Posted by: purityseekers | September 22, 2006

The Original Boot Camp Article…

I have never posted this!!  This is the article that got me motivated to want to do "Boot Camp" with my children!!!  ENJOY!!!!! (I made her links active… they were originally "copy and paste".  One site ( may not offer the book now… not sure when this was written) And I can’t figure out why only one link came out blue LOL!!!  Oh well… here’s the article…its AWESOME!


"Welcome to Bootcamp!

Bootcamp is a name given to the process of retraining your family in proper relationships with each other. It is a time for Mom and Dad to learn 100% consistency in dealing with their children’s misbehavior. The children learn to respond pleasantly and immediately to direction or rebuke from their parents.

First, it is absolutely necessary to SMILE! This is mommy training as well as child training. You must speak quietly. The best tone for bootcamp is JUST below conversational tone. Make it a little more difficult to hear so they have to pay attention. It helps to make it enjoyable when you can, but the point isn’t to have fun. The point is to train mom and child. If it is fun at times, that will be a blessing. I do NOT recommend that you spend this time harshly or with an attitude of anger. The purpose is to fall in love again with your children, and for them to regain lost respect. If you are going to do this with an ugly attitude, please stop here. You will fail and your children will suffer. The ideas you will read here and in the resources will SOUND very harsh. They would be if not tempered by LOTS of love, smiles, and good- natured parenting. If you are going to do this in anger and self-importance, please just forget it. I assure you that it will only make things worse. .

First read, or reread, To Train up A Child by the Pearls. .
If you prefer you can read online at
This book will get you in a training mindset and fired up! (Remember that some of their ideas SOUND harsh. Please keep my prior cautions in mind throughout this process

Then read, or reread, Child Training Tips by Reb Bradley.
This book is incredible for pointing out our blind spots. (Those areas that we DIDN’T know needed to be worked on! (Please use the same cautions previously recommended.)

Then, if you can get your hands on one, read The Parenting of Champions. (Subtitled: Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly Age) This book is out of print but I have found several copies at and . They are listed under Lukas, Lucas, and Jucas! (For some pathetic reason!) The ISBN numbers are 094349785X and 1-56121-0161
He is wonderful about catching a vision for your children and their hearts and spiritual well being. I have read no better book on this subject. I personally own 5 copies of this book, all of which are loaned out upon request and availability.

If you have the time and energy, remove EVERYTHING from your home that does not add to family harmony. Box up anything that is laying around that will distract or annoy you. Get rid of clothing that is too small and clear surfaces such as: kitchen counters, bathroom shelves/counters, bookcases, coffee tables, dining tables. Box it up, label it, and you can deal with it later. Bootcamp is easier when there aren’t things screaming at you to be done. Each child will have no more than five items with which to play. The rest get packed into the garage or some other storage area. I prefer 3 because of the number of children we have. They tend to realize how wonderful sharing is! I also like to limit the number of outfits that they may use during this time to avoid too much laundry. It is ideal if the family can remove their clothing and immediately put them into the washer for laundering while everyone sleeps. The next morning you can dress again and go again!
If you can avoid leaving the home, do it. If you can choose to miss music lessons, sports events and the like for 2 weeks, do it. Outside commitments make bootcamp VERY difficult. Please try to make this as easy on yourself as possible
Okay, the easiest way to make boot camp a success is to make sure that meals are simple. Prepare the simplest meals, cook ahead of time, or eat out. Actually, by eat out I really mean take in. I am talking more of a place like Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, or pizza delivery. I am NOT talking about going to sit in a restaurant! Frozen dinners work well also.), Let all but the basics of housework go, and play classical music VERY softly if you can. Lots of sleep at night is necessary. This is exhausting for the first 3 days. After the first three days it is wise to work back into your normal routines for being AT HOME. Play classical music VERY softly if you can. Lots of sleep at night is necessary. This is exhausting for the first 3 days.

My Philosophy of Child Training
You are the parent. It is your job to be the PARENT. It isn’t your job to be their friend. With my own mother, I was always VERY aware of the fact that she wasn’t trying to make me happy or fulfill some needs of hers. She was training me to be the most responsible and levelheaded that she could make me. (I don’t claim to have mastered this but I will say that it scares me to think of where I would be without her influence and hard work!) My father taught me to be respectful and submissive/obedient because of who and what I am as a person. He taught me that it doesn’t matter who and what the other person is. I train very similarly. I do want to assure you that between the ages of 15-18 my mom became my best friend. To this day I show respect and deference to my mom when it is appropriate, but we talk and interact as good friends as a general rule. I love my mother more than anyone outside my immediate family and honestly, when faced with dilemmas on child training, I try to think of what my mom would do.

