Note: All information on this site is for educational purposes only. Happy You, Happy Family does not provide medical advice. If you suspect medical problems or need professional advice, please consult a physician.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

95 Comments

  1. LeeAnn Ziegler says:

    Your posts are always so spot on with what I need to hear! I wish I could print them out and share them with my husband (he’d never read a blog) but when I try to print from your site I end up with 20 pages with images and spacing stretching everything out, then all the comments at the end. There are lots of add-ons you can toss into your site to make easily printable version of your posts. Please consider adding one!! Thanks!

    1. Glad to hear this resonated, LeeAnn! Great suggestion on providing a printable version. I’ll add that to my to-do list. :)

      1. LeeAnn Ziegler says:

        I’m currently trying to get this site’s Android bookmark “hack” to work and not having much luck, but they also appear to have a button you can add to your site that creates a printable version on the fly! https://www.printfriendly.com

    2. LeeAnn – if you have an app like NoteBook or Clearly – they let you copy the post without all the distractions. I would think you could then print them. Hope this helps.

    3. Copy the text and paste it into a a Word document or other word processor. Then you can edit the layout to your heart’s content. I like to make it as few pages as possible by using narrow margins, smaller font, less spacing between paragraphs… Works like a charm! I copy and paste the url, too.

  2. Thanks for this post. I quite often ‘fly solo’ at bath time, at weekends, due to my husband’s work and other commitments. I’m interested to see if this works for me, especially during pms weeks when my anger really flares.

    1. I have the same issue during the evening and night time hours. I am pretty calm and collected during the daytime, but when it is time my bedtime and my son decides to wake up that’s when my patience is gone. It is hard to keep a level and clear head when your woken up during the night and are all groggy then have to deal with a fussy child. I hope these tips help.

  3. What a great article! Thanks for sharing:) I am off to buy some hair ties should anyone be looking for me…

  4. Just to add to get sharpee off stuffed toys saturate the spot w/ rubbing alcohol. Then wash in washing machine or sink. ? Same w/ the carpet. Blot w/ paper towels. We had a similar incident. It works on plastic toys also. My 2 year old got a hold of a sharpee and drew on EVERYTHING!! Lol oh boy. I was just glad to get it off my laminate wood floors. (1 cup each: clear vinegar, blue dawn dish soap and hot water.) scrub down w/ a magic eraser.

    1. Thank you, Jessie! I Googled right after it happened so I used rubbing alcohol on the stuffed animals then threw them in the wash, but it didn’t work for us. Does rubbing alcohol “go bad” maybe? We’ve had our bottle a while. But hopefully your comment will help someone in the same situation!

      1. I’ve used hand sanitizer with sharpie on stuffed animals with great results!

      2. Alcohol comes in different strengths: 50%, 70% and 90%. The 90% works best for ink or sharpie. If you have residual grey sometimes bleach /borax/laundry detergent brushed with an old tooth-brush. Will remove- but as u know- gotta be careful with bleach!

      3. a light baking soda and water paste with soft scrub dish sponge will do the trick

  5. I stumbled on your blog at the perfect time. I’m a grandmother with temporary custody of my 4 year old granddaughter. I find myself getting incredibly frustrated with her and I don’t mean to. In turn, she gets really angry with me and vows not to ever “fix my broken heart”. I read your blog and downloaded your tips. She is my heart and I hate it when I stupidly get frustrated with her for small things that 4 year olds are supposed to do. I do not want to be one of “those” Nana’s whose grandchildren cannot have fun with. Thank you for this… I’m grateful this appeared in my timeline!!!!

    1. Jennifer, I’m so glad this found you at the exact right time that you needed it! I can definitely relate to that guilt over getting frustrated with small things. But after using this trick to get my tone in check, I feel closer than ever to my preschooler. Hoping this brings you the same gift. <3 Happy Mother's Day!

  6. Reading this has me in tears…..of joy, that is. Knowing that Love Always Wins, it’s still hard as an exhausted momma to know how to fight the battles. But this. THIS gives hope! Thank you for sharing this and the sweetness of your little triumphs. Definitely planning on putting those hair ties to the test.

