Logical Consequences

February 12, 2012 4 comments

“You have more control over the outcome of a situation than you may think.” I told that to my son and he first looked at me like I’ve been smoking the wacky tobacky or something. But then it sank in and he started picking up what I was laying down.

It started out with laundry. One of my kids’ jobs around the house is they have to put away their laundry when I’m done washing it and folding it. My son and even one of my daughters were asking me why I wasn’t turning their shirts right-side out when I folded them. I told them because it took long enough to wash and fold their clothes by itself and that I didn’t have time to do that as well. They didn’t like that answer, but they accepted it. The next time was with my son’s socks. At the end of the day, he would take off his socks so that they were wadded up into a big “sock ball” and then just threw it in the dirty clothes all wadded up like that. Of course, you know what happened when it came time to put away his clothes: He DID NOT like that his socks were a big damp blob. I told him it was because that was how he put them into the dirty clothes, and therefore, that’s how they came out. “I’m sorry this happened, Son. Is there anything you could have done differently when you put your dirty clothes in the basket that could have helped this situation?”

🙂 Logical consequences for your actions…or inaction.

If you think about it, it doesn’t matter what you’re talking about: In life, our choices always have consequences and ramifications. I’ve typically been the type of parent that would “get on my son’s case” to turn his socks right-side out before he put them in the laundry basket…but he would never do it! It used to frustrate me so much. A good friend of mine in the Real Estate industry with me is the one who suggested the “laundry idea” as a way to try to get my kids to change their behavior. So far so good!

Also, I want to thank Dianna for the recent talk we had about this dynamic with kids. She is the one who shared the “logical consequences” label with me. I’m trying to use this as a way to improve how I parent and how I get my kids to change some of these behaviors. Think about what happens as a result of the choices you make in life. Makes sense, doesn’t it!? Logical consequences.

Categories: Parenting

I Tease, Therefore I Am

December 18, 2011 7 comments

I have one younger sibling, a brother. He is not quite two years younger than me, but we were three years apart in school (I am young for my class and he old for his). Because of this, he was a freshman in high school when I was a Senior. We didn’t get along very well growing up.

We didn’t get along because he and I are completely the opposite. In every way imaginable. But one of the biggest reasons we didn’t get along so well is because I teased and picked on him pretty much nonstop growing up. I don’t even know why I did it either. I guess it just seemed like a fun thing to do when I was younger.

Fast forward in life back to present day. My son is my copy. Looks like me, loves sports like me, awesome student and academic like me. Etc. In fact, people who know us well say that they think I was cloned to get him. We’re that ridiculously similar.

He also teases his younger siblings like I used to do. Not the baby…when you’re 1 and as cute as she is, it’s a different story. But his twin sisters that are a bit short of four years younger than him…they get it from him all the time. In lots of different ways. And now, they are learning from him too and trying to dish it back at him. It seems like very day is a constant battle of he said/she said and who can get under the other’s skin the most.

I don’t want my role as a parent to always be the referee. One kid gets fed up with the teasing and tattles on the teaser. Another kid won’t share the video game time. This kid runs and sits down in another kids place on the couch when they got up for a second. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I wish it was different, but is it really that bad? I was the teaser growing up, picking on my younger brother all the time. Neither of us are perfect, but we turned out OK in spite of it. So I’m curious to hear what some of you think:

Are you a parent with kids or have siblings who experienced this dynamic growing up? Is the teasing and picking on siblings just part of the natural progression of childhood and growing up? Does it just have to be this way for a while and then they grow out of it? I struggle with this and want things to be different, but am not sure it’s not just part of growing up in a family with four children…and has to be this way for a while.

What do you think? Please comment and share…I’d love to hear.


Idaho Dad

Teaching Kids The Value of Money

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

When you’re a kid, it is sometimes difficult to really understand the value of money. I get that. Kids, for the most part, are provided for and given everything they need by their parents. As a Mortgage Consultant for a local community bank, I’ve always found it very important and tried very hard to ensure that my kids understand the true value of money. It takes time and constant reinforcement, but I really think they are getting it. I wanted to share with you how I’m trying to do that.

When each of my kids turn 5 or 6, they have had assigned daily chores to complete. These are age appropriate chores that are not overly difficult to complete. Examples: water the plants, vacuum the carpet, clean your room, wipe the counters, take the trash/recycling to the curb, bring the trash cans back from the curb, etc. In a household with four kids, there are always things to do. So, there is a chore assigned for each day except for Saturday; yes, even my kids get a day off from work. 🙂

For their hard work, I pay them $3/week. As they get older, they get paid a little higher allowance. Every other week, they have to put their allowance into their savings account at the bank. The money that goes into their savings account is not to be touched or used for anything unless approved by me or their Mom. Ideally, these savings will be used to help them buy a car or help to pay for college expenses later. Whatever it ends up being used for in the future, the point is that it is not be used for fun stuff now in their life.

