Should I Use Punishment in My Parenting? Answers from ABA Therapy

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Moms,

Do you ever get so frustrated when you are trying your best to be a calm and patient mom, but it just seems like the gentle parenting method isn’t getting through to your kids?

We are responsible to teach our kids to behave in a way that will help them live a successful and happy life…  But kids aren’t always receptive to our best teaching attempts. 

When positive parenting isn’t working, it’s very tempting to try some form of punishment to scare the child straight.

I struggle with the desire to use punishment. It’s an inner battle- Would punishment be effective? Or cause problems in the future? 

This is a letter to myself to remind me of the facts about punishment. I hope this information will help me keep my parenting on track, and hopefully help other moms out there too!

Let’s examine punishment. We’ll get to the bottom of why, how, and when.

woman between two childrens sitting on brown wooden bench during daytime

Definition of “Punishment”

In order to have a cohesive and cooperative conversation about punishment, we need to begin by defining the word.

When I talk about punishment, I’m not talking about child abuse. Things like withholding nutrition or water, solitary confinement, physical abuse, etc. are NEVER appropriate ways to teach children.

In ABA Therapy, punishment is defined as anything that “decreases the future probability of the behavior occurring.” 

That makes punishment sound a lot less EVIL. After all, aren’t we as parents responsible to help our kids curve those bad habits and replace them with good ones?

A parent can decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening again in the future in two ways:

  •  Positive Punishment (Type I): A stimulus is added  that decrease the behavior in the future.
    • Example: When a child touches a candle on his birthday cake, he feels pain from the heat of the flame. It is less likely that he will do that again.
  • Negative Punishment (Type II): A stimulus is taken away in order to decrease the behavior in the future. 
    • Example: A teenager is grounded from her cell phone for breaking the family rules.

Need more info about ABA definitions of Punishment? Check out these resources:

Punishment in ABA

ABA Tool Box 

Good, Bad, Ugly Punishment 


Obviously, punishment doesn’t have to be physical. It’s much more broad and includes a lot of appropriate parenting techniques, such as:

  • Limiting or removing privileges
    • Example: A teenager that engages in risky online behavior might lose access to the internet at home.
    • Example: A six year old who tantrums when leaving McDonald’s play place might not get to play there again for a designated time period.
  • Taking a time out 
    • Example: An eight year old is asked to take a break from a game if he is struggling to follow the rules of the game. After being reminded of the rules, he is allowed to try again.
  • Making amends for your mistakes if they affected another person
    • Example: A teenager that smashed a person’s mailbox might be asked to purchase a new one for that person.
  • Asking a child to wait for something he wants due to inappropriate behavior
    • Example: “I can’t give you a cookie when you speak to me like that. You can have the cookie after you are able to ask nicely.”
  • Natural consequences of the child’s actions
    • Example: A 6 year old has a problem with taking toys from his friends during play time. Eventually, the child starts to notice that the other children don’t want to play with him. A parent can point out the cause and effect in this situation and help him think of a better way to play cooperatively.

Of course, there are inappropriate methods of punishment, such as yelling or hitting a child.

How can a parent monitor themselves when called upon to implement negative consequences for a child’s behavior (in other words, to “punish”)?

How can I identify if my punishment is appropriate? 

baby sleeping on black surface

1) Understand the Effects of Punishment

Parents must understand that punishment has LOTS of negative side effects when used improperly.

  • Punishment causes temporary change ONLY. 

This is so VITAL! If you want long-term change, follow the rules of behavior (see below).

Punishment is a temporary fix, used for the most dire of parenting circumstances. If used by itself, it will only result in a limited and short-lived change in behavior. 

For example, when my toddler runs into the street, I will yell to get her attention quickly in order to keep her safe. She hurries out of the road because I yelled. But, she didn’t learn anything. She will probably get in the road again in the future unless I implement additional teaching. 

  • Punishment increases the tendency to hide behavior. 