  7. I’m so glad I found your blog on Pinterest. I am a mother of 3yr old twin boys and a 13 yr old boy. There are times I lose my cool because I am so exhausted from my full time job as a hospital boss, being a wife, being a parent and a full time student as well. I find it frustrating that Mom has to lose her cool before anyone really wants to do what I’ve ask to be done the 20 times before. I’m going to try the visual cues you have recommended. As I was reading I was thinking of bracelets or hair ties I already had in our house. Thanks for the great words of encouragement. It is empowering to hear other Mom experience the same things I do.

  8. Thank you so much for this! I know I’ve had much less patience with my 3-year-old after the arrival of our newborn, but I haven’t known what to do (or what I can do) to help “fix” me. I stumbled across this post on Pinterest and this is exactly what I needed! I’m optimistic this will help improve the situation; I love my firstborn so very much and I want my words and attitude towards him to reflect that.

  9. Hi I love the idea of the visual cues. However I hate anything on my wrist, and my husband won’t wear hair ties or bracelets. Do you have any suggestions for 5 alternatives we could possibly use?

    1. What about clothespins or safety pins on some part of your clothes? Move to the other side? Might work better for home than out and about, but it seems like the process would be the same.

  10. Kaydee Savage Lee says:

    Thank you! Totally starting this in the morning.
    Love, a mom who really needed to hear these words tonight. ?

  11. I have been having a rough time with my preschooler and I was just talking about how maybe our reactions are causing her reactions which are setting off our reactions last night with hubby. I am going to go get some hair ties and try this out. I also tried clicking on the links for the printables but nothing happened. :-(

  12. omg the way you talk in that first paragraph has been my entire parenthood experience! my kids are horrible at 11 and 8. huh.

  13. Thank you! I read this post yesterday, I prepared the ties right after, put them on this morning and had a very happy and loving day with my four-year-old. The first thing this morning he asked “Mama, why do you have so (!) many hair-ties on your wrist?!” I told him that they were a reminder to myself not to be angry or annoyed with him that often and that they would help us to be happier together. He smiled at me, moved towards me and gave me a strong hug.
    Towards the end of the day I had to move one tie to the other arm (for rolling my eyes on something) but it didn’t take me more than a few minutes to be able to move it back and at dinnertime my husband was wondering about all the pleases and thank yous and the wait, I’ll get it for yous from both of us. I had one of the happiest days in a long while. So again: Thank you!

  14. Hi, I am a mother of a toddler and a 4 month old. My husband works out of town most of the week every week. By the evening every day I am usually crying over a combination of guilt, being overwhelmed, toddler whining etc. I am looking forward to trying out this method. Lately I have felt so much shame in the less than prefect mother I have become. Thank you so much for sharing this! I really hope it works for ne too!

  15. I love your theory. And I look forward to this tomorrow morning. I’m a mother of 3. 5 yr old boy who talks back a lot due to the fact that I have no oatience at all. I know they feel me being angry all the time and I hate it. Learning this will help me. I just need to look for ways to bond with them more and be more like this. My middle child is 3. Still potty training. And she’s a tough one. Very suburn but easy to get to. And lastly a 18 month old boy. They pick on him and since he is the youngest my oldest feels as if I love the baby more. But it’s hard to explain to a 5 yr old that he was s baby once and nobody ever picked on him. Advice is always needed. And I love this.

  16. Thank you so much for your post, Though I do not have kids, I struggle in my personal relationship. PTSD has unfortunately made me into someone I do not want to be and I often find myself snapping at people I love. I finally found someone with so much patience and love despite my own flaws, but I want to treat him with the same kindness and respect he gives me. I plan to give this method a try for this! This method could be used as treatment for so many different life struggles!

  17. Wow this is just so good! I have never heard of using hair ties, but I think it’s brilliant! Definitely gonna employ this. Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. I needed this thank you! also ypu can try rubbing alcohol to get off the sharpie it may take a few goes but should work!