Your child is THE CHILD. Don’t try to make them anything else. They are in training for a reason. They are supposed to be the trainee. This is not a difficult concept. We try so hard to find excuses not to just buckle down and do our job. Sometimes this means being “mean”. So what if the kids think we are mean! What is more important? Are we so desperate for their constant approval that we don’t have the strength of character to endure the “crying that comes for a season” in wait for the “joy that comes in the morning?”

I don’t explain my decisions. It is none of their business why I have chosen to not allow food in the den anymore. When it is a habit, I will often say something like, "Do you see how clean this room is, do you see how there are no more stains on the carpet? This is why I chose to not allow food in here any more. This makes for a happy mommy guys!" By this I mean, don’t explain yourself every time you give direction. As children get older, THEN, I slowly begin occasionally giving explanations as I see the child willing to obey even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.

I expect pleasant obedience. I don’t expect my children to jump up and down for joy if they are expected to clean the bathroom. I don’t jump up and down! I don’t expect it of them either. But, I do expect my children to be pleasant about it. No grumbling, whining, moaning, or other bad attitudes are allowed. I am not one of those mothers who LOVES diaper changing. I do however, need to model a pleasant attitude about it when I change my baby. So, when I tell my son to take out the trash, I expect to hear a pleasant if not cheerful, “Yes Ma’am.” And I expect the job done right.

I do not let children under 10 the privilege of appeal except in the case of being chastised or restricted for something they didn’t do. There is no reason that they shouldn’t practice proper behavior: even if they didn’t break any rules or disobey you. Lets suppose you thought that Sally left the door open, and you were wrong. Let’s further say that you instruct Sally to “practice” properly opening and closing the door several times. It won’t hurt for them to practice. They will be hurt if they learn to side step mommy, which is sad.

When reproving children, I don’t whip them with the Word. I don’t do guilt trips or “woodshed sermons”. We train and we teach the Bible as a part of every day life. We decided long ago that constantly telling children that “God doesn’t like it when you do this”, “God doesn’t like it when you do that”, or using writing and/or memorizing scripture as a “punishment”, is a fine way to teach a child to hate scripture. I would rather they hate something else. Now, we do ask that they give examples of what happened when they broke a scriptural principle. But THEY are giving it, not being browbeaten with it. Perception can be everything, and to a child who is on the witness stand, trying to convict with the Word will feel like an all out attack. I prefer to avoid that personally. I know that many people disagree with me and that is fine. But, for what it is worth, my parents never did that with me and I grew up to love the Word and strive to live up to the pattern provided in scripture cheerfully. (Generally!)
Example: Child steals candy from the cupboard or a sibling.
Scenario One: Mother catches child with candy that wasn’t asked for. Mother will remind child that God says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Then the scene goes something like this. “I have to give you swats because God said that stealing is wrong and I am supposed to train you not to do what is wrong. So, you will get swats for stealing and I want you to write the verse “Thou shalt not steal” ten times so that you will remember in the future.”
Scenario Two: Mother catches child with candy that wasn’t asked for. Mother says to child. “You have candy that isn’t yours and that you didn’t ask for. Am I right? The rule is that you must ask for food, you know the rule, you broke the rule, go to the bathroom.” Then the mother takes the child into the “throne room” administers a few slow swats. Then the child is encouraged to make restitution to the best of their ability and remember the rule in the future. Later in the week, reference will be made to the scriptures on honesty and obedience but in the course of every day life. The mother will make sure that the child has a chance to connect the idea of honesty and how what they did wasn’t honest. But the child will connect it, on their own, and it will “stick”.

I don’t allow any back talk or arguing. When I give direction, it is to be carried out pleasantly and immediately. I don’t allow dialogue even if the child is right! It is ok for me, as the mother, to be wrong. It won’t kill me to be wrong. It will create in my child a sense of self-importance if I allow them to choose when they will obey and when they will disobey. That is what it boils down to. In all the years my parents expected this of me, even when my parents were wrong, everything worked out and I felt secure. I wasn’t in charge. I didn’t have that burden to carry. I knew that it was necessary to obey and I just did it. Slowly as I got older, they handed over the reins for me to make more of my own decisions, or they offered me choices. They even gave me some pretty heavy responsibilities pretty young. But that was due to the fact that they trusted me to obey without question if necessary. It was the line upon line precept upon precept of child training.