Punishment doesn’t teach. It doesn’t help the child know what to do better- only what not to do.

Children who do not know why a behavior is “bad” won’t stop the behavior- they’ll only hide the behavior from you. 

  • Punishment makes a child want to change for another person, instead of changing because they want to improve themselves. 

Punishment doesn’t help a child see your point of view. It doesn’t help them think through the good and bad reasons to continue or discontinue acting a certain way.

The child will change what they’re doing to avoid the punishment, and that’s the ONLY reason. As soon as the punishing agent is gone (often YOU- the parent) they are prone to misbehave again. There’s no internal change or understanding. 

  • Punishment can cause rebellion. 

Nobody likes to be punished. If a parent’s side of the story isn’t adequately explained, it seems to the child like the parent is being mean or insensitive.

Children who don’t understand why the parent acted the way they did are prone to kick against the pricks. They might feel a righteous anger- the need to fight back against the tyranny of your parenting. 

After all, children learn from our behavior. They are just treating you the way they were treated. 

  • Punishment gets less effective over time. 

Even with a child who isn’t openly rebellious, punishment loses its efficacy over time because it loses the novelty. You can remedy this by using punishment LESS often, not MORE often.

Let’s compare this to the example earlier about yelling for a child who is in the road. If the parent had a habit of yelling often, the child wouldn’t respond as quickly to the parent’s calls to get out of the road. 

  • Punishment can escalate quickly. 

Let’s say a parent tried positive, gentle parenting. It didn’t seem to work. After a lot of frustration, they decide to try implementing punishment.

Instead of motivating real change, the child responds negatively to this too.

A common mistake is to increase the punishment. More severe punishment should equal faster change, right? Unfortunately not.

This spirals quickly into chaos. The child resents the parent’s punishment, and the parent tries to respond by increasing the stakes, and the child is more upset by that. Every time the parent increases the punishment, the child feels less loved and more cause to fight back. 

The result is a gridlock of power struggles. 

I’ve heard parents compare this to the fighting robot on The Incredibles. You know, Mr. Incredible is asked to go to the island to stop the robot? The one that gets smarter as you fight it?

“Every second you spend fighting it only increases its knowledge of how to beat you!”

-Mirage, The Incredibles

  • Punishment can harm relationships. 

Obviously, a parent-child relationship can’t stand much of this vicious spiral of one-upping each other.

The parent finds a new way to punish, the child finds a new way to rebel. There’s no love in that. There’s no fostering open parent-child communication. There’s no teaching.

  • Punishment is not always in the child’s best interest. 

Punishment isn’t a cure all.

There are VERY, VERY few occasions to use punishment, and LOTS of occasions to avoid it. 

But I don’t pretend that punishment should be completely avoided. There are some rare circumstances to use punishment, carefully and appropriately.

But WHEN should punishment be used? And HOW can I avoid these negative side effects? 

woman standing on bridge

2) Follow the Laws of Behavior

Let’s go back to ABA Therapy. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis- basically, the study of how people act and how to use patterns of behavior to positively affect the people around us. 

You can remember the basics of human behavior with a simple acronym: ABC- Antecedent (the trigger that causes a behavior), Behavior, and Consequences. 

The results of our actions (consequences) determine if:

  1. we choose to continue our behavior in the future (we call these positive consequences “reinforcement”)
  2. or if we discontinue our behavior in the future (you know this one already! We call this “punishment”).

Reinforcement is BY FAR more effective than punishment. Positive consequences cause long-term positive behavior and inner change. 

If your child acts out, avoid punishment.

Remember that there are valid reasons that children misbehave. They are just trying to get their needs met!

The first line of defense is to teach your child a more appropriate way to get his needs met.

Rather than saying, “Don’t hit” try saying “Let’s use gentle hands.” Show the child what that looks like, talk about it, and practice it in real life situations. Then reward, reward, reward when the child successfully uses gentle hands instead of hitting! 