  19. Im crying. THANK YOU. can’t wait to try this. As a mom to a 2 y/o and a 5 m/o my toddler ALWAYS gets all the anger and then I absolutely hate myself…. I can’t wait to try this!

  20. Madiha khan says:

    Seems promising!
    I must try it!
    Thanks a lot for sharing. I so needed it.

  21. This is a very useful article. I love the hair tie idea, my girls immediately got me 5 when i mentioned this idea. I also love the 5:1 ratio, not just with my relationship with my kids! For me taking the time to meditate is usually my go-to or being silly but it;s nice to have more options.

  22. Great article Kelly! It’s amazing how something so simple can have such a profound effect!

  23. Awww man I have felt so guilty reading this. I’ve tried so many times in so many different ways not to explode with my kids, especially the oldest. I have failed every time….I’m aware that I put alot of pressure on her because she is mature for her age but I forget that she’s also only 4…I will do this starting tomorrow when my kids wake up and crossing my fingers it will work! I’m surely going to take your word for it :)

  24. Loved this article, even brought a tear to my eye. Will be trying it!

  25. Yeah, this is the problem with today’s moms… overreacting. Regarding the shoe incident you didn’t call her a bad name, you didn’t use obscenities , you fell, you reacted, move on.

  26. You have no idea how badly I needed to read this. I cry myself to sleep almost nightly at the way I’ve talked to my kids some days, like you, mainly my middle daughter who seems to always take the brunt of my anger and frustration. I’m quick to apologize but let’s face it, it just doesn’t help the damage done. I tell myself each morning, today will be different, and it’s not. Being 9 months pregnant doesn’t help, but it’s not an excuse either. I’m starting hair ties first thing in the morning. What a great reminder. Thank you, truly.

  27. Love this. Why couldnt i see this 10 years ago. I constantly tell myself i want to be better…and i still find myself saying it. Now i wonder if ive ruined anything. Thank you for posting.

  28. I don’t even have kids, but I love this. Ha! Something made me want to click on this article and I’m very glad I did. (I feel like this could be applied to so many different relationships, not just with kids.) Thanks for the tip!

  29. I love that you title yourself as a recovering perfectionist. If you have any articles about the fear of having your second kid BECAUSE the perfectionism seemed to make you go insane with the first one alone, I’d love to be pointed toward it. Or if you wrote about when that perfectionism started to wane for the sake of having a happy you and a happy family, I’d also love to read that too! That’s where I’m at. I worry that having another child would drive me even more insane because I’m such a control freak but so many articles claim that more kids help you to release that control. But I need more proof :)

  30. We have a new baby, and after some struggles with our 5-year-old son, my mom (a retired early childhood development professional) suggested that I try meeting these issues with an offer for a hug first. Then, once we’ve made that connection and he feels confident he has my full attention, we address the behavior. I had been flying off the baffled and irritated “You know better than this!!!” handle.

    I wasn’t surprised this helped him, but I was amazed by how much it helped me. Seeing the look on his face go from defiant to vulnerable in a moment, and the fervor with which he clung to me showed me clearly just how much he needed the connection, regardless of the fact that he seemed to be fine for 90% of the day. Then, coming from this place of empathy, I was able to have a discussion about throwing balls in the house, or leaping off the bunk bed instead of being the Angry Mama thrown off her game.

    I love the way the hair tie strategy comes at this issue from the perspective of a habit. I will definitely keep it in mind!

  31. Jenny Holmes says:

    As I read this I got tears in my eyes. Abby, Bailey and Charlie are very lucky to have you as their mom. Your posts are helping so many people deal with everyday problems.

  32. I have 5 kiddos,, 3 now in their teens..(each a year apart).. would have definitely tried this when they were little and I was going crazy daily. There was a point I’d lose it with my 7 yo daughter daily – terrible habit of yelling and screaming. I prayed for help one night , so at a loss, so ashamed at my ugliness.. my desire for her to feel loved and not damaged by me (which I could see was happening) became greater than my anger in the heat of the moment. It’s been 7 years and I’ve rarely had that problem again. Thank God.. she’s now 14 and I’m so thankful…

  33. Aaryn M Noble says:

    This is a great idea. …on mother’s day I started it.