Swatting in our home is not a time of sermonizing and long drawn out lectures. We just meet out the punishment and go from there. Child defies or breaks a rule. We take them in the “throne room”, tell them what they did wrong, get affirmation of wrong-doing, and administer swats that they are required to receive submissively, to their blessed assurance. We swat slowly with SEVERAL seconds between swats. This way it actually has time for the pain to register. Then the session is over! We don’t preach!

This one is going to sound like psycho-babble but it really does make a difference. Tell them what TO do not what not to do. Instead of saying, “Don’t touch that, tell them leave that alone. With the first the last thing they hear is touch that. It also puts an idea in their head that they didn’t have. Leave that alone, gives them something that doesn’t have a negative thing to combat. Instead of saying, “Don’t spill your drink”, say, “Be careful.” Tell them what they can do not what they can’t. This is not to say that I don’t believe in saying no or being negative. That is a fact of life. But when giving directions, if you tell them what to do, instead of what not to do, you are setting them up for success. This is, of course, a general rule. Don’t make it a law or it will rule you.
I give my children chances to fail too. I set them up for failure. I put “trees of knowledge of good and evil” in their midst knowing they will likely take the challenge. But I also try hard to give them just as many chances to succeed. I like to equate it to riding a bicycle. If you never fell off of it and just began riding the first time you got on one, you would not know the danger that there is attached to it. The falling occasionally, that comes with learning to ride, gives us a healthy respect for what happens when we are careless. This is a good thing.

How to relate this to Bootcamp? STOP being afraid to be the mom. You are going to have to swat them. Make those swats hurt. It is abuse to ineffectively swat a child so that you end up swatting more and more and more…. Two or three SLOW swats (like at least 5 seconds apart) that truly sting a bit, are equal to 10 mini quick swats that do nothing but anger your child. Please don’t bother swatting through thick jeans. It is a waste of time and your child’s anger. This is exasperating to your child. Put them in light cotton shorts/pants or dresses. Even if this means their church clothes. After the first 3 days you will probably never have to give more than a swat or two per week.

I have up to 3 days of intensive training with the children never leaving my side. (Or me leaving theirs depending on the activity!) Then, I begin leaving them alone for short periods of time for the next 2 days. By day 7 we are just training for proper behavior in day-to-day life. By the end of week 2, we are just reinforcing the new training, and including training as a part of normal life if and when it comes up. (That "if" is wishful thinking, I know, but it makes me feel better!!!!!)

Here is what a sample schedule looks like.
Now, the primary things I teach during boot camp are…
Yes ma’am
Instant obedience
To ask before doing anything
The rules of boot camp are. You do everything mommy says instantly, silently and you never leave mommy’s side w/o permission.
My day looks something like this
6:30- Get up and get ready and the kids up and ready for the day.
7:00- Calisthenics to the tune of Simon Says/ Mother May I stuff (I call it "Mother
May I, Says!"
7:30- Practice STOP until
8:00- I fix breakfast and they sit on the floor by the doorway with hands folded. We usually sing here
8:30- We are usually finished eating and getting ready for the day. (clear place, wash hands and face brush teeth)
9:00- They Play with me in the room and do not leave the room. I spend lots of time doing STOP and Yes, Ma’am
10:00- We change activities. I keep myself working on Stop and yes ma’am
11:00- They sit in the doorway to the kitchen while I prepare lunch. They may talk but not get up.
12:00-Eat lunch, clear place, face and hands, etc
1:00- Go to bed. They all lay on a towel on the floor in my room. They may not talk, they may not giggle, they have to lay on the towel SILENTLY and with their eyes closed.
2:00- Whom ever is awake may watch a video until they all are awake.
3:00- Wake up whomever isn’t awake and let them play in my sight.
4:00- Play Stop or Yes Ma’am
4:30- Back to the doorway while I fix dinner.
5:30- Eat, clear place, stuff
6:00- They spend this time until 7:30 with daddy. I am out of here. Anywhere that the children aren’t. (explanation: I am extremely claustrophobic when surrounded by people. Boot camp is so terribly draining emotionally and this is what wipes me out physically. I have to spend lots of energy fighting my overwhelming desire to scream, "GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!!!". So by 6:00, I don’t want to be near anyone for a couple of hours.)
7:30 Kids in bed. Hubby sits there until 8:00 in the doorway. Sometimes he reads to them, but usually he is quiet and watchful.
8:00 I sit in doorway and read a book if everyone isn’t asleep. I tole-paint or sew until 9:30 when I go to BED. Trust me, you will need all the rest that you can give.