Rewards can be anything that motivates the child to continue the behavior in the future, like:

  • Verbal praise
  • Hugs and kisses
  • Being proud of the child
  • Natural Consequences 
    • Example: If the child uses gentle hands, he will have more friends and more fun as he enjoys cooperative play.
  • Getting to enjoy extra privileges
    • Example: Getting to enjoy a fun activity that the child loves, like playing video games or getting to stay up after bedtime to spend one-on-one time with mom.

Punishment is effective when saved for the absolute worst case scenarios (especially dangerous situations)…. and, even then, ONLY when combined with reinforcement. 

Let’s use the example of a child who walked into the street.

  1. The parent’s initial response is to yell (punishment) to get the child out of harm’s way quickly. Because the parent doesn’t yell often, the child responds right away. But the child feels terrible about her mistake. She is crying and doesn’t understand what she did wrong. 
  2. The mom patiently hugs her until she is calm again. This reiterates to the child that the parent loves her even though she made a mistake. This keeps the parent-child relationship strong even though the child was punished. 
  3. The parent doesn’t stop there! The next step is to teach the child what to do instead. They walk around the yard together and mom points out the safe places and the dangerous places, taking time to explain why the yard is safe and the road is dangerous. 
  4. Then the parent ends with reinforcement! As the child plays, the parent notices and praises the child for staying in the safe parts of the yard. This results in long-term learning and behavioral change. 

two person holding hands

3) What is Your Mindset?

If you’re asking yourself if you’re in an appropriate situation to use punishment, first consider your own mindset.

Punishment is not a good way to release your own frustrations.

Before you act, ask yourself: Are you looking out for the child’s best interest?  

three children sitting on grass

4) Consider your Child’s Development

If you’re asking yourself if you’re in an appropriate situation to use punishment, think about the child’s developmental strengths and limitations.

Children’s misbehavior often isn’t misbehavior at all. You can’t break a rule that you don’t understand.

Here’s some basic guidelines for children’s development:

  • Babies: Absolutely never punish a baby. Babies cannot misbehave. They only cry when they need something. Crying is an effective means of communication. Parents should respond quickly.
  • Toddlers (2-3): Toddlers have very limited understanding of rules, consequences, and logic. Patient teaching is the best response to toddlers. Keep it simple!
  • Young Children (4-7): Young children understand rules and simple cause and effect. Most children want to follow the rules. They want to be good. However, they are still impulsive and can forget about consequences in the moment. Guide them in their efforts to make good choices using lots of reinforcement.
  • Older Children (8-12): Older children are able to account for their mistakes. They have the recollection and understanding to predict consequences based on their previous experiences. They are receptive to loving guidance, especially when the parent takes the time to explain why the child should act a certain way!
  • Teenagers:  Teenagers are capable of complex thinking, including morality, situational changes rather than rigid rules, and hidden consequences. Teenagers are heavily influenced by friends, so parents can lose some influence. If parents want to maintain a strong impact in their child’s life, it’s best to have a good relationship with the child prior to the teenage years. Even if you feel that your relationship is strained, you can show love for your teen by setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them using positive and loving methods.

person holding pen with coffee on table

5) Think of All the Possible Solutions

There’s always a positive solution to every problem. 

If you’re stuck, get creative!

Sit down and write down 50 potential responses to the child’s behavior. It takes a TON of work and thought to list that many realistic solutions. You’ll find yourself getting more in depth ideas.

You’re less likely to have a “blow up” out of frustration because you have so many predetermined ideas to turn to when the behavior comes up!

silhouette of road signage during golden hour

6) Take Advantage of Natural Consequences

Natural consequences are amazing. 

They are life’s responses to how we act.

  • If I go out in the snow without a coat, I  will be cold.
  • If I stay home from work, I won’t get money to buy the things I want.
  • If I yell at my boss, relationships are damaged and I could get fired.
  • If I buy one item, I can’t afford another thing that I might have wanted.