    I think it works, but what was really awesome for me, I realized I don’t actually yell as much as I thought i did. Until I put these hair ties on I thought i was yelling daily. I realized I am a better mom than I was giving myself credit for.

    Thank you!

    Aaryn

  34. I’m a single mum so flying solo is the norm. I’m constantly loosing my temper at my 5 & 6 year from shear frustration to the point my girls now say to me “Mum are you about to lose your S*it” yes they use the S word :( I’m definitely going to try your hair tie trick!!! Thank you for such a great post!

  35. So greatful to come across your post. I have found myself in the same mommy guilt boat after snapping at my little one. Going to give the hair ties a try. Thank you.

  36. This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this! It brought tears to my eyes. I can tell how genuine you are in it means the world to read something like this. We all need hair ties and your story how I like that even more.

  37. My children are older, 11, 12 and 15 in 2 weeks! I’m trying this with them- thank you for reminding me about tools I knew a decade ago and had forgotten- I love your additions and ideas!

  38. This is such an interesting idea. I kind of wished I would have read it when my kids were smaller. Now they are old enough that when I start to get upset, they know the visual ques and make gentle comments that keep me accountable.

  39. Maika Garrido says:

    I’m mom of a 2 two year old tornado, this is the first blog i read, that i said “well i can do that” thank You so much for this advices, greetings from Tampico Tamaulipas México

  40. Its very helpful especially now that i have my new born plus my toddler. This Is so much helpful

  41. Amy Clark says:

    Thank you-so so much for sharing this!

  42. Hi, I enjoyed reading your article. As parents we all want the best for our kids. It disturbs me a lot when I tell at my kids. I am a working mom of two teenage kids. And I have my moments of anger. I very much liked the idea of hair ties. Wish somebody had told me about this earlier. Wonder if it would work now.

  43. Thanks a lot for the great post. It will address my guilt towards being rude to my own pre-schooler,

  44. Hey Kelly! I ran across this article quite a while ago. Before I went public with the launch of a monetized blog. I loved it then, and I was glad to run across the pin for it just now on Pinterest. While the focus on my writing is child-training, (so that the 11 times out of bed doesn’t happen in the first place) what I like about this article is that you DID something. You recognized a problem and instead of calling it “how it is” you took action. Bravo. Keep writing and I look forward to “running into you” in the future via internet:)
    Shelley

  45. Anastasia says:

    The article is absolutely brilliant, and yes, I am going and I need to join a club of 5 hair ties. Thank you so much for the article!
    But… From time to time I doubt, whether it is right indeed to be always a “goody-googy” mom. To be short, I would explain it in a way that I am not sure a child derives benefit from dealing to a “machine”, not HUMAN back up all the time…
    Say please where I am wrong?

  46. Thank you for sharing your journey and for being transparent…i really needed that today…we have recently been blessed with a third treasure from God and my patience wears thinner and thinner with each passing day.
    On top of this guilt of losing my cool at almost everything again lately I am having flashbacks of all my prior mistakes I’ve made along the way in raising my kids especially my eldest.
    Thank you for the hairband idea. I will most certainly give it a try but mostly thank you for sharing your mistakes and your successes so openly. Like I said before, I needed to read that this morning.

  47. How long did it take you to NOT have to wear the hair ties anymore?

  48. You know what I was pinning pins and just decided to read this because I shouted at my 6 year old two days back and she looked so hurt and confused. Thanks for this.Wil try out.

  49. Wonderful editorial piece. I have a tweenie child – growing into teenager from age 10. Going through the motions. I can’t help but take everything personally. Try so hard,but just get grouchy and miserable as a result of disagreement and conflict between me and my daughter. I am going to try the five band idea and see if it improves our situation. Cross fingers.