Tyson and his new Aaron Rodgers Packers jersey

My son Tyson is getting it quickly. He is the oldest of my kids and has an allowance of $5/week now. So after he puts his $5 in the bank every other week, he nets a grand total of $10/month of spending money (on normal months). He’s turned into a good saver with his spending money, because he has come to realize that the “fun things” in life cost more than $5-$10 (XBox game: $40-$50, DSI game: $25-$35).

He recently purchased an authentic Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers football jersey. This kid loves football and LOVES his Green Bay Packers. He used to be a huge Brett Favre fan, and he even cried one time when Favre was injured and knocked out of a game. (Now he thinks Favre is a sell-out, but that’s another story) Anyway, when he saw the jersey in the store, he “had to have it.” He took a look at the price tag of $39.95, and didn’t even blink. We talked about how that is about 4 months worth allowance and how long it would take to save that much money, but the kid was determined and made it happen. Because it was important to him.

To contrast that with another example of this: I was working from home the other day, and talking to a client on the phone about how much their mortgage would cost them over 30 years. Tyson overheard some of the conversation and was appalled that I was charging the person over $150K in interest on the mortgage. When I finished the call, he asked me why I was “ripping them off” by charging them so much in interest. I had to explain to him that because the client wanted to have their payments be lower and pay the loan back over 30 years, that the cost in interest would be much higher. It wasn’t all that different than his Packers jersey purchase on some levels: they wanted to own a home and were making a financial choice based on what was important to them. They didn’t have the $140K in cash to purchase a home and made the decision to borrow the money and pay back a lot of money in interest. But it was worth it to them to pay that interest just like it was worth it to him to save his money and buy the jersey.

His asking that question of me proved to me that he is getting it. He has developed a value system in his mind that made that Packers jersey purchase worth it. Now, I’m not going to start financing my son’s XBox game purchases anytime soon, but it’s a good start for him with seeing things like this. When I tell him that we’re not going to go to the movies and spend $30 tonight, but rather are going to go rent a movie from RedBox for $1, he has an appreciation for why we’re making that decision. I’ve even lent him $5 and had him pay me back $6 later…how’s that for a high interest rate! He didn’t like that arrangement either, but made a decision to pay $6 later for $5 now…because it was worth it.

What strategies do you have to help teach kids the value of money? What are you seeing in kids that make you think they are getting it? Comment and share…I’d love to hear. I’m always looking for new and better ideas to help teach my kids about finances.

And as always, thanks for reading. Feel free to subscribe to my Blog on the right and share this with your friends…especially those that will comment and add feedback.


Idaho Dad

Unhelpful Help

November 20, 2011 3 comments

So if you have children, you’ll absolutely GET this point. Especially if you’ve had young children recently.

My children love to help. They can’t help themselves because it’s how they’re programmed. And at some level, we all love to be recognized for doing good things that help out others…it just makes us feel good. Kids are no different.

Putting up the Christmas Tree 2011

We were putting the Christmas tree and decorations up today. And even though it is fun and great family time, it’s still frustrating and painful at the same time. Take a guess at how many times I had to tell the kids to “STOP” or “WAIT” or “NO” during this. I’ll give you a hint: X > 30, where X is the total of said commands to my kids that went ignored.


Our Christmas Tree 2011

It’s a fine line that we walk with kids. We want them to learn to be helpful and pitch in around the house when they can. But at the same time, their “help” sometimes isn’t so helpful. I think this dynamic is part of the reason that grandparents say that being a grandparent is so much fun…because it makes up for part of all the difficult times that come about when raising kids. Grandparents can take their Grandchildren, spoil them absolutely rotten, sugar them up until they are bouncing off the walls, and then send them home to their parents and let them deal with the ensuing meltdown.

But I digress.

I think the key to managing this “helpful” interaction with my kids is to set my expectations low. Yes…LOW. And that’s not a bad thing either…because “help” in this situation isn’t always that helpful. And that’s not a bad thing either.

Taylor "helping" put away dishes

Even though the unhelpful help makes the process incredibly slow and excruciatingly painful at times, it’s truly the thought that counts. Help is help, even if it isn’t really helpful. Because they are trying. And really…wouldn’t we really rather have our kids trying to help than not?

“Son, can you come help me with this?” Yes…I know what I’m getting into with that simple request.

Thanks for reading. Thanks in advance for commenting. Be sure to subscribe to my Blog on the right and share this with your friends…especially those that will comment and add feedback. Especially about how much they love the help they get. 🙂


Idaho Dad

I Can’t Do This Dad

November 17, 2011 1 comment

I wish I had $1 for every time that I heard one of my kids tell me that.

Idaho Dad and Son backpacking in 2011

For the last two years, I’ve been going on a backpacking trip with my Dad and Son. I do this with my son in large part because my Dad did this for me. When I was younger, my Dad would take me backpacking each Summer. And I’m not talking about going “camping” either where you drive to a place and take the bicycles for the kids and the cooler of beer for the adults in the back of the truck. I’m talking backpacking where any items and all that you bring need to fit in your pack frame or it isn’t making the trip.

We would hike into an area with enough food, clothes and other provisions that we would need for the 4-5 days we would spend in the back country. While in the back country with my Dad, he would teach me about survival and how to get by with what you have…and don’t have. It’s become a great tradition in our family and I’ve loved passing this down to my son.

