Memos from your Child

For those of you wondering where The Lucky Mom gained her vast wisdom, I want to reveal one of my best sources, and share with you some of his best advice.

Dr. Don Fontenelle is a family therapist in my home town.  His book, How To Live With Your Children is my parenting Bible.  Below you will find a much-shared bit of his wisdom.  I hope you learn as much from it as I have.  If you share this, please credit Dr. Fontenelle.  


  • Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for. I’m only testing you.
  • Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it; it makes me feel more secure.
  • Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
  • Don’t correct me in front of other people if you can help it. I’ll take more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
  • Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. I have to learn to make mistakes without feeling that I am no good.
  • Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn from experience.
  • Don’t be too upset when I say “I hate you.” I don’t mean it, but I want you to feel sorry for what you have done to me.
  • Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. I may learn to enjoy poor health if it gets me much attention.
  • Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
  • Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
  • Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken and this will discourage my trust in you.
  • Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
  • Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me, makes me not listen, and teaches me to manipulate you.
  • Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand and accept my feelings.
  • Don’t use force with me. It teaches me to be aggressive, hostile, and that power is all that counts.
  • Don’t fall for my provocations when I say and do things just to upset you. Then I’ll try for more such victories.
  • Don’t do things for me that I can do for myself. It makes me dependent, feel like a baby, and I may continue to put you in my service.
  • Don’t let my bad habits get me a lot of attention. It only encourages me to continue them.
  • Don’t try to discuss my behavior in the heat of conflict. For some reason my hearing is not very good at this time and my cooperation is even worse. It is all right to take the action required, but let’s not talk about it until later.
  • Don’t answer silly or meaningless questions. I just want to keep you busy with me.
  • Don’t let my fears arouse your anxiety. Then I will become more afraid. Show me courage.
  • Don’t pay more attention to my mistakes, failures, and misbehaviors than to my successes, accomplishments, and good behaviors. I need lots of understanding, encouragement, and positive attention. I cannot pat myself on the back and rely heavily upon you to do so.

Source: HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR CHILDREN: A Guide For Parents Using A Positive Approach To Child Behavior.

By Don H. Fontenelle, Ph.D.

For information on this and other books by Dr. Fontenelle (Changing Student Behaviors, The Parent’s Guide to Solving School Problems, Are you Listening?/Attention Deficit Disorders, Purrfect Parenting, and How to be a Good Parent), contact him at 504-834-6411, 517 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, LA 70001.


13 thoughts on “Memos from your Child

    1. Lisha Post author

      Every time I read this list, a different one pops out as “the one.” It’s been on my fridge for 9 years. I think I need to print a new copy.

    1. Lisha Post author

      His office is on Causeway near Met Rd. You might be able to pick it up there. (I hear you’re in NOLA!! Wish I had time for a visit!)


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