  50. DeAnna Kapp says:

    I love this… I’m going to try this

  51. Honestly, I thought this was going to be some super gimmicky post where the advice had little to do with long term results, children, or even hair ties (which is not uncommon on pinterest!) But this is actually really sound advice, and its delivered in an honest, realistic way, too! I’m a preschool teacher so I’m always reading parenting blogs late late late into the night, and I’m definitely going to try this starting next week! I’m the only teacher in a room full of two year olds, so patience wears thin quickly, and is nigh impossible to gain back!

  52. Oh my gosh! This made me cry. I have three kids and when they are all going at once it is so hard to stay calm and collected. I’m absolutely going to try this method out! Thank you!

  53. This post made me cry…so much. Angry Mom has been rearing her ugly head as of late and God has used this to help me refocus and realize the importance of being intentional with my littles. Thank you!!!

  54. Love the 5 hair ties (I use 5 bangles) method! I’ve found it has REALLY helped me to cope with my toddler. I’ve recommended it to others too! Thank you so much ? x

  55. This is great! Thanks so much for sharing this! Can’t wait to try it with my littles.

  56. Beautiful article Kelly! Wish you had been around when I was a young Mom; but I’m posting and sharing for all the other Moms out there today! Great advice! Love your heart for your children.

  57. Ahhhhh absolutely loved this…. Made me laugh & cry at the same time as I’ve had a similar incident with my eldest not long ago…. Please add me to your list :)

  58. Kristi Daniel says:

    I cannot tell you how much finding your website has meant to me. I have three boys 7, 4, and almost 3. And there are times when my anger makes distance between us, and then my shame at being angry. I too am sick and tired of the ‘make more time for you’ because that does not help in the moment when I need to just stop snapping at them. I’m excited and relieved to find your work.

  59. I no longer have kids at home but with my hormones all over the place, I find myself being a lot more short-tempered than usual. I think this could work just as well with husbands!

  60. I’m SO happy to read this post, I was just talking to my husband yesterday about needing to find joy in the chaos and I was honestly wondering if I was the only parent who felt this way. Very grateful for this affirmation that I’m not defective and to be equipped with an idea to put in practice.

  61. I just bawled my freaking eyes out. You’re a good mama. So am I. Thanks for the reminder :)

  62. I loved your idea and had pinned it a few months back. I thought it was such a simple concept that could be used for really any habit or behavior.
    Then yesterday morning, after the umpteenth time that morning of disciplining my 5 year old about his selfishness, your idea popped into my head! I thought shoot I’ve tried everything else why not?!?
    I found 5 black ponytail holders and put them on one wrist, explaining that a selfship attitude would move one to the “selfish” hand and a thinking or others attitude would move it back.
    We’ve only just started but it totally work! No more scolding, just quietly asking for his hand so I can switch the ponytail over. And since he is young and we just started I give him one warning first, by pointing to my wrist and he has used that to readjust his focus!
    He doesn’t get deflated like he use to when I’d call him out for selfishness because he knows he can earn it back to the “nice guy” hand and it gives him a tangible way to keep aware of his behavior and how good he is being when he sees the ones on the “nice guy” hand so he has been more confident.
    Thank you for sharing!

  63. I have recently become a mother of 7 sure to my fiance and I blending our families. On top of all that, I have had medical issues since December that I feel have just rendered me useless, i feel. Our 7children have experienced extremely hard times in their short lives and each have their own individual heartbreaking problems. In the past six months I have done what I can to get things settled, managed and peaceful in our home but i just feel like I’m failing all the time. My health and the stress of it all has made me a very angry mommy and i am really starting to dislike myself for it. I loved this article and I’m trying to think of a way to use this in my situation. And how do I find enough time in the day to make up for even one offense with each child. And do I have 35 hairties on my arm lol! I’m definitely printing the Magic Ratio and have it somewhere i can see at almost all times. Thank you for this article. Your example gives me stregth.
    Alone and Desperate.