Parents can point out life’s consequences without implementing punishment of their own. 

This is a great way to maintain a loving relationship with your child, help them avoid mistakes, and develop strong character. 

woman in white dress shirt holding her daughter in tutu dress beside of asphalt road during daytime

7) Behavior is Only Behavior

Remember that your child is who matters most.

Behavior is not everything. It’s ok for children to mess up here and there.

Love your child through all their good times and in their bad times. That will show an ever-lasting love that will help both you and your child respond positively when things get tough.

 

What are your opinions on punishment? I want to hear them! Comment below!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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Scary Mom-Nightmares Series- Category: 21 Reasons A Mom’s Shower Can’t Exceed 6 Minutes

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

 

Scary Mom-Nightmares Series:

A Collection of Humorous Stories from Real Moms

A mom’s shower time is short. As soon as your child is mobile, ever second you spend away from them is a gamble. 

6 minutes is about the limit.

Yes, that includes undressing and dressing time. 6 minutes total.

Basically, we’re talking about the horror scene you could walk into if you leave a child (who has any sort of mobility- scooting, crawling, walking, or worse) for more than 6ish minutes, even for something as routine as showering.

You’d think you would be safe to turn on a calming show like Daniel Tiger, provide some great educational toys, and slip away for just a couple minutes…. But no.

You’re not safe.

You’re never safe.

At least it isn’t catching me by surprise anymore. At least now I expect the mayhem- but expecting and being prepared are two different things.

You can duck and cover, but that won’t help much against a grenade.

Turns out, other moms know what I’m going through. Here’s an amazing list reasons to take a short shower (based on experiences of real moms)!

It’s my hope that these things will scare new moms straight! Don’t learn by doing on this one. Just take it from us and rush through your shower. The faster the better.

gray metal handheld shower head

If you take a shower longer than 6 minutes long, you are risking:

  1. Your kids lovin’ on the baby too much. Is it possible to be literally smothered in hugs and kisses??
  2. Battle of the siblings! Have you ever seen a war zone? I have.
  3. A five-year old’s redecorating skills. Maybe we could call it… modern art??
  4. Pee on the floor. You’d think from the toddler you’re potty training… but really, it could be anyone! And it always happens right at the moment you step into the room. So close!
  5. Poop on the floor. Same story.
  6. Dress up for the dog. He looks great in your toddler’s best church dress!
  7. Kids stumbling on your favorite TV shows on Netflix. Hope they’re appropriate…
  8. A five-year old’s best attempt to start the laundry. So nice, but we’ll have to buy more laundry soap now since it’s all over the floor.
  9. The group of howling cave-children working together to smash your valued possessions. You know, the ones they know they’re not allowed to touch? Yeah, those are the ones.
  10. The kids continuing with the routine without you. Overflowed bathtub anyone?? Or maybe a repeat of The Epic Mom-Was-2-Minutes-Late Toothpaste Disaster of 2017?
  11. Kids off for a walk without you, without telling you, in dead silence. Seriously, when have they ever done ANYTHING in dead silence… until now??
  12. Children finding their own sensory experiences out of your kitchen- you know, like flour, sugar, or uncooked rice all over the floor. Very educational.
  13. The toddler pulling crayons out of her secret lair or vanishing cabinet or wherever she gets them (even though I’ve picked up every last crayon in our house fifty times to make sure this doesn’t happen!) and drawing beautiful masterpieces on my walls.
  14. The kindergartner pulling crayons out of her secret lair or vanishing cabinet or wherever she gets them (even though I’ve picked up every last crayon in our house fifty times to make sure this doesn’t happen!) and writing her name all over the furniture. You’d think she’d write ANYTHING else… I wonder who did this??
  15. Eating things other than food. You know, like dirt, paper, dog food, week old leftover cereal that’s glued to the kitchen chairs….
  16. Kids feeding all the above nonfood items to their younger siblings…
  17. That one helpful child trying to pour a glass of milk or a bowl of cereal themselves. Time to go to the store for more milk. Right after a lot of mopping.
  18. Little ones pushing buttons on the TV remote. Congratulations- You now get to enjoy permanent Spanish subtitles. 
  19. The baby pulling all the food out of your cupboards. Didn’t we have canned peaches once? Not anymore. They’re probably in the vanishing cabinet or in the secret lair with the crayons. They’re gone forever.
  20. The shortest family member getting into the top cupboards. Oh yes she can reach that! Uh oh.
  21. And the worst of all… The icing on the cake… The devil’s eye… The child could use his insane hound dog skills to track down your secret stash of chocolate. And by the time you get out of the shower… It. Will. All. Be. Gone. All of it. Yes, even the Lindor truffles!! Not those!

