets to watch a show, I’ll say, “Oh, you know what, honey? I’m really sorry, but do you remember earlier when you were hassling me about the burger? You owe mommy hassle time.”

That’s 5-10 minutes that she doesn’t get to watch her movie or 5 minutes we don’t leave to go on a play date or… you get the point. Basically, we are making it where she feels the burn…consequences. She really understands because now it’s taking time away for something she really wants to do. It helps her realize her actions have consequences. It didn’t take long for her to understand. I mean, at first, it was kind of like, “Hassle time???” but Steve and I have been very intentional about this.

We’ve even made a point of creating situations where paying back hassle time would be a big deal. For example, after her quiet time when we planned to go somewhere special and fun we would say, “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. I’m going to need you to pay me back that hassle time.” Then we would have her sit in the most boring place in the house with no toys and nothing to do but wait on the clock.

It Really Does Work….

It didn’t take long before she got it. Now, if she’s bugging me about something, I can say, “Hey, you know, I feel like you’re hassling me,” and she will get really quiet. If she doesn’t, it typically doesn’t take very long. As a reminder, I’ll say, “Okay, Am I going to have to start the hassle timer?” and she’ll say, “No, no, no, don’t start the hassle timer. I’m sorry.” Fortunately, it doesn’t take too long. It has been a good tool for us because time-outs don’t always work, but hassle time definitely does.

That’s it for today. I”m going to share more posts on parenting skills we’ve brought home from this series, so stay tuned.

We have more ideas from Loving Our Kids On Purpose in these blog posts:

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