  64. Hi Kelly! I am just about at my Witt’s end everyday with my boys & Im trying the hair ties tonight! When we yell at our kids, they in turn push that negative energy back on us. My 4 year old yells back & now I noticed he yells at his little brother, who’s 3. Next thing you know they are having a screaming match & I don’t want them to learn how to fight each other. So I have been looking for ways to curtell my attitude & have a sense of calmness & your method might just work. I’ll let you know how we are doing after 1-2 weeks!
    Thanks a bunch!
    Frustrated Mom

  65. Wow I think my mom can do this thx for the idea I’m 10 and she gets mad at us

  66. I showed my mom she thought it was good

  67. I am in tears reading this, I’m Presently in the same boat, finding myself snapping at everything lately and completely overwhelmed. What a great, great read and an amazing suggestion that I am starting first thing in the morning. You have no idea how much this article has helped me. The ending especially! Thank you!!

  68. I loved this so much!!!!!
    I often look at blogs and start to read them, but rearley finish them. I read yours from start to finish, every word.
    I think that I NEED a copy of your book :)
    Amazing and thank you.
    I will be rustling through my messy….unorganised home to find 5 hair ties tonight :)

  69. I hope you know what important work you’re doing here! I’m crying with gratitude. You are using your skill and inspiration to help families thrive. There are so many deeply loving parents who need more support to give their kids what they really need. You are giving us great support! Thank you.

  70. Kimberly Evenson says:

    I have three yr old twin girls and a 11 yr old boy. And I lose it with my 11 yr old. Too often. I go to bed sometimes desperate to remember one positive interaction we had that day, and I can’t think of one. It makes me want to go in his room and just tell him I’m sorry for being such a crap mom. Ugh. ? I’ll try the hair tie trick. I hope it works.

  71. Ellie Huebner says:

    I am so touched by this article. I’m not a mommy (YET), but I am a 1st grade teacher. And I am so filled with shame when I realize at the end of the day that I have spent the whole day (or week) being an angry teacher. I have 24 students in each class, and I teach 2 classes, so I might need to modify it, but I will try my own version of the hair band solution this week. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share.

  72. Kelly! I wish I had found you 8 years ago!!! (even though you posted this article 2 years ago!) I just happened to come across this seriously, by the grace of God! I love how you told your daughter that Wilbur is one of a kind with “her” tatoos! Great going mom! You are an inspiration and I am looking forward to reading more! Going to the store today to get my hair ties! Can’t thank you enough! GENTLENESS is KEY! ;)

  73. Hello, I got a used copy of the book, How do I get the workbook to go with it?

    1. Hi Valerie! If you have the paperback version of the book, inside you’ll find instructions for getting the accompanying printable workbook. :-) Hope that helps!

  74. Really great post, Kelly! I just started your blogging course and wanted to see your writing style. What can I say? I’m really glad to be learning from someone as gifted as you are! Plus, as a mom of many for the last 38 years, I can attest to the need for props to keep us on track with our anger. I started using notes written on construction paper when my second child was little – 36 years ago. And I still tell others about how much they helped me! Thanks for sharing!

  75. Kelly I love the simplicity of this and yet what a huge impact it can make! I’m going to be giving it a try- if I can find enough hairties in one place :) Might be placing an order just for this. I too really struggle sometimes with my preschool age child- it’s hard to remember how much they are learning and growing and experimenting with the best intentions.

  76. Kelly, thank you for sharing this.
    It is a real struggle, which might not seem like a big deal but it is, oh it is… We want our kids to have the best of everything including the best of us. So many mistakes can be avoided if we just observe ourselves more and find that one thing that would bring peace and harmony into our routine..You offer a simple solution like we have honestly not seen before. Will share this with all our mamas and daddas.

  77. Thank you for this! I really needed it, with a 8 month baby at home I have been very angry with my daughter (she is 10) I notice it has been getting worse, every night I try to reconnect but the next day I start all over again.
    Will definitely start using the hair ties!
    Thank you

  78. Would this work for an autistic stubborn slightly aggressive little one? Or a very smart but doesn’t like to talk or listen stubborn as a box of rocks little one?

  79. This is the best thing I’ve read in months. Gives me hope for hard times with my little guy.