Usually, after the first day, I begin working on pet peeve # 1. Doesn’t matter what this is, you always approach it with how it is supposed to be done, and relate it to natural situations. The order I train a new area is.
Show the positive. This is what we do. This is why we do it (occasionally I give this info to my children. This is what we do. This is why we do it. This is not up for debate. Generally I tell them what is so, and that is all. I don’t OWE them an explanation. I owe them training. If you have children who are accustomed to hearing why we blow our noses, SKIP THE WHY. If you tend to be wordy, DON’T explain why you do anything until after the fact. Since I RARELY explain anything, my children can handle being told why when it is a new process.) Let’s practice for a while. (Example: putting toys away. Each child takes out 1 toy at mother’s direction. Each child plays with toy for 2 min or so. Each child puts toy away properly and gets new toy. Usually 20 minutes of this sets it in their mind.)
Recap. Number 1 is:
1. Explain new concept.
2. Practice new concept.
3. Occasionally through out the day, orchestrate a practice of new concept.
4. Throughout the week, orchestrate a practice session again.
5. Work on it at least once per week for 2-3 mos. It will become a habit.

After you master your top three pet peeves, you can begin to allow them out of your sight for SHORT periods of time. Set them up. Give them an opportunity to succeed as well as fail. See what they are made of. Take notes. "Janie has trouble obeying with a contented attitude. Joey, has trouble with more than 3 directions. Baby needs a silent count to 3 to comply. (I have one of these. If I count to three, and she has no idea that I do this, she will be on her way. She is like her father. She needs time to disconnect and reconnect. She just can’t switch lines!)
A few very important pointers and reminders. Always speak in a tone JUST under conversational level. Always give your directions firmly yet kindly. Give directions not requests unless you are allowing them a choice. Your job isn’t to be a pal; it is to be a mother. If you do your job right, as an adult, you will be one of their best friends. Remember, familiarity breeds contempt. Make yourself SMILE! Lot’s of smiles! Make them genuine. Look into their eyes. Let them see that love that you show in your face while they are sleeping and look so cherubic. This is essential. It is also the hardest thing for me. My facial features are such that if I am not purposely smiling, I look angry. This is not intentional, but I realized that they see this angry face all day. Even though I know that I am calm, I don’t look like it. Catch them doing something RIGHT! This is a motto of mine that rarely gets done but I really try. It is so easy to see where they fail. They need to hear when they succeed as well. SMILE. SMILE. SMILE.
Sing while you fix meals. Sing if you have to do house work. Sing in the car. SING. SMILE. Look into their eyes. These are important things.

Specific Training Scenarios:

Yes Ma’am Training
I start yes ma’am training by telling the kids that we are going to play a game. I tell them that the rule is no matter what I tell them to do the only acceptable answer is yes ma’am. Then I begin giving strange orders, like
Mom says "Johnny go put that book on the floor."
Johnny says (or is prompted to say) "yes ma’am" and then does it.
Mom says "Sally go eat an m and m"
Sally says "yes ma’am" and then does it.
Mom says "David go put away Johnny’s book (David will generally start to argue and say that Johnny got the book out). He is reminded that the only answer is yes ma’am and the only response is to do what he is told to do.
Mom says "Suzy, go pour a glass of water on the floor"
Suzy responds correctly (or is prompted to) and does what she is told.
After a while when you know that they know what to do if they do not answer with a pleasant yes ma’am (no groaning, rolling of eyes, pouting, signing, etc are accepted) then if the response is not correct I give consequences. In out family this means swats. I know some families who have had great success by charging the children money for offenses. We play this game several times a day for several days until I know without a doubt that they know what they are to do and say (with all of our children we always forget to train at least one as they come along so this is necessary). At this point they are required to always answer correctly or face consequences.

Stop training:
Stop works in a similar fashion as yes ma’am training. We tell the children up front that when we say stop they are to put when they have in their hands on the floor and look at us instantly with no delay. We then start them doing something (playing, reading, working, etc.). As soon as I know that they are engrossed I say stop. We work on getting them to put stuff down and be quiet, etc quickly. And I repeat. As soon as I know that they can respond I expect them to and any child who does not immediately stop when told to stop is swiftly dealt with. In our home that means swats. Charging children for misbehavior in this area does not work. I would take away the item or privilege that they had when the were told to stop. This is a safety issue. There is NO room for arguing or dawdling with this. Stop has saved two of my children from being run over by cars.