Idaho Dad at the summit of WCP-9 in 2010

In July of 2011, my Dad, Son and I backpacked into the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness. We went to the Soldier Lakes region near the Seafoam Region of the Wilderness. In July of 2010, we backpacked into the White Clouds region and Big Boulder Chain Lakes. On both of these hikes, my son LITERALLY told me that I was killing him.

Truth be told, in 2010, the 7 mile White Clouds hike from the Livingston Mill to our base camp at Walker Lake was really hard. Damn hard. My Dad to this day still fondly refers to that first day’s hike as the “White Clouds Death March.” The first two miles were nice and the last 5 miles were a killer. H E double hockey sticks. It quite possibly was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And that hike was my Son’s initiation into backpacking with me. Of course, I picked the hardest hike ever for my kid’s first trip. I’m awesome like that.

But he made it. And he even carried his 12 pound backpack the entire way out…but not quite all the way in. My Dad and I took turns carrying his pack along with ours…because he literally couldn’t do it. But he made it.

Idaho Dad and Son backpacking in 2011

In the 2011 trip, my Son and I took a short side hike to see an abandoned forest service fire lookout tower. When I say “short” side trip, please note that “short side trip” is loosely defined in 2011. Our side hike was 13.5 miles. We weren’t carrying our packs on that trip, so it wasn’t quite as bad, but when the water ran out and the trail mix was gone, and the sun was beating down on us, it became very difficult. The last two miles were all uphill. My Son assured me that he was dying. I reassured him that he wasn’t. And at the end of the day, we made it back to camp…safely AN D alive.

I think it is important for young children to learn VERY EARLY in their lives that their body is very resilient. I asked my Son several times during the hikes how much further he could go. To those questions, he always told me he couldn’t go any further. But he always did. And yes…I was pushing him, but is there really any other way to learn where your body’s limits DO NOT end?

“There is no such thing as a fine line between what you think you can’t do and what you can actually do. The gap is enormous, Son.” My Son looked at me like I was crazy. “You can do so much more than what you think because your body is that amazing, Son!” Crickets chirping was all I heard. “Push your body until you THINK you can’t go any further, and watch what happens, Son.” Practically in tears and dramatically enhanced scream: “Dad! I can’t go any further!”

But he did go further. And he didn’t die like he swore was happening. And he appreciates it now more than ever.

There’s nothing quite so rewarding when raising children and seeing them experience the ah-ha moment. Or having them thank you later for making them do something they didn’t want to do…because now they see the value in it. We all remember those times, and our kids will too.

Especially if they didn’t die in the process.

Thanks for traveling with me. Be sure to subscribe to the Blog on your right and share this with your friends…especially those that will comment and add feedback…that’s really why I’m doing this…I want to hear from you all.


Idaho Dad

PS: No children were harmed or subjected to cruel and unusual backpacking conditions during this story.

For more pictures from our backpacking trips:

Soldier Lakes in 2011

White Clouds in 2010

Hi…I’m Idaho Dad

November 12, 2011 4 comments

Greetings and salutations,


Eric Leigh, Idaho Dad

I’ve lived in Idaho all my life. I was raised in Parma, Idaho, a small town that about 1,800 people call home in the western end of the Treasure Valley. When I graduated from Parma High School, I enrolled at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. I never wanted to leave the Pacific Northwest after finishing college, so I moved around in my summers off from college to experience different places. I lived in Salem (Oregon), Ketchum (Idaho), and Moscow for a short bit. When I graduated from Idaho in 1995, I found myself back at home in the Treasure Valley with my bride to be. I was married in 1996 and became a Dad for the first time in 2001. Now I am the proud Father of four children. I have a Masters Degree from Northwest Nazarene University and have no intention of going back to school…time will tell if that holds true. I am a Mortgage Consultant for Idaho First Bank and love my job. It provides me with the income and flexibility to allow me to do what I love best: being a Dad to my children.


I love to meet new people and love to write. So the Blog was the natural outlet for me to accomplish both of these. Being a parent is always interesting. There’s nothing routine with four kids (including a set of twins) under one roof that are eight years apart.


Rilee being Rilee

My hope is that my stories, experiences, and reflections of my life as a Dad can touch all of you in some way. And trust me, it won’t just be the “happy” stories. My stories that I want to tell and Blog about aren’t always going to be with me and my family living happily ever after. Because that isn’t how life works. It’s like I always tell my kids (and hope they actually ‘get it’ sooner rather than later):

Life isn’t fair, and it never will be.

But rest assured, I do have plenty of good stories and things to talk about as well. What fun would this be without some fun stories, right?

As you read and follow Idaho Dad, and perhaps feel moved or motivated, please take the time to introduce yourself to me and comment. Because that’s why I decided to do this in the first place: To meet new people and interact with them on a topic that I am passionate about, which is “Being Dad.”

Let the journey begin. Thanks for riding with me. While you’re here, do yourself a favor and make it easier to follow me. Subscribe to my Blog posts on the right.


Idaho Dad

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