girl with paint of body

Do what’s good for you.

It’s just not worth it! Save yourselves, young mamas. Take a short shower.

And as always, when the chaos strikes, just pull out your camera and take a picture! Laugh about it if you can. If you can’t laugh today, know you’ll laugh someday! Maybe not today… But someday.

Do you have a funny mom story to share? Comment below!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Need more than 6 minutes to yourself? Check out this FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care to help you decompress and feel right with the world again!

Free Self Care Guide 2

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Burping a Baby- Everything Parents Need to Know

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Hey Mamas,

Check out my newest article, published on mothermecrazy.com!!

Burping a Baby- Everything Parents Need to Know

 

You’ll learn great information beyond the basics of burping a baby, including:

  • Why babies need to burp
  • When to burp your baby
  • 4 Positions to burp your baby
  • Things to watch out for when you are burping a baby

 

Check it out!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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6 Techniques to Try When your Kid Eats All the Time- Except During Meals

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

My little girl likes to snack. All day long. All the time. 

I always want her to have access to healthy food so that she doesn’t go hungry, so for the first two years of her life I let her snack whenever she wanted. 

But then I started to notice a less-than-preferable pattern.

She seemed hungry all the time, so I fed her. But then she was never hungry during meal time! She would push her food away, say “Done!”, and run off to play instead of eating her dinner. Only to ask for a snack 5 minutes after everyone else finished eating. 

I also have a strong opinion against forcing kids to clear their plate. This teaches kids to eat a certain amount of food instead of listening to their bodies to tell them when to stop eating. So I never wanted to make her eat.

What’s the solution??

I asked a lot of smart mamas who have been there, done that. Turns out, this is a common problem for kids! As I asked around, I found several techniques that these clever moms used to fix the problem.

The amazing thing is that each mom had a solution that targeted a different aspect of the problem. 

Is the frustration due to:

  • The child eating only unhealthy snacks and turning down healthy food during meals?
  • The insane effort of constantly cooking/fixing something to eat?
  • The amount of food wasted during dinner and unnecessary money spent on snacks?
  • Feeling a lack of gratitude for the meal that you worked hard on?

These moms feel you, and they’ve got tips to fix each aspect of the problem!

Here they are! Choose the one that fits your family’s needs the best.

woman leaning against door while holding her cheek

Technique 1: No snacks one hour before mealtimes!

This strategy helps children be hungry enough to eat at the next meal without feeling starving for an extended period of time. 

It’s easy to do- just decide when you’re going to eat a meal and put away all snacks one hour before meal time. Done!

Simple and easy… until you have to tell the child “no”. It’s not easy for a child to get used to a whole new system, so be patient as the child learns the new expectations. As you consistently explain and stick to the new schedule, the child will adjust. The frustration will decrease over time.

Giving lots of heads up can help decrease frustration for the child. Remind them by saying, “Snacks will be put away in 10 minutes. Hurry and eat a snack if you are hungry!”

If you need additional resources on handling tantrums, check out this link!

How to Handle a TANTRUM without Destroying Relationships

round Timex analog clock at 2:33

Technique 2: Parent chooses when to eat, the child chooses what to eat. 