Store Training:
I tell the children before we go into the store what the "rules" are. They have to stay right here, or do this or not do that. Our main rules are
1. You stay close enough to the cart that one step will let you touch it. (Example: If you have to walk more than one step to touch the cart, you are too far away.) (This doesn’t count if I send you to get something on another aisle etc.)
2. You may not ask for more than one thing. (Example: "May we get the stuff for cookies?" vs, "Oh, mom, I forgot to tell you, we are out of toothpaste)
3. Keep your voice just below conversational level. Better to repeat yourself than for the whole store to hear you.
4. DO NOT TOUCH anything without prior permission.
5. Keep your ears and eyes open!
Now, when you go into the store, the kids get one warning. And so does the manager! I tell the manager that I am training my children (kids are listening) how to behave in the store and that I might have to leave quickly to take care of a problem but that I would BE BACK. So, I tell the kids that after their ONE warning, that I will remove them from the store and "deal" with the problem, and then we will go back into the store. Repeat. EVERYTIME. Trust me, it is worth the time. It is HARD but worth it!
I had one child once have an "episode" (she asked for MORE in a tone that implied she thought it was her "right" to have whatever she chose) when we were buying the stuff for her birthday cake and the like. I told the checker to void the transaction, and then I took the cart full of stuff and had the child put it all away. I told her that I would purchase what I was willing to buy myself later and she would be thankful. Trust me. She has always been thankful since!
If you do "yes ma’am training and STOP training at home, then in the store, you should have little trouble. If all else fails, then just take one at a time until they are well trained. Starting with the "worst behaved" first.
Hope this helps! Happy shopping!

I received this information from a mother who took the training principles I offer in Bootcamp and extended it to table training. It was so excellent that I requested permission to add it to the information that I send and Barbara C. graciously agreed.

I modified it and used the principles to retrain our toddlers with table manners. We were having problems with mealtime being one long session of "Stop playing with your fork.” “Put that bite in your mouth.” “No, all of it.” “Don’t play with your cup.” “Keep the food on the plate." Etc.
We took away the privilege of eating on their own and made them sit with their hands on their knees while we fed them like babies. Once they were used to not fiddling with things while eating, they were allowed to pick up the fork, put a bite in their mouths, put the fork back down and then return their hands to their laps while they chewed. Then we let them have the freedom to eat on their own again. It has made such a difference in our mealtimes!

There is no way that I can possibly improve on that! I am so impressed and I will now train all of my children in proper table manners this way. I will be forever thankful to her for sharing with me!

I intend to add the following areas to the training section of Bootcamp even though to try to do all that I mention in two weeks is asking for trouble.

PEGS Training- How to train your children to responsibly use this system easily and quickly.
School Training- How you want each area of their schooling completed and submitted.
Chore Training- Step by step processes for training little children, older children, and attitudinal children. (I love that word!)
Car Training- How to get in, sit quietly, make requests, get out, clean out etc.
Church Training- How we train them to be quiet in services.
Etiquette Training- Easy ways to teach the basics of common courtesy.
NO WHINING Training- How to stop this nasty habit.
Pleasantness Training- How to obey with a pleasant attitude even when they don’t feel like it.
Soft-Cry Training- Training them to cry quietly when reproved or swatted.
FOOD Training- How to train children to eat what they are given and be thankful for it.

In Conclusion:
I would like to encourage you to make this yours. When I read what a friend of mine had chosen to do, to turn her sons around, it sounded horribly harsh. It is what was necessary for them, yes. But frankly, I didn’t need such drastic measures. This woman chose what her family needed. Please choose what your family needs and go from there. Please don’t try to change EVERY aspect of their lives at once. BASIC obedience and a respect for authority is the goal. Then add in what you need, slowly, as a part of life."



  1. Thanks for sharing this, I look forward to finding some time to read it, I printed it out (9 pages later) LOL I have enjoyed reading your boot camp posts! Your doing great!!!

  2. Sorry, I was not logged in, that is me up there!

  3. How strange to find my bootcamp on a blog! I am so thrille that it encouraged and blessed you!

    Keep up the good work mama!

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