This method divides the roles of eating between the parent and the child.

Mom- your job is to identify what times snacks and meals will be allowed and provide a couple healthy options for the child. 

The child’s job is to decide which of the options he will eat and how much he will eat. That might mean nothing at all, and that’s ok. Just make sure to explain in advance that the child will have to wait until the next snack or meal time!

For this method, it can be helpful to use a visual aid to help younger children understand that they need to wait.

Check out this great resource for parents!

Helping Your Toddler Understand Time- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

three bowls of nuts

Technique 3: Limit sugary, carbilicous, or greesy snacks. 

Another great idea is to take a closer look at what snacks you are offering. It’s common to offer kids unhealthy options like fruit snacks or chips for snacks.

Those things are just fine in moderation, but if a child prefers unhealthy snacks to healthy meals (I mean, can we blame them??) then it’s perfectly natural to fill up on the yummy snacks and refuse to eat their broccoli at dinner. 

Try offering broccoli as a snack, or a fruit cup with no added sugar, or a cheese stick. This teaches the child that healthy food is a lifestyle for your family, not an occasional thing. 

When there’s no comparison (fruit snacks vs broccoli?) the healthy options look a lot better!

assorted foods

Technique 4: The uneaten meal becomes the snack. 

Some moms hate seeing meal after meal thrown away in the trash, just to have the child ask for more food a few minutes later. This was my biggest frustration with my daughter!

A great solution is to hold on to the child’s plate from mealtime. Make sure to put a little of each option on the plate. This ensures that the child still gets some choices in what to eat.

The next time the child asks for a snack, pull out the plate from lunch rather than fixing them a new snack. This is a great way to teach a child to have gratitude for the food they have, reduce picky eating, save time and energy for mom, and reduce waste.

strawberry serve on blue plate

Technique 5: Premade healthy snacks available for any time! 

Some parents really don’t have a problem with the child eating often. The problem is the amount of time and energy that goes into constantly preparing a new snack or meal. It can literally consume the day if you’re not careful! 

Some moms will set aside 30 minutes twice a week to assemble healthy snacks. They will dice cheese, slice fruit, portion out whole grain crackers, and even make a few sandwiches.

If your kids are old enough to open the fridge by themselves, place the snacks in a designated section of the fridge. The kids will always know where to go to find themselves a snack without mom’s help! 

If the kids are not old enough to get the snack on their own, all you have to do is grab something out of the fridge and you’re done!

Moms can easily set aside enough snacks and even some meals for the next 3 days or so in a short amount of time! Viola!

sliced watermelons on top of chopping board

Technique 6: Watch portion sizes.

I made the mistake of handing my child the entire bag of goldfish. I assumed that she would eat until she was full and I could put the goldfish crackers away as soon as she was done.

The problem is, she didn’t just stop at full. She ate until she was STUFFED! And then she wasn’t hungry until long after lunchtime. 

Binge eating like that isn’t a good habit for kids (or adults for that matter). I can help my child eat appropriate portions throughout the day rather than one large binge by being aware of the portion sizes that I am offering the child.

If I give her too little, she can always ask for a little more. No harm done.

If I give her too much, she might overeat. Or make a mess with the rest of the food…

shallow focus photography of almonds in white ceramic bowl

I’m always so grateful for moms in my life who know exactly what I’m going through! I want to hear from you too!

What techniques do you use to help your child eat appropriate amounts of snacks but also participate in family meals?? Comment below!

I also want to know which of these techniques was most helpful for your family! Let us know that too!!

Need more information? Check out this great post by Sarah Remmer!

10 Reasons Why Your Child Isn’t Eating at Meals (and What to Do!)

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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One Simple Hack to Make Veggies Taste Good (Even to Kids!)

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Are you sick of eating steamed broccoli and carrots?

Veggies can be so bland and boring. But we choke them down because we want to be healthy! It’s so hard for me to be a good example of nutrition to my children because I don’t want to eat the vegetables either! I try to put on a smile, take a big bite of cauliflower, and act like I’m eating a candy bar.

But I’m no actor you guys.

And to be honest, I don’t think anyone is that good of an actor that they could sell cauliflower to a 2-year old. She sees right through me.

UNTIL….

I learned this one simple cooking hack that transforms boring old vegetables into a culinary masterpiece! They look good, they taste good, I’ve had friends ask me for recipes (even though there isn’t one- I just use this one trick!!).

And the kids eat them without a fight! 

Guess what else??? You don’t even need to make an extra trip to the store. This hack uses only 4 ingredients- and you have them all at home already!!! All you need is the veggie, butter, garlic, Salt/Pepper! That’s it!


Enjoy these Quick Links to Great Ingredients and Resources You’ll Need:

(Just click on the images!)

Butter:

Minced Garlic:

Salt/Pepper:

Vegetable Slicer:

The Vegetable Butcher:


 

This trick works for ANY veggie!!! I’ve tried a ton of veggies and it always works.

Here’s the proof!

Veggies

I cooked several varieties of vegetables using this one hack. I’ll show you a side by side image of the delicious cooked veggies and the boring steamed veggies that I’m used to. You’ll know which one I’m talking about!

In the images below, you’ll see me cook:

  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • A Veggie Mix (Onion, Green Bell Pepper, and Mushrooms- we eat this on top of chicken or pork chops all the time!)

Here’s my trick:

Step 1: Chop Up Your Veggies

Nothing fancy, just make em bite sized!

Cut Veggies

Step 2: Boil Veggies Until Al Dente (If Needed)

If you’re dealing with a hard veggie like carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, asparagus, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, etc. make sure you boil or steam the veggies first to soften them. Boil them until they are al dente (soft with a slight crunch left). 

We don’t want mushy veggies here! After all, we haven’t even started the yummy cooking yet. This is just preparation.

If you use packaged frozen veggies, they have been precooked already and will be soft enough to skip this step.

Soft veggies (eggplant, squash, peas, zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, bell peppers, etc.) are good to go- so don’t worry about boiling or steaming these. Just skip ahead to step 3!

Step 3: Throw It All In!

Ok, if I were some chef in a restaurant, I’d probably tell you to begin by melting the butter and garlic in a saute pan, then add your veggies, then saute lightly, taste the veggies, salt and pepper as needed, taste again… BLEH!!!!

I’m not a chef, and this is no restaurant. 

I’m a mom, and I’m cooking dinner with several children pulling on my clothes while running in circles around my island while the baby eats the dog food and the toddler colors on my walls.

I’m not messing around here- I just need something yummy and healthy on the table without burning the house down! Is that too much to ask??? 

So screw the chef tricks!

Just throw your 4 ingredients in the pan- butter, salt/pepper, garlic, and of course the veggie.

Step 4: A Little Color

Allow the veggies to sit until they are slightly browned on one side, then stir them up so that they don’t burn. Wait for a few minutes between mixing so that the veggies get some nice charring (brown coloration) on all sides.

The char adds flavor that nicely compliments the salty, garlicy, buttery goodness that used to be nasty, bland veggies.

The best part about this is that I don’t need to sit and stir the pan all the time! I can take a quick brake to go take the crayon away from my toddler before my whole wall is colored pink or to pull the dog food out of baby’s mouth.

Perfect style of cooking for a busy mom!

Step 5: Eat!

And guess what?? You’re done! So easy, so tasty!!!

The Results!

Here’s some of the amazing veggies that I’ve tried with this method. You can literally SEE the flavor!

The results really speak for themselves.

Look at the difference! Just wait until you taste the difference! I cooked some of my kids’ least favorite veggies today and they gulped them down like I fed them french fries! 

I love it, and I love the peace of mind that comes from feeding my kids healthy food.

And don’t forget to include your kids in the kitchen with these helpful tips and these great kids’ recipes! 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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